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Dash take on San Diego Wave looking to go top of the NWSL table: What to watch for

A win in San Diego will put the Dash alone at the top of the NWSL standings.

NWSL: San Diego Wave FC at Houston Dash Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dash wrap up a three game stretch of games that started last Friday with a draw with Racing Louisville. Houston got a win over NJ/NY Gotham FC on Wednesday night and now turn their attention to San Diego Wave FC. San Diego, who sit just three points behind Houston, are coming off a 1-0 loss to Orlando Pride at home last Saturday. The Dash and Wave met in Houston on the opening day of the regular season earlier this year, with San Diego coming away with a 1-0 win.

Dydasco debut

Houston made some moves this week, first sending long time right back Haley Hanson to Orlando, and then a day later acquiring the reigning NWSL Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco from Gotham FC. Dydasco started every game for Gotham this season and brings a load of experience to a Dash team trying to make their first every playoff apperance. Dydasco spoke to the media yesterday on what she brings to Houston. “This team has done really well with being dangerous with their chances on goal and I think that’s what it comes down to in this league,” Dydasco said in yesterday’s press conference. “Everyone’s really good, but how are we composed, and going to break down the defensive line. This team has done very good with different ways of scoring, not only from on the dribble transition, I think they’re very good tactically and technically. They’re well coached and organized in the way they want to break down teams. I’m really excited to be a part of their attack and try to bring in my skills, like crosses and try to be more dynamic up top and more versatile within our positioning. I just want to bring my experience and leadership as well. This is going to be my eighth year. I know this team is still young, and it’s really exciting to see and know that there’s so much more to grow as a team and players individually. I just want to contribute in any way.”

Worry about us

San Diego presents a big challenge for the Dash; a road match, after a midweek game, against a team competing for the playoffs and the top of the league. But, this isn’t the same Dash anymore. Interim head coach Juan Carlos Amorós spoke yetserday about the challenge San Diego brings, but also that the Dash now want teams to worry about them more than they worry about the opponent. “Every game brings you different challenges,” Amorós told the media yesterday. “We know we want them to worry about us more than what we will worry about them. That’s in our philosophy, we want to be that team that dominates games. To do that we have to exploit our strengths and minimize the strength from the opposition. Every game brings something different to the table and we’ll have to prepare for it. That’s what we’ve done and hope to carry on with our record. We know we’re going to be very good on the defensive aspect but at the same time we’ve got enough threats going forward as well for them to worry. I hope it is a great soccer game. One that is exciting for all the fans, especially for the Dash fans.”

Top of the league?

The Dash are tied for first place with the Portland Thorns after the win on Wednesday. With Portland off this weekend, a win or draw would move Houston alone into first place. This is uncharted territory for a team who has long been fighting just to finish mid-table. It’s nice to be in first and fighting for the regular season championship, but this team has greater aspirations. “Obviously, it’s a great feeling (being in first). It’s really exciting,” Amorós said after Wednesday’s win. “It’s showing all the hard work that we put in since February, but we’re not satisfied with it. You know, we still have a month and a half left of the regular season. Right now it doesn’t really mean anything that we’re first. We can’t plateau. We have to keep pushing every single day in training, in games, so that we can be at the top come playoffs.“

Availability Report

Houston Dash - Out: Annika Schmidt (right knee - season-ending injury), Kelcie Hedge (right knee - season-ending injury), Makamae Gomera-Stevens (left knee - season-ending injury)

San Diego Wave FC – no report available