The Dash released their third preseason schedule, which includes five friendlies set to take place in Texas and Portland. With training set to begin in just a few days, fans are sure to notice some pretty huge absences in the roster for the first week as players like Janine Beckie, Morgan Brian, Allysha Chapman, Carli Lloyd, and Lydia Williams are returning from international play in the Algarve Cup, SheBelieves Cup, and AFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament; it hasn’t yet been disclosed whether or not those faces will be at the first preseason friendly on March 19 against Baylor.
The first friendly against Baylor will be March 19 at Houston Sports Park set to begin at 3:00 pm. It’s free to the audience and going to be a match that fans are surely not going to want to miss. Houston fans should remember that Dash head coach Randy Waldrum was the coach for Baylor from 1996-1998 where he went 46-14-3 before going to Notre Dame. It should be a great match all around and it will be the first real chance any of the fans get to see how the team has progressed over the off-season, how their chemistry has built, and it’s the first opportunity to really get some sort of expectation for the upcoming season. I expect to see some pretty impressive stuff from the Dash. Baylor went 8-2-3 during their fall season in the Big XII conference.
The second friendly will be in Portland against Oregon State at Providence Park on March 27 with kick off set at 2:30 pm. Much like the match against Baylor, fans can expect to see pretty big guns coming out for the Dash. With a couple weeks of training under their belts, a friendly already having been played, and likely the national team call-ups returning, I expect to see the Dash put on a show. Oregon State went 6-10-3 during their fall season in the PAC-12 conference after being outscored 22-17 by their opponents.
In the third friendly we will finally see some NWSL against NWSL action as Houston meets up with Seattle Reign on March 30 in Providence Park at 5 pm. The Reign currently sits at the top of the league standings with 43 points from last season while the Dash sits at No. 5. Houston faced Seattle twice in the 2015 season and lost both times. In their first meeting, the Dash were able to get a goal in the 2-1 loss, but in the second the Dash were shut out 0-3. It will be interesting to see how they match up during preseason especially expecting call-ups to be ready to play for both teams.
In the fourth friendly, the Dash will face the Portland Thorns on April 2 at Providence Park. Fans can almost certainly expect a pretty physical match up for this one. The Thorns sit just behind Houston in the standings and want to show what they have against a balances Dash roster. Last season Portland and Houston met up twice. In their earlier matchup the Dash beat Portland with an early, unanswered goal from Kealia Ohai and in the later matchup the two teams walked away with a draw. Kick off for the preseason match is set for 7:00 pm.
The fifth and final friendly will be back in Texas, but this time in College Station where the Dash will face off against the fightin’ Texas Aggies. The Aggies had an overall record of 17-7-2 during their fall season and even made an appearance in the NCAA National Championship Tournament. I, personally, expect the Dash to go all out during their final preseason game; it would show the fans that the new faces on the roster are set and ready to take on the 2016 NWSL regular season. Game time begins in College Station at 8:00 pm.