Preview: Houston Dash (h).
When? Friday October 9 2.00 p.m. PT, 5.00 p.m. ET, 10 p.m. BST.
Where? Osceola Count y Stadium, Kissimmee, FL.
How can I catch the action? This game will be broadcast nationally via CBS and internationally via Twitch.
I seriously feel like I'm getting a serious case of déjà vu here. Didn't we talk about the Dash recently? Umm, yeah. We did. But this is soccer in 2020. Anyway, we know all about the Dash's talent in the midfield area, particularly with the likes of Shea Groom and Sophie Schmidt. I highlighted it ad nauseam in my last preview. Today I want to focus on a different area of the team. Their forward line, and particularly their pace in the wide areas.
Nichelle Prince has been in fine form so far this fall series. The pacey forward has scored 1 goal and played 4 key passes. Sometimes her final ball can let her down, with the Canadian only completing 1 of 9 attempted crosses. She does work hard on the defensive side of the game, though; having completed 3 clearances and 1 interception so far this season. That epitomises her engine and drive. With the quality Houston possess in midfield, the ball over the top is always going to be an option with the pace of Prince.
The Orlando Pride currently harbour no injury concerns heading into this game. Following on from the 3-1 reversal in Houston last time out, the Pride will be looking to go one better in this one. Carrie Lawrence and Jordyn Listro continue to impress. The likes of Konya Plummer and Ally Haran both saw action in Houston as the Pride continue to experiment ahead of the 2021 season.
Houston, meanwhile, are missing Kayla McCoy (left knee) and Erin Simon (personal reasons). It will be interesting to see how Shea Groom and the likes present pre-match, following Ashlyn Harris's very public criticism of the Dash squad. The team were seen breaking NWSL Covid-19 protocol at a local bar.
Possible starting XI
Having won their last two, James Clarkson won't want to make too many changes. After all, if it ain't broke... Don't fix it. That being said, he will need to manage his team's minutes. Especially with them having played a home game mere days ago. I think we see the likes of Christine Nairn, Jamia Fields and Katie Stengel come in.
I probably sound like something of a broken record here, having highlighted the talented Groom as the top player for our last game. But that hasn't changed. The talented midfielder was a thorn in the side of Orlando a couple of weeks ago, and she was similarly problematic for Paul Riley's Courage. She has featured in all 3 series matches, totalling 262 minutes. She has scored 2 goals, laid on 2 assists and played a further 3 key passes.
She has a 71.6% pass completion rate overall, of which 35.8% were forward balls. She's a very positive player, always trying to make things happen. Orlando will have to do a better job of tracking her trademark runs into the box than they did last time.
The Orlando Pride are looking for their first win of this series as they currently sit 0-1-1 on the series so far, having drawn with North Carolina and having lost to the Dash. Osceola County Stadium isn't the Pride's usual home, but it's still a familiar environment. They will be confident of taking a positive result.
Houston, on the other hand, have built on their NWSL Challenge Cup well with 2 wins from 3. They are 2-0-1 having won their previous two games against Orlando and the Courage. They will provide a stern test for Marc Skinner's team.
All statistics courtesy of nwslsoccer.com