Saturday, 10 p.m. ET | Providence Park | Portland, Ore.
The Dash will arrive in Portland for the game Saturday night following a cross-country trek after playing Wednesday in Boston – where they snapped a two-game losing streak as Hagen scored twice to lead the Dash to a 3-1 road victory over the Breakers. Houston recaptured the form that saw them reel off six straight games without a loss from June 24 to July 22.
Janine Beckie scored the game-winning goal – assisted by Nichelle Prince – while goalkeeper Jane Campbell made four saves. The Dash won for the fifth time in their last nine games. Their 17 points from that timeframe are the second most in the league, trailing only the North Carolina Courage (21 points).
That form has seen the Texas side charge within four points of a playoff spot after being nine points out of postseason contention as recently as June 23.
The three goals scored by Houston on Wednesday were their best offensive showing of the year. Coach Omar Morales will want to see that continue as the Dash are set to face off against the top three defenses in the league in four of the next five games – starting with the No. 2-ranked Thorns.
All five of those games will be against teams currently in the top four in the NWSL standings – and Houston will need to be much better against those sides in the coming weeks if they hope to mount a playoff challenge.
The Dash are just 1-4-1 this season against teams currently in the playoff spots – with their 0.67 points per game from those contests the worst return of any team in the league against the top four.
The Thorns will enter the match looking to shrug off a disappointing 2-1 road loss against FC Kansas City. Henry converted a first-half penalty for the Thorns, but two goals in the space of four second-half minutes saw to it that the Oregon club lost for the first time this season when leading in a match. They are now 9-1-0 in games in which they have led at any point.
The loss also snapped a four-game winning streak for Mark Parsons and his players. Portland will be eager to get back into the win column against the Dash, who they have not lost against in their previous three encounters – including a 2-1 victory at Providence Park on Aug. 5 as Emily Sonnett and Tyler Lussi both found the back the net.
Lussi will not be available for the match Saturday as she serves the second game of a three-match ban.
The Thorns have been the best team in the league at home this season – posting a 7-1-1 record at Providence Park in 2017. They have conceded just seven times in their nine games at home so far this year and – along with the Courage – are on track to finish the year as one of nine teams in NWSL history to complete a season with a goals against average of 1.00 or lower.
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