The Orlando Pride (4-0-3, 15 points) return to the field tonight as they take on the Houston Dash (2-3-1, 7 points) at BBVA Stadium. The first-place Pride will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight games. This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the two sides this season. The Dash will make the return trip to Exploria Stadium on Sept. 5.
The Pride and Dash have met 12 times in NWSL regular season games. The Pride are 5-6-1 over those games and 2-3-1 in Houston.
The Houston Dash joined the NWSL in 2014, and the Pride have played them every season since 2016. The first time these two teams met up was special because it was the Pride’s first NWSL home game. Andressa started the scoring for the Pride with an own goal just after the half. Lianne Sanderson doubled the lead in the 57th minute and Alex Morgan recorded her first Pride goal in the 61st minute as the Pride won 3-1.
The two teams met again on May 20, 2016 in Houston. Kristen Edmonds scored the lone goal for the Pride in the 81st minute, lifting the team to a 1-0 victory and its first-ever NWSL win away from home.
On June 23 of that inaugural Orlando season, the Pride and Dash returned to Camping World Stadium for their second meeting in Orlando. Once again, the Pride came away with the 1-0 win, but this time it was Jasmyne Spencer scoring in second-half injury time. Sept. 3 would be their final meeting of 2016 in Houston. The Dash took a dominating 3-0 lead with goals by Janine Beckie in the 24th minute, Poliana in the 49th minute, and Kealia Ohai in the 62nd minute. The Pride tried to mount a comeback with an 80th-minute goal by Morgan and an 87th-minute goal by Edmonds, but Ohai put the game away in injury time as the Dash beat the Pride 4-2 for their first win in the series.
The Pride and Dash only met twice in 2017 and in back-to-back games. On June 17 in Houston, a brace by Marta lifted the Pride to a 4-2 win. The following week, the same two teams met in Orlando. A late first-half goal by Carli Lloyd and an early second-half goal by Rachel Daly saw the Dash split the season series by defeating the Pride 2-0.
In 2018, the Pride and Dash met early in the season for their first match-up at Orlando City Stadium. Chioma Ubogagu netted the game’s only goal in the 65th minute as the Pride won 1-0. They met in the same location on June 27 for the second of three meetings that year. Morgan gave the Pride the lead in the 22nd minute, but a 79th-minute goal by Ohai and an 83rd-minute penalty conversion by Sofia Huerta pushed the Dash to a 2-1 win.
The rubber match of 2018 occurred on July 11 in Houston. Daly gave the Dash the 2-0 lead with goals in the 17th and 50th minutes. Sydney Leroux answered in the 55th minute to keep the Pride in the game, but Thembi Kgatlana sealed the win for Houston in second half injury time as the Dash won 3-1.
In 2019, the teams first met in Houston on May 5. A seventh-minute goal by Ohai was the only scoring in that game as the Dash won 1-0. They met for the second time on June 15 in Houston. This time, the Pride took the early lead through Joanna Boyles in the 13th minute. The Dash responded with goals by Huerta in the 47th minute and Kristie Mewis in the 67th. But a 71st-minute goal by Danica Evans pulled the Pride back for the 2-2 draw.
On Aug. 10, 2019 the two teams met for the last time in a regular season game until this year. The game looked to be heading toward a scoreless draw at Exploria Stadium until the Dash were awarded a penalty. Daly put it away in the 87th minute, giving the Dash the 1-0 victory.
Due to the global pandemic, the NWSL didn’t have a regular season in 2020. However, the teams met twice in the Fall Series. The first match-up came on Sept. 26 in Houston. Nichelle Prince gave the Dash the lead in the 27th minute. Marisa Viggiano answered in first-half injury time. The second half was all Houston as Sophie Schmidt and Shea Groom gave the Dash the 3-1 win.
On Oct. 9, the two teams met at Osceola County Stadium for the final meeting prior to tonight’s game. Groom gave the Dash the early lead in the 13th minute. Veronica Latsko doubled the lead in the 29th minute. Leroux pulled the Pride back within one in the 47th but it wasn’t enough as the Dash secured the 2-1 win.
The Pride come into this game on a seven-game unbeaten run and are the only NWSL team still unbeaten this season. It’s a quick turnaround as the Pride last took the field on Wednesday afternoon in Kansas City. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner displayed a different lineup, leaving out Morgan, Marta, and Ali Riley, who will all be away at the Olympics this summer.
Despite the weakened lineup, the Pride were able to come away with the win. A brace by Leroux and a near-midfield shot by Marta lifted the Pride to the 3-1 win. While Marta, Taylor Kornieck, and Riley all came off the bench at halftime, Morgan and Ashlyn Harris didn’t make the trip. They’re meeting the team in Houston and will be available for selection tonight.
The Dash enter this game near the bottom of the standings. Their defense has been strong this year, only conceding twice on two occasions. However, they’ve struggled offensively, only scoring multiple goals in two games and being shut out twice.
The most recent outing for Houston came on Sunday in Louisville. It was a similar story for the Dash as they only conceded once but couldn’t find the back of the net. However, it wasn’t for a lack of trying as the Dash had 23 shots and eight on target.
“I expect Houston to be a very difficult opponent,” Skinner said about the game. “They have had a break coming into the game so should be refreshed. Our team, however, has thrived in adversity and the psychological resilience we have shown is becoming part of our foundation and a cornerstone of our performances.
“These challenges are shaping our habits and bringing the best out of us as a collective. So we know what we have to do. We will put everything into the game and continue performing how we have so far.”
The Pride’s injury list expanded after the trip to Kansas City midweek. Jade Moore is still out as she recovers from a left knee injury and Carrie Lawrence is still out with a heat illness. Marisa Viggiano will not take part in Houston due to a right foot injury. Taylor Kornieck worried fans Wednesday when she was replaced because of a left knee injury. However, she’s listed as questionable tonight.
The Dash don’t have any injuries but will be missing Rachel Daly, who has joined Great Britain in preparation for the upcoming Olympics.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley
Defensive Midfielders: Gunny Jonsdottir, Chelsee Washington
Midfielders: Marta, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Sydney Leroux
Forwards: Alex Morgan
Bench: Brittany Wilson, Erin McLeod, Ally Haran, Konya Plummer, Toni Pressley, Erika Tymrak, Abi Kim, Crystal Thomas
Houston Dash (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Jane Campbell
Defenders: Allysha Chapman, Katie Naughton, Megan Oyster, Haley Hanson
Midfielders: Kristie Mewis, Sophie Schmidt, Gabby Seiler
Forwards: Maria Sanchez, Veronica Latsko, Nichelle Prince
Bench: Lindsey Harris, Ally Priscock, Makamae Gomera-Stevens, Shea Groom, Emily Ogle, Maegan Rosa, Bri Visalli, Jasmyne Spencer, Jamia Fields
REF: Karen Callado
AR1: Tiffini Turpin
AR2: Rebecca Luther
4TH: Hector Hernandez
How to Watch
Match Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: BBVA Stadium – Houston, TX
Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International)
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!