The Houston Dash and FC Kansas City meet for the third and final time this season at the Oven on Saturday evening. Houston comes into the match having won three in a row and with rapidly growing confidence.
FC Kansas City are on a three match winning streak of their own and have not lost in their last five. They will have to find a way to get it done without their big guns, however. Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday are away on national team duty, taking their combined 14 goals with them.
Date: June 14, 2014
Time: 8pm CST
Location: BBVA Compass Stadium (aka the Oven)
Live Stream: YouTube
FC Kansas City (6-4-3), 21 points, 2nd place
After a difficult start to the season, normal service has resumed in Kansas City and the team is back up to 2nd place on the back of a run of five without losing. The offense continues to score while the defense is finally limiting the number of opportunities that opponents generate.
FC Kansas City has scored 23 goals this season – 16 of those by Rodriguez and Holiday. They will have to find a way to generate goals in the absence of their two scoring leaders, something they have no experience with this season.
Erika Tymrak, who scored a goal of the season candidate the last time these two teams met, is the most likely candidate to score. The backline will have to be tight as well with keeper Nicole Barnhart out as well as defender Becky Sauerbrunn. Fortunately for FCKC, defender Amy LePeilbet is healthy and could see her first start of the season.
The last time FCKC visited the Oven, they came away with a 4-0 win. This time will be a very different situation. The Dash are confident and the weather conditions are hot and humid. Western New York struggled with the weather in mid-week play, FCKC likely will as well despite the later start time.
Houston Dash (4-7-1), 13 points, 7th place
A win here and the Dash are suddenly, at least for a day, in 5th place and only 3 points out of a playoff spot with two weeks off prior to facing the Washington Spirit. The Dash have to be careful not to look past this match, however. It would be easy to look at the number and quality of missing players from FCKC and conclude that this is an easy win. It will not be.
The Dash are missing players as well. In addition to Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg and Nina Burger who missed out on Wednesday, the Dash will also be short Erin McLeod and Kaylyn Kyle.
This is less of an issue for Houston than it is for FCKC, however. The Dash know that Bianca Henninger can be counted on in goal and they are used to playing without key players.
Megan Kinneman has been called up to act as the back up keeper for Henninger in this match in addition to the earlier call ups of Tori McCombs and Dominique Richardson as amateur players to replace the international departures.
In the match at FC Kansas City, the Dash did a much better job of controlling possession in the midfield than they did in the home fixture. It will be important that they continue to do so and not turn the ball over to FCKC in dangerous attacking positions.
The presence of Becky Edwards in the midfield will be important in dictating the outcome of this match. Tiffany McCarty continues to look the most dangerous option going forward.
The Dash are far better equipped than FCKC to win when down a few key players. Expect the experience they have gained this season to see them through this match. 4th consecutive victory, 3-1.
FC Kansas City: Liz Bogus (out)
Houston Dash: Brittany Bock (out), Lauren Sesselmann (out), Lindsay Elston (doubtful), Kika Toulouse (questionable)
FC Kansas City: GK – Keane; Def – Williams, LePeilbet, Robinson, Phillips; Mid – Richmond, Mathias, Tymrak, Buczowski, Laddish; Fwd - Silva
Houston Dash: GK – Henninger; Def – Ochs, Diggs, Ohale, Romero; Mid – Jackson, Edwards, Masar; Fwd – McCarty, Souza, Ohai
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