It's that time of year when teams have a different look because of international duty. The Houston Dash travel to Orlando this week with a far different squad than the one that beat the Pride at home 5 nil just over a month ago. The team will be missing seven key players including all three goal scorers from that May match. What can we expect from this current group?
Dash interim head coach Sarah Lowdon sat down with the media on Wednesday looking ahead to Friday's game. The discussion centered around rebounding from the loss at home to Kansas City, what the team worked on fixing this week and some keys to winning.
On rebounding from the loss, here is how Lowdon views it.
“I think it was unfortunate that we didn't come up with any points in that game. For us as a team, it's all about how you respond. I have no doubt in the character of this team and I know they will respond. We're looking for three points on the road. We are a lot stronger team right now as an away team and that's something that we'd love to continue to build upon.”
Lowdon expounded on how the team struggled with their shape and maintaining their form both offensively and defensively.
“To be totally honest, there was too much space between the lines, I think we were way too stretched. It was a game that was stretched on both teams, especially between our midfield and forward line, there was just way too much space. That's something that we've looked to basically improve this week. The second thing is just being able to finish opportunities, we had plenty in that game, especially in the first half that we could have finished, I thought we had four good opportunities. It’s being able to have box organization, have people on different horizontal and vertical lines in the box and being able to capitalize on the opportunities that we get off services.”
Every team has to find their opponent's weakness and exploit as best they can. This week will be no different for Houston says Lowdon.
“Facing Kansas City to facing Orlando is going to look different in the sense of maybe potentially how we press, which changes the personnel in terms of the team we are playing. The space between our lines was too big, so that's something that we've worked on a lot this week. Our pressing could have been better around the ball. That's something that we've built in the last nine games, was our gritty identity, our counter press and being able to get numbers
around the ball when we lose it. The last thing is when do win it back, it is just about being able to keep it. Like the first pass and transition, being able to keep it and actually giving ourselves a chance to get an attack and organize our shape and create opportunities, but put them away.”
Unbeaten on the road this season, Houston has the confidence they need to go into Orlando and come away with three points. The Pride sit eleventh in the NWSL table and are a team, the Dash cannot afford to overlook. Kick-off is slated for 6:00pm.