The Houston Dash and the North Carolina Courage will tangle for the second time this season on Father's Day June 19th. The two teams previously met in Houston on Memorial Day weekend and fought to a 1-1 draw. What does this match hold in store for them?
Since drawing with Houston, NCC has found its first two wins of the season scoring three times in each match. It's a bit unusual to see the Courage at the bottom of the NWSL table when three of the last four seasons they have finished at the top of the table. Houston is usually closer to the bottom of the table than the top but not this year. Interim head coach Sarah Lowdon has the squad playing the best soccer in franchise history and within three points of the top spot. A win at Wakefield Stadium could lift them there pending the other results of the weekend.
Houston enters the match as tough as as any team. Lowdon has instilled a sense of grittiness on defense and a belief that no one can stop them in the offensive third. With the exception of the las t game, a 4-0 home loss, the Dash had surrendered just on goal in its previous four matches. Meantime the offense had found the back of the net nine times over the same span.
The match in Houston on May 29th may have been the turning point for NCC. The Courage have allowed just three goals in their last three games. They have rippled the nets three times in each of their last two outings.
In each of their last three games, the Courage have scored first with two of them being in the first 10 minutes of the match and all early tallies have come before the half hour mark. Over the same span, Houston likes to get in front as well and make the opponent chase the game. Of their eight goals over those three matches, Houston has scored five of them them in the opening 45 including two in first half stoppage time.
The Courage's defense has been coming around as they have allowed just four goals over their last four matches. Two of them conceded in each half of play. Houston meanwhile with exception of the 4-0 loss in their last NWSL game has surrendered just one goal in and that was to NCC in the 1-1 draw.
This game should come down to who counters the best. Houston likes to find those long passes that springs a runner free while the Courage will work it down the field and then whip a service in.
Daly who scored the goal for the Dash against the Courage to forge the draw on May 29th will miss this match due to international duty. Mid-fielder and former Dash player Denise O'Sullivan will miss as well due to international duty with Ireland where she is coached by former Dash coach Vera Pauw. A multitude of players from both sides will depart after the match for international duty.
Look for international Mexican teammates Maria Sanchez (Dash) and Diana Ordonez (NCC) to be the difference makers for their respective sides.
The game will be shown on Paramount+ with kick-off slated for 4:00pm CDT.
This match should turn out to be very similar to the first one. Who wins is anyone's guess. One thing for sure, it will be entertaining.