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Portland Thorns v. Houston Dash Match Preview
NWSL gets back rolling after the international break as the Thorns host the Houston Dash.
The Portland Thorns return to Providence Park to take on Houston Dash on Friday, April 14.
Last season the Thorns split the series with the dash with a win and a loss apiece. The Dash struck first winning 2-0 on May 21 but the Thorns doubled that score 4-0 when they beat Houston the road on July 12.
Currently (and I know it's still early season conditions) the Thorns (2-0-0) sit at the top of the table while Houston (1-0-1) is fourth.
The game on the 14th is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. PT, and can be viewed on the CBS Sports Network or places like Fubo TV.
The Houston Dash have a variety of notable names on their roster, such as US players Marisa Viggiano and Caprice Dydasco, Mexican international Diana Ordóñez, Canadian internationals Nichelle Prince and Allysha Chapman, and England international Ebony Salmon.
They also have Jane Campbell who’s been called up for the USWNT a few times.
Since it’s so early in the season it’s hard to say how Houston will match up. Their last game before the international break was a scoreless draw against Racing Louisville. They did however collect four yellow cards to Louisville’s two, meaning that there’s a good chance it’ll be a physical game for Portland.
Their other match was against Chicago where they won 2-1 with the goals coming from Maria Sanchez and Diana Ordóñez. They were outshot 8-13 though and beaten in corner 12 to 5. However, they had more shots on goal than the Red Stars did.
Houston has been largely consistent the past few years, last season they ended their run in fourth, where they currently sit in the 2023 standings. Last year they also made it to the NWSL playoffs, where they fell in the quarter-finals to eventual finalists Kansas City.
The Thorns so far
This season has started off very strong for Portland. They beat Orlando 4-0 with goals coming from Morgan Weaver, Sophia Smith, Hina Sugita, and Michele Vasconcelos (who netted her first goal as a Thorn). They also tallied 26 shots to the Pride’s nine.
Their second game matched the energy of their first, when they took on the Kansas City Current. They beat them 4-1 with Sophia Smith scoring her first hat trick in the league. The Thorns are also the first team to score eight goals in their first two matches of an NWSL season. The other goal that morning came from Crystal Dunn in the third minute.
Overall, if the Thorns continue their dominating goalscoring run, the Dash should be no problem.
The Thorns (4-3-3)
It seems like Mike Norris isn’t messing with what’s working, so I see it most likely being similar to what we’ve seen so far in 2023.
Bixby in goal… obviously
Then a back four of Klingenberg, Sauerbrunn, Hubly, and Kuikka.
For the midfield, I definitely could see Coffey being there, but I’m not sure about Sinclair since she played this week… maybe Rocky Rodriguez or Moultrie would sub in for her. I could also see the same situation for Dunn.
Up front, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Smith, Weaver, and Sugita again.
The Dash (4-3-3)
Campbell in goal.
Probably Chapman, Prisock, Jacobs, and Dydasco as the back four.
Viggiano, Anderson, and Schmidt could be an option for midfield.
Then up front Sanchez, Ordóñez, and Salmon up front.
I mean honestly, they’ve done it already this season so I’m hoping for another 4-0 victory.
But… realistically I’m thinking a 3-1 Thorns win since they’ve got the scoring power. But it’s still early season and anything can happen. The only way we’ll find out is by tuning in to CBS Sports Network or heading to the park at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.