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Portland Thorns vs Houston Dash Preview w/ Dustyn Richardson of Bayou City Soccer
We are grateful to Dustyn Richardson of Bayou City Soccer for joining us in previewing this big match.
The Portland Thorns are in Houston to square off against the Dash tonight (kickoff at 5:30 p.m. PT, streaming on Paramount+). In order to help preview the first rematch for the Thorns in 2023, Stumptown Footy talked with someone who knows the Dash the best: Dustyn Richardson.
The Houston Dash have only scored 3 goals in 6 regular season matches. Is this a long-term concern? Why have they struggled to score?
Dustyn of Bayou City Soccer:
The lack of goals has been a concern for fans but head coach Sam Laity is not pushing the panic button. Laity has been consistent in saying he is not concerned because the team is creating chances. With the talent up front that this team has, they're too good to not be scoring goals. Laity has also made multiple mentions of the team not having a full week of practice to implement tactics and once that happens, the team will be clicking. We'll see if that is the case. Maria Sanchez has really been the only creator to feed the front line and the emergence of Barb Olivieri into the lineup could help fix the scoring woes as well.
What have the additions of Diana Ordóñez and Ebony Salmon meant to this team?
Dustyn - BCS:
Salmon made an immediate impact when she joined mid season last year but she has struggled to find her goal-scoring boots in 2023. Ordóñez was a big trade but immediately raised the question among fans of how the team would line up with Salmon also playing as an out and out number 9. Laity has played Salmon a bit on the right wing and has played with two forwards at times. Right now the additions have not paid off too much this season, Ordóñez has 2 PK goals, but like I mentioned in the first answer, once the team is versed on the tactics Laity and company hope that changes.
Which matchup between Portland and Houston are you most looking at?
Dustyn - BCS:
Sophia Smith vs anyone is always an interesting watch. In the first meeting between the teams she was able to cause some havoc with the Dash playing a back five and Dydasco getting stuck up field more often in a wingback role. It will be interesting to see if the Dash go back to a back four to better contain Smith or with Katie Lind being fit again, could they play a back five and have Lind shade more to Smith's side? Whatever happens will be a fun matchup.
Score prediction and why?
Dustyn - BCS:
The Dash are struggling to find goals and the Thorns seem to score them in bunches. On paper, with the form the teams are in, this seems like a big mismatch. Houston has also struggled the past two seasons at home (for whatever reason). If the Dash can score early and keep the pressure on Portland I think they can get a result. If I had to make a prediction, however, I'll say 2-1 Thorns and hope our readers aren't too mad at us!
Stumptown Footy’s Preview and Prediction
We heard a little bit about who to watch and since Portland has already played Houston we kind of know what to expect (and hopefully we learned from that game).
Portland has gotten in the habit of earning draws lately and I hope they can break that streak.
I’m thinking the team will roll out lineup that is largely the same as what we’ve already seen. Bixby can do no wrong (we know this), and we’re still missing Becky which is a bummer but Menges is a fairly solid fill-in for her. The rest of the back line is probably going to consist of Hubly, Kuikka, and Kling.
In the midfield, there’s a lot that could happen but the lineup is likely going to be Sinclair, Dunn, and Coffey.
Up front I bet that Smith will be back in action, then Weaver and Hina Sugita out wide would be great.
Since we last played Houston they have collected a few more losses and Portland is still undefeated, so hopefully this time around the Thorns can get a win.
In terms of a prediction, I’m gonna say goals from Weaver and Smith (and hopefully also Sinc— she’s been on the edge of one all season).
For Houston, I could see either Ebony Salmon or Diana Ordóñez putting one away.
Overall, I’m going with three goals for Portland and one for Houston.
*Ordóñez and Prisock have been ruled out (illness)
Be sure to check out their amazing work at bayoucitysoccer.net