Preview: Houston Dash at Sky Blue FC

Houston Dash at Sky Blue FC
Sunday, June 8, 5:00 p.m. CT
Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ


REFEREE: Michael Zapata. Assistant Referees: Russ Wolf, Emilie Buse; Fourth Official: Neil Barbulescu


The Houston Dash (2-7-1; 7 points) visit Sky Blue FC (2-5-4; 10 points) in the final game of their three game road trip. The Dash are coming off of a 2-1 comeback win over Western New York on May 31. The Dash look to continue their scoring ways, having scored seven goals in their last four games. Sky Blue FC welcomes the Dash in the final game of their three-game home stand. SBFC is coming off a 3-1 loss to league-leaders Seattle Reign FC. This will be the first of three match-ups between the Dash and SBFC this season.

INJURY REPORT (as of Friday, May 30)

HOUSTON DASH -- OUT: Brittany Bock (left knee surgery), Lindsay Elston (right ankle sprain), Lauren Sesselmann (left knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: Kika Toulouse (right quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: Becky Edwards (left foot stress reaction)

SKY BLUE FC --- OUT: Hayley Hagsma (left ACL tear), Taylor Lytle (left tibia fracture and lateral meniscus tear); QUESTIONABLE: Monica Ocampo (left knee bruise); PROBABLE: Christie Rampone (left toe seismioditis)


The Dash have made comebacks their specialty so far this year, and they came up with another one on May 31 as they defeated the Western New York Flash 2-1 for their second win. The Flash took the lead just before the halftime break as McCall Zerboni volleyed home a cross from Adriana Martin, but the Dash responded with two second half goals. Kealia Ohai bagged her first of the year in the 51st minute, turning her defender in the box off a throw-in to get off a left-footed shot tucked just inside the far post. Nina Burger continued her good form by flicking on Stephanie Och's corner kick past the Flash keeper at the near post in the 73rd minute for the game-winning goal.


Sky Blue FC finished fourth in the 2013 NWSL regular season with a record of (10-6-6; 36 points), giving them the final playoff spot. SBFC was defeated in the first round of the playoffs by the regular season champions Western New York Flash. This season, SBFC are led offensively by their first round pick in the 2013 Supplemental Draft Katy Freels. The former Auburn midfielder is the leading goal scorer for Sky Blue with four goals. Defensively SBFC is led by USWNT defenders Kelley O’Hara and Christie Rampone. In addition to their defensive responsibilities, the pair have combined for three goals and four assists through 11 games. This season SBFC finds itself in seventh place in the NWSL standings with a record of 2-5-4 (10 points).


USWNT defenders Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg arrived in Houston earlier this week after competing in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final with Swedish club Tyresö FF on May 22. The pair are expected to make their Dash debuts away to Sky Blue FC in New Jersey on Sunday but will then miss the next two NWSL games thanks to international duty, as the U.S. has a couple of games against France in mid-June in Florida and Connecticut. Engen was allocated to the Dash in January, while Klingenberg was selected in the NWSL Expansion Draft.


Dash forward Nina Burger will join the Austria national team following Sunday’s game for World Cup qualifying matches against Finland (June 14) and Kazakhstan (June 19). Burger, the all-time leading goalscorer for Austria (32 goals), is expected to miss the Dash’s home matches against the Western New York Flash (June 11) and FC Kansas City (June 14) before returning to Houston.