Houston Dash at Sky Blue FC
Saturday, April 18, 6:00 p.m. CT
Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ
Stream: HoustonDashSoccer.com/live – 6:00 p.m.
REFEREE: Elvis Mahmutovic. Assistant Referees: Maggie Short, Stephen Danisi; 4th Official: Neil Barbulescu
The Houston Dash (1-0-0, 3 points) take their first road trip of the 2015 season to Piscataway, New Jersey to face Sky Blue FC (1-0-0, 3 points) at Yurcak Field. Sky Blue FC finished 2014 in sixth place with a 9-8-7 record (34 points) and a -7 goal differential. Both teams enter the meeting after an opening weekend win; the Dash winning 2-0 at home to the Washington Spirit and Sky Blue with a 1-0 road win at FC Kansas City. This is the home opener for SBFC.
INJURY REPORT (as of Friday, April 17)
HOUSTON DASH -- OUT: Brittany Bock (left ACL surgery); Stephanie Roche (left quad strain); PROBABLE: Ashley Nick (left hand fracture); Ella Masar (nasal fracture)
SKY BLUE FC -- OUT: Taylor Lytle (right leg surgery); Hayley Haagsma (left ankle bone bruise; QUESTIONABLE: Christie Rampone (left MCL sprain)
- ALL TIME (3 meetings): Dash 1 win, 4 goals … Sky Blue 2 wins, 4 goals
- AT SKY BLUE (2 meetings): Dash 1 win, 3 goals … Sky Blue 1 win, 1 goal
- LAST YEAR: 6/8: SBFC 0, HOU 3 (McCarty 10, 79; Masar 20); 8/9: HOU 1, SBFC 3 (Burger 86 — Nadim 39, 74, 90+2); 8/20: SBFC 1, HOU 0 (Cutshall 18)
- FUTURE MATCHES: 5/31: Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash, 3 p.m. ET; 8/7: Houston Dash vs. Sky Blue FC, 7:30 p.m. CT
SCOUTING SKY BLUE FC
Sky Blue FC started their season with an upset 1-0 win over reigning NWSL champions FC Kansas City at Sporting Park on April 12. Forward Nadia Nadim pounced on a loose ball in the box and struck a half-volley for the lead in the 29th minute for the game-winning goal. It was Nadim’s eight goal in seven career NWSL matches. Goalkeeper Brittany Cameron held her own even as FCKC outshot Sky Blue 15-5 on the afternoon. The win stretched SBFC’s winning streak to six games dating back to the end of the 2014 season.
CLEAN SHEET TO START THE YEAR
The Houston defense started their year off right with a shutout against the Spirit. Goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, making just her eighth career NWSL appearance and earning her second career clean sheet. Head coach Randy Waldrum placed an untested back line in front of her, with former forward Ella Masar making her first start at right back, Niki Cross making her Dash debut, former forward and outside back Stephanie Ochs making her first appearance at center back, and late arrival Meghan Klingenberg at left back.
The Dash Canadian contingent makes its first appearance with the team for Saturday’s match as the national team takes a break from residency camp. Goalkeeper Erin McLeod should step back into the starting role in goal after captaining the Dash in 2014, but the game could be the Dash debuts for Lauren Sesselmann and Allysha Chapman. Sesselmann, who was with the team last year but did not play due to an ACL injury suffered with Canada, played the first half of Canada’s 1-0 loss to France on 4/5. Chapman was allocated to the Dash during the offseason after playing in Sweden. The trio returns to residency camp after the match, but will return for the May 2 home match vs. FC Kansas City.