Elena Sbrana/Earch Photo

Houston Dash host league-leading Portland Thorns FC on Pride Night

The Houston Dash (2-7-1, 7 points) return to BBVA Compass Stadium to host the league-leading Portland Thorns FC (7-1-5, 26 points) this Saturday for Pride Night presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The club from the Pacific Northwest suffered their first loss of the season last Saturday as they fell to the defending NWSL Champion, FC Kansas City, 2-1 at Providence Park.

The Thorns are led by Mark Parsons, who is in his first season as the head coach of the club. The England native was previously the head coach and general manager of the Washington Spirit and spent six years with Chelsea FC’s youth academies. Parsons has a record of 25-16-16 as a head coach in the NWSL.

With both teams missing their national team stars, potential impact players include MF Dagny Brynjarsdottir and F Nadia Nadim. Both players have scored four goals this season, which is tied for third most in the league.  Michelle Betos, the 2015 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, is projected to start her eighth match of the season and has allowed six goals after recovering from a shoulder injury that she suffered in May.  

Like Houston, Portland is projected to miss seven players for the next four to five games as players prepare for and compete in the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Thorns will be without Meghan Klingenberg, Tobin Heath, Emily Sonnet, Allie Long, Lindsey Horan, Christine Sinclair and Amandine Henry.  

The two clubs last met in a preseason game on April 2 with the Dash walking away with a 2-1 victory after scoring two goals in the final 10 minutes. Dash forward Janine Beckie scored with a long-range effort in the 83rd minute that beat Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch at the near post. Team captain Kealia Ohai scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute from close range. Beckie’s cross found Ohai outside the six-yard box and the forward beat Franch at the near post. 

Portland leads the all-time series with a record of 3-1-1. The clubs last met in the regular season on June 6, 2015 at BBVA Compass Stadium, and that contest finished in a scoreless draw.

Portland Thorns FC projected Starting XI: Michelle Betos; Mallory Weber, Katherine Reynolds, Emily Menges, McKenzie Berryhill; Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Celeste Boureille, Shade Pratt , Mana Shim; Hayley Raso, Nadia Nadim

Tickets and a special Pride Pack, which includes a ticket to the game and a commemorative Dash Pride t-shirt, are available at HoustonDashSoccer.com/Pride. Additionally, the Dash will be auctioning items and experiences throughout the game via the club’s DASH App auction portal, with the funds raised going to benefit the One Orlando fund.

For additional information on future Dash games and additional events, including the 2016 NWSL Championship, visit BBVACompassStadium.com.