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Houston hosts NWSL’s newest franchise in Week 2

The Houston Dash host the newest franchise in the league today as Utah Royals FC visit BBVA Compass for the first time.  

Houston looks to build on an opening day draw with the Chicago Red Stars last Sunday. It was the first game under head coach Vera Pauw, and rookie forward Kimberly Keever scored on her debut. The second-round draft pick was one of four rookies who earned their first start on Sunday. In total, seven players made their debuts with the club, which reflected the substantial turnover in the offseason. 


The backline featured several familiar faces as goalkeeper Jane Campbell anchored a defense that included team captain Amber Brooks, two internationals in Rachel Daly and Janine Van Wyk, and Kristie Mewis, who made her first start at outside back for the club.  


Utah concludes a two-game road trip after opening the season with a 1-1 draw in Orlando on Saturday. Laura Harvey’s squad took an early lead as Diana Matheson found Gunnhildur Jonsdottir at the near post for the first goal in franchise history. It was Matheson’s first game since the 2016 NWSL Championship due to an ACL injury she suffered last January. Orlando's Marta converted a penalty kick later in the first half which prevented Utah from earning their first victory of the season.  


The core of Utah’s roster played for FC Kansas City last season, including U.S. Women’s National Team co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn, USWNT defender Kelly O’Hara, and Canadian midfielders Diana Matheson and Desiree Scott. This will be the first of three meetings this year as Houston visits Rio Tinto Stadium on May 19 and Utah returns to the Bayou City on Aug. 5.  


The league will take a two-week break until mid-April for FIFA competitions, including a friendly between Campbell, Sauerbrunn and the USWNT against Bianca Henninger and the Mexican Women’s National Team on April 7 at BBVA Compass Stadium. For tickets, visit BBVACompassStadium.com for additional information.