The Houston Dash travel East to face the back-to-back NWSL Shield winners, North Carolina Courage, at 6:45 p.m. CT on Saturday at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Six Dash players return from international duty as Nichelle Prince scored the game winning goal in Canada’s 1-0 victory over Brazil last Sunday. Defender Allysha Chapman was named the Player of the Match as she earned her 53rd cap for the CanWNT. The duo will return to Houston with Lindsay Agnew who joined Canada for their last friendly prior to the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
GK Jane Campbell and Haley Hanson return to Houston as the 2018 Nordic Cup champions after winning the tournament with the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team. FW Rachel Daly and England secured their place in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with two victories to finish undefeated in group play. Daly scored a goal in the 6-0 victory over Kazakhstan, her second with the senior national team.
This will be the final game of the regular season for Houston who can finish with a winning record for the first time in franchise history with a victory on Saturday. The Dash have secured the most victories in a single season, points and goals scored in a single season under first-year head coach Vera Pauw.
Pauw will look to even the series against Paul Riley’s squad that won the first meeting of the season and salvaged a draw with a late second half goal in the last meeting.
North Carolina enter the match as back-to-back shield winners after a dominant campaign that includes series victories over the three teams that have qualified for the postseason. Additionally, the Courage enter the game with one of the most potent offensive units in recent memory as they lead the league in goals (48), assists (35), shots (361) and shots on goal (168). Defensively, they have allowed 17 goals – the second fewest allowed in the league.
With a victory, Houston would secure its first victory of the series and go into the offseason winning four of their last six games. Additionally, it would give Houston its first 10-win season.