Houston Dash Take on OL Reign for First Time this Season

August 5, 2022 – National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Houston Dash News Release

The Houston Dash close a two-game road trip on Sunday when they face OL Reign for the first time this season. Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. CT and the game will air locally on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. The match will also stream live on Paramount+ and Twitch (Intl.)

Houston is looking to take advantage of a two-game winning streak and climb the league table as the race to the playoffs begins to heat up in the second half of the season. Houston has scored eight goals in the last two matches, which is second most in the league. Their last two outings also boost the team’s goal differential to +8. The goal differential is the third highest in the standings behind San Diego who is +9 and Portland who is +20. Forward Maria Sanchez is tied for the most assists in the league with four so far this season. The Mexican international tallied an assist, won a penalty and created seven chances in the win over Gotham on July 31.

Sunday’s match marks the first time that the two teams will meet in 2022. The Reign and Dash met three times during the regular season and once during Challenge Cup play in 2021. Houston had a 1-2-1 record against the Reign last year in all competitions.

Houston is coming off its second consecutive game in which the team has scored four goals. The Dash overcame an early goal to defeat NJ/NY Gotham FC 4-2 on the road last Sunday. Gotham took the lead five minutes into the match. However, Houston’s forced Gotham to concede an own goal for the equalizer less than 15 minutes later. Midfielder Shea Groom scored her 25th career NWSL goal at the 30 minute mark and gave the Dash the lead heading into the half. Houston picked up where they left off in the second half. Midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who scored a goal against Costa Rica for Canada, during the Concacaf W Championship, scored her second goal of the year in the 70th minute. Midfielder Marisa Viggiano found Schmidt at the top of the 18-yard box and the Canadian international one-timed the ball past Gotham goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Houston’s fourth goal of the night came three minutes later, after forward Maria Sanchez was awarded a penalty kick after she was fouled inside the box. Forward Ebony Salmon converted from the spot in her first ever NWSL penalty kick attempt for her fourth goal of the season.

OL Reign is coming off a thrilling comeback win of their own. Laura Harvey’s team earned three points on the road against Angel City FC. The Reign were trailing 2-0 at the half after conceding a goal in the opening 10 minutes of the match and a penalty kick. The Reign cut into the lead in the 54th minute when midfielder Jess Fishlock found the back of the net. Defender Sofia Huerta scored the equalizer 10 minutes later. Forward Tobin Heath, who came on as second half substitute, scored the game winner in the last minute of regulation to give the Reign their fifth victory of the season.

The Dash return to PNC Stadium to take on Racing Louisville FC on Aug. 12. This will be the fourth time the two teams have played against one another in 2022. Houston holds a 2-0-1 record over Racing Louisville FC in all competitions this year.

Here are three key points ahead of Sunday’s match:

GOAL DISTRIBUTION: Three different players scored in the win over Gotham on July 31. So far this season, Houston has had 10 different players score with forward Nichelle Prince leading the team with five goals. The Dash are second in the league for most goals scored and most assists behind Portland. Forwards Rachel Daly and Ebony Salmon are tied for the second most goals scored on the team with four on the season. Midfielder Shea Groom scored her first goal of the regular season while fellow midfielder Sophie Schmidt scored her second goal of the season in the 4-2 win in New Jersey on Sunday. Groom’s goal, which gave Houston the lead, was the Texas A&M alum’s 25th career NWSL goal. Schmidt notched her second goal of the month, after she scored for Canada in group stage play of the Concacaf W tournament, with a stellar goal to extend Houston’s lead. Salmon added her fourth goal of the season and fourth in two games in the win.

ROAD WARRIORS RETURN: The Dash are second in the league with the most wins on the road with three. San Diego is one game ahead of the Dash in that category with four wins away from home. Houston opened the year with a five-game unbeaten streak away from PNC Stadium with victories over Kansas City, Portland, North Carolina, and New Jersey/New York. The Dash have only suffered one loss on the road this season.

REIGN’S HIGH-POWERED OFFENSE: The Reign have six players who have generated more than 144 chances created, which is a combination of a player’s key passes and assists and have two players in the top six in the league. Jess Fishlock, who scored in the comeback win over Angel City FC, leads the team with 23 chances created. Bethany Balcer leads the team in scoring with four goals. Tobin Heath, who was in her second game with the Reign, scored the game winner against ACFC on July 30. Heath has 24 career goals in the NWSL and returned from playing with Arsenal earlier this year. The OL Reign front line includes other weapons with goal scoring abilities like Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe and Tziarra King.

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