The Portland Thorns take on the Houston Dash on the road tonight in the first meeting between these two teams this season. The Dash have undergone some changes in recent weeks, with the return of Carli Lloyd from Manchester City, and the loss of Kealia Ohai to an ACL tear. Following a six-game losing streak, Houston has gotten a result (two wins and one draw) in each of their last three matches, thanks in large part to Lloyd’s return.
The Thorns are on the road for the second game in a row, following a frustrating shutout in Seattle. They’re sitting in fifth place in the league right now, and are tied with first-place Chicago for fewest goals allowed.
“With Nadia Nadim, Amandine Henry, and the only recently-healthy Dagny Brynjarsdottir no longer with us (until the beginning of August, at the earliest, anyway), Mark Parsons has some shuffling to do.
If he sticks with the 4-2-3-1, I expect we’ll see Mana Shim slotting into the second defensive midfield spot next to Allie Long, and Ashleigh Sykes and Hayley Raso starting on opposite wings. He could also switch back to a 4-3-3, with Long, Horan, and Shim in midfield, and Sykes, Christine Sinclair, and Raso up top. In theory, a 4-3-3 gives a team more width—and for reasons I’ll get to in a moment, that might be the way to go right now.
In any case, we should see Franch in goal, with Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Emily Sonnett, and Celeste Boureille in front of her. The midfield will be either Shim, Long, and Horan (in a 4-3-3), or Shim and Long in a double-pivot, with Sykes, Horan, and Raso, from left to right, in front of them (in a 4-2-3-1). Sinc will be either the lone forward or the center forward between Sykes and Raso.”
Watch it on: go90 (US), NWSLsoccer.com (international)
When: Saturday, July 7th at 5:30 p.m. PT
Where: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Portland Thorns: 5-4-3 (W-L-T), 5th place in the NWSL, 2-0 loss at Seattle Reign
Houston Dash: 4-7-1, 7th place in the NWSL, 2-1 win at FC Kansas City