NEED TO KNOW:
· Houston travels to Kentucky to face Racing Louisville FC on Friday evening in Challenge Cup group play
· Houston holds a 2-1-0 record against Louisville in all competitions
· Dash return to PNC Stadium on Wednesday, March 30 to face Sam Mewis and Kansas City Current
HOUSTON – The Houston Dash travel toLynn Family Stadium to face Racing Louisville FC on Friday in their first road trip of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT and the Dash are looking to bounce back from a 3-1 loss at PNC Stadium last Sunday against Chicago.
Friday’s match will mark the fourth time in history that the two teams will meet after Louisville joined the NWSL last year as the 10th team in the league. Racing posted a 5-12-7 record in its first regular season and finished winless in the 2021 Challenge Cup.
Houston is coming off a 3-1 loss in the opening game of the Challenge Cup to Chicago at PNC Stadium on March 20. Defender Katie Naughton scored the opening goal of the game off a set piece from forward Rachel Daly. Naughton knocked the ball into the back of the goal with a methodical touch as she was falling into the far post.
Racing made several offseason changes including the addition of Kim Björkegren from Cyprus Apollon Ladies FC, a first division team from Cyprus. Björkegren led Apollon Ladies to 64 of 66 total points available in league play. Racing also acquired former Dash and North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald in a trade with the Courage during the offseason. McDonald was credited with the assist on Cece Kizer’s goal during their Challenge Cup opener against Kansas City, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Houston will return home to PNC Stadium on Wed. March 30 to host the Kansas City Current. For tickets and additional information, visit HoustonDash.com
|WHO:||Houston Dash vs. Racing Louisville FC|
|WHEN:||Friday, March 25 – 6:30 p.m. CT|
|WHERE:||Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville, KY|
Here are three key points ahead of Friday’s match:
1. DASH ON THE ROAD IN 2021: Last season the Dash had a 5-8-1 record on the road. Improving on that record in 2022 has been a point of emphasis for Dash head coach James Clarkson, who is now in his fourth season with the club. Five of those eight defeats a year ago were by a single goal. However, Houston’s biggest road win was against Louisville, the Dash scored two goals in the first half to take the lead and added two more in the second to extend the lead 4-0 and give Houston a crucial three points.
2. NEW FACES MAKE AN IMPACT: Dash rookie Ryan Gareis made her NWSL and professional debut against Chicago on March 20, coming on in the 63rd minute as a substitute. Gareis, who was the No. 44 overall draft pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft, is the lowest draft pick in NWSL history to appear in a game. Note that this most recent college draft was the first to have more than 40 picks. Gareis made an instant impact by pressuring the Chicago defense in the final 20 minutes of the match. Midfielder Elizabeth Eddy made her Dash debut in the second half to help Houston mount a comeback. Houston finished Sunday’s match with 33 crosses in comparison to Chicago’s nine.
3. RACING OFFENSE DEPENDS ON FAMILIAR FACES: Racing Louisville and former Dash forward CeCe Kizer has been one Racing’s key players since she was selected in the expansion draft in 2020. Kizer scored the first goal in club history during the 2021 Challenge Cup last year. Against Kansas City on March 19, Kizer scored the first goal of 2022 in Racing’s opening match of the 2022 Challenge Cup and the forward will be a key player for Racing as they embark on their second year in the league. Jessica McDonald, who played for the Dash in 2015 and has been in the NWSL since its inception in 2013, connected with Kizer in the 20th minute to get the assist and is the NWSL’s all-time leader in assists. McDonald joined Louisville this past offseason from North Carolina and has scored 51 regular season goals and tallied 28 assists throughout her career in the NWSL thus far.