The Dash enter the match following a 1-1 draw on the road against reigning NWSL Champion Portland Thorns on Friday, April 14 at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. In the draw, Houston became the first team to score on the Thorns at home. Additionally, Houston remained unbeaten in the last three trips to Portland with a 2-0-1 (WLD) record.
Kansas City enters the challenge cup match in search of its first win of 2023. The Current sit in 11th place in the regular season standings with a 0-3-0 record. Despite struggling to earn points this season, Kansas City has key players on its roster who can pose a threat on the attack like midfielder Debhina who joined the team during the offseason as a free agent.
Houston returns to league play on Saturday, April 22 as the team heads to the East Coast for the first time this year to take on the Washington Spirit. The 2021 NWSL Champion is off to a strong start sitting in second place with a 2-0-1 overall record after beating OL Reign and North Carolina.
Here are three key points ahead of Saturday's match:
- RETURN OF THE DERBY-Q: The Dash and Kansas City Current have quickly become well acquainted with one another since the Current began league play in 2021. Since then, the teams have faced off a combined nine times across all competitions, including the playoffs. Last season, Houston and Kansas City met five times: twice in Challenge Cup Group play, twice during the regular season and once in the post season. The frequency of meetings and proximity between the two cities has dubbed the rivalry the Derby-Q thanks to the strong Barbeque presence in each city.
- CHALLENGE CUP FORMAT: In November the National Women’s Soccer League announced a new format for the UKG Challenge Cup. For the first time since its inception the Challenge Cup would be set to run concurrently with the regular season. With all matches kicking off in April a few weeks into the regular season and running for six weeks through September. Semifinal matches will take place on Wednesday, September 6. The challenge cup final will take place on Saturday, September 9.
- DASH CLOSE OUT THREE GAME ROAD SLATE: Houston will wrap up its three-road game slate on Saturday when the team travels to Washington D.C. to take on the Spirit. Last season, the Dash closed out the regular season on the road with a 2-1 win over Washington and clinched its first-ever playoff berth with the win. Houston and Washington played to a 2-2 draw at Shell Energy Stadium in the first meeting between both teams in 2022.