The Houston Dash will look to earn a berth to the 2023 NWSL Playoffs on the final day of the regular season as they travel to Florida to face the Orlando Pride this Sunday. The match, which kicks off at 4 p.m. CT, along with five other games across the league will be played at the same time as part of Decision Day.
The Dash are still in contention to make its second consecutive playoff appearance. To advance, Houston will need a win plus an OL Reign loss on the road at Chicago, an Angel City FC loss or draw against Portland at home plus a Racing Louisville FC loss or draw on the road against San Diego. Additionally, the Dash need a favorable goal differential to extend their campaign into the postseason.
Houston enters the game following a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Angel City FC last Sunday at Shell Energy Stadium. Houston struck first in the 44th minute after Brazilian midfielder Andressa scored her first NWSL goal. The Brazilian playmaker was a constant threat in the final third prior to her goal and finished with two shots on goal against Angel City.
The Orlando Pride enters Sunday’s game following a 3-2 loss on the road against Louisville. The Pride had a 2-1 lead heading into the half. Louisville scored the equalizer in the 70th minute and an own goal four minutes later sealed the victory for Louisville. The Pride are also in need of points as they currently sit one point behind OL Reign in the sixth and final playoff spot.
Here are three points ahead of Sunday’s match:
- CAMPBELL’S RECORD-BREAKING SEASON: Goalkeeper Jane Campbell has been stellar this season and her performances in 2023 have broken several records. Campbell currently holds the lowest goals against average in the league with 0.83 and the next lowest mark comes in at 1.05 goals per game. The Stanford product also leads the league in saves at 86 and is one of three goalkeepers to record eight clean sheets this season, a club and personal record. Earlier this year Campbell broke the club record for most regular season appearances with 125.
- THE LAST TIME: The Dash beat Orlando 2-0 on June 3 at Shell Energy Stadium in the last meeting between both squads. Rookie midfielder Sophie Hirst scored her first professional goal to give Houston the lead six minutes into the game following a corner kick from forward Maria Sanchez. Orlando’s goalkeeper mishandled the ball in the six-yard box and that allowed the rookie to flick the ball into the back of the net. Forward Michelle Alozie added to the lead in the 41st minute after she was unmarked on the right flank. The Nigerian international masterfully beat two defenders to extend Houston’s lead just before halftime.
- SPACE CITY DERBY: With Johnson Space Center and Mission Control calling Houston home and Orlando being 50 miles from Kennedy Space Center, the two cities often claim to be the official Space City. However, Houston has earned the bragging rights to the Space City nickname with a 3-1-1 (WLD) record against the Pride in the last five meetings. In five games between the teams over the past three seasons the Dash have outscored the Pride 10-3.