The Houston Dash takes on the reigning NWSL champion, Portland Thorns FC, on Friday evening at Providence Park in Oregon. Houston is looking to become the first team to win three straight road matches in Portland on Friday. The Dash enter the weekend with a 1-0-1 overall record this season with several players returning from international duty.
Shell Energy Stadium hosted an international friendly between the Mexican Women’s National Team and Houston on Tuesday night that provided the technical staff with an opportunity to look at some of the newest additions in a competitive environment.
With three games across an eight-day stretch, head coach Sam Laity mentioned in his postgame press conference that coaches will rely on new and younger players to help manage the game and travel demand throughout the season. Five players made their professional debuts in the friendly against Mexico, including all of Houston’s 2023 NWSL Draft picks. Houston’s rookie class of Jyllissa Harris, Madelyn Desiano, Sophie Hurst and Lindisi Jennings earned the start. Goalkeeper Savannah Madden logged her first professional minutes after coming in as a second-half substitute. Defender Katie Lind (formerly Naughton), who had been sidelined through the first two games of the regular season due to injury, made her 2023 debut.
Friday marks Houston’s second consecutive road game in league play. On Saturday, April 1, Houston defeated the Chicago Red Stars at SeatGeek Stadium for the team’s first win of the season. Forwards María Sánchez and Diana Ordóñez scored the first two goals of the year for the team. Sánchez and Ordóñez became the first pair of Mexican teammates to score in a single NWSL match. With the victory, the Dash have three consecutive road wins dating back to 2022. Since last season, the Dash have a league best 26 points in road games with an 8-2-2 record away from home.
Last season, Houston traveled to the Rose City and earned its second straight win in Portland. Midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who played collegiately at the University of Portland, scored in the 2-0 win to help Houston become one of two teams to beat the Thorns at Providence Park that season.
Portland enters the match following a 4-1 win on the road over the Kansas City Current. Forward Sophia Smith scored three goals enroute to recording her first career hat trick. Smith leads the NWSL in scoring with four goals. Portland leads the league with most shots on goal with 24 through two games.