web_070822_PREVIEW_ORLvHOU_16x9

The Houston Dash travel to Florida to face the Orlando Pride at Exploria Stadium on Friday, July 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT and the match will be streamed live on Twitch. 

Friday’s match will be the second meeting between both teams this season with Houston earning a 5-0 victory over the Pride on June 3 at PNC Stadium. The victory extended Houston’s unbeaten run against Orlando to 10 games spanning four years.  

The Dash jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first half and forward Nichelle Prince led the way for Houston with two goals before the break. Prince completed the first hat trick in club history five minutes into the second half after midfielder Shea Groom found Prince on the left side of the box. Prince then took the cross body shot and hit the upper right side of the goal. Forward Michelle Alozie scored her first professional goal in the 87th minute and the fifth of the night for the Dash. Alozie found the back of the net after beating the defender in a foot race where she was able to find the space to take the shot sneaking it in between the goalkeeper and the near post.  

 The Dash are looking to bounce back after a 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Current on July 1. Dash forward Ryan Gareis forced an error in the 90+10 minute that led to a botched clearance from Kansas City’s Elizabeth Ball for an own goal. Several players reached notable milestones against the Current, including defender Haley Hanson, who played her 75th career game for the Dash, becoming only the fifth player to reach that milestone for Houston. Rookie forward Joelle Anderson made her first career start and forward Ebony Salmon made her Dash debut after joining the team in a trade from Racing Louisville FC earlier in the week.  

Orlando played to a 2-2 draw with Racing Louisville FC at home on July 3. The Pride came back to earn a point after trailing by two goals early in the second half. Orlando cut the lead in half in the 59th minute after Kylie Strom found the back of the net. Ten minutes later the Pride forward Darian Jenkins scored the equalizer to force a tie.  

The Dash return to PNC Stadium on July 16 to take on the Chicago Red Stars for the first time this regular season. Both teams previously met earlier this season during Challenge Cup play. 

Here are three key points ahead of Friday's match:  

  1. SALMON’S IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Forward Ebony Salmon made an instant impact on the field in her Dash debut on Friday. The 21-year-old forward led the team in shots with three and two shots on target. Salmon forced Kansas City goalkeeper Adrianna Franch to make a save in the 26th minute of the match after Salmon’s effort. The Birmingham, England native was able to get in behind the Kansas City defense and was speeding forward toward the goal, as Salmon shot the ball, Franch extended her foot and deflected the ball.  
  2. BOUNCING BACK FROM A LOSS: The Dash have bounced back with three points following every loss in regular season play. Following the 1-0 loss to San Diego to open the regular season on May 1, the Dash went on a six-game unbeaten streak, including a 2-0 win over the Kansas City Current on the road on May 8. After a 4-0 loss to Portland, the Dash went on the road to take on the North Carolina Courage, where the Dash scored four goals to earn three points before the start of the international break. Houston looks to earn three points for the third consecutive match following a loss and the Dash have outscored their opponents 6-0 in the previous two games.  
  3. NEW LOOK ORLANDO: The Pride roster will feature new faces since the last time the two teams faced each other. Orlando also traded a veteran leader recently with the departure of Sydney Leroux to Angel City FC last week. Leroux had 53 career appearances and scored 16 goals with the Pride. Last week Orlando added forward Haley Bugeja from Italian Serie A team US Sassuolo. The 18-year-old Maltese National Team player made her professional debut at 14 in 2018. The Pride also bought out the contract for defender Amy Turner who made 19 appearances across all competitions for the team.