The Houston Dash return to BBVA Stadium later today to host the Washington Spirit prior to a two-week break from league play.

Houston looks to enter the weekend with momentum after falling to OL Reign last Saturday. Dash captain Rachel Daly and Olympic gold medalist Sophie Schmidt returned to the team earlier this week and will be eligible to play later today.

The Dash return to league play on Aug. 29 to host Louisville Racing at BBVA Stadium. The Dash will depart for their first international competition on Saturday when they travel to Oregon to prepare for the Women’s International Challenge Cup.

Friday will be the second meeting between both teams this season. The Spirit won the first meeting of the season 2-1 on May 26 after Ashley Hatch found the back of the net in the 70th minute. The Spirit look to bounce back after falling to the Portland Thorns last Saturday. The Spirt have only won one of their last four games and that came on July 25 with a 2-0 victory over Louisville.

Here are the three key points ahead of today’s game:

  1. FIRST WAVE OF OLYMPIANS RETURN TO BBVA STADIUM: Rachel Daly and Sophie Schmidt return to BBVA Stadium later today for the first time since May 29. The duo joined four teammates at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and all six reached the knockout rounds of the tournament. Daly and England reached the quarterfinals but fell to Australia on July 30. Schmidt, Nichelle Prince and Allysha Chapman won the gold medal after a penalty shootout triumph over Sweden. The duo will also join the team in Portland for the Women’s International Challenge Cup.
  2. DASH REACH 150 GAMES IN LEAGUE PLAY: Today’s match will be 150th Houston Dash regular season match. Houston finds itself within reach of qualifying for the postseason and enters the final stretch of the season with seven matches against the top half of the table. A victory today would give Houston the opportunity to finish in the top half of the table prior to the league break.
  3. SPIRIT LOOK TO KRIS WARD AFTER BURKE DEPARTURE: The Washington Spirit return to BBVA Stadium later today under the direction of Kris Ward after Richie Burke was dismissed earlier this week. This is the third time the Dash face an interim coach this season after Houston faced OL Reign last weekend and on July 2.