The Houston Dash travels to Audi Field on Sunday to face the Washington Spirit for the final game of the regular season. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT and this is the third meeting of the season between both teams.
The Dash enter Sunday’s match in sixth place with a chance to clinch the first playoff berth in club history. Houston is looking to win its final game of the season for the first time. A win over the Spirit would give the Dash its 10th win of the season, setting a new club record for victories in a single season.
Several players return to the Dash following international duty. Dash forward Rachel Daly and England beat Latvia 10-0 on Tuesday in a UEFA World Cup Qualifying match. Daly was subbed on in the second half, scoring two goals to finish with a brace. Dash midfielder Kristie Mewis, goalkeeper Jane Campbell, defender Abby Dahlkemper returned to Houston following a two-game series with the USWNT. Cambell earned the cap in the USWNT’s win over South Korea on Oct. 26. Defenders Sophie Schmidt and Allysha Chapman along with Nichelle Prince all helped Canada shut out New Zealand during the FIFA Window.
The Dash and Spirit played to a 2-2 draw at PNC Stadium on Aug. 13, the last meeting between both teams. Forward Veronica Latsko cut into Washington’s lead in the 61st minute with the assist from Makamae Gomera-Stevens. Later in the game, Michaela Abam scored the equalizer in the 83rd minute to help the Dash secure the draw. The Dash have a 0-1-1 record against the Spirit this season.
Here are the three key points ahead of Sunday’s game:
- DASH REACH FINAL MATCH: The Dash are aiming to clinch the playoffs for the first time in team history on Sunday. The team is coming off a weeklong break following the FIFA International window where several of the Dash players represented their home countries. Houston is also looking for its first ever win in the final match of the season. The Dash can clinch a playoff spot with a win. However, Houston may clinch Saturday night if North Carolina loses on the road to the Portland Thorns.
- PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE KEY IN FINAL PUSH: Houston has nine players who have experienced an NWSL post season. Defender Abby Dahlkemper has been to the postseason three times in her career and has won the NWSL tittle twice. Dahlkemper scored a crucial penalty kick in the 2016 final that helped Western New York secure the title. Midfielder Shea Groom reached the NWSL final as a rookie with FC Kansas City. Defender Sophie Schmidt has playoff experience both domestically and abroad, reaching the semifinals in both the NWSL and the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Defender Megan Oyster joined the Dash in 2020 and brings three postseason campaigns. Jasmyne Spencer appeared in two postseason campaigns for OL Reign and Emily Ogle joined the Portland Thorns for their 2019 postseason run. Kristie Mewis and Jamia Fields each bring one postseason campaign to the team and Katie Naughton has the most playoff experience on the team after qualifying for the postseason four times with the Chicago Red Stars.
- PLAYERS RETURN FROM INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Seven Dash players will rejoin the team for Sunday’s match against the Spirit following the last FIFA break of the regular season. Several players are coming off impressive national team performances on Oct. 26 for their respective federations. Forward Rachel Daly scored a brace in England’s 10-0 win over Latvia. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell had a clean sheet against South Korea in the USWNT’s 6-0 win. Sophie Schmidt earned the start for Canada on the back line in their 1-0 victory over New Zealand.