Wilf Thorne / ISI Photo

Chicago hosts Houston in final regular season meeting

The Houston Dash (3-7-1, 10 points) travel to Illinois on Saturday (7 p.m., HoustonDashSoccer.com/Live) for their final meeting of the regular season with the Chicago Red Stars (6-3-4, 21 points). Like Houston, the Red Stars have struggled offensively over the last few weeks with three consecutive losses by identical 2-0 score lines. That streak came to an end last Saturday with a 1-0 victory on the road against the Orlando Pride.

Chicago is led by head coach Rory Dames who has a record of 25-18-23 on the Red Stars sideline. The Illinois native reached the playoffs for the first time in the NWSL last year as Chicago finished with the second-best record in the regular season.

The Red Stars will be without its 2015 Team MVP, FW Christen Press, who scored four goals this season and its Defensive MVP in Julie Johnston. Chicago will also be without GK Alyssa Naeher who is tied for the most clean sheets in the league this season with five.

Players to watch include F Sofia Huerta, MF Danielle Colaprico and MF Vanessa DiBernardo. Huerta has scored three goals this season and registered her first assist last Saturday against the Pride. Colaprico has registered two assists this season and is the first choice for set pieces. DiBernardo has three assists this season and also offers a threat from set pieces. The two midfielders have executed 56 of the 59 corner kicks awarded to Chicago.  

Houston defeated Chicago 3-1 in the 2016 season opener on April 16, giving the Dash their first victory in the series. Rookie forwards Rachel Daly and Janine Beckie scored on their professional debut and USWNT co-captain MF Carli Lloyd scored her fifth goal for the club.

Chicago leads the all-time series with a record of 3-1-3. The Red Stars have a 1-0-2 record at home against the Dash.

Projected XI: Michele Dalton; Arin Gilliland, Katie Naughton, Samantha Johnson, Casey Short; Sofia Huerta Right, Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo, Taylor Comeau; Jen Hoy, Cara Walls

The Dash return to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, July 30 to host the Western New York Flash. Fans in attendance for the Dash game are encouraged to stick around for a free postgame showing of “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” with special appearances by Alvin, Simon and Theodore. The Movie on the Pitch is presented by Discovery Green. For additional information and tickets, visit HoustonDashSoccer.com/Movie