Week 7 in the 2017 NWSL season, the Houston Dash host the Seattle Reign for the Lifetime Game of the Week. Houston returns home after dropping their second consecutive match against Sky Blue FC while Seattle travels to the South after a tough draw with the Orlando Pride.
Houston needs results or else
The Houston Dash have been slowly slipping in standings as the weeks go on. Their last win was in Week 3 against a very hurt Washington Spirit squad. There’s still lots of time for Houston to turn it around and make a playoff run, but they can’t wait until mid-season like they did last year. Even getting a point out of Seattle will be crucial for the Dash, and they have to produce - especially considering the last time they met Seattle the Dash suffered a huge 5-1 loss.
Captain Kealia Ohai hasn’t scored since the Dash’s win against the Spirit, but she’s been busy creating chances for her other teammates. A big part of this is having her available on the wide right to run down the ball and find her teammates inside the box. In the back, having Janine Van Wyk in the lineup should help, but inconsistencies over the weeks will cause issues against a very disciplined Seattle attack. Last week’s backline for Houston alone was a combination fans hadn’t seen before, with Cami Privett making her first start of the season and Rachel Daly playing an outside back. It’s almost a surprise every week when the Houston lineup is released. They have to find their solid starting XI soon, or the Dash will be doomed for a season full of struggle once again.
Seattle needs to keep being Seattle
Seattle doesn’t lack goal-scorers, nor do they lack a solid backline. Although they miss the presence of Merritt Mathias, who has been suspended for three games, so far Seattle has been able to handle whatever comes their way. Haley Kopmeyer has been overall very solid for the Reign in goal, despite her mishap last weekend that led to the Pride’s equalizing goal. Players off the bench for Seattle have also made an impact and helped the Reign out so far, and it looks very well like Seattle could be returning to the playoffs this season after missing out in 2016.
The offense needs to come out strong and the starting XI as a whole must dictate the tempo against the Dash. Maintaining momentum and possession has worked well for Seattle in all previous match ups, and doing the same this weekend will be important. Getting on the board early is also key when considering the conditions. The hot and humid Texas afternoon will take a toll on everyone on the field, so scoring early and forcing the Dash to chase the game may play in Seattle’s favor.
The Houston Dash host the Seattle Reign on Saturday, May 27 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 pm Eastern Time and will be aired on Lifetime.