Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash face off in decisive NWSL clash

With a resounding win away from home, the Chicago Red Stars are determined to continue their rise against the Houston Dash
Ira L. Black - Corbis/GettyImages

The Chicago Red Stars' (6-7-2) 3-0 win over the San Diego Wave in the last round may have been just the fuel they needed to reignite their season. Playing away from home, the Red Stars not only broke a five-game winless streak, but also showed that they still have a lot to offer in the NWSL. Now, they return to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, with the mission of keeping the momentum going against the Houston Dash (3-7-5).

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Let's face it: the Dash are in trouble. With a woeful campaign so far, the Texans sit 12th in the table with just 14 points. To make matters worse, they haven't won in four games and haven't scored a single goal since May. It's a bleak scenario, and facing a motivated Red Stars at home doesn't seem like the ideal recipe to break this negative run. In recent games, the Dash have suffered 2-0 defeats to Racing Louisville and Kansas City Current, as well as goalless draws with Angel City and San Diego Wave. The Houston Dash last won at the end of May, and since then the crisis has only deepened.

On the Red Star side, the situation is more promising, but still requires attention. With 20 points and occupying seventh place in the table, the team is inside the playoff zone, but any slip-up could be fatal. The win over San Diego was crucial, but now it's essential for the team to maintain consistency. Their home record, however, is not the best. With just six points, they have the second worst home record in the NWSL, behind only the Utah Royals. The fans are hoping that the recent win will turn the team's fortunes around, especially in home games.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, a wall in the Red Stars' defense, will once again be a key player. In the win over the San Diego Wave, her performance was impeccable, securing a clean sheet and bringing security to the team. Naeher will play a vital role against the Dash, especially considering their opponents' recent goal drought. If the Red Stars can maintain their defensive solidity and take advantage of opportunities in attack, the chances of picking up another three points are high.

For the Houston Dash, the mission is clear: find the net and stop the points bleeding. The team has excelled defensively in recent matches, achieving shutouts in three of the last four games, but the lack of goals has been a persistent problem. Against the Red Stars, the Dash defense will need to be in top form, but the attack also needs to show signs of life. An early goal could completely change the dynamic of the match and give the Dash the confidence they need to go for a win.
The match promises to be an intense battle. The Chicago Red Stars are determined to show that their victory over the San Diego Wave was not a stroke of luck, but the start of a new phase. On the other hand, the Houston Dash are desperately fighting to move up the table and prove that they can still be competitive this season. Both teams have a lot to gain - and lose - in this crucial game. The Red Stars fans will be there, hoping for a performance that confirms the turnaround and puts the team firmly on track for the playoffs.