It feels like a long time ago, but it's only been a month since Hurricane Harvey found its way to the Texas coastline, where it promptly set up shop for a week of rain. The resulting flooding left the place a big mess, setting rainfall records, damaging thousands of homes and businesses, and leaving at least 83 people dead in its wake.
As their hometown recovered, the Dash ended up needing to play one match in the Dallas area (a 1-0 loss to Seattle), while postponing their clash with the Courage until Wednesday, September 27th. This game will be played at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, which is about a 5 1/2 hour, 350 mile drive from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. It's about as far south as one can go in Texas before one ends up in Mexico, and not far from Brownsville and South Padre Island. It's a greater distance than one would travel to drive from Boston to Philadelphia, and just a bit less than the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Not. Close.
I'm sure some die-hard Dash fans will make the trip, and they will deserve an extended standing ovation. Tickets for the game are $7, and the facility looks like a decent venue, so hopefully the 9,700-seat stand won't be completely empty on Wednesday night.
North Carolina Courage at Rio Grande Dash
Wednesday at 8PM on Go90 App & NWSL Website
Over the past two months, the Dash have only won two games. Both games were against the Breakers, and the earlier of the two should have been a draw due to a mysteriously waved-off goal scored by Boston. They looked better last weekend against Chicago, but couldn't swing the upset, ultimately falling 3-2. Rachel Daly did win Goal of the Week, however.
Slick stuff from Daly. Might she sneak back into England's plans when a new manager takes charge? Only if they want quality finishing and a physical presence in the attack (see also, Dowie, Natasha)—which is exactly what the Lionesses have been missing in their recent tournaments.
For the visitors, there is still something to achieve in this match, even if the playoffs have been locked up for a couple of weeks. After only managing a draw at Sky Blue last weekend (somehow the Courage's first draw all season!), they can still clinch both the NWSL Shield and tie the NWSL record for team wins in a season with their 16th win. Coach Riley has been emphatic that the Shield is not on his mind, and for the superstitious amongst the Courage supporters, perhaps that's for the best. The best regular season record hasn't historically been very good luck once the regular season is over, if you believe in such things. All that will matter is making sure the team stays healthy for their playoff push. They'll host the Pride on Saturday for what may be a preview of coming attractions, or a snoozer between two sides resting for the playoffs.
I think the visitors have the advantage in this one, and they set themselves up for a possible 17th win on the weekend to set an NWSL record.
Houston Dash 1-2 North Carolina Courage