Dash Look to Clinch Playoff Spot Saturday at Washington

September 30, 2022 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Houston Dash News Release

The Houston Dash will take their final road trip of the regular season this weekend as the team travels to the nation's capital to face the Washington Spirit with a spot in the 2022 NWSL playoffs on the line.

Houston can clinch the first playoff berth in team history with a win or a draw on Saturday night. The Dash could also clinch a playoff berth Friday night if the North Carolina Courage draw or lose against San Diego Wave FC.

Saturday's Dash vs. Spirit match will stream live on Paramount+ and Twitch for international viewers.

The Dash are coming off a 2-0 loss to OL Reign at home on Sept. 24. Despite the loss, Houston is still in prime position to earn not only a playoff berth but a chance to host. A win would give the Dash a shot to host the first round of the postseason. The full NWSL standings are available here and hosting scenarios are listed below.

Houston and Washington faced off at PNC Stadium almost a month ago. The Dash jumped out to a 1-0 lead after 22 minutes following midfielder Sophie Schmidt's third goal of the regular season. The Dash maintained the lead heading into the half. Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Washington's Ashley Hatch scored the equalizer. Two minutes later Hatch added a second goal to give the Spirit the lead. However, in the first minute of second half stoppage time forward Michelle Alozie, who game on as a substitute in the 81st minute, scored the equalizer to keep Houston in the playoff race.

Washington is coming off a two-game road trip to Los Angeles and Kansas City. The Spirit went 0-2 and look to close the regular season with three points in their final match of the season. Washington was outscored by both teams 5-1. The road trip came to an end in Kansas City on Sept. 25 as they were held scoreless in a 3-0 loss to the Kansas City Current.

Here are three key points ahead of Saturday's match:

ROAD WARRIORS: The Dash have an NWSL-best six wins on the road this season, including wins over fellow playoff contenders such as Portland, OL Reign, Kansas City, Chicago and North Carolina. The Dash earned key road victories at OL Reign on Aug.7 and on the road against the Portland Thorns on May 21. The wins over the Reign and Red Stars marked the first time in team history that the Dash walked away with three points. Houston also nabbed a road win over NJ/NY Gotham and this season.

PLAYOFF SCENARIOS: There are several scenarios in which the Dash can clinch their first ever playoff berth. With a win or a tie, the Dash are in. In the event that the Dash cannot win, Houston would need North Carolina to lose at San Diego on Friday night OR Chicago to tie or lose at home against Angel City FC on Sunday. PNC Stadium is still a viable candidate to host a postseason game but there are several factors that need to play out. A win on Saturday for the Dash and either a San Diego or Kansas City loss would give the Dash home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. If San Diego were to win, Houston would not only need to win, but also win by at least four more goals than the Wave do in order to host a playoff game.

WASHINGTON'S ATTACK: The Spirit are eighth in the league in goals scored with 25. Despite the reigning champions' struggles this season, a majority of last season's dynamic offense is still in place. Forward Ashley Hatch, who has been called into the United States Women's National Team for the upcoming international window, leads the team with nine goals this season. Forward and 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman has scored five goals this season and assisted on two others.

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