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Sky Blue FC v Houston Dash: Match preview and how to watch

Sky Blue opens up its 2019 home slate against the Dash on Saturday.

Sarah Killion fights off two Houston defenders.
Tom Salus

Sky Blue FC vs Houston Dash History

The two teams have faced off 13 times since the Dash joined the NWSL in 2014, and Sky Blue leads the series 6-4-3. Last season the two teams met on three different occasions, with the Dash winning all three matches. The last meeting was tied for Sky Blue’s biggest loss of 2018, a 6-1 thrashing on the road at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Last Week

Sky Blue FC
Sky Blue FC dropped their season opener, 2-0, on the road to the Washington Spirit. The visitors started the match with a strong opening 15 minutes, but the home side quickly found their footing and Sky Blue was chasing the Spirit the remainder of the match. Carli Lloyd had two of the most dangerous chances for Sky Blue, with the first deflecting off the woodwork and the second being tipped over the crossbar by Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. Rookie Paige Monaghan also had two shots, including one on target, while Kailen Sheridan made three saves in net on the night.

Houston Dash FC
The Houston Dash opened up the 2019 season with a 1-1 draw at home against Reign FC. Canadian international Nichelle Prince opened up scoring for the Dash with a goal in the 10th minute, but the Reign equalized through team newcomer Darian Jenkins, formerly of the North Carolina Courage. Although, she did not get on the scoresheet herself, Rachel Daly was a major attacking threat for the Dash, leading the team in shots, shots on goals, and chances created. Daly picked up a slight knock in the game, but reports following the match indicate that the injury isn’t serious and she is expected to play on Saturday.

This Week

Injury Report

Sky Blue FC
OUT: Mandy Freeman (right Achilles tendon repair), Madison Tiernan (left ACL/MCL sprain)
QUESTIONABLE: Savannah McCaskill (left knee)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Houston Dash
OUT: Meleana Shim (left ankle), Kealia Ohai (left quad)
QUESTIONABLE: Kristie Mewis (left knee), Kyah Simon (right ankle)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

What to Expect

Sky Blue went 23 games last season without a win, and the team is determined not to repeat history.

“We are in no way satisfied with our last performance and can guarantee a different energy on Saturday,” Head Coach Denise Reddy said in the team’s official match preview.

“We are very excited for our home opener and to be able to play in front of our fans, family and supporters’ group.”

Even with Sky Blue having home field advantage, the Houston Dash will be a strong opponent for the club in their home opener, and the Dash are also out to get their first win of the year. Although the Dash have struggled in past seasons, the 2019 Dash is a new team, and Head Coach James Clarkson is largely to be credited with the early hype surrounding the club.

Although the club will be without the services of Kealia Ohai due to injury, they do still have a number of potent players on both sides of the ball. Rachel Daly, Nichelle Prince, Sofia Huerta, and Veronica Latsko, who wowed fans in her rookie season, will no doubt be dangerous in the visitors’ attack, and they will likely give Sky Blue’s backline some difficulty as the home side’s defense continues to jell.

Meanwhile, Lloyd, Imani Dorsey, Paige Monahan, and Nahomi Kawasumi will be charged with taking on the Dash defense led by veteran defender Amber Brooks, who earned her 100th NWSL appearance in last weekend’s season opener.

If Sky Blue can get around Brooks, they’ll only have goalkeeper Jane Campbell between them and the back of the net. Although Campbell is capable enough keeper to have earned quite a few invitations to USWNT camps, she recently lost her U.S. allocated status and has seen significantly less time with the team as it heads towards the World Cup. Campbell’s confidence in goal has proven the difference maker in many matches for the Dash, and Lloyd and the rest would do well to test the keeper often at a time when her confidence may be shaky.

HOW TO WATCH

What: Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash
Where: Yurcak Field at Rutgers University, Piscataway Township, N.J.
When: Saturday, April 20, 2018 at 6 p.m. ET
How to Watch: U.S fans can watch on the Yahoo! Sports website or Roku/Apple TV app; international fans can watch live on the NWSL website or app