Kansas City NWSL Visits Houston Dash in Challenge Cup Rematch NWSL KC

The Latest | May 22, 2021

Kansas City NWSL Visits Houston Dash in Challenge Cup Rematch

KANSAS CITY (May 22, 2021) — Kansas City NWSL is once again on the road this weekend, kicking off a stretch of three games in eight days with a tilt against the Houston Dash on Sunday at 6 p.m. C.T. The match can be streamed on Paramount +. Kansas City (0-1-0) hopes to build on its first clean sheet after shutting out Racing Louisville last weekend. Meanwhile the Dash (0-0-1) are looking to rebound from a 1-0 loss to NJ/NY Gotham FC. 

LAST TIME OUT
In last week’s regular season opening game against Racing Louisville, Kansas City had one of the best scoring opportunities of the match in the second minute. Midfielder Victoria Pickett slid a perfect pass to forward Amy Rodriguez inside the 18-yard box. Louisville goalkeeper Michelle Betos turned Rodriguez’s shot away, putting an end to Kansas City’s effort on target. 

In the second half, Louisville attempted to apply pressure to Kansas City’s back line with little success. Behind a strong performance from the defense and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, Kansas City kept Louisville quiet in the second half to earn a point in a 0-0 draw. The match marked Kansas City NWSL’s first shutout in the organization's young history. 

Houston dominated the stat sheet against NJ/NY Gotham FC. The Dash outshot Gotham 21-9 and had four shots on goal to Gotham’s two. However, Houston conceded a goal against the run of play to Gotham forward Midge Purce in the 30th minute and was unable to find the back of the net despite looking like the more dangerous side. Houston forward Rachel Daly led the team with nine shots in the match.

CHALLENGE CUP REMATCH
This is the second meeting in just under a month between Kansas City NWSL and the Houston Dash. On April 26, Kansas City opened its inaugural home season at Children’s Mercy Park against Houston in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. The Dash spoiled Kansas City’s home opener, topping Kansas City 3-1 behind two goals from midfielder Kristie Mewis. 

Mewis opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a left-footed strike from the top of the 18-yard box that fizzed past Barnhart into the bottom left corner. Kansas City held most of the possession throughout the duration of the match, but was unable to crack Houston’s defense in the first half and looked to be heading into halftime down 1-0. The Dash had one more scoring opportunity when they were awarded a penalty kick right before halftime, which Daly converted to double the Dash’s lead. 

Mewis then tapped in a cross in the 71st minute to give Houston a 3-0 lead. Kansas City gave the home fans something to celebrate six minutes later, as forward Michele Vasconcelos split Houston’s center backs and fired the ball into Houston’s net for the game’s final goal. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston Dash: Forward Nichelle Prince — The Canadian winger may not have the gaudy goal-scoring numbers of Daly or Mewis, but she’s a vital piece of the Dash attack. She created several opportunities in last weekend’s match with NJ/NY Gotham FC, and gave Kansas City fits during the Challenge Cup. She assisted Houston’s final goal of the April meeting between the two teams following a brilliant solo run down the right wing, maneuvering into the 18-yard box and finding a wide-open Mewis for the goal. Kansas City will need to contain Prince’s playmaking if it wants a positive result on Sunday. 

Kansas City NWSL: Midfielder Victoria Pickett — From one Canadian international to another, Pickett has started her NWSL career in impressive fashion. She has been featured in all five of Kansas City’s matches across the Challenge Cup and regular season. Kansas City NWSL Head Coach Huw Williams said following the Louisville match that Pickett “Continues to play at a high level in the midfield and makes dangerous runs into the attack.” The former Wisconsin Badger has been an integral part of Kansas City’s attack thus far and created the best chance of the regular-season opener last weekend. Look for Pickett to be her usual dynamic self against the Dash, while also taking some opportunities for herself. 

KANSAS CITY WELCOMES ANOTHER PICKETT TO THE FOLD
On Tuesday, Kansas City announced the signing of first-round draft pick Kiki Pickett through the 2023 season. After being selected No. 4 overall in the 2021 NWSL Draft by Kansas City, Pickett returned to Stanford to compete in the Cardinal’s spring season. 

The defender won two NCAA Championships with Stanford in 2017 and 2019. She started every game in her junior and senior seasons and was named the 2021 Pac-12 Defender of the Year. Pickett has been training with Kansas City since May 11 and will wear No. 23 for the squad. 

TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
Sunday’s match against the Dash kickstarts an intense week of travel for Kansas City. Following the match in Houston, Kansas City returns home for its regular-season home opener against the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday, May 26 at 7 p.m. CT at Legends Field. After that, Kansas City once again hits the road for a clash against the Orlando Pride on Sunday, May 30.

Three games in a short window won’t be an unfamiliar sight to Kansas City this year. The team plays three times from June 20 through June 26 and three times from August 21 through 28. June’s succession of games features two home games and one road clash, while the August three-game run follows the upcoming pattern of a home game sandwiched between two road games.

HOW TO WATCH
Sunday’s match will be streamed on Paramount +. Free trials of the streaming service are available, and plans start at $5.99 per month. More information can be found on paramountplus.com.

 

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