Dash gets a taste of international competition at home


A break in the NWSL schedule has given Dash a chance to make history, and they embrace him with open arms.

On Sunday at 6 p.m., the Dash will host the Tigers, Liga MX Femenil champions, in the first women’s international friendly match played at the BBVA stadium.

This will be the second international friendly match between the clubs. Dash traveled to Monterrey, Mexico to face the Tigers in 2019. The rematch is the result of a strong connection the clubs have forged with each other.

“We want to create these events,” said Dash coach James Clarkson. “We want to push the boundaries. We want to be at the forefront and launch these international games which are vitally important to the growth of the game, not just in Houston, but across the country and the region.

International friendlies have been a part of men’s football for decades, but they are relatively new to women’s football.

Part of that, Clarkson said, is that the Dash are taking the game seriously even if the outcome will count for nothing. He said the Dash will spot the Tigers just like any other opponent and players will give maximum effort during preparation and after the match has started.

Clarkson said he expected a competitive game due to Tigres’ form. Sunday’s opponent is 9-0 in the league and has scored 35 goals while conceding three.

“We’re going to go over their strengths, their weaknesses, the areas where we think we can create an advantage,” he said. “It’s really important to be aware of the threats. They have good offensive players and score a lot of goals … They sure don’t come here to do the scores and make it just an exhibition game. They want to earn as much as we do.

One of those skillful players and scorers will be familiar with Dash. Tigers forward Maria Sanchez spent June in Houston on loan and appeared in three games for the Dash. In her final, she scored a goal to help Dash beat Orlando Pride, 2-1.

Following the friendly, the Dash will return to the league on September 26 with a road game against Racing Louisville at 2 p.m. This is the first of six remaining regular season games. Houston (6-7-5, 23 points) is tied with the Washington Spirit for sixth and final place in the playoffs.

The Dash were in desperate need of time off after their disappointing draw against the Chicago Red Stars on September 10 – the second straight game in which Houston dropped points from a winning position.

Clarkson has given the players a good chunk of the week to clear their heads. They returned Thursday to start preparations for Sunday’s game against the Tigers.

“I’m pretty sure anyone can attest to that we all needed this break,” said forward Michaela Abam. “We are very grateful for this, not just physically but mentally for relaxing and being among our loved ones and whatever we needed to do. But it was nice to get back to work (Thursday).

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