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Houston Dash preseason includes return to Portland

Kealia Ohai dancing through the Baylor defense in the 2016 preseason friendly. Credit: Gia Quilap

The Houston Dash will head to Portland for a preseason tournament for a second consecutive season.

A year ago, the Dash traveled to Portland for the first ever preseason tournament involving multiple NWSL teams. Apart from the Thorns, the Dash faced Seattle Reign and Oregon State University.

Participation in that tournament helped the Dash get off to a fast start, beating the Chicago Red Stars in the season opener by a 3-1 score. This year’s tournament will run from March 25th to April 1st.

This year, the Thorns and Dash will be joined by the Red Stars and the United States U-23 team in a rare NWSL versus the United States soccer match-up.

The fourth Houston Dash preseason begins on March 13th at Houston Sports Park with the first day of training. Five days later the Dash will play in their first friendly of the preseason, hosting Baylor University on March 18th at 3pm. The Dash played Baylor twice last year; once during the preseason (a 4-2 win) and once during the Olympics break (a 4-0 win).

Following the Portland tournament, the Dash will close out the preseason on April 6th with a trip up the road to face Texas A&M on April 6th. The Dash beat the Aggies at Ellis Field last season, 5-0.

With the preseason less than two months away, the roster questions are slightly different from the past two years. Over that period, the primary question has been the availability of United States national team players due to Women’s World Cup and Olympics preparations.

With this year’s She Believes Cup running from March 1-7, USWNT players should in theory be available to their clubs on the first day of preseason. However, the possibility of disruption due to the ongoing CBA negotiations looms, a possibility alluded to in recent USWNT interviews.

Provided there is no labor disruption, and with no schedule beyond the She Believes Cup, the USWNT players would likely be available for the entirety of the Portland tournament, unlike last year.

For their part, the Thorns look to have built upon the momentum of last year’s tournament to bring in a sponsor for this year. This years rendition is called the Thorns Spring Invitational presented by Tillamook.

The Oregon based dairy company has been a sponsor of the Thorns since 2014.

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