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NWSL Friday: Defense reigns in scoreless draw between Houston and Utah

Week 2 is here, and every team but the Seattle Reign will be facing off before the upcoming international break. Check back in tomorrow for full Equalizer coverage of the main game-day of the NWSL’s second weekend.

Houston Dash 0, Utah Royals FC 0

The friday night feature of the weekend started off with less of a bang and more of a deeply considered defensive game, with neither the Houston Dash nor the Utah Royals finding the back of the net in a 0-0 draw.

The quick turnaround had to be a major factor, particularly for Houston, who last played the previous Sunday, and almost equally for Utah who had to make the trek down to Texas after coming back home from a match in Orlando this past Saturday. This was reflected in the nature of the play Friday night, with both teams giving each other plenty of time on the ball, and struggling to push forward.

Houston’s new tight defensive formation continues to play dividends, though again against a team that has been depleted by absences through international duty and injuries, the most high profile of which this week being the injury to Utah outside back Kelley O’Hara. The Royals will surely be hopeful that she won’t see much time on the field during the upcoming USWNT friendlies, and will be back in action after the break.

In the end, Becky Sauerbrunn continued to rule the back line for the Utah, and Jane Campbell continued to grow into her role as the Houston #1 keeper, and both teams have to be satisfied with a point going into a couple of weeks off.

— Claire Watkins

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