The National Women's Soccer League is back in action Saturday as the Fall Series continues. North Carolina and Houston are the first two teams to kick things off for the South "pod" as all nine NWSL clubs are split into three regional tiers and have four scheduled games apiece in the Fall Series and you can catch all the action on CBS.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know about the upcoming match up.
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North Carolina Courage: The Courage return to the Fall Series after getting eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Challenge Cup despite being the competition's top seed. They return to the Fall Series as a notably different roster. Major key players will be missing due to player opt outs for this competition. The team will be without World Cup champions Crystal Dunn and Jessica McDonald and club veterans Abby Erceg, Jaelene Daniels, Kristen Hamilton. Canadian international goalkeeper Steph Labbe will opt out after the match on Sept. 19th. Despite missing several marquee players, the Courage are still fielding a top-tier team with players like Lynn Williams, who finished second in the golden boot race during the Challenge Cup. Defender Abby Dahlkemper will likely anchor the back line, and Brazilian international Debinha, who recently resigned a multi year deal with the club, will continue to wreak havoc on the pitch.
Houston Dash: The Dash enter the Fall Series as Challenge Cup champions. The team carried themselves through an impressive tournament run this summer and were led by second-year head coach James Clarkson. The team will kick off their Fall Series with their roster largely intact with the addition of Jamaican international defender Lauren Silver. However, the club's most-recent departure is team captain Rachel Daly. The English international is on loan to West Ham United for the upcoming season. She is a huge player to miss in terms of goal scoring and creating offensive chances, but also for her ability to anchor her team throughout matches. Kristie Mewis, Nichelle Prince, and Shea Groom return and will likely be tasked with generating offense. With so many players returning from their Challenge Cup run, Houston is seen as a top team to compete for the NWSL Fall Series Verizon Community Shield.
Two competitive teams kick things off for the South pod, including some post Challenge Cup rust. Both sides will score. Pick: Courage 1, Dash 1