clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Is Kealia Ohai still the face of the Houston Dash?

New, comment

With the additions of Jessica McDonald, Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian, where does 2013 first round pick Kealia Ohai fit on the Dash.

With a month left before the start of training camp Dash supporters have a few reasons to be optimistic about their club's playoff hopes.

A season ago, the league's newest organization failed to create chances and goals finishing last in the NWSL with 22 goals. The club also generated a league-worst 200 shots.

With offense serving as their main culprit to success, Managing Director Brian Ching revitalized Houston's offense this offseason acquiring U.S. Women's National Team star Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald and drafted Lloyd's WNT teammate Morgan Brian first overall. Both Brian and Lloyd, will miss a small portion of the upcoming season due to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

With the addition of McDonald and Lloyd coach Randy Waldrum will need to find a balance in minutes and playing time amongst his forwards.

But where does former second overall pick Kealia Ohai fit in with the new additions?

While she may have been the inaugural pick and face of the franchise in 2014, the question should be asked can she exceed those expectations this season with more talent being placed around her.

Ohai's solid rookie season saw the UNC alum tied for the team lead in goals with four and she recorded one assist. Ohai also finished second in Rookie of the Year voting behind only Chicago Red Stars defender Julie Johnston.

A key to any forwards' opportunities to score comes from their connecting play with a midfielder and in the Dash's hopes to bolster their offensive prowess, the addition of two USWNT midfielders was necessary. Ohai's brace against the Boston Breakers on April 11 solidified her place in the league and as a threat anytime she has her foot on the ball. Her first goal was a perfectly placed strike to the far post, and the second displayed her speed on a breakaway goal for the game-winner.

McDonald is a proven veteran forward that can mesh with Ohai up front. Last season McDonald stepped up for the Portland Thorns when Alex Morgan was nursing an injury. Her size and athleticism also make her an aerial threat.


In addition to Ohai and McDonald, Houston will enter the season with a large stable of forwards: Melissa Henderson, Tiffany McCarthy, Ella Masar on their roster.

Ohai's talent alone is undeniable, she possess the ability to stretch defenses with her speed and to finish. If the Dash are looking to be playoff bound in 2015, Ohai will be needed to step into a larger role for the club. That being said this may also be the year she receives her first senior team call up.