The Houston Dash
Friday night's loss pretty much dashed Houston's hopes of making the playoffs this year while Seattle drew themselves two points away from clinching the season title having already secured a playoff spot. The Dash have lost all four games that they played in August after looking strong in June and July.
The team had a strong showing while they were missing six players to the Women's World Cup over June and fans expected the team to grow even strong with the players return. However, with the USWNT players returning as World Cup Champions Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian and Meghan Klingenberg found themselves with post-World Cup win promotional duty. None more so than Lloyd who has found herself flying here and there to promote the USWNT and women's soccer. The NWSL moved games around so that the players would be able to attend the ESPYs without missing anymore games and while the National teamers were there for games they didn't always find themselves on the field.
The fan-fare has left little time for practice and time jelling with the team and it has shown on the field. The team as a whole has looked less like a team since the World Cup players have returned. The backline is a mess, the midfield is a mess and the forwards are a mess. Even with the return of the World Cup players Lauren Sesselmann and Allysha Chapman have been out due to injury leaving Erin McLeod as the only Canadian players to have returned to the team full time.
Losing Stephanie Ochs early on in the season due to an ACL tear was a huge blow to the defensive line that the team hadn't planned on and made the bench even thinner than expected. Brittany Bock has been in and out of the midfield all season long with injury. At the end of last season we all knew that the Dash needed to gain more experienced players in the offseason and that the team needed to beef up their defense. The defense got little attention during the offseason as Coach Waldrum appeared to be stockpiling midfielders. Hopefully, it won't get the same treatment again.
There may be six points left for the Dash to play for this season, but it is already time to start looking off-season moves.
National Women's Soccer League
The NWSL hasn't looked great post-World Cup either and I don't mean the attendance numbers which have been stellar. As mentioned above the league has moved games to accommodated the USWNT players and after signing a broadcast deal with FOX again moved some games around including the Final. A Final which now takes places on a Thursday almost three weeks after the Semi-finals. The league's latest gaffe has come in the form of word coming out that the NWSL Final will be played at a neutral site rather than being hosted by the regular season winner. While the league eventually announced the plan themselves they only did so after SoccerWire broke the news.
While this is pretty standard in other American sports such as the NFL the issue of the neutral site is more that the league hadn't even announced it yet despite the NWSL season being nearly over. Reportedly, the decision was agreed upon by the owners before the start of the season, but had not been announced publicly because the location had not been finalized. Changing the location of games as well as the times and dates is not going to help you get fans through the gates in fact if you do it enough you are only going to alienate fans and you know what happens when you alienate fans? You end up like the WPS a league that last only three seasons.