The woes of the Dash continue. As commentators (and other teams) remind fans constantly, Houston has not scored in 561 minutes. That's six games. That's one minute short of the NWSL record the Boston Breakers set in May.
And that? That's bad. That's worse than bad. If Houston fails to score in the next game against the Portland Thorns, they will become the new Boston. Yet only recently have there been calls for change.
But Houston's problem goes a lot deeper than the inability to score. There also seems to be an issue with the front office, staff and coach understanding how the NWSL really works.
Fans should be appalled at the revelation that not one, but two, players who traveled to New Jersey were not eligible to play, as their International Transfer Certificate (ITC) had not cleared. Neither Kate Scheele or Tessa Galvinsky-Florio were allowed to play in Saturday night's game.
Which left Houston without a backup keeper had starter Bianca Henninger been injured. The contingency plan, apparently, was for 5' 8" Rachel Daly - one of Houston's only four goal scorers available for the game - to go into goal. Daly has recently suited up with the England National Team. No word on if the Lionesses' coach Mark Sampson threw in goalkeeping training while she was there.
So let's recap:
- The team traveled without an available backup keeper, something the NWSL requires.
- The plan was to take 25% of the team's scoring power and throw her in net.
- Meanwhile, eligible backup keeper Haley Carter (who came out of retirement for the team earlier this season) was live tweeting throughout the match.
Thankfully Henninger, who collided and went down during the game after a collision with Sky Blue's Natashia Kai, was able to continue her goalkeeping duties. But let's also take note that she was playing in her first game of the season despite being with the team since 2014 and alternating the starting position in past seasons when Canadian Erin McLeod while McLeod was in and out of camp on international duty. While Australia's Lydia Williams has proven more than capable in net for Houston, the team has always relied heavily on their goalkeeper to keep them alive in games. Is July really the time to test the backup keeper for the first time?
Regardless, Houston had no backup keeper. A direct violation of NWSL rules considering Williams is on international duty preparing for the Olympics.
In the case where a Team has less than two available goalkeepers, a Team will be able to add a goalkeeper to its Roster until its goalkeeper is back to full participation with the Team. This must be done within the Salary Cap.
Steele was signed as an amateur, meaning she received no compensation outside of a paid flight, room and food. Signing a second amateur goalkeeper would not have required the team to take a salary cap hit. It would have only required them to pay the flight, room and food for a player that could actually play. Instead, they paid for two players expenses that would not be allowed to suit up for the game.
Oh, and even better? Galvinsky-Florio had been in the United States since preseason. How the team had not acquired her ITC before the week they called her up is beyond anyone's imagination.