The Houston Dash are entering their fourth season in the NWSL, however, they are still a team that is trying to find its way to some degree. They have yet to make the playoffs since joining the league. They improved last season going 6-4-10, but they were still 10 points short of making the playoffs finishing in 8TH place. Ahead of the 2016 season the team had a lot of roster turnover but this year the team is coming back with a pretty consistent lineup with 14 of 20 players returning.
The team will be without Carli Lloyd for the first part of the season while she is away playing for Manchester City. In her absence, Kealia Ohai will be expected to lead the team like she did last season. Ohai scored 11 goals in the team’s final 10 games of last season and will be looking to pick up right where she left off. The Dash have spent the offseason working to shore up their defense which has always been a trouble spot for them. With the defense improved look for them to finally get more wins than draws this season.
2016 Record: 6-4-10
2016 Playoffs: Nope.
Key additions: Multiple defensive additions- Bruna Benites, Claire Falknor, Janine Van Wyk, and goalkeeper Jane Campbell
Key losses: Bianca Henninger, Carli Lloyd (gone for the first part of the season playing with Manchester City)
Projected starting XI (formation):
Williams; Poliana, Bruna, Van Wyk, Roccaro, Brooks; O’Sullivan, Andressa; Beckie, Daly, Ohai
Major trophies won all-time (NWSL Championship, NWSL Shield, pre-NWSL trophies, if applicable): Nope
What we think of our team: The Dash may be down but the fans know that the Dash are never out.
What outsiders think of our team: The Dash are the expansion team that everyone is waiting on to succeed. Especially its dedicated fans. Entering their third year in the nwsl, many are wonderinng if they can take the next step and have a successful season. The present may not feel optimistic, but with a young forward core and young goal keeper, the future looks bright.
Houston Dash’s Biggest Rival, and why: The Dash still haven’t developed a hardcore rival like the Seattle Reign and the Portland Thorns.
Best social media follow: Rachel Daly (@RachelDaly3 ) is a pretty fun follow on Twitter and we’ll always recommend Haley Carter (@HalesBells99) on the twitter dot com even if she ‘retired’.
Our season hinges on... the team’s ability to win. Yes, you can say any team’s season hinges on their ability to win but the Dash had 10 draws last year had a few more of those fallen in the win column and they would have made the playoffs.
Why this year won’t be like last year: The team has 14 of 20 players returning from last year. They spent the offseason shoring up their defense which has historically been their biggest challenge.
Key player: Kealia Ohai. Carli Lloyd will be out for part of the season which means the team will look to Ohai to carry the team, something she excelled at last year.
Predicted finish in 2017 (place in standings): 4th place. The majority of our staffers think that the Dash will make an appearance in the playoffs this year.
Wild prediction: Kealia Ohai will score 30 goals this year.