The Houston Dash continue to impress. The latest a 3-2 win over the visiting Washington Spirit. Although Houston continues to take it all in stride you can’t help but know they are smiling on the inside. With 11 goals in six games, Houston has quickly become one of the most dangerous teams in the NWSL after scoring just once in their first five outings.
Entering the season, Houston has always had a difficult time building any momentum that led to something good for the franchise. The organization has always had good players, even some great players, but the chemistry has never really been there. Now it is.
“It feels amazing,” said Dash captain Kealia Ohai following the win. “In games this year and past seasons, there’s been something off and it hasn’t gone our way. But, it’s starting to go our way. I don’t think that’s luck. It’s all of our hard work and our pressure. We finally feel that things are falling our way. We’re confident.”
Ohai, in just her third game since returning from a knee injury that sidelined her 2017 season, scored in the 26th minute to give Houston a 2-0 lead. Ohai attacked the defense off a pass from Haley Hanson. A pass bounced off the right knee of Meggie Dougherty Howard right back to Ohai who took a step to her left and curled in a ball from 29 yards out.
“I actually tried to pass it wide first, but it bounced back to my favorite shot,” continued Ohai. “I said ‘just hit it’ and it curled. I didn’t know if it was going to curl in. I thought it might go wide, but it went in. It was a great feeling.”
Just shy of three weeks ago, Dash head coach Vera Pauw moved Daly back up top with Nichelle Prince and then two games ago added Ohai to the mix and the chemistry has become a dangerous rather quickly especially when you add Veronica Latsko and Thembi Kgatlana as second half subs. Including Daly’s first career brace on Sunday, the five have accounted for 8 goals and 6 assists since May 5th.
Kristie Mewis, who was lost for the season on Sunday night, had two goals over that span and Kyah Simon added the other.
And before we give all the credit to the offense, let’s remember that soccer games are controlled in the middle of the field and defense wins championships. The loss of Kristie Mewis is a tough blow but with the emergence of Hanson and Kimberly Keever and the steady play of Simon in the middle the Dash will remain Houston strong. The addition of Allysha Chapman to the backline has been a huge difference in the physical and mental toughness. And then of course, there’s Jane Campbell in the nets. Enough said.
“We’re getting used to each other. [Dash Head Coach] Vera [Pauw’s] vision is more clear to us,” concluded Ohai. “We’re more organized. There’s still work to be done, but we’re starting to gel. It takes time for a team to get there especially with so many new faces. But, we have a good thing going and we’ll just continue to improve.”