The Houston Dash have teased the fanbase ever since their inception by playing well early like a playoff contender before settling late as a pretender. Head coach James Clarkson has completed his first season and now is putting in place the necessary pieces to turn this club from pretender to a scary contender. What should Santa bring Clarkson and the Dash this holiday season?
Present #1 A healthy Nichelle Prince
Prince, drafted in 2017 showed flashes of brilliance in her rookie season scoring three goals in her first NWSL campaign. She managed just a goal in 20 appearances in 2018 and appeared poised for a breakout season in 2019 when she suffered season ending surgery at the Women’s World Cup which cut her off at the proverbial knee. Dash fans have seen what a dangerous weapon she can be and teamed with Kealia Ohai on opposite wings, defenses will have to really pay attention to the dash offensive threat.
Present #2 Role players who can step up their game
This has been possibly the most glaring weakness for this franchise since they burst on to the scene six seasons ago. The starting XI can play with nearly anyone in the world starting with Rachel Daly. The English born goal scorer was recently named as one of the top 100 female footballers and, well, she should be. In limited availability last season, she netted five goals, three of which were game winners. When Daly is gone or Kristi Mewis or Allysha Chapman among others, whom can Clarkson call on? At the moment, virtually no one. Only one name really pops in my head and that is #12 Veronica Latsko. The 24 year old is exciting and is looking good in the W-League down under. How is this Australian headline to give Houston some hope “Sydney Poach MAGNIFICENT NWSL Star Striker.”
Present #3 Consistency
This may be the easiest of the three to deliver if Santa can provide the first two. The backline has been a work in progress since the beginning of time. Do you recall that former head coach Randy Waldrum had Rachel Daley on the backline one season. Chapman and “Iron Woman” Amber Brooks anchor the last line of defense but it will have to get better. It would be nice to see a player like Satara Murray really step up her game. She has the experience some of the highest levels of the game. She could be a difference maker.