NWSL Houston Dash
The Houston Dash outplayed, out hustled, and out shot the Reign FC in Friday’s nationally televised match. If you saw the numbers on the final stat sheet, you would think Houston had garnered three points. However this was not the case. The one stat where Houston did not dominate was in fact the one that mattered most: the scoreboard. Despite an intense effort by the Dash, the side from the Great Northwest prevailed 1-0. It was a loss that felt more like it should have been a win.
The stat sheet is filled with Houston domination. The Dash had more shots 19-8, more shots on goal 4-3, corner kicks 4-0, and don’t get me started with duels won, passing accuracy, or time of possession because for all their hard work, they came up empty. Another three points down the drain because the only stat that mattered was the scoring markers and there they fell 1-0.
The one mistake
With the exception of a couple of blowout games, nearly every match dropped by Houston this season can point to one thing; a soft goal conceded. Friday night was no exception. In a scrum right in front of the Houston goal, the ball came free to newly signed Reign FC forward Rosie White. The New Zealand international playing in just her second match since signing with The Reign FC scored the only marker of the match in the 21st minute. It was just her third shot in NWSL action season.
The continuing issue
It seems like the shirts the Houston organization were selling at Apollo Night last weekend were once again appropriate -Houston, we have a soccer problem. More specifically, Houston, we have a scoring problem. Why the Dash and the Dynamo have such a finishing defect is beyond comprehension. In the final 30 minutes of the match, Houston had no less than six opportunities inside the 18 and at least three from within nine yards and yet they could not find the back of the net.
At home, the conundrum is perplexing at best. Nine home games have resulted in two wins, two draws and five losses with a goal differential of minus five. Outside of the two draws and the 4-1 loss to the Courage, the four remaining losses were all by one goal. Overall, nine of Houston’s twelve matches that fall in the win/loss column have been decided by one goal. They have won five and three of those five wins have come on the road. Hmmm. Maybe, we should just play the remaining eight on the road where Houston is currently stronger at finishing.
The lack of home scoring has resulted in two words: if only. If only the Dash could score first. If only the Dash could stop conceding on unforced errors. If only the Dash could come from behind. If only the Dash could play defense at home like they do on the road. If only......you fill in the blank.
The good news
With eight games remaining, the Houston Dash (5-7-4) have more than a hope and a prayer to make the NWSL playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but they will need to keep their road success going. Houston sits four points out of the playoff race. The road is littered with teams all ahead of Houston. However that leaves the Dash with deciding their own destiny. And that’s a good thing.