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Houston Dash: From the Fans

Before playing their first elimination match in team history, we spoke to some prominent figures in the Dash community to share thoughts on the club, past and present.

OL Reign v Houston Dash

It could all be over soon. How soon? Only time will tell. The 2020 season has been unusual, intense and unprecedented. For the Dash, this also means playing in an elimination tournament format for the first time. Whatever happens, under extremely stressful circumstances, the team has made the city of Houston and everyone in the Dash faithful proud. We send our best wishes to the team and their families at this time. The most important thing is to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Before Houston take to the field tonight for this historic elimination game against the Utah Royals, we asked some prominent figures in the Dash community to share some thoughts about the Dash past and present.

Jen Cooper, co-host of the Dynamo-Dash City of Soccer podcast

Favorite Dash memory?

I’m gonna list two — both of them are greeting the Dash players & staff at the airport after an away game. The first time was April 2014, when they returned from their very first NWSL away game, which was also their first win (with their first goals). It was fun to organize a group of fans to meet the team at Hobby Airport with signs, and since I was working at Soccer 4 All at the time, I was able to make special custom jerseys on the fly for Ella Masar and Teresa Noyola, who had both scored in the game. The players were surprised and flattered. It was a special moment.

Last May, I felt compelled to organize another Dash greeting, this time at Intercontinental. For the first time in club history, the Dash were in first place in the NWSL standings, after a remarkable come-from-behind win in Utah, courtesy of a Rachel Daly brace (of course). We had more fans for this greeting, and a large DashTFOn banner. Again, the players and coaches were completely surprised though they seemed to take it in stride. But I heard from several of them later how much it meant to them. And that’s why these two Dash memories are my favorites.

Most frustrating Dash moment?

For me, it has to be losing both Denise O’Sullivan (waived by club July 2017) and Cari Roccaro (cut before the 2018 season) to the North Carolina Courage, without the Dash getting any value in return. Both are great players and great people who clearly have talent and were released by the club too easily. But I believe that era of the Dash is past, and that the current coaching staff and club senior management wouldn’t allow transactions like that to happen again.

How far can the Dash go?

I believe this Houston team can go all the way to the NWSL Challenge Cup final. They’ve assembled all the right pieces and are really driven to show that they’re “not the same old Dash.” Every player I’ve talked to this year for the City of Soccer podcast has spoken so highly of the team environment and head coach James Clarkson. We’ve already seen in this tournament how well they can play when everything’s clicking — so hopefully it will all be clicking in the knockout round!

Gia Quilap, Photographer Keeper Notes

Favorite Dash memory?

Can I just say…”favorite memory” other than just existing? Hahah...no but, 6-1 win against Sky Blue as our last home game of 2018. As a photographer, I got a lot of awesome shots..but deep down as a fan, seeing how happy everyone from the fans, to the coaching staff and all the players so jubilant...chef’s kiss.

Most frustrating Dash moment?

I would have to say our recent 2-0 loss to Sky Blue (oh the irony). I got my hopes up and was a bit sad...doesn’t help they didn’t score, which would have lessened the blow. Another frustration is every memory of every ref calling back goals or giving us a tough game.

How far can the Dash go?

No negative energy from me here, so I am ever hopeful that we can get the job done. I would not be surprised in the possible resilience of the Dash to come back and fight through the quarters, semis and make it to the final. And once they are there, they would have proven enough for me...as always.

Hayley Snider, co-host of Actually The Dash podcast

Favorite Dash memory?

Veronica Latsko’s game winning goal against (formerly) Seattle Reign in 2018. The goal was at the tail end of stoppage time, and it all started with Allysha Chapman keeping a level head in the back and making a good pass to start the counter after we almost conceded what would have been a game winning goal for the Reign.

Most frustrating Dash moment?

There are many frustrating moments as a Dash fan, but one that sticks out in my head was from an Orlando game during the 2019 season. The game was tied up near the end, 2-2. We had scored two quality goals, but had given up two not so great goals. In the 88th minute, Haley Kopmeyer made a good kick save outside the box, but then saved it with her hands well outside the 18. It was blatantly obvious that it was a handball, and somehow all of the refs missed it. I still talk about that play all the time by just how absolutely frustrating it was! Watching the replay over, you can even hear the BBVA crowd booing as the final whistle blew.

How far can the Dash go?

I think the Dash have a very good shot of winning the rematch game against Utah. We have the players to do it, but we need to come into the game with the mentality we had in the first two games. The bit of a break will help with some of the tired legs too. If we beat Utah, we are very likely to play North Carolina Courage in the next round. I love the Dash of course, but realistically NCC is just on a different level above every other team. I don’t expect to win that game, but it will be a great test to see where the team is. We did play NCC extremely well defensively in one game last season, and you never know what will happen in knockouts. However, I don’t realistically expect to win more than one game in the knockouts.

Helen Stewart, Dash season ticket holder living in the 2nd Ward

Favorite Dash memory?

Watching tiny little 19-year-old Linda Mothlalo harass and chase and pester and bother Megan Rapinoe all over the midfield, until she kicked the ball away in frustration. Aside from being honestly kind of funny, it reminded me of a trip my mom and I took to the James River in Virginia, where a bald eagle flew by with a mockingbird harassing it, swooping at it, and screaming at it, right down to Rapinoe with the white hair being twice Mothlalo’s size. That was the first game Houston ever defeated the Reign at home at BBVA. I went to grad school in South Africa so I loved seeing the Saffa players. Banyana Banyana were not even paid when I was living there and I am so proud of how far they have come.

Most frustrating Dash moment?

Watching Rachel Daly pass out from heat exhaustion was the worst. Also watching Kristie Mewis go back into the game after going off the pitch injured. I said to my dad, NO NO NO NO don’t bring her back, this is exactly what happened to Kealia Ohai last year...and less than 5 minutes later Mewis went down with the torn ACL.

How far can the Dash go?

If they make it past Utah - which I think is 50-50 and luck will be the deciding factor - I think they will lose to North Carolina. Everyone is tired and NC has a deeper bench than Houston.