The Houston Dash won a stirring contest late Friday Houston time as goalkeeper Jane Campbell shined when the team needed her most. After 90 plus minutes of play, the two teams were still even at 0-0. On to penalties they went and Utah Royals star Amy Rodriguez banged the opening PK off the cross bar. Campbell stopped two more of the remaining four Royals penalty kicks, leaving Houston with a spot in the semi-finals against Portland Thorns FC. Portland stunned tournament favorite NC Courage in the opening quarterfinal match on a Morgan Weaver goal in the 63rd minute.
Campbell, the NWSL penalty kick all-time saves leader, has a staggering 61% save percentage. Campbell guessed right on every effort by Utah.
The Houston Dynamo’s draw against LAFC to open the MLS is Back tournament revealed the potential for this Dynamo team going forward. Yes, the team blew a two goal lead in the second half but it was the way they played after conceding the game tying goal that has many thinking this team is different.
“At the end of the day, you know when I think about the fact that we gave up the third goal and it was still about 20 minutes to play in the game,” shared head coach Tab Ramos. “I thought the team did quite well and try to win the game after that”.
As for playing youngsters Sam Junqua and Nico Lemoine, Ramos said all those moves had to do with players earning those moments and being put in spots where they can best help the team.
On Lemoine; “I’m very happy for Nico, because he earned that opportunity and the reason he came on the team at that moment wasn’t because he was a young player and we needed to bring a young player on. He came on because we thought that was the best player we could put on under the circumstances during the game.”
On Junqua; “we really didn’t want to mess with the team because we thought that Sam, although he’s a young player, he’s been doing really well in practice. We thought he’d be up to the task, he came in at a very difficult moment and did a great job. So, we’re happy with that.”
Ramos and former MetroStars teammate Gio Savarese meet for the first time as coaches in Saturday night’s 7 PM CT match. It will be an opportunity to see if Houston not only can get their first win, but how they Can continue to improve.
“Like I said before, I was happy that we were drawn into a really difficult group,” Ramos said in his press conference. “I want to see where we stand and how we have to move forward, so having said that I think our first step was really positive.”