Ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final match, Houston Dash players and head coach James Clarkson addressed the national media via Zoom. Here is what they had to say about the semifinal match-up against the Portland Thorns and the team as a whole.
Head Coach James Clarkson
On the team chemistry: “I have learned more about this team in this short span then I would have the whole season. I am most proud of our team camaraderie on and off the field. The whole squad has been phenomenal. The future is bright.”
On the team’s backline: Don’t assume anything if Meg (Oyster) can’t go. We have options and we will play the way that fits best for this match.”
On goalkeeper Jane Campbell: “Jane is the best keeper in this league and possibly the world especially when it comes to a PK.”
Forward Rachel Daly
On the subject of unfinished business: “Respect is earned on the field and we have shown that we are capable of having that respect. We want to be in the semi-finals playing the best team and building that respect. We want the title.”
Defender Katie Naughton
On similarities of Chicago and Houston: “This team is hard working and has grit which made the transition for me to fit in so much easier. This team works together as one unit.”
Houston Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos also addressed the media via Zoom ahead of Thursday’s game with LA Galaxy.
On the team’s performance in the tournament: “Well, I think obviously it is hard to just remove results because that is a part of getting better, is to achieve those results. Sometimes you can do it in an ugly way, sometimes you can do it in a nice way, where you are playing well and getting results – which is what every coach would like to have. I think at the moment, like I said from the beginning, I am really happy we are battling some of the best teams in the league. We have battled every game, for me that is progress. When you look at the Kansas City game, which didn’t leave a good taste in our mouths, we had to live with that for the last three to four months and we have made big strides since then.”
On the streakiness of Mauro Manotas: “Mauro is working extremely hard, as you have seen number nines in the past, if you have been around the game for a long time you know that number nines can be streaky. At the moment, he is going through a few games in which he is having a tough time finding the right place at the right time to get in front of the goal. I’m sure when one goal comes, many will come.”
On the approach to the L.A. Galaxy: “The mindset is that I hope we keep growing as a team. Part of growing for us is adapting to playing on the front foot. To try to attack teams, to try to create opportunities and chances on the other end, and being aggressive on defense all the time. I’m hoping that every game that goes by, we get better at every one of those aspects of the game. Obviously, the LA Galaxy is a very difficult team. They have good players on the team, it will be a tough task, but I think we are up for it and ready to go.”