Houston Dash Reveal 2017 Away kit

Photo: Houston Dash

Already two weeks in to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season Houston Dash has revealed their alternate kit for the 2017 season.

Reportedly the move comes after Nike has removed the chevron style that was popular last season from their catalog, forcing Dash to choose a different design. It must have been a late decision from the Dash or Nike as the kit they have chosen is certainly a generic kit from the catalog, fairly unusual for a top flight professional club.

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Houston Dash Leave Bianca Henninger out of 20 Player Roster

Photo: Houston Dash

Houston Dash has announced their 20 player squad for the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season on Monday. They begin play on Saturday in a home match against the Chicago Red Stars.

The one thing that fans were looking to was which of the three goalkeepers would be left off of the 20 player squad. In the end it was Bianca Henninger who was the unlucky player excluded as Australian Lydia Williams and new USA international Jane Campbell were chosen ahead of Henninger, who had played 20 times for Dash since their inception, especially when Williams was away on Australia duty.

Sarah Hagen has joined the club as she was waived by Orlando Pride on the 6th, after playing 17 matches and scoring twice. That allowed Dynamo to pick her up and add some needed depth up front, especially in the absence of Carli Lloyd for much of the season.

There are four federation players assigned to the Dash in Lloyd and her fellow USA midfielder Morgan Brian. The two Canadian federation players in the squad are Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince who were both part of the bronze medal winning Canadian side from Rio 2016.

There are three Brazilian players in the squad in defenders Bruna Benites and Poliana as well as midfielder Andressa. Denise O’Sullivan remains, along with Rachel Daly representing Ireland and England respectively while Janine Van Wyk is interestingly listed as English despite being South African.

Houston Dash have gone for a top-heavy roster with seven players listed as ‘forwards’ but that is likely only a designation rather than where all seven of those players would be playing on the pitch. Just six players are listed as defenders but with a 20 player squad it is hard to strike a perfect balance.

Houston Dash Settle for draw in final Portland Invitational Match

Photo: Houston Dash

Houston Dash completed their preseason stint in Portland with a 1-1 draw against the Portland Thorns on Saturday evening. The result sees Houston finish the tournament with a 1-1-1 record, a mixed weekend with promising signs ahead of the season proper.

Portland took the lead just 17 minutes in to the match as their midfielder Mana Shim was able to find space on the edge of the area and score. Her shot was hit too powerfully for Houston goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who got a hand to the ball but it wasn’t enough as the shot still hit the back of the net to open the scoring.

But Houston responded and found a goal back thanks to some stunning work from their forward Stephanie Ochs. She was able to collect the ball and send it forward for Houston midfielder Rachel Daly who beat the defenders to it and made space for the shot which beat Britt Eckerstrom in the Thorns goal to make it 1-1, where the score would remain until the final whistle.

There could well have been an early lead for the Dash as they had an early chance in the sixth minute when a corner fell to Bruna Benites. She was able to get a shot away but the Portland defense did just enough to keep it out and clear.

That control continued in the early stages of the match and in the 15th minute as Houston had their second early chance of the match. Dash midfielder Andressa was able to send a through-ball forward for forward Melissa Henderson who was unable to get on the end of the ball.

While Houston may have done well in the match and been the better side throughout the 90 minutes they were left frustrated. Part of that was no doubt because of Eckerstrom’s performance in goal routinely denying Houston’s chances.

Houston Dash Fall to Chicago in Preseason

Christen Press playing last season (Photo: Heather L/Wikimedia Commons)

Houston Dash suffered their first loss of preseason as they fell to a 2-1 loss to Chicago Red Stars in the Thorns Spring Invitational in Portland on Wednesday night.

Chicago had the lead in the first half as a penalty allowed them to take the lead in the 41st minute which came after Chicago forward Jen Hoy was brought down. That allowed another Chicago forward, Christen Press to step up to the spot and hit the penalty successfully to make it 1-0 for Chicago at half-time.

The second half was like the first, tight throughout most of the match with neither side able to get a goal until late in the half. That goal came in the 81st minute through yet another penalty as Houston forward Melissa Henderson was fouled by Chicago defender Taylor Comeau, allowing Henderson to dust herself off and bury the penalty.

But that was only short lived as two minutes later Chicago restored their lead and sealed the win with Press again scoring the goal. The cross came in to the box, Press controlled with her first touch and scored with her second, scoring with a goal that snuck in by the near post for the winner.

Things could have been very different for the Dash had they have converted their early chances in the match. Three minutes in Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince linked up well for Houston as Prince set up Beckie whose shot beat the keeper but scraped the crossbar on the way out for a goalkick.

Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naher was on fire for the Red Stars as she made several strong saves against the Dash throughout the much. In the 22nd minute Beckie was denied as her volley was saved by a Naher punch before another chance fell to Beckie again in the 39th when Naher recovered to close down Beckie and get enough on it to get it away from the forward, proving a vital part of the win.

Houston Dash Come From Behind to Defeat US Under 23s

Houston Dash has continued their perfect start to preseason as they managed a comeback victory over the Under 23 US Women’s National Team at Providence Park in Portland on Sunday afternoon.

Defender Bruna Benites and midfielder Amber Brooks scored the goals giving Houston Dash a bit win to boost confidence ahead of the season proper. After trailing heading in to the 89th minute the Dash exploded and managed an impressive come back.

The first goal came in the 74th minute to the Under 23 National Team as US Under 23 forward Savannah McCaskill saw her shot saved by Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger. The rebound fell back out to McCaskill who was able to sneak the ball home from close range just sneaking it between Henninger and the post.

Seemingly out of the match Houston Dash was able to pull back to level terms in the 89th minute, seemingly getting a draw out of the match. Benites scored the goal, her first for the club as she redirected a cross from Brooks, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Despite it seeming like Houston would have to settle for a draw the Dash were able to steal the win in the 94th minute.  The ball was sent in by forward Stephanie Ochs who swung in a corner finding Brooks who beat the keeper to the ball heading it home.

In truth the result was likely a fair reflection of the match as Houston troubled Casey Murphy in the US Under 23s goal much more than Henninger was troubled. Houston Dash continue their play in the Thorns Spring Invitational on Wednesday when they play Chicago Red Stars.

Photo: Amber Brooks on the ball last season (Source: Houston Dash)

Houston Dash to Face Chicago Red Stars in Season Opener

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced the opening matches of the season with Houston Dash opening their season on April 15th. The Dash will play Chicago Fire at 2pm at BBVA Compass Stadium on that Saturday.

That match forms part of the first ever Houston Dynamo/Dash double header, hence the earlier kick-off time of 2pm. It will be the second straight season that Houston Dash opens the season against Chicago Red Stars whom they defeated in the 2016 season opener 3-1.

It is only nominally a double header as the Houston Dynamo organization has decided to hold each match as a completely separate match. That means fans wanting to go to both matches will need to purchase two tickets and will be forced to leave the stadium between the two matches, an odd decision from the management, that seems certain to lead to frustration and limit the exposure the Dash would have from being a true double header with the match against Minnesota United.

Houston Dash is yet to lose a home opener, and will be coming in feeling like they can defeat Chicago Red Stars. They will be hoping for Carli Lloyd to return in form after her stint in England with Manchester City.

After a disappointing 2016 season, Dash will be hoping to make the playoffs for the first time in club history. With that the Dash have made two significant additions from overseas with South African captain Janine Van Wyk and Brazilian Bruna Benites to strengthen their squad. The second match in the day will also give fans their first opportunity to see Minnesota United in Houston with United making their first Major League Soccer appearance in Texas.


Houston Dash Draft Three

Jane Campell (Photo: Stanford)

Without a pick in the first round of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, Houston Dash had to bide their time before picking up three players. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, forward Nichelle Prince and defender Erin Smith were all drafted by Houston in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Both Campbell and Prince have already received call-ups to their respective national squads Campbell to the United States and Prince to Canada. Both receiving that call up while they were still just 17.

Campbell was the youngest ever goalkeeper called in to United States camp, called up in 2013 when she was just 17 years old.  That was before the goalkeeper from Kennesaw, Georgia went on to excel in goal for Stanford.

While at Stanford Campbell managed 35 clean sheets equaling the school record, making 210 saves in the process. Campbell was named to the 2016 NSCAA All-American Team and was drafted by the Dash at the 15th position. Campbell is already linking up with some of her Houston Dash team mates as she is in the US training camp currently being held in Carson, CA.

Prince was drafted 28th overall joining after her collegiate career at Ohio State University, and coming after the Dash traded with Chicago Red Stars to move up the draft order. The forward scored 27 goals, with 20 assists while at Ohio State.

The Canadian forward already has success at international level, having a bronze medal from her efforts in Rio last year. Prince has represented Canada 21 times at full international level and has scored six goals.

With the 33rd overall pick in the draft Houston Dash selected defender Erin Smith, adding some needed defensive depth to the squad. Smith was a powerhouse for Rutgers, starting 73 consecutive matches for Rutgers and playing 2,174 minutes. In 2016 Smith was named first team all-conference capping a strong collegiate career.

Two Texans Abroad Find new Clubs

Photo: Boston Breakers

Two Texans abroad have found new clubs in the January transfer window this past week as Emerson Hyndman and Amanda Frisbee found new homes. On Sunday Hyndman was announced as signing on loan with Rangers FC in Scotland while Frisbie joined Boston Breakers on Tuesday.

Hyndman has been playing with AFC Borunemouth, who are playing in the English Premier League but as a result he has received few minutes for the first team. Most of Hyndman’s minutes have come in the youth teams, he has been playing for the Under 21s team.

The loan was announced by Bournemouth and Hyndman over the weekend, following a rare first-team appearance in the FA Cup third round. The loan will take place for the remainder of the season, with Hyndman still under contract at Bournemouth for the 2017-18 season he will return to the English club.

“I had an unfortunate injury in pre-season which didn’t help my chances of impressing immediately,” said Hyndman in an interview with The Guardian. “But the manager told me that I might need a bit of time, which is OK. He doesn’t want any transition process when I do go into the side.”

While the English Premier League is certainly a step above the Scottish Premier League, this move doesn’t guarantee regular starting time. Rangers are one of the biggest clubs in the world and have a competitive squad which Hyndman will have to fight to get in to.

Frisbie joins Boston from Iceland, after struggling to find time in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). That led to her heading over to play for Stjarnan where she won the league championship.

Injury in 2014 which really set back Frisbie’s professional career, making her miss an entire season, and saw her out at Seattle. That then sent Frisbie head to Western New York and FC Kansas City but neither side gave her enough solid minutes.

That saw Frisbie leave to Iceland where she managed nine matches for Stjarnan contributing significantly in the middle of defense on the way to a league title. That was enough to impress Boston, with head coach Matt Beard evidently watching and picking up Frisbee as a discovery player.

Houston Dash Forward Carli Lloyd Named World Player of the Year

Image: Houston Dash

Houston will be the home to the FIFA World Player of the Year for the second straight year after the FIFA Awards gala in Zurich on Monday night. At the awards Houston Dash forward Carli Lloyd was announced as the FIFA World Women’s Player of the Year.

The FIFA award is issued based on votes from three different panels, with each country’s captain and coach getting a vote along with a selected media member. Lloyd proved especially popular with countries that are not regulars at the major tournaments, perhaps reflecting how strong her brand is.

The award is nominally awarded for play at both club and international level, but Lloyd had few appearances at club level in 2016. Lloyd was only able to play seven matches for the Dash, but proved vital as Dash went 4-3 in those matches compared to 2-7-4 without her, while their scoring output more than doubled.

The influence Lloyd had on the Dash’s results may well have been a factor for those who did the research in their voting. With the United States Lloyd scored 17 goals, two of them at the Olympic Games, while providing 11 assists.

Lloyd finished ahead of German Melanie Behringer who had a phenomenal year, including winning a gold medal in Rio. Also finishing behind Lloyd was Brazilian legend Marta who was just unable to cap a stunning career with the win in her home country.

The win for Lloyd makes her the only player to have won the award while under contract with an NWSL side (Abby Wambach won while unattached). She is also the first to win the award in consecutive seasons since Marta’s five in a row, which ended in 2010.

Three Houston Dash Players Called in to USWNT Squad

Photo: Houston Dash

Houston Dash has had three players selected by US Women’s National Team (USWNT) coach, Jill Ellis for the January Training Camp. Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai have all been selected in the 29 woman squad named by Jill Ellis on Wednesday.

With no matches scheduled for January the camp will present the primary opportunity for players to impress Ellis without NWSL play. Despite there being no new Collective Bargaining Agreement the players and US Soccer have agreed to continue under the previous agreement, meaning players will be able to attend the camp without fear of being ostracized by senior members of the team.

Lloyd was a certain call up as the captain of the side, having earned 232 caps for the United States. In that time Lloyd has scored 96 international goals, the most among active USWNT players and the sixth most of all time.

Brian has continued to excel for the USWNT in recent years and continues to become a regular selection for the USWNT. Brian has earned 63 caps, excelling in 2016 and has starred for the Dash with 13 appearances.

Ohai’s selection continues her rise in to international soccer, after earning her first cap in October. It was a phenomenal season from Ohai in the NWSL this year as she led the goal scoring race with 11 goals through the season.

After finally getting selected in October Ohai immediately set about proving that selection was long overdue. It took Ohai just 48 seconds to score her first full international goal scoring against Switzerland in Minneapolis starting what is sure to be a long international career.

The training camp gets under way on January 13th and will take place at the US Soccer National Training Center at Carson, CA. That camp will run at the same time as an Under 23 camp and starts just days after a camp for the senior men’s national team, putting three of America’s national teams in one space.