The Houston Dash dispelled the agony of last week’s loss in Orlando with the joy of a 2-1 victory in Kansas City on Saturday night. Second half goals from Chioma Ubogagu and Denise O’Sullivan carried the Houston Dash to their first road win of the season. The win was especially sweet as the men’s side was simultaneously downing Sporting Kansas City 2-0 back in Houston.
The 2016 Houston Dash are filled with firepower, a firepower built on the chemistry of competition. Houston has Kealia Ohai the 2015 Player’s Player and team MVP, Ubogagu last season played for Arsenal in the Women’s EPL, Janine Beckie from the Canadian national side, Denise O’Sullivan the Irish international and Rachel Daly St John University’s all-time scorer. Each is a star in their own right however one attribute that sets them apart is the desire to play as a team. Earlier in the week, Ubogagu in an interview on Houston Dynamo.com shared this;
“I think the four of us could all start, play 90 minutes and leave an imprint on the game,” Ubogagu said. “As a coach, Randy [Waldrum] loves it. For a forward, when there are four of you competing for three spots it is going to get competitive and sometimes you may not get as many minutes as you want. At the end of the day it is about the team.“
Late in the 22nd minute of Saturday night’s game at Swopes Village, it was Rachel Daly one of the starting eleven who fed Alyssa Chapman that nearly led to the game’s first goal. It was unselfish play like that marks the type of players Waldrum and managing director Brian Ching have brought into the fold. Daly herself had nearly given the Dash the lead in the first minute of play when her shot from inside the box barely whistled wide. The rookie forward would nearly capitalize on another opportunity in the 65th minute.
Day after day, each of them stay late to practice set pieces and finishing. Each of them is ambitious and wants to be on the pitch contributing but in the end they want to win even more. For Ubogagu and O’Sullivan their playing time of late has been off the bench but on Saturday the Garland, Texas native had her first start and O’Sullivan enetered at halftime. Each were about to play a pivotal role in the team’s first win ever win at Kansas City.
In the 69th minute, Ubogagu saved a ball on the touchline. A perfectly timed flip pass found O’Sullivan and the Cork, Ireland native buried it inside the far post.
One minute late, it was Ubogagu’s turn for her first goal of the season. O’Sullivan won the ball deep in the attacking third and found Daly at the top of the box. Daly, in turn gave Ubogagu a perfectly weighted ball that the 25 year old slid by FCKC keeper Nicole Barnhart.
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Is there another organization that can employ so many offensive weapons in a variety of combinations that leaves the opposition in game planning chaos? It’s something that Waldrum and the Dash have been building toward since the team’s inception. Saturday night’s win was an indicator on the depth and ability of this team to incorporate a game plan and then adjust at halftime and produce positive results.
“We made adjustments in the second half and the team followed the plan,” Waldrum explained to me after the game. “O’Sullivan and Ohai weregood off the bench and we were pretty good defensively.”
Houston finishes its two game road trip at the NWSL leading Washington Spirit on Saturday night. Kick-off is set for 6:00p.m. CDT.