Houston Dash head coach Juan Carlos Amoros has been a breath of fresh air in analyzing soccer games. On Saturday night, the Houston Dash dropped a match they needed to win. How does Amoros look at the game and the future?
In front of the fourth largest crowd in Houston dash history and on Fan Appreciation Night, the team came up short. The season started with adversity and the team had to prove to themselves, to the fans and to the NWSL soccer world that they belong in the conversation of upper echelon teams. On Saturday night, they again left their fanbase wondering if this was once again just a dream that Houston was going to the playoffs. Are the Houston Dash contenders or pretenders? Can they really wina big game when they need it? Against the OL Reign one of the founding members of the NWSL, they were told to put the playoff dreams on hold. The 2-0 loss though can be a growing experience.
Houston defender Katie Naughton may have said it best about going to Washington to face the Spirit who eliminated them last year on the league's last day. " “It is redemption at this point. We know what
happened last year. We don’t need to revisit it and I think it is a new story. It’s a new book.”
The defending champs are a shell of themselves but can they muster up the championship attributes and play spoiler to the Houston Dash playoff hopes. Head coach Juan Carlos Amoros says no.
“For me you have to keep your head up, the team is working very well. We will look at the things that have not been done well and the things that we did well. Now we go to Washington. This doesn't stop. In the end, this is football, there is no time to lick your wounds. You have to raise the head, go for the next rival, is the only formula in this sport.
Amoros reminded the naysayers that Houston has gotten up off the mat before in 2022 and will do it again.
"I have been lucky here in Houston that after losing in San Diego we went to Portland and won," continued Amoros. "I expect something similar after the second defeat we suffered in 10 games. I hope we do the same, get that win in Washington would be very important to us."
How does Houston rebound and how do they prove that this game was just an aberration of a season that has been unpredictable from the opening kick back in May.
"In the end that can be controlled with a little work, having more clarity in the final meters and taking responsibility," explained Amoros. "We saw it last week with that great goal by Ebony (Salmon) and we got the three points, the previous week María (Sánchez) scored with a ball to the squad and so we add. If in one day you don't have anyone like that, in the end normally, unless if you leave your goal at zero, you lose. Today unfortunately it was like that. I would worry if create chances, if the team had lowered their arms. We really wanted to give that joy to the fans, it couldn't be, the only thing left to do is move forward, work and go for the next rival.”
HIs last comment there speaks to how valuable in a mere 58 days that Ebony Salmon has become to this franchise. Until she missed last night's match due to COVID-19 protocols, she was the offense scoring more goals since June 27th then all the players ahead of her in the race for the league's Golden Boot, more goals then seven different teams. She stretches defenses and her movement off the ball is unparalleled.
Houston's coach speaks it like it is. The team was prepared, they didn't execute. They needed goals. They created opportunities. They didn't finish. Now they go to DC to exorcise another of their soccer demons and prove to the NWSL after ten seasons that there is more bite then bark, that this team belongs in the conversation of contenders. This is the moment to prove to their fanbase that when the reward is the greatest, they can step up. Their coach has breathed life into them. Let's see how they exhale.