The Houston Dash begin a new era of soccer on Friday night as they host Racing Louisville at PNC Stadium. The game marks the first time in seven years that they will play without Rachel Daly as part of the team. Daly, it was announced earlier in the week had been transferred to Aston Villa FC.
Daly drafted in 2016 by the Houston Dash has been everything a franchise could hope for. She has played everywhere she has been asked. She took on the mantle of team captain. She rewrote the record books and she leaves the club in a better position than when she arrived. Few players can say all of this.
On Friday night, the team and fans will have one last opportunity to say good bye as she turns over the scoring load to two of the best young players in the game. Fellow English native Ebony Salmon and Canadian international Nichelle Prince are ready to take on the task. Prince credits Daly with helping her become the player she is today.
“She's been such a big piece of the Dash for seven years.," shared Prince during Thursday's news conference. "When I first came to the team, as a rookie, she was someone who, as another forward took me in and taught me a lot. I learned a lot from her. If you've seen her play, you know that she's like a feisty, passionate person on the field. She demands the best from her teammates and herself. As a captain, she's been a great leader for us. It's going to be very weird not having her around anymore. I've spent my whole career here with her."
Salmon arriving a little more than a month ago has certainly caught the attention of her teammates and the league with her scoring streak. The English native has scored everywhere she has gone but after having trouble finding time on the pitch. with a new coach on the sidelines, Racing Louisville sent her to Houston. With six goals in five game and tallies in three straight, it will be interesting to see what she does against her former team. Prince talked about what it will be like for opposing defenses come from Friday night to see the both of them dissecting backlines.
“It's amazing. She's obviously super clinical. She's also super fast," continued Prince. "That's been really fun, to play with her up top. The both of us use our speed against backlines. That makes us so dangerous. It's another threat that backlines have to worry about. It's been really awesome to just see how see her confidence and how she's been able to impact the game in the five, six games that she's been here. It's really amazing. I'm looking forward to just continuing to grow with her.”
Houston is unbeaten against Racing Louisville this season. Now the Dash have a chance to solidify their playoff dreams with a win, To do it, they will need Salmon and Prince to step up and carry the scoring load. Together they have 11 of the team's 24 goals.