Late on Monday afternoon, the Houston Dash announced that Juan Carlos Amoros would conduct his first training session on Tuesday July 12, 2022. Amoros takes over the interim head coaching duties, a job previously held by Sarah Lowdon. Under Lowdon, the team was 4-3-4 over the first half of the NWSL season.
Hired in June following Real Betis Feminas not renewing his contract, Amoros brings his knowledge and experience to Houston. With 11 games left to the season, what can Houston fans expect to see.
Looking at what he has done in his previous two stops and in one of his last in-depth interviews before leaving Real Betis Feminas, we can glean a bit of what Amoros will bring to the Dash. It is a given that he wants and expects his clubs to play a dynamic and exciting brand of futbol. Houston already does that so we should not see a lot of difference between him and Lowdon's approach to the game. Fans should expect much of what he described for his Real Betis Femininas team in one of his last in-depth interviews to carryover to Houston.
"What I try to do is [build] a team that is dominant in what I call the six moments of the game, which is on the ball, the counterpress, defending, counter-attacking, and offensive and defensive set-pieces," said Amoros in his interview with Tactical Rant hosts Om Arvind and Abdullah Abdullah. "I think that's extremely important. Obviously, you try to be dominant on the ball, but you need to manage all aspects."
Based on that one simple statement, Houston fans should not expect to see a big difference from how the team has been playing the first eleven games of the NWSL season. Lowdon has been in regular contact with Amoros about the team so this transition should be seamless.
Houston currently sits sixth in the table tied with the Kansas City Current after Friday night's loss in Orlando. Amoros has lead both the Tottenham HotSpurs and Real Betis Feminas out of relegation into each league's top division. His task over the final 11 games will be to get Houston back above the playoff line. They are just 2 points off that pace and six behind league leading San Diego Wave. Fans will be looking to see if he can work that magic for their team too. If he does, everything will be good in Houston. If not, fans might be questioning right or wrong whether he was the right hire in the moment.
Another point gleaned from that interview on March 2, 2022 is that you will not hear the Spaniard talk about tactical formations.
I'm not a big fan of saying “oh, we play 4-2-3-1” or “we play 3-5-2” because I think football is very dynamic," continued Amoros. For example, when we defend in a block, we do more of a 4-4-2. But, when we are on the ball, we try to do a 3-5-2 because of the players that we have keeping the width and the characteristics of some of the players that play wide for us.
Although he was speaking of his Spanish team at the time, Houston fans and of course Amoros know that the Dash have very similar players which is what makes this move a good fit despite coming in the middle of a season.
Finally, Amoros made the point in the interview that as a fan of the game, he wants to see exciting soccer. He wants to see a team that works hard, and is good on the counter. He wants and expects his players to be creative and exploit the opposition's weaknesses particularly in space. He enjoys a good mixture of 1 v1 and teamwork. In other words, he wants his team to be a what fan wants to see when they come to the stadium. If his team carries these attributes, they will be a winner more often then not.
"The real art is in the mixture of all different sides of football and I think that’s the hardest part to achieve, concluded Amoros talking about his philosophy.
Houston fans should not curb their expectations of a winner but at the same time they must accept that magic doesn't always work overnight. There appears to be very little in change from the overall philosophy and intentions of the new coach and his staff to how Lowdon and even James Clarkson for that matter coached this team. What they will see though is a tweak here and a tweak there in an effort to get the team into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. When that happens, it won't matter who has the title of head coach. This hire will be a win for everyone.