Upcoming Houston Dash decisions for 2023

Oct 16, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dash forward Michelle Alozie (22) handles the ball during
Oct 16, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dash forward Michelle Alozie (22) handles the ball during / Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dash are a pretty complete team heading into 2023. Like all good teams though there is always room for improvement. Here are three decisions that need to be made for this club heading into the start of training camp in a couple months.

First , the Dash need to define how they will structure the backline in front of goalkeeper Jane Campbell. Its a safe bet that Katie Naughton will anchor and will have Allysha Chapman and Caprice Dydasco as outside backs. For this writer, the question becomes where or not Houston can play with just three on the backline will it require four. And if its four, who will that key player be? Is it Ryan Gareis, the only Houston Dash pick in the 2022 NWSL draft? If her rokie season is any indication, it just might be.

Next, what is the best decision for using Nichelle Prince, Ryan Gareis, and Maria Sanchez? Make no mistake that this is good problem to have. A team can never have too many offensive weapons. The one sure thing is that the offense will go through Ebony Salmon. This then poses the question as to whom the facilitators will be Prince has the ability to stretch the the field and maybe more importantly she can facilitate as well as any player on the pitch. This advantage allows Shea groom to have a bigger role sweeping in for goals. Maria Sanchez has proven that she too can facilitate as well as score. And then there is Gareis entering her second season who has already proven invaluable to this team. Although listed as a forward, she found herself playing outside back last season in a majority of her 20 appearances. A player like her on the pitch adds another dimension to the Dash attack not to mention defense.

Finally, the biggest decision is where does new head coach Sam Laity play Ryan Gareis. No player has had an impact on the Dash squad in their rookie season since former team captain Kealia Ohai Watt did in 2014. Gareis made 20 appearances with six starts playing everywhere from the backline to the frontline. Playing on the backline with the instincts of a forward, Gareis provides Houston with a player in the mold of both former team captain Rachel Daly and current Dash high performance coach Corey Ashe. Both proved in their playing days in the Bayou City just how dangerous a player with her skill set and soccer acumen can be. With Gareis, the Dash have to decide where she best helps the Houston side win a NWSL title.