Home News NWSL Season Preview 2023: The Houston Dash can hold it down

NWSL Season Preview 2023: The Houston Dash can hold it down

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With a historic 2022 season, the Houston Dash approach this season with a new attacking superstar and head coach, ready to hold it down for H-Town. 

The sole NWSL team from Texas, the Houston Dash are here to prove they can become playoff regulars in the NWSL. They qualified for their first playoff game in their nine-year history last season, and they aren’t looking to take steps backward. They were knocked out in the quarterfinals last season with a tough 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Current. But the game broke an attendance record at PNC park and saw over 14,000 fans come out to support the Dash’s playoff hopes.

The Dash had a productive off-season, welcoming Diana Ordóñez in a draft day trade with the North Carolina Courage. They also hired longtime OL Reign assistant coach Sam Laity as their new head coach, making everyone aware they’re not to be written off this season. Not to mention they are on the better end of new kits this year, debuting their Estrella kit which pays homage to all the other orange kits that came before.

Houston Dash projected starting XI:

The Houston Dash have had a steady offseason, introducing new talent into their ranks without shaking up the chemistry they already have. They suffered a tough blow in November when starting forward Nichelle Prince was injured while playing for the Canadian National team against Brazil. She’s listed as having a season-ending injury on the latest preseason roster. With a new head coach, the starting lineup could look quite different from last season, but here’s a good idea of who might start at their first match-up against Racing Louisville on March 26th.

Goalkeeper: Jane Campbell

Defenders: Caprice Dydasco, Ally Prisock, Katie Lind, Allysha Chapman

Midfielders: Sophie Schmidt, Shea Groom, Marisa Viggiano

Forwards: María Sánchez, Ebony Salmon, Diana Ordóñez

Houston Dash Most Important Player: Diana Ordóñez

The Dash have their fair share of talent on the roster this season and they added to that exponentially when they acquired superstar Diana Ordóñez during the offseason. Ordóñez scored heavily for the North Carolina Courage last season, netting 11 points and finishing fourth in the golden boot race right behind her Courage teammate Debinha.

She was nominated for Rookie of the Year and broke the record for most goals scored by a rookie in their first season. She was also named to the second-best XI team at the end of the season. Connecting her talent with Ebony Salmon and María Sánchez will equate success for the Dash on their journey back to the playoffs. Ordóñez is here for the long haul, signing a three-year contract with the Dash and expressing her enthusiasm for what Houston is building in the statement below.

“I can’t wait to build on the incredible year the team had last year and get to do so with some of the best coaches, teammates and support staff in the league.”

Houston Dash best case scenario for the 2023 season: Making the Championship game

With their current talent and previous success, it’s not a long shot that the Dash will see a playoff game again. But the Dash are not alone in their conquest, and many other teams competing for that trophy have a decent chance at making it there. The Dash have a sense of vigor, grit, and determination about them that feels worth mentioning. They fought hard to make that playoff berth last season, and it feels as though they’re gearing up to do the same this year. That being said, the Dash’s best-case scenario this season is finishing top three in the standings and making their way to the championship game, but not winning it yet.

Houston Dash predicted finish: Sixth in the NWSL standings, out in the semis

The Houston Dash are a staple of this league, improving over the years to finally host their first quarterfinal game. They’ve made several great offseason moves in the acquisition of Ordóñez and the hiring of Laity, but they feel as though they’re still building towards being championship ready. The Dash will make the playoffs again, finishing in the middle of the table, likely sixth. But they’ll likely fall in the semifinals, making it a step further than last year but still missing out on that championship game.

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