The Houston Dash shifted their talent to be more offensive at Sky Blue FC last Saturday. Manager Vera Pauw went to a 4-2-3-1 from the controversial 2-3-2-3 formation against North Carolina on April 28th. Her boldest move was placing Rachel Daly up top and Kristie Mewis at defensive midfield.
Houston Dash-Sky Blue FC: Too Stuck to Dash, Too Cloudy for Sky Blue
Sky Blue and Houston played end to end for the first 15 minutes. The Dash controlled the rest of the half with Kealia Ohai and Nichelle Prince attacking the flanks receiving long balls. Houston kept the ball in their attacking third getting eight corners, one of which became the second goal of the Dash season in the 24th minute by Prince.
Sky Blue manager Denise Reddy’s possession style attack broke down Houston’s midfield defense in the second half. Sky Blue was able to connect passes to their preferred right side. Katlyn Johnson benefitted scoring two goals.
The battle of the NWSL bottom dwellers became an entertaining 3-2 win for the Dash. Sky Blue’s lack of chemistry due to few games played makes them mysterious. Houston reshuffling their talent revealed an urgency to salvage a possible lost season.
Pauw’s failed 2-3-2-3 formation experiment led her to self-preservation. Daly and Mewis are the best players on her team. Pauw didn’t want to waste their talents playing fullbacks.
Pauw’s move made the Dash electric in the attack. The defense was sorely sacrificed. Sky Blue’s talent was able to work the kinks out of their new offense. The Jersey squad were inexperienced in defense letting Dash secure the game late with a goal in the 79th minute by Veronica Latsko.
The Dash are imbalanced. North Carolina defeated Houston simply by passing the ball to Crystal Dunn on the right side. Pauw abandoned her strong backline approach for more goals.
What Dash fans shouldn’t stay angry about Christen Press not honoring her contract. Press should have left for Europe while in Chicago. Houston could have used their draft pick on defense.
Sky Blue is dead last now. Their reputation to play well against the top four might take effect. The team needs time for their attackers to build chemistry and a defense to learn from their mistakes quickly.
The Dash victory against Sky Blue, however eventful, proves they’re still rebuilding. Attacking midfielder Kyah Simon was invisible in New Jersey. Prince, who scored Houston’s second ever goal, can be a liability.
These two teams at the bottom of the standings shouldn’t be branded as awful. The NWSL is too strong for teams to start slow or worse having slow offenses. Utah, Orlando, and Washington are making the league too competitive to climb out of a bottom dweller hole.