I keep reminding myself that the idea even of a National Women’s Soccer League franchise in Houston and a potential partnership with the Dynamo is only six months old. Chris Canetti, Brian and Randy have grown our team from an announcement on Twitter to a fully-rostered, professional organization in half that time. To add to the fray of the last three months, we have experienced a handful of season-ending or game-changing injuries and several various formations as we search for the perfect line-up. Our flexibility and willingness to try new things in the face of adversity are two things I’ve come to love most about our team. And this weekend was not without its challenges.
Having spent over seven years as a logistics officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, I’ve come to accept the idea of Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong will go wrong) and, however difficult, I try to manage my expectations accordingly. This weekend was a true test of the team’s ability to overcome Murphy and a seemingly endless barrage of delays and hiccups. On Saturday, the team faced a five-hour travel delay to Chicago and then torrential down pour and thunderstorms caused a three-hour game delay last night. Maintaining mental focus and physical readiness throughout such setbacks requires a certain amount of personal discipline and can be a challenge to even the most professional of athletes.
Although the delays and off-kilter schedule may have contributed to a slow start last night, the team showed tremendous fight following some half time adjustments and created several chances late in the game. The Chicago goal by Jen Hoy was unlucky for us but I am proud that our team regained our shape and continued to press through the end. Bianca Henninger had a phenomenal showing last night with huge one-on-one saves and Nina Burger’s comfort attacking from the center showed but a sliver of what she’s capable of. Now if only we can keep Murphy’s Law out of the equation, Chicago will certainly have their work cut out for them when we face them again at home in just over two weeks.Reserve Goalkeeper Haley Carter (Center) offers her first bi-weekly, inside look at the Houston Dash as they progress through their inaugural season.
Today is another travel day for the team and we will return to the practice field tomorrow in preparation for our match against Portland at BBVA Compass on Wednesday night. Having already played the Thorns in our inaugural match, we know what to expect for the most part and highly anticipate our chance to even the record at 1-1.
Christine Sinclair and Allie Long are obvious threats but in the last match-up we were able to keep them at bay for the most part. It will be nice to have center back Osinachi Ohale return to the roster following her red card against FC Kansas City and you can probably expect to see a similar defensive posture against Sinclair as you did in the first week. Not only has Osi shown incredibly well in the defensive third this season, she has promised to score a goal off a corner and I am holding her to it.
The season is just beginning and we have plenty left in store for us. The impending arrival of Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg will bring us an additional source of composure and experience and will undoubtedly shake things up. In the mean time, we will continue to roll with the punches and keep up the fight. Good things will happen as we grow and come together as a team.
We just have to be patient.