How Rachel Daly’s move to England impacts the Houston Dash

Quick Hits
  • Houston Dash star Rachel Daly recently completed a move over to Aston Villa in England…so where does that leave the Dash?
  • Let’s look at what’s next for this team as they try to make the playoffs for the first time in club history
Jun 3, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly (3) talks to media during a press conference after the game against the Orlando Pride at PNC Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
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Seven years after being selected sixth overall at the 2016 NWSL College Draft, Rachel Daly is going home. She’s been transferred to Aston Villa FC of the Barclay’s Women’s Super League for an undisclosed fee. This will be her second stint in the English league after a short loan following the 2020 Challenge Cup with West Ham United.

How will the Houston ‘Dash on’ without Daly? Well, I have some thoughts.

Rachel Daly’s legacy

Before I get to them, though, I have to acknowledge Daly’s huge impact on this Houston franchise. She donned the Dash jersey 116 times and scored 42 goals while adding 12 assists. That’s more than double the number of goals of the next highest Houston scorer (Kealia Watt, who now plays for the Chicago Red Stars), and only one fewer assist than the franchise assist leader (Kristie Mewis, who now plays for NJ/NY Gotham FC) per American Soccer Analysis.

Daly has also captained the Dash squad for the past several years, including the 2020 ‘season’ when Houston brought home their first and only trophy in the form of the 2020 Challenge Cup. In short, the Dash are losing a big presence both on and off the field. 

If the last nine weeks have been any indication, though, I think Houston will be just fine.

Improvement in Houston?

Daly played her last game with Houston on June 3, and since then the team has racked up a 4W-1D-3L record, which has helped them climb up the standings. The Dash are currently in third place with 24 points and a 7W-3D-4L record.

Daly’s departure hasn’t been the only change in Houston since early June. Acting head coach Sarah Lowdon resumed her position as the Dash’s first assistant and Juan Carlos Amoros has officially stepped into the interim head coaching role. What’s more, the Dash also acquired forward Ebony Salmon from Racing Louisville FC late in June.

Salmon has stepped into Daly’s vacated goal scoring role quite well, considering she’s already notched a hat trick and three additional goals this season in just under 500 minutes. Not to diminish the long term impact that Daly has had on this Dash side, but that’s two more goals in roughly 130 fewer minutes than Daly managed before she left to win the UEFA Women’s Euros.

Nichelle Prince and Maria Sanchez are also lights-out attackers for the Dash – and they’re not going anywhere. Prince is the owner of the first-ever Houston hat-trick and Sanchez is currently leading the Dash, and the league, with four assists on the season. 

And in terms of leadership, long-time goalkeeper Jane Campbell has experience co-captaining this team. Campbell’s story is similar to Daly’s, in that she’s been in Houston since she was drafted in 2017. Though Daly was certainly a leader on this team, the Dash will be left in good hands with one of their mainstays. 

Even though one of their biggest stars is moving on, Houston might be on their way to their first-ever playoffs. It’s just a question of whether Amoros, Campbell, Salmon and co. will continue to hold it down for the final stretch of the regular season.