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Why Fran Alonso’s Houston Dash team is struggling: turnovers, personnel, and a huge tactical shift

Alonso’s “dominant” style is causing more problems for the Dash than for their opponents. Will Houston adapt? Or is this a stylistic misfit?

4 min read
Houston Dash

Upon his appointment as the new head coach of the Houston Dash over the most recent NWSL offseason, Fran Alonso promised a “brave, exciting, dynamic and dominant style of play”. General manager Alex Singer described it as “a new era”. But after 10 games, Houston boast just two wins, five defeats, the third-worst defensive record in the NWSL, and the second-worst offensive record. They’re sitting all the way down in 12th in the table.

Brave? Most certainly. Exciting? More so for the neutral. As for dominance? It’s nowhere to be seen.

Alonso made his name with Celtic in Scotland, where the 47-year-old Spainard won three cup competitions and came close to a league title. With those results came a specific style of play. He usually set up his team in a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 attacking system, in the belief it helped them to play out from the back. That idea followed him to Houston.

“We are mainly working now with a back three,” Alonso confirmed in his opening press conference with the Dash. “It [gives] us a very good playing out from the back and then [allows] this time to do rotations in the final third.”

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