The good news is that the North Carolina Courage's one loss was on their Cary NC home ground, at the hands—er, I mean the feet—of the Utah Royals. So the Courage are not invincible.
A playoff run would be nice, but even if the Dash fall short, I'm still a big fan...and the live-in companion of their loudest fan. ;-)
Order out of Organizational Chaos
I've heard from lots of fans about how messed up the Dynamo-Dash organization is, which the Christen Press mess and other quality players' departures brought to light. But that doesn't affect how I feel about the players, both Dash and Dynamo, or about the squad as a whole that new manager Vera Pauw has built. (I'm less enchanted with the Dynamo as a unit and with manager Wilmer Cabrera.)
I had my doubts about Pauw at the beginning of the season, when the team wasn't quite playing as a team, what with all the new arrivals. But even then I detected that Pauw was breaking things down into their component parts, improving those parts, and reassembling them into something better. The result is the Dash's best season yet: new highs for wins with 8, and for points and goals with 29 of each as of today.
Moving Rachel Daly back to the top of the formation where she belongs was the biggest improvement. Daly plays pretty well at any outfield position, including right fullback where she plays for England, but with the Dash she needs to be up front combining with Kealia Ohai. The additions of creative attacker Sofia Huerta and tall halfback Claire Polkinghorne, among others, helped solidify the team.
Just before the season started, Kayleen and I went to the Chocolate Bar in Rice Village and saw Coach Pauw waiting to order ice cream. We are frequent customers at both locations of the Chocolate Bar, so I interpreted that as a good sign.
Taking the Niece
This Saturday evening, I'll get to take my five-year-old niece and her parents to their first Dash match, the final 2018 regular-season home game against winless wonders Sky Blue FC. The niece has exhibited an aptitude for soccer, so I hope she'll be impressed with seeing some of the world's best players who happen to be women—including the two-time FIFA player of the year, former Dasher Carli Lloyd.
Ideally, I'd hope that, by the time my niece reaches adulthood, women's team sports will get coverage and attendance equal to men's in this country—and perhaps even equitable salaries for women athletes. Some day soon, perhaps in my lifetime, women's sports will just be...sports. It's already happening in Cascadia: The Portland Thorns routinely play to capacity crowds.
If you're curious, tickets are still available for Saturday, including some $9 specials for Fan Appreciation Night (Promotion Code = BBVA). This game will likely have way more than the usual 3,000 or so fans in attendance, and may set a new attendance record.
I'll leave it to my sister to explain to her daughter (or not) the meaning of #DashTFOn.