The Houston Dash and Western New York Flash pulled off a minor trade on Monday. The Dash acquired Toni Pressley to help shore up a shorthanded and inexperienced back line. In exchange, Ashley Nick was sent to Western New York.
“Our biggest problem early on has been defensively and getting it organized,” Dash coach Randy Waldrum said in a club release. “As much as I hate to give Ashley up because we traded for her and she was in our plans to help in midfield, we just felt like it was one of those things we had to do defensively.”
Earlier this season, Waldrum switched Stephanie Ochs to play central defense for the first time in her career. The experiment was moving along until Ochs tore her ACL in Boston last month. She is out for the season. Allysha Chapman started next to Niki Cross in a 2-0 loss to FC Kansas City, but Chapman is now gone through the World Cup as is left back Meghan Klingenberg and Chapman’s Canadian teammate Lauren Sesselmann.
Houston has also reportedly added Australian defender Ellie Brush, who failed to make the Matildas’ final cut for the trip to Canada. Brush, 26, ironically will fill in for the injured Ochs, with whom she played in Australia for Canberra United.
“I had Toni with the U-23s,” Waldrum continued, “and she is finally healthy now after a layoff last season with some injuries. We certainly can use the help in the back so we are extremely excited to get her.”
Pressley and Cross were teammates with the Spirit in 2014 but were on the field together only sporadically.
The Flash used Pressley on opening day in a 5-1 loss to the Reign. Aaran Lines switched the lineup after that and did not go back to Pressley when Whitney Engen left for the World Cup. He suggested Nick could slip into her traditional holding role which would allow Becky Edwards to play higher in midfield.
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