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Confidence and belief: How the Houston Dash is making a late playoff push a reality

© Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In the National Women’s Soccer League you can be down. But rarely are you truly out. 

A month ago, while sitting 10th in the standings and six points off the playoff places, Houston Dash general manager Alex Singer made the bold call to remove head coach Sam Laity. The coaching change was provoked by an eight-match winless run and a stagnate first season in charge of the Texas club, where the team averaged a league-worst 0.66 goals per game.

Days later, star striker Ebony Salmon was then traded to Aston Villa in the English Women’s Super League. At the time, the forward was the leading club for xG with 3.7. One could be forgiven for thinking the club’s attention had turned to 2024.  

From the outside, a postseason berth looked highly unlikely. Not impossible, but a distant hope. With four matches left to play, statisticians on the internet placed Houston’s playoff chances at around 4%. 

Suddenly, though, things are looking up for H-town. 

A remarkable turnaround under interim head coach Sarah Lowdon has put the Dash right back in contention to finish in the NWSL’s top six. Hard work on the training ground and back-to-back clean sheet wins (away to Racing Louisville and NJ/NY Gotham FC) have shot Houston up to eighth and to within two points of sixth-placed OL Reign. 

It’s funny how quickly things change in the NWSL. Now, with two matches remaining, Houston has a fighting chance of making the playoffs for just the second time in the club’s history. 

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