ISI Photo

Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell key in extending unbeaten streak

When Omar Morales took the helm for the Houston Dash he had some big decisions to make, none more important than who would take charge in between the pipes. As the head coach took questions after his team's fifth positive result in a row, his decision has turned out well.

Morales spent part of Saturday's post-game interviews talking about Jane Campbell, the rookie goalkeeper he decided would take the reins, replacing Australian international Lydia Williams.

Since turning to Campbell, the Dash have seen good fortune and after an eight-save performance to earn the 2-1 win over the Washington Spirit it is easy to see the move has worked out.

"I think when the decision came down to it, we just had to change things. Sometimes change is good, and it could have gone either way for us," Morales said post-game. "It went the right way we feel like, but at the end of the day, we have two great goalkeepers that can come in and do the job at any moment and right now it's Jane's time. She's growing every game and becoming better which is obviously what we expected and hoped for."

Campbell was under siege against the Spirit; there's no other way to put it. She had shots coming at her from every angle, but her command of the box and shot-stopping ability was in top form.

Two saves, in particular, drew the eye. The first was a save at full extension to send a potential Shelina Zadorsky goalazo in the 29th minute. Thirteen minutes later Campbell was quicker than a short-range shot from Estefania Banini.

Both saves were big and kept the Dash in front on the scoreboard.

"It's been good, just trying to keep the ball rolling. A ton of credit to the people in front of me," Campbell said, deflecting any praise. "It takes all 11 of us; it's not just me. The credit's really to them, and I'm just trying to keep the momentum going."

While she pointed the spotlight away from herself, she's been an integral part of the club's turnaround allowing just three goals in five games.

With all the positives Campbell was not perfect Saturday. She was beaten by Estelle Johnson in the 75th minute from a tough angle. A tough goal to give up late in the game and one Campbell will want back. That, for the team's sake, was her only blemish.

In the grand scheme for this season, Campbell is one in a line of moves that Morales has gotten right. As the team hopes to turn a good run of form into an actual push for the playoffs, she'll need to remain on top of her game.


One thing the club had not been able to do was to find joy on corner kicks. Not the tallest team, the Dash have been unable to find success from the corner flag in 2017. That was until Saturday night when a deft flick off the head of Brazilian Poliana on a short Janine Beckie corner finally put the Dash up on the scoreboard and added one to the club's corner kick ledger. There's also the fact that it aided the team in getting its fifth positive result in a row.

"It brought me great joy, and that was a team goal, it took everyone's effort to get the huge victory tonight," Poliana said after the game. "I'm thankful that the whole team played a solid game today. (Forward) Janine (Beckie) gave me a wonderful pass, and I was able to score."