After a great start to her NWSL career with Racing Louisville, Ebony Salmon found the last few months to be a difficult time in her career. Despite a head coach change, the English striker barely got any time on the pitch and found herself looking for a way out.
In came the Houston Dash who traded for Salmon and sent $150,000 in allocation money for 2022, $25,000 in allocation money for 2023 and $15,000 in allocation money for performance-based incentives. That may have seemed a lot at the time for Houston to give up but given how Salmon has slotted into the team, it may prove been the perfect move at the time for both the Dash and Salmon.
With Nichelle Prince and Rachel Daly away on international duty, having Salmon around her re-ignited the Dash attack which seemed lacking once Prince and Daly departed to play with their countries. Despite not getting a goal in her first minutes with the team, it was clear that Salmon offered something unique for the Dash and it was only a matter of time before she found the back of the net.
Against the Chicago Red Stars, that moment came as she scored a brace in the first half.
It's a first goal in for @ebony_salmon and the @HoustonDash are in front!#HOUvCHI | #HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/8hFYCkymKU— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) July 17, 2022
Her first goal was more opportunistic than anything else but that’s what you want out of your striker; a player who senses where the ball might drop and tries to be there so they can make the most of that chance. Chicago gave up the ball inside their own area and Salmon’s movement beforehand made sure that she was the first to get to the deflected ball inside the penalty area. She didn’t hesitate and didn’t take a touch; just swung her right boot at the ball and fired into the far corner of the goal.
Make it ✌️ for @ebony_salmon on the night! The @HoustonDash double their lead just before the break #HOUvCHI | #HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/0hil10ZoMz— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) July 17, 2022
Salmon’s second goal was a reflection of her speed and composure when in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. She beat Ally Prisock to the ball, held off the defender enough to give herself space to finish Lindsey Harris in goal.
Hats off, @ebony_salmon!— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) July 17, 2022
The forward bags her hat-trick as the @HoustonDash go 3️⃣ up!#HOUvCHI | #HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/3cMZYUyB3e
If you thought Salmon was done for the night with those two goals, you were incorrect. Not too long after the second half had started, the Dash broke away on a counter which saw Ryan Gareis find Salmon in space. Salmon’s first touch wasn’t the best as it sent the ball looping into the air but her second touch brought the situation back under her control and she finished with ease past Harris once again.
All of Salmon’s goals are great examples of what she can bring to this Dash side the more she integrates with the team. She has speed in abundance, a clinical finish, and composure in and around the area. Once Nichelle Prince and Rachel Daly return, adding Salmon to that mix will undoubtedly boost Houston’s chances of making the playoffs. Until then, Salmon will be tasked with carrying this team and scoring the goals needed to pick up points. Based on her performance against the Red Stars, she seems to be well-suited for the task.