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Houston Dash sign Brazilian center back Bruna Benites

Bruna (3), celebrates Brazil's 2104 Copa America win. Credit: Agencia de Noticias Andes

Bruna (3), celebrates Brazil’s 2104 Copa America win. Credit: Agencia de Noticias Andes

One day after their first off-season move, the trade of Allysha Chapman to Boston, the Houston Dash have announced the signing of center back Bruna Benites. The Brazilian fills the roster and international slot vacated by Ellie Brush, leaving the international slot acquired in the Chapman trade to be filled by another rumored center back.

Bruna joins Houston after a stint with Avaldsnes in the Norweigian Toppserien. At age 31, she is an experienced center back that has made forty-five appearances for the Brazilian women’s national team.

Her national team debut came at the 2012 Summer Olympics. There, despite her lack of international experience, she started every match through Brazil’s 2-0 exit to Japan in the quarterfinal.

She was set to be an important part of Brazil’s 2015 Women’s World Cup squad, but a torn ACL forced her out ahead of the tournament. After sitting out most of the club season, she returned for the Rio Olympics but was not fit enough quickly enough to play a key role.

Her only appearance at the Rio Games came in the final group stage match against South Africa; a match in which she started and captained the side. Her stint with Avaldsnes began following the Olympics.

In adding Bruan to the roster, the Dash gain a tall, mobile center back with strong technical skills and the ability to play the ball out of the back. At nearly six feet, she will be the tallest player on the team and one of the tallest in the league.

Asked what stood out about Bruna that caused the Dash to want to sign her, head coach Randy Waldrum said, “She’s got good height, her mobility is much better than what we’ve had back there centrally. She can cover some ground. She’s clearly really technical with the ball, as you would expect from most of the Brazilians, so I think her helping us in our build up play out of the back is important as well.”

The player comes with the endorsement of Andressa and Poliana, both of whom spoke highly of her ability on the pitch as well as her leadership. With Poliana at right back, it would not be surprising to see Bruna line up on the right side of the center pairing to aid in communication between the two.

The international slot picked up in the Chapman trade remains open with Waldrum indicating that he has already sealed an agreement for another center back to fill it. That agreement will be announced once the league has approved the signing.

  • mockmook

    Hey Hal,

    What do you think the Dash will be looking for with that 15th pick?

    Before hearing about the CBs they are picking up, I thought they would use it on a CB (Maddie Bauer?). Maybe they still will.

    But, now, an outside back?

    Or, a fast, wide midfielder/wing-back type for tactical flexibility? Castleberry?

    • Hal Kaiser

      I think they have their fill of young CBs between Roccaro and the time that Privett has spent there. I’d give the wishy-washy best available player answer. Not satisfying, but at this stage of roster development it is probably true. Subject to change, though, based on moves made between now and the draft.

      • mockmook

        Thanks for the reply!!!

        Well, when you get down to #15 in the draft, I think you are looking at a slew of impressive (but not great) players. And, there is no way to say which is better — so, you end up taking the “best” by picking the one who also fills your most needed spot.

        So, perhaps they take Bauer anyway as an “insurance” policy.

        It’s funny that Waldrum is suddenly interested in CBs, when he could have had Naughton or Skroski last year (in addition to Roccaro). Of course, that would have meant not taking Daly, but I think that was the smart play in retrospect — their problems were more D than attack, IMNSHO.

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