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Houston Dash Victorious in NWSL Challenge Cup

Soccer

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. The Houston Dash reminded us of that lesson yesterday, when they became the unlikely (but very welcome) winners of the NWSL Challenge Cup.

July 27, 2020
MADDIE MEYER/GETTY IMAGES
MADDIE MEYER/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. The Houston Dash reminded us of that lesson yesterday, when they became the unlikely (but very welcome) winners of the NWSL Challenge Cup.

How did they do it?: The Dash came out swinging in yesterday’s final against the Chicago Red Stars, the heavy favorites. Just five minutes into the game, Canadian and Megan Rapinoe look-alike Sophie Schmidt scored on a penalty kick, and striker Shea Groom made it 2–0 during stoppage time to solidify the win.

  • The Challenge Cup marks the Dash’s first-ever season title and their first postseason appearance. Unfortunately for the Red Stars, it marked their second straight year of being runners-up. Third time’s a charm?

Who won the Golden Boot?: The award for top scorer went to Dash striker Rachel Daly, who notched three goals and two assists during the tournament and also earned the title of Challenge Cup MVP. No biggie. The Golden Glove (for best goalie) went to Sky Blue FC keeper Kailen Sheridan, and Washington Spirit rookie Ashley Sanchez was named Future Legend.

  • But the biggest award should go to the tournament organizers and everyone involved in keeping the league’s bubble safe and secure. In the five weeks of practice and gameplay in Utah, not a single player tested positive for COVID-19. Nailed it!

And what’s up in the MLS?: The MLS is Back Tournament is going strong. We’re smack dab in the middle of the Round of 16 knockout stage, with another two matches today (don’t miss the Seattle Sounders vs. LAFC tonight, it should be a goodie) and two tomorrow. Quarterfinals start on Thursday, so check out the full bracket for the can’t-miss matchups.