Disaster struck early for the Red Stars and they were never able to recover giving the Houston Dash a 2-0 win in the NWSL Challenge Cup Championship.
On a counterattack in the 4th minute, tournament MVP Rachel Daly sprung Kristie Mewis on the left flank. Mewis beat Red Stars Defender Kayla Sharples around the left corner causing Sharples to pull on Mewis’s shoulder bringing Mewis to the Rio Tinto Stadium turf. Sharples earned a yellow card for the foul and Houston earned an early penalty kick.
Sophie Schmidt stepped up to the spot and sent Red Stars Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher the wrong way giving Houston a 1-0 lead.
For the next 85 minutes, Houston was content to defend and the Red Stars were never able to find the equalizer. Despite a couple of great chances by Savannah McCaskill, Jane Campbell was up to the challenge.
Then in second half stoppage time, Houston doubled the lead when Shea Groom got in behind the pressing Chicago back line on a pass from Rachel Daly. Groom dribbled around Naeher about 30 yards from the goal and touched in with Sarah Gorden not quite able recover in time.
Final – Houston Dash 2 (Schmidt 5’ PK, Groom 90+1) – Chicago Red Stars 0
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