NWSL Challenge Cup Final Preview: Will Dash Or Red Stars Claim Glory?

The moment we have all been waiting for over the past month is here: the NWSL Challenge Cup final. These extraordinary females have put their bodies through hell between a rushed preseason, playing four-to-six games with minimal recovery and playing in the Utah heat on turf. They have overcome injuries, rookie jitters and lack of contact with the outside world, but I am sure if you asked any of these athletes they would say it was 110 percent worth it. Especially those from the final two teams in the tournament. After six hard-fought games there is only one more game to get through and that is the final.

The final two to make it through are the Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars. Both teams were definitely not in fans' brackets to win the entire tournament, but they did show that underdogs can come out on top. 

NWSL Challenge Cup Final Preview

The Houston Dash faced the Portland Thorns in the semifinal round and proved to be the better team after a stunning Rachel Daly diving header goal. Her lone goal helped send the club to its first final of any kind with a 1-0 win. Despite the lack of goals in this tournament, Daly could not have picked a better moment to step up and find the back of the net in one of the most important games of the tournament. Not to mention this was the first time the Dash have beaten the Thorns in their last nine meetings. Their accomplishments have given them the respect they deserve. Although they still have work to do they are the team that knocked out the team that knocked out tournament favorite North Carolina Courage. No matter what happens Sunday, they can walk away knowing they exceeded everyones expectations. 

The Chicago Red Stars topped Sky Blue FC in their semifinal match. The Red Stars came out flying and scored back-to-back goals in the opening 11 minutes. They then continued their scoring fiasco in the second half when they buried their third goal of the game. Sky Blue answered back near the end of the game, but the Red Stars held their own to maintain a 3-2 win. By solidifying this win the Red Stars advanced to their second consecutive title match. They will look to erase last year’s memory of their 4-0 loss to the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL championship game.

The last time the Dash and Red Stars met the Red Stars won 2-1 on Houston’s home field. Despite Chicago’s experience in playing in an NWSL final, the Dash are hungry for a championship and showing the rest of the league that a little luck and hard work can take you a long way. 

As we start our countdown until game day we can only sit and wait to see who will be the better team.  I can’t wait to see who will be named champion and actually be able to watch the game on live TV.

Don’t miss it on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

Videos you might like