Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly (left) celebrates her second-half goal. (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
SANDY, Utah – Former St. John’s University standout Rachel Daly scored in the 69th minute to boost the he Houston Dash to a 1-0 victory over the Portland Thorns in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup at Rio Tinto Stadium Wednesday.
The Dash advanced to the first final in team history.
After creating multiple chances over the first hour, the Dash finally broke through in the 69th minute when Daly headed the ball into the back of the net off of a corner kick. Midfielder Kristie Mewis lofted the corner, Houston’s fifth of the match, to the back post and midfielder Sophie Schmidt headed it on goal. Schmidt’s shot caromed off the crossbar, igniting a scramble for the loose ball with Daly reacting the quickest.
The goal snapped a 376-minute scoreless drought for the Dash, although more importantly it gave Houston the margin it needed to move on to Sunday’s NWSL Challenge Cup final.
The Dash will meet the Chicago Red Stars, who defeated Sky Blue FC in the other semifinal, 3-2.
It will mark the first appearance in a final in Dash history.
Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell made a routine, but massive, save in the 93rd minute when she collected a header from forward Tyler Lussi. Campbell came up big a minute later, racing off her line to smother a 50-50 ball before forward Morgan Weaver could get onto the end of it.
Campbell was credited with three saves. She and the Dash back line kept a clean sheet for the third time in six games.