The Chicago Red Stars take on the Houston Dash as they play in their second successive National Women’s Soccer League title game for the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup crown Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
For the second straight season and the second time in team history, the Red Stars will play in the NWSL championship. They made their first appearance in the league’s yearly finale last season, and find themselves back in a championship game. The Red Stars join only the Portland Thorns (2013, 2017, 2018) and North Carolina Courage (2017-19) as the only active NWSL teams to appear in multiple championship matches and to do so in consecutive years.
The final on CBS features two of the league’s best goalkeepers. Houston’s Jane Campbell ranks third in saves with 17 and has kept three clean sheets. She made several key stops against Utah in the quarterfinals. Finishing ahead of Campbell in saves is Chicago’s Alyssa Naeher. The U.S. women’s national team keeper has made 18 saves in five games played.
Houston and Chicago feature a pair of talented Canadian players.
The Dash’s Nichelle Prince was selected by Houston in the 2017 NWSL College Draft. She was named to Canada’s 2019 Women’s World Cup roster before an injury suffered at the tournament cut her last season short. She made her return during the Challenge Cup, becoming a key player.
Similar to Prince, Chicago’s Bianca St. Georges had an injury that kept her out of action for the 2019 season. Her first professional minutes came in the Challenge Cup, in she has made four starts, including the semifinal against Sky Blue FC. St.Georges scored her first professional goal in Wednesday’s semifinal and recorded the assist on the game-winner.
The Red Stars scored three goals as Bianca St. Georges, Rachel Hill and Savannah McCaskill propelled Chicago to its second league championship game in as many years with a 3-2 win over Sky Blue FC.
Tournament MVP Rachel Daly scored the lone goal in the game as the Dash advanced to the championship with a 1-0 victory over Portland Thorns FC.
Houston made several acquisitions during the offseason, the most notable coming via trade with its championship opponents. The Dash acquired Katie Naughton and the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft from the Red Stars in exchange for Kealia Watt.
The Dash also struck a deal with Utah Royals FC, acquiring Katie Stengel and the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 draft. Houston used the acquired picks to draft forwards Bridgette Andrzejewski (18th) from the University of North Carolina and Chloe Castaneda (22nd) from UCLA. In free agency, the Dash would acquire Maegan Kelly from Italy’s Florentia, Brianna Visalli from England’s Birmingham City, Megan Crosson, and Amanda Dennis. Houston would also acquire Erin Simon through a transfer with England’s West Ham United.