Dash midfielder Sophie Schmidt (13) celebrates with Rachel Daly (3) after her first half penalty kick. (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
SANDY, Utah – SANDY, Utah — The Houston Dash scored early and late goals en route to the 2020 NWSL Challnege Cup championship Sunday.
Canadian international Sophie Schmidt converted an early penalty kick and Shea Groom scored in an empty net in stoppage time en route to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars at Rio Tinto Stadium Sunday.
Houston, which had never qualified for the NWSL playoffs and has no U.S. women’s national team players from its 2019 world championship side, earned its first title of any kind.
— NWSL (@NWSL) July 26, 2020
Schmidt powered her attempt into the right side of the goal while U.S. international goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher leaped the other way in vain in the fifth minute.
The PK was set up after Christie Mewis was pulled down by Kayla Sharples in the penalty area a minute prior.
Mewis, however, would not see the end of the match as she was forced from the field in the 29th minute after suffering a hamstring injury. She was replaced by Cece Kaiser.
With the Red Stars pushing up along with Naeher, Groom broke down the field and scored into an empty net 33 seconds into added time to seal the victory.
Groom was named MVP of the game.
Former St. John’s University standout Rachel Daly, who did not score, was awarded the Golden Boot as the the goal-scorer (three goals, two assists), to go along with her Cup MVP trophy.
Savannah McCaskill had Chicago’s two best opportunities. In the 15th minute, she sent a shot off the right post. In the 68th minute, McCaskill rifled a shot that goalkeeper Jane Campbell parried over the crossbar for a corner kick.
There were two hydration breaks in the match, in the 31st and 76th minutes.