The Houston Dash’s championship in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup was named the 2020 Houston Sports Moment of the Year by the Harris County / Houston Sports Authority this evening at the annual Houston Sports Awards gala.
On July 26, 2020 the Dash won the NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret, defeating the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 in the Challenge Cup Final at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. It was the first league title in team history and marked the first championship awarded in American professional sports following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dash entered the Challenge Cup as the biggest longshot in the league, with oddsmakers listing them at 200-1 to win the tournament. A record of 1-1-1 in the group stage earned Houston the fourth seed in the knockout rounds, where the team found its form. After conceding five goals in three group-stage contests, the Dash defense stiffened in the knockouts, posting three consecutive clean sheets en route to the title.
After defeating the tournament hosts, Utah Royals FC, on penalties in the quarterfinals, the Dash knocked off the Portland Thorns by a 1-0 scoreline to advance to the championship game.
In the Final, the Dash came out strong as midfielder Kristie Mewis won a penalty just five minutes in and midfielder Sophie Schmidt converted the spot kick for an early 1-0 advantage. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell made three crucial saves to keep her team in front throughout until midfielder Shea Groom put the game away with a goal in the 92nd minute.
Groom earned Most Valuable Player honors for the Final, while forward Rachel Daly was named Tournament MVP and won the Golden Boot with three goals and two assists in six games.