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Canadian Sophie Schmidt scores as Houston Dash win NWSL Challenge Cup

The Canadian midfielder scored an early penalty in a well-contested final

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Championship - Houston Dash v Chicago Red Stars Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Houston Dash won the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup on Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars.

Four Canadians started the match, with future national team star Bianca St. Georges in the lineup for Chicago and Nichelle Prince, Allysha Chapman and Sophie Schmidt all starting for Houston, alongside recently-crowned NWSL MVP and England star Rachel Daly.

Houston got off to a good start, as it was Schmidt who gave her team the lead from the spot just five minutes in. After Kristie Mewis was brought down in the box, Schmidt stepped up and confidently converted from 12 yards out.

Chicago immediately upped the pressure, and came within inches of equalizing in the 15th minute. After Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell pushed away a cross, Red Stars forward Savannah McCaskill headed the ball on goal, but it hit the post and was cleared away.

Chicago had a lot of the ball in the first half, but couldn’t break down the Houston defense, and the Dash entered the interval up 1-0.

Houston would double their lead late on, as Shea Groom scored in the final moments of the match. After a perfect pass from Rachel Daly, Groom pushed the ball forward, ran around the rushing Chicago goalkeeper, and slotted the ball into the empty net, sealing the title for the Dash.

The assist for Daly secured the Golden Boot for her as well, with her second assist of the tournament helping her beat Lynn Williams on the assists tiebreaker.

They’d hold down the fort for the final few minutes, securing the victory and winning the NWSL Challenge Cup. It is the first trophy of any kind for the Dash, who have been in the NWSL since the 2014 season.