Today’s the day.
After twenty-two games and two very different journeys this summer, the Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars face off on CBS in the NWSL Challenge Cup Championship.
For the surging Houston Dash, today marks the end of a phenomenal run of form in Utah which has seen them “shock the world” and outlast other presumed tournament favorites. With Rachel Daly leading a revitalized attack and the likes of Jane Campbell and Allysha Chapman combining for three shutouts of the club’s seven games, the Dash are one step away from glory in “the biggest game in club history,” according to head coach James Clarkson.
Clarkson made the case for his side as a must-watch during this weekend’s nationally-televised tournament final.
“I think everybody loves an underdog,” Clarkson said. “When you see the players – on and off the field – you see that they genuinely care. That radiates off the TV, and there’s a fight about them. A commitment, a determination. I’m sure that will be shown like it has been. When they all put it together with the intensity and desire to win, it’s inspiring – to the staff, to everyone involved with the team, and certainly to everyone back home in Houston.”
The Red Stars, alternatively, reached their second consecutive final with a breakout performance of their own in a thrilling 3-2 victory against Sky Blue FC. Chicago only scored two goals the entire summer before an outburst in the semifinal with three goals – a change that one of their goalscorers credits to chemistry finally coming together.
“We’re building at the right time,” Red Stars forward Savannah McCaskill said. “Our movements in the final third are starting to click, and we’re really starting to learn each other. It’s hard to develop those relationships in a very short time. You usually have eight months to build to a moment like this, build up to a final. Everyone’s done a really good job. Scoring three goals on Sky Blue has given us some great momentum going into tomorrow.”
In addition to being nationally televised in the United States, the NWSL Challenge Cup Championship will also be broadcast on CBS All Access, with fans outside of North America being able to stream the match on Twitch.