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Dash drop Challenge Cup Opener to Red Stars 3-1

Katie Naughton gave Houston an early lead but the hosts were unable to hold on.

NWSL: Chicago Red Stars at Houston Dash Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dash faced the Chicago Red Stars in the first game of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup for both teams on Sunday evening at PNC Stadium. Things got off to a good start for Houston, but then took a big turn downhill.

Katie Naughton and the Dash would strike first. Chicago’s Bianca St. Georges was issued a yellow card in the 18th minute after some great skill moves by Maria Sanchez, setting up a free kick. Rachel Daly’s free kick was whipped in to the box and Katie Naughton applied the finishing touch to give Houston the lead in the 19th minute.

The Red Stars would tie the match in the 27th minute with a goal by Mal Pugh. 1-1 was the halftime score as the teams went into the break even.

It was nothing but even in the second half as everything seemed to work in Chicago’s favor. Arin Wright converted a controversial penalty kick in the 57th minute to give the Red Stars the lead, and two minutes later, Mal Pugh would score another one in to make it 3-1 Chicago. That would be the final score after 90 minutes.

The Dash take on Racing Louisville in their next NWSL Challenge Cup, that match on Friday in Kentucky. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 PM CT. Houston’s next home match will be against the Kansas City Current on March 30 at 7:30 PM CT at PNC Stadium.