NWSL Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars rematch for 2021 Challenge Cup Opening


Mimi Castellanos / El Paisano Media

While Houston Dash based in Houston, Texas has been in the NWSL since 2014, Chicago Red Stars based in Bridgeview, Illinois have been in the NWSL since 2013.

NWSL Challenge Cup 2021 begins with Houston Dash versus Chicago Red Stars. With a rematch from last year’s final, Chicago Red Stars go up against 2020 Challenge Cup Champions. Because of international call-ups and injuries, the rosters shift quite a bit. While the Red Stars are missing Julie Ertz, Tierna Davidson, Dash will also have some of their own gone. Rachel Daly, Jane Campbell and three others are missing from international call-ups.

Dash vs. The Stars

As the game begins, both teams struggle to keep momentum within their team. With many mistouches and disconnection between passes, the ball kept at a 50/50 control. Although Houston has about 53 percent of possession throughout the first half, Red Stars took almost every opportunity to goal. With good pressure, Chicago controlled the midfield but Houston dash solid defense backups to block any dangerous plays. During the second half, the Red Stars took opportunities to switch to an attacking lineup with a 4-5-1. Keeping constant high pressure, Chicago still pushed for opportunities on target, yet none availed. As Houston continued to play defensively and Chicago offensive, the two teams ended the game with a 0-0 tie for the opening of the Challenge Cup of 2021.


Viewing Houston Dash missing their first-string keeper Campbell, it was crucial for them to have a solid defense. Without top national players, Ally Prisock, Katie Naughton and others filled in place to create a stable defense line. While figuring out their back line, Chicago red stars also need to be quick in building a solid lineup. Lack in defense, they instead took an offensive approach to solidify their midfield. Bringing plyers Danielle Colaprico and Vanessa DiBernardo, they both have decent vision and midfielder mentality to stabilizer their offense. Playing for five years with the Red Stars, both players have been consistent starters within their team. With the multiple adjustments both teams made, it was a different sight to see without the usual star players.


While building for success, the NWSL continues their preseason with Orlando Pride versus Sky FC Wednesday, April 14 on CBSSN.