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The Dash’s road to the NWSL Challenge Cup title started from the back

Photo Copyright Lucas Muller

James Clarkson summed it up succinctly as he sat at the podium drenched in Budweiser after the Houston Dash defeated the Chicago Red Stars, 2-0 to win the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup on Sunday. The Dash were the only team in the tournament to consistently start a center-back pairing comprised of two players acquired in the offseason.

“We brought those two center backs in, Meg and Katie, for a specific reason,” the Dash head coach said. “We conceded too many goals last year and we needed to get better.”

Meg and Katie, of course, are Oyster and Naughton, respectively. They were acquired in separate trades over the winter, with Oyster coming from OL Reign and Naughton from, of all teams, the Red Stars. They made an excellent pairing throughout the Challenge Cup, with Ally Prisock making an appearance in the semifinal when Oyster was forced out with fractured ribs — which she played through in the final.

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