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2021 NWSL Challenge Cup opens with a Dash-Red Stars dud

Photo Copyright Lucas Muller

It’s something of an opening-day tradition in the National Women’s Soccer League for the Chicago Red Stars to visit the Houston Dash. That was the fixture to open the regular season in both 2017 and 2018, and it produced a pair of exciting matches with some very good goals.

None of those things were evident on Friday, when the Red Stars visited Houston once again, this time to open the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup rather than the regular season. The two teams played to a scoreless draw in what was largely a dud of a game which was absent a slew of top players due to international duty.

The rematch of the 2020 Challenge Cup final set up similarly to that game from last July, one which saw the Dash lift their first trophy, but it lacked the execution of a late-tournament game and the necessary risk-taking of a final. Friday’s rematch was, understandably, a choppy and timid affair.

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