Houston Dash squeeze past Utah Royals on penalties to reach NWSL Challenge Cup semi-finals

Both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances in a tight quarter-final
Both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances in a tight quarter-final - (Copyright SIPA USA/PA Images)
12:20pm, Sat 18 Jul 2020
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Carolyn Jane Campbell saved the crucial spot kick to send Houston Dash through to the semi-finals of the NWSL Challenge Cup on penalties at the expense of the Utah Royals.

Houston’s Nichelle Patrice Prince came closest to breaking the deadlock in normal time when her curling effort hit the post seven minutes before half-time.

Houston failed to find a way to break the deadlock in normal time - (Copyright SIPA USA/PA Images)

Both sides tested the opposition keepers but could not find a way through and the game went to penalties.

And it was Campbell who proved to be the hero as she thwarted Utah with several fine stops to send Houston into the final four.

Houston will now face Portland Thorns on Wednesday for a place in next Sunday’s final.

Meanwhile, Utah head coach Craig Harrington was magnanimous in defeat as he paid tribute to his players’ performance.

He told RSL Communications: "Proud of the team, I thought performance wise we really didn’t have a disaster of a performance through the tournament, I thought that we were pretty steady, a lot of improvements today. 

"The goal was to keep a clean sheet and we did that, and we thought that if we did that we would find a way to score, it didn’t go that way, but overall for everyone to contribute the way that they have on and off the field. 

"We’ve got some real tired legs now, so hopefully some much deserved rest for them and hopefully time to regroup, and we’ll go back as a coaching staff and see what we have to do to get better."

The other two quarter-finals on Saturday see OL Reign take on Chicago Red Stars and Washington Spirit face Sky Blue FC.

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