Short lifts Red Stars past Royals in NWSL’s Challenge Cup

Casey Short scored in the 85th minute and the Chicago Red Stars beat the Utah Royals 1-0 on Sunday night in the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup.

Short’s header off Savannah McCaskill’s cross gave the Red Stars their first win of the group stage at Zions Bank Stadium. U.S. national team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher got three saves in the shutout, and now has 11 saves in four Challenge Cup games.

The Royals rested their usual starters, including Amy Rodriguez and Vero Boquete.

Utah’s Taylor Leach was injured in a collision during the opening half and was replaced by Elizabeth Ball. Kelly O’Hara, who was coming off an injury and hadn’t played in the tournament, came in off the bench for the Royals in the 71st minute.

WATCH | Late goal pushes Red Stars past Royals FC:

Chicago Red Stars defeat Utah Royals FC 1-0 with Casey Short’s winner in the 8th minute. 1:04

The Red Stars subbed out starter Tierna Davidson, who was making her Challenger Cup debut, in the first half. Morgan Gautrat, formerly Morgan Brian, hurt her right knee at the end of the first half.

It was the final match of the group stage of the tournament for both teams.

Earlier in the day, the Washington Spirit beat the Houston Dash 1-0. That moved the Spirit into second in the tournament standings behind the North Carolina Courage.

The standings at the end of the group stage Monday will determine seeding for the quarterfinals. The field was reduced to eight teams when the Orlando Pride had to withdraw after several players tested positive for COVID-19.

WATCH | Naeher makes impressive diving stop:

Chicago Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher dives for a great stop on Utah Royals FC forward Arielle Ship.  0:47

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