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NWSL Challenge Cup: How to watch, TV, matches

The Reign aren’t playing this weekend, but there are plenty of enticing matchups.

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Championship - Houston Dash v Chicago Red Stars Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It has been 175 days since we’ve had NWSL soccer, but that wait ends on Friday when the first two matches of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup kick off. OL Reign have a bye for the first week of tournament action, but there are still plenty of enticing matchups over the weekend.

Tournament Details

For viewers in the U.S. and Canada, one game per week will feature on CBS Sports Network, while all other games will stream on Paramount+ (formerly known as CBS All Access). International viewers can continue to catch all of the games for free on Twitch.

After a successful tournament in 2020, the NWSL scheduled this year’s Challenge Cup ahead of their full regular season. The tournament runs from April 9 - May 8. The 10 teams in the league are broken into two groups: West and East. OL Reign will be in a group with the four other “western” teams – Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, and Portland. The winner of the West division will face the winner of the East division in the Challenge Cup final on Saturday, May 9 at 10 AM PT on CBS.

What to Watch

The first two weeks of the tournament fall during a FIFA International window, so most teams will be without a number of key players.

The tournament kicks off with a re-match of the 2020 Challenge Cup final between the Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars. Then, OL Reign’s Cascadia rivals, the Portland Thorns, will face off against KC NWSL — the team formerly known as the Utah Royals, which was formerly known as FC Kansas City. Both teams have depleted rosters due to injuries and national team duty, so depth will be put to the test early.

On Saturday, perennial powerhouse North Carolina takes on the Washington Spirit, a side that’s added a lot of talent in recent years. The weekend concludes with NWSL newcomer Racing Louisville hosting the Orlando Pride, who will be hungry to prove themselves after missing last year’s Challenge Cup due to positive COVID-19 cases.

How to Watch

Houston Dash v. Chicago Red Stars

Date/Time: Friday, April 9, 5:30 PM PT
Location: BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
TV: CBS Sports Network (US/Canada)
Streaming: CBS Sports Network (US/Canada), Twitch (international)

  • Dash Injury / International Duty Report - OUT: Zandy Soree (Left Ankle); QUESTIONABLE: Cami Privett (Back); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Jane Campbell (USA), Allysha Chapman (CAN), Rachel Daly (ENG), Kristie Mewis (USA), Nichelle Prince (CAN), Sophie Schmidt (CAN)
  • Red Stars Injury / International Duty Report - OUT: Emily Boyd (Right Knee), Alyssa Mautz (Left Foot), Mallory Pugh (Left Hamstring), Bianca St. George (Right Knee); QUESTIONABLE: Rachel Hill (Left Quad); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Tierna Davidson (USA), Julie Ertz (USA), Alyssa Naeher (USA)

Portland Thorns v. KC NWSL

Date/Time: Friday, April 9, 7:30 PM PT
Location: Providence Park, Portland, OR
Streaming: Paramount+ (US/Canada), Twitch (international)

  • Portland Injury / International Duty Report: QUESTIONABLE: Shelby Hogan (Left Hand), Emily Menges (Right Foot); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Crystal Dunn (USA), Lindsey Horan (USA), Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), Christine Sinclair (CAN), Sophia Smith (USA)
  • KC Injury / International Duty Report: OUT: Arielle Ship (Left Lower Leg), Jaycie Johnson (Right Thigh), Darian Jenkins (Left Thigh), Elizabeth Ball (Right Lower Leg); QUESTIONABLE: Katie Bowen (Right Lower Leg), Lo’eau Labonta (Right Thigh); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Mariana Larroquette (ARG), Jordyn Listro (CAN), Desiree Scott (CAN)

North Carolina Courage v. Washington Spirit

Date/Time: Saturday, April 10, 12:30 PM PT
Location: WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC
Streaming: Paramount+ (US/Canada), Twitch (international)

  • Courage Injury / International Duty Report - QUESTIONABLE: Abby Erceg (Low Back); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Lindsay Agnew (CAN), Diane Caldwell (IRE), Casey Murphy (USA), Denise O’Sullivan (IRE), Lynn Williams (USA)
  • Spirit Injury / International Duty Report - OUT: Averie Collins (ACL); QUESTIONABLE: Jordan DiBiasi (Right Hip), Bayley Feist (Right Knee), Sam Staab (Hip); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Kelley O’Hara (USA), Emily Sonnett (USA), Mariana Speckmaier (VEN), Andi Sullivan (USA), Saori Takarada (JPN)

Racing Louisville v. Orlando Pride

Date/Time: Saturday, April 10, 4 PM PT
Location: Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville, KY
Streaming: Paramount+ (US/Canada), Twitch (international)

  • Louisville Injury / International Duty Report - OUT: Addisyn Merrick (Back), Cheyna Matthews (Pregnancy); QUESTIONABLE: Julia Ashley (Left Leg), Emina Ekic (Hip), Cece Kizer (Left Leg), Taylor Otto (Left Leg), Lauren Milliet (Right Knee)
  • Orlando Injury / International Duty Report - OUT: Crystal Thomas (Right Hamstring); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Gunny Jonsdottir (ISL), Erin McLeod (CAN), Alex Morgan (USA)

Join the Discussion

This is your week 1 NWSL Challenge Cup gamethread. Watch and discuss the action with us.

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