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OL Reign unveil Challenge Cup schedule

The tournament opens at Lumen Field against the Portland Thorns.

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MikeRussellFoto / Sounder at Heart

The NWSL released the 2022 Challenge Cup schedule, which includes three home matches for OL Reign at their new home, Lumen Field. The preseason tournament — now in its second year of this format — runs from March 18 to May 7, with the regular season kicking off shortly after.

The 2022 Challenge Cup features three regional groups of four teams. OL Reign has been placed into the West region along with Portland Thorns FC and the two 2022 expansion teams, Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC. The groups will compete in double round-robin matches ahead of the semifinal round on May 4 and the NWSL Challenge Cup Final on Saturday, May 7.

OL Reign will kick off its tournament with a rivalry match against the Portland Thorns at Lumen Field. That home opener will be Friday, March 18 at 7 PM PT. Other home matches include a game against San Diego at 7 PM PT on Thursday, April 14, and again on Sunday, April 17, against Angel City FC. All matches are included in OL Reign’s season ticket package, with single-match tickets for the Challenge Cup now available. The Reign are also selling a Challenge Cup mini-pack that includes all three games for as low as $45.

The Reign will also play three Challenge Cup group-stage matches on the road against their West region opponents. They’ll head to Titan Stadium at California State Fullerton to take on Angel City FC on Saturday, March 26, and will then head to Providence Park in Portland for a match against the Thorns on Saturday, April 2. OL Reign’s group stage concludes against San Diego at Torero Stadium on Saturday, April 23.

“I’m really looking forward to Challenge Cup,” OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey said. “I’m glad that it’s regionalized and that our travel isn’t huge. I think it’ll be a good opportunity for us to see where we are at in regard to our roster in preparation for the regular season.”

Harvey shared in a recent podcast conversation with Ride of the Valkyries that she expects to give young players a lot of minutes in the Challenge Cup — providing them with a real chance to demonstrate their skills and value to the team. After coming in halfway through the season last year, Harvey was in “win-now” mode and had to help the club crawl their way back into playoff position. That, Harvey conceded, meant sticking with a consistent lineup after the wins started to come, which in turn meant less time for some of the younger players.

Expect to see players like Angelina, Ally Watt, Sam Hiatt, and Tziarra King — along with some of the new signings and goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce — get significant time in this tournament.

The top team from each group will advance to the semifinal, along with the highest-placing 2nd place finisher out of the three groups. If teams are even on points, the tiebreaker will first be goal differential, then goals scored, and then a series of other factors that can be found in the Challenge Cup rules.

While CBS and Paramount+ remain the league’s broadcast partner in 2022, specific details regarding the broadcast schedule for the tournament are forthcoming. The full regular-season schedule is expected to be released sometime in February.

Full OL Reign 2022 Challenge Cup schedule

OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns FC
Friday, March 18 / 7 PM PT
Lumen Field / Seattle, WA

Angel City FC vs. OL Reign
Saturday, March 26 / 1 PM PT
Titan Stadium at California State Fullerton / Fullerton, CA

Portland Thorns FC vs. OL Reign
Saturday, April 2 / 7 PM PT
Providence Park / Portland, OR

OL Reign vs. San Diego Wave FC
Thursday, April 14 / 7 PM PT
Lumen Field / Seattle, WA

OL Reign vs. Angel City FC
Sunday, April 17 / 4 PM 3 PM PT (update Mar 1: changed to 3 PM for TV scheduling)
Lumen Field / Seattle, WA

San Diego Wave FC vs. OL Reign
Sunday, April 23 / 7 PM PT
Torero Stadium / San Diego, CA

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