The 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup is almost upon us and the National Women’s Soccer League revealed the preliminary round schedule for the tournament, which will begin in late June and end in late July. The NWSL will also be the first professional league in the United States of America that will return to play since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The North Carolina Courage are set to kick off the preliminary round on June 27 against Portland Thorns FC, a team they have faced twice in the NWSL Championship. The team will then play the Houston Dash on July 1, the Orlando Pride on July 5 and then end the round against Utah Royals FC on July 12.
The Courage will look to once again dominate proceedings and can send out a signal to the rest of the league with an opening day win against the Thorns. The match should not be expected to be the highest of quality due to the lack of play all the players have had this year but the rivalry between the two teams means that players will be looking to play hard throughout the 90 minutes. The Courage then have a game against a Houston Dash side that will be an unknown quantity at this stage. The team has seen a lot of reshuffling and players trades so how the Dash will look to set up will not be known until they play their first match. The Pride are a team the NC Courage have had no trouble playing against in the past and that does not look like it could change at this tournament. While the Courage have remained a strong and deep team, Orlando have not shown that they are a better outfit than they were last season. This could be a big score win for the Courage. However, the last match the Courage play is against the Royals who have given North Carolina problems in the past. Utah have seemingly found a way to slow down the Courage attack but with the departure of Becky Sauerbrunn, the Courage may have an easier time of it this year against the Royals.
All the matches are set to be played at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah and should be available live on CBS All Access (in the United States and Canada) and the league’s Twitch channel (for international viewers). Matches are also set to be re-aired on the CBS Sports Network as well. The times for the preliminary round have not been announced yet but will be expected to be released over the coming weeks. The quarter finals will then play out over July 17 and July 18, the semi finals on July 22 and the final slated for July 26.
Challenge Cup schedule
NC Courage vs Portland Thorns FC | June 27 | CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, Twitch (international)
NC Courage vs Houston Dash | July 1 | CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, Twitch (international)
NC Courage vs Orlando Pride | July 5 | CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, Twitch (international)
NC Courage vs Utah Royals FC | July 12 | CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, Twitch (international)
Challenge Cup quarter finals | July 17-18 | CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, Twitch (international)
Challenge Cup semi finals | July 22 | CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, Twitch (international)
Challenge Cup final | July 26 | CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, Twitch (international)