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The NWSL Challenge Cup Prepares Us for the Regular Season

The NWSL Challenge Cup is well underway, and is a perfect precursor to what should be a competitive regular season.

NWSL by Jamie Smed is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The NWSL Challenge Cup Prepares Us for the Regular Season

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

The NWSL Challenge Cup is well into the group stages at this point, and with two new clubs entering the league this year, it’s proving that the competition is growing. The group stages are organized by region, seeing all West Coast teams, East Coast teams, and Central teams competing in their respective groups. They will continue playing teams within their own groups until Sunday, April 24th, when we will then know which four teams will compete in the semifinals on May 4th. The final will then be played on Saturday, May 7th.

Group A

Group A consists of the Eastern teams. Typical Eastern elite, am I right? North Carolina Courage are top of the group and likely to finish that way. Orlando Pride went from being the darlings of the NWSL roster-wise, to the bottom of this group, and it doesn’t look great for them this year. The Washington Spirit and NJ/NY Gotham will be looking to unseat North Carolina, but that is going to be difficult.

USWNT newcomer Trinity Rodman looks to help the Spirit overcome the Courage. Meanwhile, Gotham has mainstays such as Kristie Mewis, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris attempting to take them to the promised land.

Group B

The West Coast teams fall into two subregional categories – the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. Up until this season, OL Reign and Portland Thorns FC were the league’s two western clubs. Both are talented and mirror the fierce rivalry that exists with their MLS counterparts. But in SoCal, there are two new kids in town. Christen Press is leading a staggering Angel City FC onto the pitch while Alex Morgan and Abby Dahlkemper look to make San Diego Wave FC the darlings of NWSL. The Cali clubs are getting off to a rough start, but will ultimately come into their own.

Group C

The final Challenge Cup group sees the Central timezone well represented. Houston Dash are struggling at the bottom, but it wouldn’t be impossible for them to take the group. Only four points separate Chicago Red Stars and Kansas City Current from Houston. Racing Louisville has found itself smack dab in the middle.

How to watch

If you’re not already watching the NWSL Challenge Cup, you should be. For so long people have spoken about how the USWNT far outperforms the USMNT, so it’s about time we get behind their domestic league as well. The Challenge Cup can be seen on Paramount Plus, and some matches are even showing on CBS proper.

If you don’t have an NWSL club that you follow just yet, now is the time to get on the wagon.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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