XI games to circle on the 2021 NWSL regular-season schedule – Equalizer Soccer



Photo Copyright Valerie Terranova for The Equalizer

The National Women’s Soccer League schedule is finally here. The regular season one, that is. A year after the 2020 season was cancelled in favor of the Challenge Cup and Fall Series, 2021 will be the busiest year yet for NWSL squads. The 24-match schedule kicks off May 15 and that will be after everyone has played at least four times already in the Challenge Cup. The Thorns, and whoever wins the East, will have played five times after they meet in the May 8 final.

We have scanned the schedule and picked out 11 games of interest that you might want to circle on your calendars.

I – May 15 (5 p.m. ET): Racing Louisville FC vs. Kansas City

This is the first regular-season game for both teams and it kicks off the new season at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville. Both teams are already eliminated from contending for the Challenge Cup so they are free to throw their efforts and resources toward starting their regular season on a high note. Both teams are also winless with one more Cup match to go so it is possible they will each be trying to secure their first wins of any kind.

II – May 15 (7 p.m. ET): Gotham FC vs. Houston Dash

At long last, Gotham FC will host a match at Red Bull Arena, and they will be able to call it home. The club first played two matches there as Sky Blue FC in 2019 and eventually announced a permanent move to the home of MLS’ Red Bulls. But the pandemic scuttled 2020 and Fall Series matches were hosted at Montclair State University, as were 2021 Challenge Cup matches. For the regular season, all 12 Gotham home matches are listed at Red Bull Arena. Gotham are also off to a hot start in 2021. Wouldn’t it be something if this were a battle between the first two Challenge Cup winners?

III – May 26 (8 p.m. ET): Kansas City vs. Chicago Red Stars

The Midwest Melee returns to the regular-season schedule and serves as Kansas City’s first home match at Legends Field. Both teams enter the final week of Challenge Cup play without a win, so it will be interesting to see where each is when this one rolls around on the last Wednesday in May. Yes, KC’s first home match is on a Wednesday night after having their Challenge Cup home opener on a Monday. It is also one of three matches on the night, all with overlapping start times. That never sits well with the NWSL faithful.

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IV – June 5 (3 p.m. ET): Chicago Red Stars vs. North Carolina Courage

It wasn’t much of a match, and it will be more than 19 months in arrears by the time this one kicks off, but these are the teams that opposed each other in the most recent NWSL Championship. Recent history has shown the Red Stars to be an annoyance to the Courage in the regular season but the last three Red Stars playoff runs have ended at the hands of the Courage. The teams last met in the Challenge Cup last July, a 1-0 Courage win.

V – June 20 (3 p.m. ET): Portland Thorns FC vs. Kansas City

When they met in the Challenge Cup opener, things got a bit testy at the end to the point that punches were thrown and four red cards were shown, all from the 89th minute onward. Will bad blood linger between the sides or was that a random show of frustration at the end of a long match? When Kansas City was last in the league, there was a decent rivalry with the Thorns — against whom FC Kansas City hosted the first match in league history. They proceeded to dump each other out of the playoffs each of the first two seasons.

The Thorns are back, and they want to win everything

VI – July 2 (7 p.m. ET): Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars

Friday night at Segra Field. The Red Stars boast one of the top defenses in the NWSL. The Spirit boast teen sensation Trinity Rodman. This should be a fun way to kick off the holiday weekend in the nation’s capital. Rarely spoken of as a top NWSL rivalry, these sides have had some memorable matches of the years.

VII – July 4 (6 p.m. ET): Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage

If 4th of July soccer is your thing, perhaps the Pride and Courage can offer some fireworks in the only match of the day this year. Their Fall Series match in 2020 was one of the year’s more interesting when the Pride somehow conceded twice in first-half stoppage time to go down 3-0 only to rally to draw the match in second-half stoppage time. A year ago on July 4, a fireworks show could be seen in the distance while the Dash beat the Reign at Zions Bank Stadium in Utah.

VIII – August 7 (7 p.m. ET): Gotham FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Who that watched these teams slug it out last week in the Challenge Cup doesn’t want to see them do it again? We’ll have to wait a good while to see it as they meet here in New Jersey and then Oct. 17 in North Carolina. The Olympic gold medal will be handed out one day before this match. Will the country be celebrating another U.S. gold or lamenting another Olympic flop?

Restoring the Pride: Inside Orlando’s extreme makeover

IX – August 29 (7 p.m. ET): OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns FC

Not sure who the Reign ticked off on the scheduling committee but this is the only time they will host the Thorns in 2021 against three trips south to the Rose City, including last week’s Challenge Cup match. At least this one is on a date when the players should be back from the Olympics. The Reign will also be looking to turn the tide a bit, having failed to defeat the Thorns in four tries since Vlatko Andonovski left following their season sweep in 2019.

X – Sept. 12 (6 p.m. ET): North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

There have not been many dramatic returns to old haunts for NWSL players who have moved around the league, but Crystal Dunn’s first game back in North Carolina seems particularly poignant. Dunn’s arrival in The Triangle transformed the Courage from mere contenders to an unstoppable force. Her departure three years later was at her request. It was strictly for personal reasons, she said, but Dunn will still return wearing the jersey of the Courage’s top rival. The Thorns also visit North Carolina on June 26 but Dunn is likely to be away with the national team for that one.

XI – Oct. 31: Gotham FC vs. Louisville and Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash

Will it be trick-or-treat on the final day of the regular season and the latest non-playoff matches ever staged by the NWSL? Dueling afternoon games on Halloween is hardly good for the family-oriented fan base the NWSL so covets, but maybe some playoff ramifications or a hot Golden Boot race will up the ante a bit ahead of the expanded November playoffs.

Full schedule

Below is the full schedule, as released by the NWSL on Tuesday, so that you can plan and bookmark the page. TV information is still to follow and, as always, schedules change. Check the league site for updates throughout the year.

DATE 

5/15/2021

5/15/2021

5/15/2021

5/16/2021

5/16/2021

5/21/2021

5/22/2021

5/22/2021

5/23/2021

5/23/2021

5/26/2021

5/26/2021

5/26/2021

5/28/2021

5/29/2021

5/30/2021

5/30/2021

5/30/2021

6/5/2021

6/5/2021

6/5/2021

6/6/2021

6/6/2021

6/19/2021

6/19/2021

6/20/2021

6/20/2021

6/20/2021

6/22/2021

6/23/2021

6/23/2021

6/26/2021

6/26/2021

6/26/2021

6/26/2021

6/26/2021

7/2/2021

7/2/2021

7/2/2021

7/3/2021

7/4/2021

7/9/2021

7/10/2021

7/11/2021

7/11/2021

7/11/2021

7/17/2021

7/18/2021

7/18/2021

7/18/2021

7/23/2021

7/24/2021

7/24/2021

7/25/2021

7/25/2021

7/31/2021

7/31/2021

8/1/2021

8/1/2021

8/1/2021

8/7/2021

8/7/2021

8/7/2021

8/8/2021

8/8/2021

8/13/2021

8/14/2021

8/14/2021

8/15/2021

8/15/2021

8/18/2021

8/21/2021

8/21/2021

8/22/2021

8/25/2021

8/25/2021

8/28/2021

8/29/2021

8/29/2021

8/29/2021

8/29/2021

9/1/2021

9/4/2021

9/4/2021

9/4/2021

9/5/2021

9/5/2021

9/10/2021

9/10/2021

9/11/2021

9/12/2021

9/12/2021

9/25/2021

9/25/2021

9/26/2021

9/26/2021

9/26/2021

10/1/2021

10/1/2021

10/2/2021

10/2/2021

10/2/2021

10/6/2021

10/6/2021

10/6/2021

10/9/2021

10/9/2021

10/9/2021

10/10/2021

10/10/2021

10/16/2021

10/16/2021

10/16/2021

10/17/2021

10/17/2021

10/29/2021

10/30/2021

10/30/2021

10/31/2021

10/31/2021

TIME (ET) 

5:00 PM

7:00 PM

10:00 PM

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:30 PM

7:00 PM

8:00 PM

7:00 PM

10:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:30 PM

8:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:30 PM

3:00 PM

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

3:00 PM

7:00 PM

10:30 PM

2:00 PM

2:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:00 PM

3:00 PM

3:00 PM

6:00 PM

10:00 PM

2:00 PM

7:30 PM

2:00 PM

4:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:30 PM

8:30 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:30 PM

7:30 PM

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

3:00 PM

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

5:00 PM

6:00 PM

10:30 PM

8:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:30 PM

3:00 PM

5:00 PM

7:00 PM

10:00 PM

3:00 PM

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

10:00 PM

3:00 PM

6:00 PM

8:30 PM

7:00 PM

8:00 PM

5:00 PM

6:00 PM

7:30 PM

7:00 PM

10:00 PM

5:00 PM

8:00 PM

10:30 PM

8:00 PM

5:00 PM

5:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:30 PM

10:30 PM

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:00 PM

8:30 PM

7:00 PM

5:00 PM

6:00 PM

3:00 PM

8:00 PM

3:00 PM

5:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:30 PM

8:00 PM

8:00 PM

10:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

10:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:30 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:30 PM

8:00 PM

10:00 PM

2:00 PM

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

8:00 PM

10:00 PM

2:00 PM

2:00 PM

VENUE 

Lynn Family Stadium

Red Bull Arena

Cheney Stadium

Exploria Stadium

Providence Park

Lynn Family Stadium

Sahlen’s Stadium

SeatGeek Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Providence Park

Exploria Stadium

Segra Field

Legends Field

Sahlen’s Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Red Bull Arena

Exploria Stadium

Cheney Stadium

SeatGeek Stadium

Red Bull Arena

Providence Park

Legends Field

Audi Field

Sahlen’s Stadium

SeatGeek Stadium

Providence Park

Lynn Family Stadium

Exploria Stadium

Cheney Stadium

Legends Field

Lynn Family Stadium

SeatGeek Stadium

Cheney Stadium

Sahlen’s Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Legends Field

Red Bull Arena

Segra Field

BBVA Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium

Exploria Stadium

Exploria Stadium

Audi Field

Providence Park

SeatGeek Stadium

Cheney Stadium

Sahlen’s Stadium

Segra Field

SeatGeek Stadium

Providence Park

Legends Field

Exploria Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium

Red Bull Arena

Sahlen’s Stadium

Cheney Stadium

Providence Park

SeatGeek Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Red Bull Arena

Segra Field

Cheney Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium

SeatGeek Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Exploria Stadium

Legends Field

Red Bull Arena

Sahlen’s Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium

Sahlen’s Stadium

Cheney Stadium

Audi Field

Legends Fields

Providence Park

SeatGeek Stadium

Audi Field

Red Bull Arena

BBVA Stadium

Cheney Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Red Bull Arena

Lynn Family Stadium

Providence Park

Exploria Stadium

Legends Field

Legends Field

BBVA Stadium

Exploria Stadium

Audi Field

Sahlen’s Stadium

RedBull Arena

SeatGeek Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium

Segra Field

Cheney Stadium

Sahlen’s Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium

SeatGeek Stadium

Legends Field

Providence Park

Sahlen’s Stadium

Red Bull Arena

Providence Park

Exploria Stadium

Audi Field

BBVA Stadium

Legends Field

Cheney Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium

SeatGeek Stadium

Cheney Stadium

Sahlen’s Stadium

BBVA Stadium

Exploria Stadium

Legends Field

Providence Park

Red Bull Arena

Audi Field

HOME 

Racing Louisville FC

NJ/NY Gotham FC

OL Reign

Orlando Pride

Portland Thorns FC

Racing Louisville FC

NC Courage

Chicago Red Stars

Houston Dash

Portland Thorns FC

Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit

Kansas City

NC Courage

Houston Dash

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Orlando Pride

OL Reign

Chicago Red Stars

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Portland Thorns FC

Kansas City

Washington Spirit

NC Courage

Chicago Red Stars

Portland Thorns FC

Racing Louisville FC

Orlando Pride

OL Reign

Kansas City

Racing Louisville FC

Chicago Red Stars

OL Reign

NC Courage

Houston Dash

Kansas City

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Washington Spirit

Houston Dash

Racing Louisville FC

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit

Portland Thorns FC

Chicago Red Stars

OL Reign

NC Courage

Washington Spirit

Chicago Red Stars

Portland Thorns FC

Kansas City

Orlando Pride

Houston Dash

Racing Louisville FC

NJ/NY Gotham FC

NC Courage

OL Reign

Portland Thorns FC

Chicago Red Stars

Houston Dash

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Washington Spirit

OL Reign

Racing Louisville FC

Chicago Red Stars

Houston Dash

Orlando Pride

Kansas City

NJ/NY Gotham FC

NC Courage

Racing Louisville FC

NC Courage

OL Reign

Washington Spirit

Kansas City

Portland Thorns FC

Chicago Red Stars

Washington Spirit

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Houston Dash

OL Reign

Houston Dash

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Racing Louisville FC

Portland Thorns FC

Orlando Pride

Kansas City

Kansas City

Houston Dash

Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit

NC Courage

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Chicago Red Stars

Racing Louisville FC

Washington Spirit

OL Reign

NC Courage

Racing Louisville FC

Chicago Red Stars

Kansas City

Portland Thorns FC

NC Courage

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Portland Thorns FC

Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit

Houston Dash

Kansas City

OL Reign

Racing Louisville FC

Chicago Red Stars

OL Reign

NC Courage

Houston Dash

Orlando Pride

Kansas City

Portland Thorns FC

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Washington Spirit

AWAY 

Kansas City

Houston Dash

NC Courage

Washington Spirit

Chicago Red Stars

Washington Spirit

Orlando Pride

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Kansas City

OL Reign

Portland Thorns FC

Houston Dash

Chicago Red Stars

Racing Louisville FC

Chicago Red Stars

Portland Thorns FC

Kansas City

Washington Spirit

NC Courage

OL Reign

Racing Louisville FC

Houston Dash

Orlando Pride

OL Reign

Washington Spirit

Kansas City

Houston Dash

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Chicago Red Stars

Orlando Pride

NC Courage

Racing Louisville FC

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Portland Thorns FC

Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit

Kansas City

Chicago Red Stars

OL Reign

Portland Thorns FC

NC Courage

Racing Louisville FC

NC Courage

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Houston Dash

Kansas City

Houston Dash

NJ/NY Gotham FC

OL Reign

Orlando Pride

NC Courage

OL Reign

Portland Thorns

Washington Spirit

Chicago Red Stars

Orlando Pride

Racing Louisville FC

Kansas City

Washington Spirit

NJ/NY Gotham FC

NC Courage

Portland Thorns FC

Houston Dash

Kansas City

Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit

Portland Thorns FC

OL Reign

Racing Louisville FC

Chicago Red Stars

Chicago Red Stars

Kansas City

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Orlando Pride

Racing Louisville FC

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Kansas City

NC Courage

Orlando Pride

Racing Louisville FC

Portland Thorns FC

OL Reign

Chicago Red Stars

OL Reign

Washington Spirit

Houston Dash

NC Courage

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Chicago Red Stars

Racing Louisville FC

OL Reign

Portland Thorns FC

NC Courage

Portland Thorns FC

Houston Dash

Kansas City

Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Orlando Pride

Houston Dash

OL Reign

Racing Louisville FC

Washington Spirit

Houston Dash

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Racing Louisville FC

NC Courage

Portland Thorns FC

Chicago Red Stars

Orlando Pride

Kansas City

Washington Spirit

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Portland Thorns FC

Chicago Red Stars

OL Reign

NC Courage

Racing Louisville FC

Houston Dash





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