This afternoon the NWSL released information about the league’s 2017 season home openers.
— NWSL (@NWSL) February 21, 2017
The release was chock full of important information. Most notable, perhaps, was the fact that 2017’s Opening Weekend will take place April 15-16 and feature five games, though a close contender is sure to be just which teams will be featured in Lifetime TV’s first “Game of the Week” broadcast.
Well, wait no longer.
Continuing their history-making trend, the first “Game of the Week” will be April 15’s showdown between Portland Thorns FC and Orlando Pride at Providence Park. For the second year in a row, a game between Portland and Orlando at Providence will look to make a mark on the Women’s Soccer world. Last year, of course, the Orlando Pride played their first-ever match at Portland, where they made a good show but ultimately lost 1-2 to the Thorns.
Other matches during Opening Weekend include:
- Houston Dash v Chicago Red Stars @ BBVA Compass Stadium (April 15)
- Seattle Reign FC v Sky Blue FC @ Memorial Stadium (April 15)
- Washington Spirit v North Carolina Courage @ Maryland SoccerPlex (April 15)
- FC Kansas City v Boston Breakers @ Swope Soccer Village (April 16)
The league’s newest franchise, the North Carolina Courage (formerly Western New York Flash, for those unaware of the off-season move) will host their first-ever match the following weekend, when they welcome the Portland Thorns to WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, April 22. The Courage will look to make a splash as they somehow balance the almost oxymoronic titles of Reigning NWSL Champions and Newest NWSL Club.
But perhaps even more anticipated than North Carolina’s debut that weekend will be the showdown taking place in Orlando’s brand new Orlando City Stadium between the Pride and visiting Washington Spirit. The match on the 22nd will be heavily watched by fans of both sides, owing not only to the quality of the competition but to the somewhat frustrating nature of the trade that sent national team member and former Spirit RB Ali Krieger to the Pride in exchange for what some called a paltry gain in the distribution ranking order.
Other home openers during Week Two:
- Chicago Red Stars v FC Kansas City @ Toyota Park (April 22)
- Boston Breakers v Sky Blue FC @ Jordan Field (April 23)
The last team to play at home this season, but never the least, will be Sky Blue FC, who will welcome their fans back to Yurcak Field on Sunday, April 30, in game against FC Kansas city. FCKC will likely have back Amy Rodriguez, a key component missing from their roster last year, while Sky Blue’s roster features the great Captain America, Christie Rampone, whose steady leadership always makes SBFC a formidable opponent for any team.
Other information revealed in the release today includes confirmation of a 24 game season (12 home games, 12 away), though it’s not yet clear if the schedule will feature “geographic rivalries” as last year’s did.
The full press release can be located on the NWSL’s website here.