NWSL Challenge Cup: New Schedule, Roster Releases, and Last-Minute Shake-Ups

By Preston Bradsher

We’re less than a week away from the return of professional contact sports with the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, and a LOT has changed in just the past few days. We’re here to catch you up so you’re ready to lock down your She Plays fantasy strategies in time for Saturday’s kickoff.

The biggest story of the week has to be the Orlando Pride’s withdrawal from the tournament. After six athletes and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19 (all cases are reported to be asymptomatic at this time), the Pride announced the team would not be making the trip to Utah.

Players and fans alike have expressed huge disappointment on social media, and plenty of news publications that typically ignore the NWSL have predictably latched onto the negative story, but all told, the league seems to be working hard to do right by its players and move forward safely. The Pride are doing what they need to do to protect the health of all NWSL players and staff, and though they’ll be missed in a big way, we’ve still got a tournament to play. 

The NWSL has released the new tournament schedule and all the team rosters, so here’s our overview of what the updated tournament will look like.

A Brand-New Schedule

The tournament will now be played with 8 teams over 23 games, with the opener commencing as originally scheduled between the Portland Thorns and the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, June 27 at 12:30pm ET.

The rest of the schedule looks pretty different than it did a week ago, with most clubs seeing a significant change in the opponents they’ll face over the coming month. This could throw a wrench into some teams’ preparations as they leave for Utah this week with little time to adjust to the new matchups. Other teams might be able to play the changes to their advantage and use the last-minute confusion to come out on top. Only time will tell, but be sure to take the new matchups into consideration when making your fantasy picks this week. 

All of She Plays’ NWSL Challenge Cup games are live now!

Final Rosters Now Available

All participating NWSL clubs released their rosters for the Challenge Cup today, and with that we finally have the last piece of the puzzle to start making some real predictions about how the tournament will shake out. Some teams appear to be fully loaded, some are missing more players than others, and some seem to be trying out some new tactics regarding personnel. Be sure to check out our quick look at each team’s tournament roster to help you out as you make your fantasy picks this week!

She Plays’ Quick Roster Analyses (to be updated as articles post)

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