The Washington Spirit will begin play in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup against Utah Royals FC on June 30 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, UT. The Spirit were randomly selected as the two seed for the preliminary round of the tournament, while the Royals were selected as the four seed. The Spirit will also face OL Reign, Portland Thorns FC and the Houston Dash in the preliminary round.
In 2019, both the Spirit and Royals found themselves just outside of the playoffs after ending the season with 34 points, four points behind fourth-placed OL Reign. Washington and Utah split the season series with a draw and one win each.
The Spirit’s second match will be on July 4 against OL Reign. The Reign bested the Spirit by just four points in 2019, claiming the fourth and final playoff position before being eliminated by the Chicago Red Stars in the Semi-Finals. Matches against OL Reign were tightly contested, with all three matches ending in a draw. The most memorable of the three tied contests was the 2-2 draw at Audi Field, which took place in front of 17,418 fans.
The third match will be on July 8 against Portland Thorns FC, another side in which the Spirit split the season series in 2019, with one win, one draw and one loss. Despite the close nature of the Spirit’s matches with Portland, the Thorns finished six points above the Spirit with 40, grabbing the third playoff spot.
Following the match against Portland, the Spirit will finish up preliminary play on July 13 against the Houston Dash. In 2019, the Spirit split the season against the Dash with two draws and one loss, and have a record of seven wins, three draws and seven losses over their history.
After the preliminary rounds, the top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals set for Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18. The semifinals and Final presented by Budweiser will be played in Sandy, Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday, July 22 and Sunday, July 26, respectively.
All doubleheaders through the semifinals will be played at 10:30 a.m. MT (12:30 p.m. ET) and 8 p.m. MT (10 p.m. ET). Both the tournament opener and the Final will air on CBS and will be streamed on the CBS All Access subscription service. All other games will be live on CBS All Access in the U.S. and Canada and will re-air on CBS Sports Network. Fans outside the U.S. and Canada can stream the full tournament on Twitch.
The NWSL Challenge Cup Tournament Draw was broadcasted live on CBS Sports HQ with the draw conducted by NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. All nine NWSL teams were randomly seeded to determine matchups in the preliminary round of the tournament.
Washington Spirit 2020 Challenge Cup Schedule
Tues., June 30 12:30pm ET Utah Royals FC Zions Bank Stadium
Sat., July 4 12:30pm ET OL Reign Zions Bank Stadium
Wed., July 8 10pm ET Portland Thorns FC Zions Bank Stadium
Mon., July 13 10pm ET Houston Dash Zions Bank Stadium
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