Two-time defending champion North Carolina Courage will play former two-time champion Portland Thorns on the opening day of the National Women's Soccer League Challenge Cup, highlighting the June 27 return of professional team sports in the United States.
The NWSL held the draw for the event on Monday. All nine teams will participate, with all 25 games held in the Salt Lake City area. The final is scheduled for July 27 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Summer tournaments provided women's soccer with its most indelible images, from Brandi Chastain in the Rose Bowl in 1999 to Megan Rapinoe in Lyon two decades later. Now the National Women's Soccer League hopes a tournament without an array of international anthems can capture the imagination of fans eager for live sports amid a pandemic.