When the Portland Thorns FC and the Orlando Pride meet on Saturday at Providence Park in Portland, it will not only be on the first day of the National Women’s Soccer League’s historic fifth season, but also as the first nationally televised game on Lifetime as part of the league’s partnership with A+E Networks.
The home crowd in Portland will surely be up for the moment. Last year, the Thorns led the league in home attendance, average over 16,000 fans per game.
Portland is looking to build on what was very nearly a run to the NWSL Championship game, but one that ended right on their home turf. After going 12-3-5 and winning the NWSL Shield last season, they lost 4-3 in the semifinals to eventual champions Western New York Flash, in one of the best NWSL games ever.
Orlando begins its second year in the NWSL in strong shape. Despite being without Alex Morgan (currently playing with Lyon in France) until she returns later this summer, they added five-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta and traded for defender Ali Krieger during the offseason. READ MORE
Watch all of the games this weekend (and season) streamed with the go90 iOs and Android apps in 2017.
I’ll be on hand Sunday in Kansas City for FC Kansas City’s home opener against the Boston Breakers. It’s a chance for me to see St. Louis natives Becky Sauerbrunn (Ladue/Sporting JB Marine) for FCKC and Julie King (Nerinx Hall/St. Louis SC) for Boston. Did you catch my off-season interview with Julie?
|Saturday||1:00 pm||HOUSTON DASH v CHICAGO RED STARS||Go90|
|Saturday||2:00 pm||PORTLAND THORNS FC v ORLANDO PRIDE||Lifetime|
|Saturday||2:00 pm||WASHINGTON SPIRIT v NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE||Go90|
|Saturday||9:00 pm||SEATTLE REIGN FC v SKY BLUE FC||Go90|
|Sunday||5:00 pm||FC KANSAS CITY v BOSTON BREAKERS||Go90|
Rose Lavelle, the former Wisconsin midfielder, earned her first cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team and scored her first international goal since she was made the No. 1 overall selection by the Boston Breakers at the 2017 NWSL College Draft in January. Lavelle is now set to add another important first to her promising career as she and her teammates head to Kansas City for their first match of the 2017 campaign.
The U.S. international was one of four selections – along with Morgan Andrews, Ifeoma Onumonu and Margaret Purce – made by Boston in the first round of the 2017 draft and coach Matt Beard will be looking to this young and gifted group to help the club fight its way out of the NWSL basement after the Breakers have finished each of the previous two seasons in last place. READ MORE
For FC Kansas City, it will mark the debut of Sydney Leroux, returned from maternity leave as well as US International Alex Rodriguez, returning from her second maternity leave. Should be a good crew with an expanded Blue Crew on hand to support the home team. Look for more from the match and on Monday when I return.