Thorns release 2021 Challenge Cup schedule

by Charlie Folkestad

The Portland Thorns will return to action on Friday, April 9th at 7:30pm PT for their first match of the NWSL Challenge Cup, hosting Kansas City in their first NWSL match back as an expansion team.


Image via NWSL

Image via NWSL

Format Change

The Challenge Cup format is slightly different this year. Instead of a bubble with nine teams into a straight knockout bracket, there will be two divisions (East/West) of five teams each.

  • Eastern teams: Racing Louisville FC (in their first season as an expansion team!), North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit

  • Western Teams: Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, Kansas City, OL Reign, Portland Thorns

Each team will play its division-mates once (half at home + half away = four games total) and the top team from each division will play in the final on Saturday, May 8th.

WTF is Paramount Plus?

If you’re in the United States, most Challenge Cup matches will be shown on Paramount+, which is just a rebrand of CBS All Access—the same service used for last year’s Challenge Cup. If you still pay for your CBS All Access account, don’t worry. You don’t need to make a new subscription.

If you’re not in the United States, all matches will be streamed on Twitch.

When do the Thorns play?

Here is the full Thorns schedule:

  • Kansas City @ Portland Thorns — Friday, April 9th at 7:30pm — Paramount+

  • Portland Thorns @ Chicago Red Stars — Thursday, April 15th at 4:30pm — Paramount+

  • OL Reign @ Portland Thorns — Wednesday, April 21st at 7pm — CBS Sports Network

  • Portland Thorns @ Houston Dash — Saturday, May 2nd at 4:30pm — Paramount+

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