NWSL Challenge Cup: Week One Recap

recapping the Challeng Cup first day

The first week of the NWSL’s Challenge Cup is in the books. With so much action, it’s easy to miss something. But before we head into our recap of the first week of matches, be sure to check our rundown of the tournament’s first day. In fact, the first match of that day was the most watched match in NWSL history, with over half a million people tuning in. 

Houston Dash v Utah Royals

The Dash came into this one swinging. English National team member and lesbian, Rachel Daly, scored a brace, with Shea Groom scoring the Dash’s third goal.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1278017733209108482?s=20

 

Canadian Olympian and lesbian Diana Matheson scored a goal of her own. While Vero Boquete and Tziarra King saved Utah with a couple of goals. In the end, the teams tied 3-3.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1278015221873799170?s=20

OL Reign v Sky Blue FC

This match marks the return of soccer lesbian Taylor Smith. Smith has been out since the 2018 season due to a torn ACL. But despite her presence, the Reign couldn’t find the back of the net. And that’s all because of Canadian goalie and lesbian Kailen Sheridan.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1278176416878800896?s=20

Ladies, if she moves like, that she’s a keeper. In fact, Sheridan was on fire this match. Nothing got past her. That resulted in a 0-0 draw.

Portland Thorns v Chicago Red Stars

This game also ended in a 0-0 draw. Both sides had several chances to score, but nothing materialized. The Great Horan was pretty silent this game, as was Canadian legend Christine Sinclair.

Washington Spirit v North Carolina Courage

Everyone was hoping Rose Lavelle would use some of her magic to defeat the evil, I mean the Courage. And despite this nifty little move, it just wasn’t enough.

https://twitter.com/EqualizerSoccer/status/1278530680381747202?s=20

Lynn Williams scored a brace in a second half to give the Courage their second win of the tournament.

Utah Royals v Sky Blue FC

Both teams are now warmed up with one game under their belts. And once Amy Rodriguez is warmed up, you’re in trouble.

https://twitter.com/EqualizerSoccer/status/1279456885188542464?s=20

You bet her dear friend and former USWNT New Kid Tobin Heath was proud of that one. She scored the only goal of the match, giving the Royals a 1-0 victory over Sky Blue.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1279465710314348545?s=20

Houston Dash v OL Reign

Taylor Smith started this game as the Reign tried to get their first win of the tourney.

https://twitter.com/EqualizerSoccer/status/1279600101279911938?s=20

But the Dash seemed hungry after their near win against the Royals. Not to be outdone by girlfriend Rachel Daly, Kristie Mewis put the Dash on the scoresheet early in the game.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1279602374290571266?s=20

The Reign couldn’t catch up. And when Shea Groom scored a second goal, it was over. This 2-0 loss marks the Reign’s second loss in a row. But remember, star player and national lesbian treasure Megan Rapinoe sat out this tournament. Can they overcome to keep themselves in the tournament? 

North Carolina v Chicago Red Stars

For a minute there, it looked like the Red Stars could hold off the Courage. But New Zealand international (and lesbian!) Abby Erceg scored a late game winner in the 80th minute.

She and her girlfriend, teammate Kristen Hamilton will definitely celebrate that one.

Portland Thorns v Washington Spirit

This match was a battle of the midfield as two of the league’s best midfielders, Rose Lavelle and Lindsay “The Great” Horan battled for that W. Despite horrible turf burns, Horan put her body on the line during this diving header.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1279983005851942917?s=20

And that ladies, is why they call her The Great Horan. No matter how many times she does it, defenders just can’t cover her in the box. But Washington wasn’t about to give up. Ashley Hatch equalized late in the game for a 1-1 draw.

What to Expect Next

Well, you can definitely expect more artificial crowd noise. Anyone else a little weirded out by that? All games this week will be streamed on CBS All Access, with the Royals taking on the Reign and the Dash taking on Sky Blue on Wednesday. Will the Royals find their stride and continue the Reign’s losing streak? It’s entirely possible now that A-Rod has her groove back. Can Rach Daly and Kristie Mewis use the power of lesbianism to get another three points? Or will Kailen Sheridan’s stopping power be too much for them? The Dash can absolutely score goals and win this match, just as long as they don’t pull a classic Dash and squander their lead. Sheridan will need a lot of help to stop Houston’s attacking power and get some points for her team. Sunday gives us our next pair of games, Washington against Houston and Chicago against Utah. It’ll be a treat to watch Rose break through Houston’s midfield, while Daly and Mewis try to score their own goals. Will JJ be able to stop A-Rod long enough for Kealia Watt to score for the Red Stars? If anyone can do it, JJ can. Monday’s games between the Reign and Portland give 2020 its first glimpse of the Cascadia rivalry. Considering the Reigns’s performance thus far, the Thorns have a chance to snag a win. Then, Sky Blue takes on the Courage later that day. Can they pull off the upset? Many fans will be rooting for them to do just that. Because the main question is, can anyone beat the Courage? Hopefully someone does!