Red Stars open 2021 Challenge Cup with rematch against Houston Dash

This year’s tournament will feature group play with the league’s 10 teams organized into two divisions, the East and West.

SHARE Red Stars open 2021 Challenge Cup with rematch against Houston Dash
The Red Stars’ Sarah Gorden, front, is among the players training with the U.S. Women’s National Team.

The Red Stars’ Sarah Gorden, front, is among the players training with the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Rick Bowmer/AP

The National Women’s Soccer League announced the 2021 Challenge Cup opener is set with a rematch of the 2020 Challenge Cup final between the Houston Dash and the Red Stars at BBVA Stadium in Houston on April 9.

The opener will air at 7:30 p.m. Chicago time on CBS Sports Network which will broadcast three other matches of the tournament. The Challenge Cup final is set to air on the CBS-2 and will stream on Paramount+. Every other game of the tournament will stream on Paramount+ and Twitch for international viewers.

“We are excited to be the first matchup of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup,” Red Stars coach Rory Dames said. “This is a great competition to get us ready for the upcoming regular season and for teams to showcase the talent they possess across their rosters. We are ready to get back out on the field and kick off the 2021 campaign.”

The Dash won last year's Challenge Cup title, beating the Red Stars 2-0 to claim the franchise’s first trophy.

This year’s tournament will be in group play with each of the league’s 10 teams organized into two divisions, the East and West.

The East division features Racing Louisville FC, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Sky Blue FC and the Washington Spirit. The West division features the Red Stars, Houston Dash, Kansas City, OL Reign and Portland Thorns FC.

Each team will play four matches in home markets followed by the top team from each division playing in the final which is currently set for May 8. The location of the final will be announced at a later date.

“We’re ready to build on our success of the last year and I couldn’t be more excited to open the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by Secret the same way we left off in the summer of 2020, watching Houston and Chicago showcase the very best in women’s professional soccer,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement.

The full 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup schedule and broadcast details will be announced on Tuesday. The NWSL’s 24-game regular season begins May 15.

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