To those of us who are parched for NWSL games, the Thorns announced their pre-season plans this morning! Throughout the years, the Thorns have always hosted great pre-season tournaments, and this year is no exception. The Spring Invitational presented by Tillamook will feature the Portland Thorns, the Chicago Red Stars, the Houston Dash and the US U-23s National Team, all playing against each other in an amazing pre-season warm up.
The official press release explained that:
The tournament will consist of three doubleheaders at Providence Park. Portland and Chicago will square off Sunday, March 26; kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific). Houston and the U.S. U-23s will face each other in the opening match at 2:30 p.m. (Pacific). On Wednesday, March 29, Chicago takes on Houston at 5 p.m. (Pacific), while Thorns FC play host to the U.S. U-23s at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). Portland closes out the preseason tournament against Houston on Saturday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific), while Chicago and the U.S. U-23s square off at 5 p.m. (Pacific).
The inclusion of the U-23 US Women’s national team in this line up is perhaps the most exciting addition to any seasoned Women’s Soccer fan. The U23s started 2017 with inviting 30 players to their camp in California, and several of the Draft Pick stars are among their lineup. Playing the U23s will allowed the Thorns to test their defensive skills against young speedy forwards, as well as checking their own ability to push stellar-defenders like Kayla Mills and Mandy Freeman (assuming, of course, that those players will play with the U23, and not their own NWSL teams).