Hi my name is Phuoc Nguyen (Fook Win), and I am a contributing writer on Stumptown Footy for the reigning, defending, undisputed, champions of the NWSL, Portland Thorns!
*For those who get the WWE reference, I give you props.
The Portland Thorns schedule is finally out and we have the full breakdown of games for the 2022 NWSL Champions.
Tell a friend to tell a friend… THORNS ARE HERE! pic.twitter.com/8Kj1NshrxR— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) February 8, 2023
What You Need To Know - Key Dates
All kickoff times listed below in Pacific time.
- Regular Season & Home Opener: Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. Pacific versus the Orlando Pride
- Challenge Cup Opener: Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. @ San Diego Wave
- NWSL Finals Rematch: Saturday, April 1 at 9:50am @ Kansas City Current
Can’t Miss! - Portland vs Seattle Doubleheader Saturday, June 3 @ Lumen Field:
Saturday, June 3 at 1:30 p.m. - Portland Timbers @ Seattle Sounders
Saturday, June 3 at 5:30 p.m. - Portland Thorns @ OL Reign
- Former Head Coach Mark Parsons is Back: Friday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. versus Washington Spirit
- NWSL #1 Overall Draft Pick Alyssa Thompson @ Providence Park: Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. versus Angel City FC
- NWSL #2 Overall Draft Pick Michelle Cooper @ Providence Park: Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. versus Kansas City Current
- Alex Morgan Comes to Town: Saturday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. versus San Diego Wave
- Last Home Game & The Return of Yazmeen Ryan: Saturday, October 7 at 2 p.m. versus NJ/NY Gotham FC
- Regular Season Finale: Sunday, October 15 at 2 p.m. @ Angel City FC
‘F*** Seattle’ - Christine “Sincy” Sinclair - OL Reign @ Providence Park:
Challenge Cup: Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular Season: Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m.
BREAKING: Christine Sinclair announces she’ll be returning to the Thorns next season and… “Fuck Seattle” pic.twitter.com/aJNRCVsrpo— Brenna Greene (@BrennaGreene_) November 2, 2022
NWSL Opening Statement
The schedule may have taken longer to get here than we all wanted, but NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman deserves credit for the amazing schedule. In order to get the best representation for the league, she made sure to have home games for the best attendance during opening weekend — which all happen to all be on the west coast.
San Diego Wave FC host the Chicago Red Stars at Snapdragon Stadium on Saturday March 25, and then on Sunday March 26 Angel City hosts NJ/NY Gotham FC in the evening after Portland hosts Orlando.
By setting up the schedule this way, she has set to potentially have over 50,000 fans for just those three games! If Houston can continue its momentum at Shell Energy Stadium, Washington Spirit at Audi Field, and North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park, the NWSL opening weekend could be one we never forget.
DECISION DAY IS UPON US
Many sports leagues have conducted their regular season finales where all or most games kick off simultaneously to take advantage of the huge stakes the final game of the season holds for playoff implications. MLS has done this for years as “Decision Day” and it shines a light on all final playoff spots that are up for grabs, seeding and teams trying to secure bye weeks.
Commissioner Berman has stepped up big time and given us all the drama we could ask for. The final day of the regular season will now be ‘NWSL Decision Day’ which will offer a lot of fun and dramatic filled moments. All games will kick off at 2 p.m. Pacific, with seeding, playoff spots and potentially even the NWSL Shield on the line.
THE #NWSL SCHEDULE IS HERE ‼— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) February 8, 2023
The league has released the schedule, which will include Challenge Cup matches during the World Cup and a Decision Day.
✍️: @JeffKassouf pic.twitter.com/0jHKRAamN4
Melina’s 2023 Schedule Takeaways
This year’s schedule brings some changes, and after a chaotic 2022 when there was like an 80% chance of a game happening at any moment of the week the changes are a good thing — thanks to the NWSLPA that theoretical probability has dwindled considerably.
In 2023 the opening match won’t be against the Cascadia rivals but against Orlando Pride, a team Portland has opened its season against three times in the past.
It was 2016 when the Pride played its inaugural year and for their first game, they had to go to Providence Park to play the Thorns. The final result was 2-1 for Portland. That day Dagný Brynjársdóttir and Lindsey Horan scored for the home team, and former Thorn Steph Catley added one for the visitors.
A year later, in Portland’s season opener against Orlando, the home team collected a 2-0 clean sheet. Dr. Nadia Nadine and Christine Sinclair were the goal scorers that day. Then 2019 came and this time the first game of the season was played at Orlando City Stadium. The result was the same as it was two years prior to that, with Caitlin Foord and Tobin Heath scoring the goals.
After three wins for the Thorns against the Pride in season openers and zero losses, we have no proof to believe the result will be any different this year. The upcoming game on March 26 will put the reigning champions against the team that finished 10th in 2022. And although the Pride seemed to have found some rhythm last season, they also lost three important players in the form of Darian Jenkins, Gunny Jónsdóttir, and Erin McLeod.
For the Thorns it will be an exciting season where they will have to navigate the year with a new coach at the helm, and it will be full of challenges. Nonetheless, after a successful 2022 where problems off the field were sadly still going around, this group of players proved they could achieve greatness no matter the circumstances they were in. Let’s hope they can do it again in 2023 and keep painting constellations.
Oh, and sign me up for June 23, the day Mark Parsons’ Washington Spirit visits Providence Park. How will the Thorns do against their former coach’s team? We will be almost in the middle of the year and those middle-season games always proved to be important for playoff positioning. The two teams will meet again almost a month later at Audi Field. It will be an interesting couple of games for sure.
Lastly, I’m very curious about how the Thorns will do against the Wave, a team that knew how to play them since day one. Casey Stoney is a fast learner and she proved that when San Diego won 2-0 at Portland’s home in August.
Our Picks for Must See Games:
#1 Overall Draft Pick Alyssa Thompson Debut at Providence Park
Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. versus Angel City FC
Alyssa Thompson could be the next superstar in the NWSL. Sophia Smith is the best player in the league and this game will allow fans to see both players in their element.
Is it possible Christen Press will be ready for this game too?
Rematch vs Kansas City Current
Saturday, April 1 at 9:50 a.m. Thorns @ Kansas City Current
Kansas City Current had a tremendous offseason and brought in a ton of reinforcements after their defeat to Portland in the NWSL Championship final. Are Portland still the favorites to win shield and repeat as champions? Getting a win, or at least a result, in Kansas City would send a message to the Current and the rest of the league.
THE CHANCLÁSICO - San Diego Wave versus Angel City FC
Sunday, April 23 at 5 p.m., San Diego Wave @ Angel City FC
Saturday, June 17 at 1 p.m., Angel City FC @ San Diego Wave
These games are intense and have amazing crowds, including the 32,000 in attendance at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium debut. The NWSL absolutely needed more heated rivalries outside of the usual Portland & Seattle, this is it and will continue to deliver time and time again.
Want some big names? Alex Morgan, Alyssa Thompson, Jaedyn Shaw, Christen Press, Taylor Kornieck, Sydney Leroux, Sofia Jakobsson, Ali Riley, Naomi Girma, Jun Endo, Kailen Sheridan, Claire Emslie, Abby Dahlkemper, and Sarah Gorden just to name a few.
Which team will be champions of the inaugural #Chanclásico.@weareangelcity @sandiegowavefc#NWSL | #LAvSD | #AngelCityFC#WeAreAngelCity | #SomosAngelCity#WeAreRebellion99 | #ACFC | #Volemos pic.twitter.com/76SeDkD419— Rebellion 99 (@NWSL_LA) July 10, 2022
- Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. Thorns @ San Diego
The Thorns will take the road to Snapdragon Stadium to face Casey Stoney’s team for their first game in the Challenge Cup. I don’t know if the Cup will be a priority this year or not (if you ask the players they will say they always want to win) but a clash between these two clubs is always a treat.
- Saturday, May 6 at 4 p.m. @ North Carolina Courage
Who was the only team that scored 6 goals on the Thorns during the regular season in 2022? You guessed it — it was North Carolina! You may say the Courage lost too many players to be a worthy opponent, but let’s be honest: there’s always beef between these two clubs.
- Friday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. versus Washington Spirit
That day will mark the return of Mark Parsons to Providence Park. Will he show no mercy against the Thorns? He will try — let’s see how Portland responds.
- Sunday, July 9 at 2:30 p.m. @ NJ/NY Gotham FC
Only two teams were able to score at least three goals on the Thorns last season and one of them was Gotham, a team that finished last in the table. With a reloaded roster, I think this will be a good game between the reigning champions and a team that on paper looks like like a playoff contender.
The NWSL marketing, social, and content teams need to get more love for what they are putting out. This schedule release video by the Chicago Red Stars has got to be one of the best of all time! Shoutout to your team and players that put the homage to the Netflix hit Wednesday together.
The wait is finally over! Hope you're as obsessed with our 2023 season schedule as we are with @Netflix Wednesday Addams— Chicago Red Stars (@chicagoredstars) February 8, 2023
Season Tickets Packages and Group Deposits available now. pic.twitter.com/qPlpNQep7O
Which game are you most looking forward to? Let us know below in the comments.