The Portland Thorns will host a preseason tournament featuring National Women's Soccer League clubs, Thorns owner Merritt Paulson revealed on Twitter Saturday evening, with details to be announced Monday.
The NWSL has yet to release the 2016 schedule, but the season is likely to begin to begin in mid-April, as it has in previous seasons, with preseason training and matches beginning in mid-March. This could be pushed back with the United States-hosted SheBelieves Cup in early March and a FIFA international window from April 4-12 taking international players from the league's rosters, but this hasn't changed scheduling in the past.
With the Timbers away from Providence Park for nearly a month from March 19 to April 13, the Thorns have a large window to work with when scheduling this tournament.
The Thorns have never played an NWSL opponent in their three previous preseasons, primarily facing college sides such as the University of Portland and the University of Arizona and the semi-pro FC Tucson Women in the 2015 preseason. The Thorns are not alone in facing non-professional competition during their tune-up games, as most NWSL sides have opted to play similar preseason schedules.
Aside from the Thorns, it is unknown which other teams will be appearing in this tournament, but with with Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, and Seattle the four closest NWSL cities, it's likely we will see at least a couple of these westward teams at Providence Park this preseason.
Thanks to Stumptown Footy reader jayfisher for the tip.