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Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Thorns

Thorns FC announce roster ahead of 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup opener on April 9 at Providence Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced their roster ahead of their opening match of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by Secret Deodorant on April 9 at Providence Park against KC NWSL; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Paramount+.

Thorns FC will then travel for a road match against the Chicago Red Stars on April 15; kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Paramount+. Portland returns to Providence Park for its second home game of the Challenge Cup, squaring off against Cascadia rival OL Reign on April 21 at 7 p.m. (Pacific) with a national broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Thorns FC conclude division play on the road against the Houston Dash on May 2; kickoff is slated for 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Paramount+. All games will be available internationally on Twitch, including in Canada for all games that are not on CBS Sports Network.

This year’s tournament will see the league’s 10 teams organized into two divisions, East and West. The East is comprised of Racing Louisville FC, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Sky Blue FC and the Washington Spirit. The West includes Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, OL Reign and Portland. Each team will play four matches in home markets, as approved by the NWSL’s Medical Task Force, followed by the top team from each division competing in the final slated for May 8. The championship site will be determined by the league at a later date. 

Following the Challenge Cup, the NWSL will begin its 24-game regular-season schedule with opening day scheduled for May 15. The league will not break for the 2021 Summer Olympics and the regular season will conclude on Oct. 30. Full details on the Challenge Cup format and the complete regular-season schedule will be announced at a later date.

Six teams will qualify for an expanded NWSL playoffs set to begin on Nov. 6, with the top two seeds receiving a first-round bye. The league’s ninth season will conclude with the NWSL Championship on Nov. 20.

2021 Thorns FC Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Bella Bixby, Adrianna Franch (ALL), Shelby Hogan

Defenders (8): Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Natalia Kuikka (INTL), Emily Menges, Meaghan Nally, Madison Pogarch, Becky Sauerbrunn (ALL), Christen Westphal

Midfielders (6): Celeste Boureille, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Rocky Rodríguez, Angela Salem, Christine Sinclair (ALL)

Forwards (5): Simone Charley, Marissa Everett, Tyler Lussi, Sophia Smith (ALL), Morgan Weaver

INTL – International Player
ALL – Allocated Player

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