The NWSL openers for 2017 have been announced, and for the second straight year the Orlando Pride will start the season at Portland Thorns FC. The Pride will face the Thorns on the road on Saturday, April 15 at 3 p.m. A week later, Orlando will host its first regular season game at the new downtown Orlando City Stadium, facing Ali Krieger’s and Ashlyn Harris’ old team, the Washington Spirit, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 22.
The NWSL clubs will play a 24-match regular season schedule in 2017, with each team competing in 12 home and 12 road games. That’s an increase of four matches (two home and two away) from 2017.
The Pride dropped its first match in history at eventual Shield-winning Portland in 2016, falling 2-1 on the road, despite Steph Catley scoring the first goal in franchise history. The match will be televised as the first broadcast on the NWSL’s new national television deal with A&E Networks, as the Lifetime Game of the Week debuts. The broadcast will include a 30-minute pregame show.
The Spirit will have a very different look in 2017 after reaching the NWSL championship match in 2016. Washington has lost several players – including Krieger, Crystal Dunn, Diana Matheson, and more – following its deep playoff run.
The Pride will seek to break its own NWSL attendance record, set in the 2016 home opener against the Houston Dash. Orlando drew 23,403 fans to the team’s first-ever game and the Pride will look to sell out the new 25,500-seat downtown stadium on April 22.
Krieger will face her former club for the first time since being acquired on Nov. 2, 2016.
The Pride will announce single-game ticket information and the remainder of the 2017 schedule in the near future.