The NWSL announced the league’s full 2018 NWSL schedule today, just a few days after announcing all of the teams’ opening games. We already knew the Orlando Pride would open the season at home against Utah Royals FC on Saturday, March 24, and be the home opener opponents of both the Washington Spirit (March 31) and Portland Thorns (April 15). Now we know the rest of the schedule, which concludes on Sept. 8 with the Pride visiting Sky Blue FC.
The Pride will be featured eight times on national television during the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime — the most of any team in the league. All of the club’s other matches will be available to watch live on go90 in the U.S. or at NWSLsoccer.com or the NWSL app for international fans.
The 2018 schedule will again include 24 regular-season games, with 12 each on the road and at home in Orlando City Stadium. However, since the Boston Breakers folded a few weeks ago, the Pride will play each of their NWSL rivals three times this season, making for a bit of an unbalanced schedule.
The schedule makers did very few favors to the Pride (again) in 2018, forcing Orlando to visit Portland, Utah, and Chicago twice each. The Pride will also play at Washington twice. One of those Portland matches is an afternoon affair that comes just three days after playing at altitude in Utah. Orlando will visit Portland and Chicago twice each before facing either team at home.
Orlando will host the Houston Dash, Sky Blue FC, Seattle Reign FC, and North Carolina Courage twice each. However, one of those matches against North Carolina is the third game in a week and will take place in the afternoon in the hot Florida sun at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30. In all, Orlando will host three afternoon matches during the summer months — Saturday, June 30, Saturday, July 21, and Saturday, Aug. 25.
Additionally, the Pride will be away for seven of the first 12 games and home seven times in the final 12. It’s safe to say the Pride will have to more than earn their way to the postseason with this kind of schedule. Under the current format, it’s nearly the most difficult schedule possible. Swap out going to North Carolina twice with visiting Washington two times and maybe trading Utah for Seattle, and you’ve just about got the most difficult regular season the Pride could have. At least Tom Sermanni has the quality and depth to deal with such a slate of fixtures.
As for the breakdown by month, Orlando will play twice in March (once at home), three times in April (twice at home), five times in May (once at home), five times in June (three times at home), four times in July (twice at home), four times in August (three at home), and once in September on the road. The Pride will play five midweek games on Wednesdays, with two of those at home. They will play 15 Saturday matches and four Sundays.
Here is the entire Pride schedule for 2018:
2018 Orlando Pride Schedule
|Sat., March 24||Utah Royals||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat., March 31||Washington Spirit||Maryland SoccerPlex||3:30 p.m.|
|Sun., April 15||Portland Thorns||Providence Park||6 p.m.|
|Sun., April 22||Houston Dash||Orlando City Stadium||5 p.m.|
|Sat., April 28||Seattle Reign||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Wed., May 2||Chicago Red Stars||Toyota Park||7:30 p.m.|
|Wed., May 9||Utah Royals||Rio Tinto Stadium||9 p.m.|
|Sat., May 12||Portland Thorns||Providence Park||3:30 p.m.|
|Wed., May 23||North Carolina Courage||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat., May 26||Chicago Red Stars||Toyota Park||3:30 p.m.|
|Sun., June 3||Seattle Reign||Memorial Stadium||9 p.m.|
|Sat., June 16||Sky Blue FC||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat., June 23||Washington Spirit||Maryland SoccerPlex||3:30 p.m.|
|Wed., June 27||Houston Dash||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat., June 30||North Carolina Courage||Orlando City Stadium||3:30 p.m.|
|Sat., July 7||Washington Spirit||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Wed., July 11||Houston Dash||BBVA Compass Stadium||8:30 p.m.|
|Sat., July 14||Utah Royals||Rio Tinto Stadium||3:30 p.m.|
|Sat., July 21||Seattle Reign||Orlando City Stadium||3:30 p.m.|
|Sun., Aug. 5||Sky Blue FC||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Aug. 11||Portland Thorns||Orlando City Stadium||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Aug. 18||North Carolina Courage||WakeMed Soccer Park||7 p.m.|
|Sat., Aug. 25||Chicago Red Stars||Orlando City Stadium||3:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 8||Sky Blue FC||Yurcak Field||12 p.m.|