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2020 NWSL Challenge Cup Predictions

Predictions for the league and Orlando Pride.

2019 NWSL Championship Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

We are now just a few weeks away from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. Teams are slowly getting up to speed and hopefully all the players will be match fit by June 27.

There are still plenty of unknowns about the competition. We don’t know if more United States Women’s National Team players will sit out, including anyone from the Pride. But the international-style tournament will go on with the Orlando Pride facing off against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, June 27.

Below is a prediction of what might happen. Obviously, depending on the status of players, some of this will change. I went through and predicted the scores for each game on paper.

Golden Boot (Top Scorer)

It’s going to be weird not having Sam Kerr play. The forward has been the top goal scorer every year since 2017. In this tournament-style format, the top scorer will likely be someone whose team is in the final four. Lynn Williams has been the runner-up the past two years, and I think she finally gets the Golden Boot in this event.

Golden Glove (Best Goalkeeper)

There are so many talented goalkeepers in this league. However, to be the best goalkeeper in this tournament, your team will likely have to go to the semifinals. I predict that Adrianna Franch will finish the Challenge Cup with the most clean sheets and will be the top goalkeeper of the tournament.

Golden Ball (MVP)

In addition to, or maybe because of winning the Golden Boot, Williams will be the Challenge Cup MVP. She will be the main player on the Courage, and she will lead them unbeaten to the finals. She is going to average a goal per game, provide a few assists, and have the most shots and shots on goal in the tournament.

Championship Match

North Carolina 1, Portland 2

I think the top four will be the North Carolina Courage, Chicago Red Stars, Portland Thorns, and OL Reign, in that order. The Courage will beat Chicago, and Portland will beat the Reign. Portland will finally finish on top after getting so close for the past few years and dethrone the Courage. North Carolina will win in the preliminary stage, but the Thorns will win the match that matters most. Williams is going to score the opener, but then Rocky Rodriguez will get a brace and help Portland to an NWSL Championship.

Orlando’s Finish

The Pride will go 0-3-1 in the preliminary stage, with the one point coming against Sky Blue. Washington will also finish with one point, but the Pride will win the tiebreaker on goals scored and finish in eighth place. While that is good enough to make the knockout stage, Orlando will not progress any further and will fall to the Courage.