The National Women’s Soccer League has finally announced its 2021 regular season schedule this afternoon. With the Challenge Cup coming to a close, the Pride play their final scheduled game against the North Carolina Courage this Saturday, and we finally have a picture of what the regular season will look like and who the Pride will face in 2021.
The season will get underway May 16 at 6 p.m. in Exploria Stadium against the Washington Spirit, who Orlando already beat in the Challenge Cup earlier this month. The following week is the first away day of the season against the 2019 NWSL champion North Carolina Courage at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 22.
It’s a 24-game regular season for the Pride, with 12 home and 12 away matches. The Pride will face most teams three times: Washington (twice on the road), North Carolina (twice on the road), Portland Thorns FC (twice at home), NJ/NY Gotham FC (twice at home), expansion side Racing Louisville FC (twice at home), and the Chicago Red Stars (twice on the road). The Pride will face 2020 Challenge Cup champions the Houston Dash, OL Reign, and the newly relocated Kansas City two times each, all home and away.
There will be no break for the summer Olympics, which run from July 21 to Aug. 8. This could affect upwards of five games in the heart of the season. Orlando has a tough run in this part of the year with match-ups against Portland and North Carolina, but Olympic absences will play a huge role in how formidable those match-ups truly are.
The end of June in the run up to the Olympics is the most condensed for Orlando, with a run of three games between June 20-26, with that game on the 26th being the Pride’s lone trip to Houston. There are no noteworthy homestands or road trips in the schedule, with no more than two games being played home or away in a row.
The season ends on Oct. 31 with the top six teams making the playoffs — the top two seeds get a first-round bye — before the championship on Nov. 20. Broadcast details have yet to be announced, but the NWSL Challenge Cup has been featured on Paramount+ and CBS Sports Network.
To begin the 2021 NWSL season, Exploria Stadium will operate at a reduced capacity with guaranteed access for Season Ticket Members and partial ticket package holders.
Here’s the complete rundown of the Orlando Pride’s 2021 Regular Season schedule:
- Sunday, May 16 vs. Washington Spirit, 6 p.m.
- Saturday, May 22 at North Carolina Courage, 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 26 vs. Portland Thorns, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, May 30 vs. Kansas City, 6 p.m.
- Sunday, June 6 at Washington Spirit, 2 p.m.
- Sunday, June 20 vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 23 at Kansas City, 2 p.m.
- Saturday, June 26 at Houston Dash, 8:30 p.m.
- Sunday, July 4 vs. North Carolina Courage, 7 p.m.
- Friday, July 9 vs. Racing Louisville FC, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 18 at Portland Thorns, 10:30 p.m.
- Saturday, July 24 vs. OL Reign, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, July 31 at North Carolina Courage, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 8 at Chicago Red Stars, 6 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 14 vs. Portland Thorns FC, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 22 at Washington Spirit, 5 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 29 at NJ/NY Gotham FC, 5 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 5 vs. Houston Dash, 6 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 11 vs. Racing Louisville FC, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 26 at OL Reign, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 2 at Chicago Red Stars, 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 9 vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 16 at Racing Louisville FC, 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 29 vs. Chicago Red Stars, 7 p.m.