NWSL announces 2018 home openers

Today the NWSL announced the home openers for all 9 teams. With the first on March 24th and the last on April 15th.

NWSL announces 2018 home openers
Orlando Pride fans | Photo: Women's Soccer United

Earlier today the NWSL announced the list of home openers for all nine teams. The 2018 season will open up with the North Carolina Courage taking on the Portland Thorns for a championship rematch in Cary, North Carolina. Here's a look at all of the home openers and the history between the teams. 

North Carolina Courage vs Portland Thorns

On March 24th the Courage will battle against the reigning champions of the Portland Thorns for their fans at WakeMed Soccer Park. This game will be the first of the 2018 season and the first Lifetime Game of the Week for 2018 as well. North Carolina has battled the Thorns three previous times, all ending in a 1-0 result. Portland have come out on top twice and North Carolina only once. Will the Courage be able to defeat the Thorns in their home opener or will they fall to a strong Portland team yet again?

Abby Dahlkemper and Tobin Heath | Photo: Adrian Hernandez, Orlando Soccer Journal
Abby Dahlkemper and Tobin Heath | Photo: Adrian Hernandez, Orlando Soccer Journal

Orlando Pride vs Utah Royals FC 

The second match of the season will take place on March 24th at 7:30 pm at Orlando Soccer Stadium. This will be the first match against the Orlando Pride and Utah Royals FC. Not only will this be a first for the two teams but a first for the Royals as they play their first game for Utah. Both teams have an extremely strong set of players. Which one will end up on top? Well, you'll just have to watch and see. 

Seattle Reign vs Washington Spirit

For the final match of opening day, the Seattle Reign will take on the Washington Spirit in Seattle, Washington at 10:00 pm. This will be the first match for the Reign without head coach Laura Harvey. Former FC Kansas City coach, Vlatko Andonovski will look to lead his new team to a win against a very young Washington team. Seattle and Washington played one another twice last year, both ending in three points for Seattle. In May, Seattle blew out Washington 6-2 and in September, Seattle won another 3-2. Can Vlatko Andonovski lead Seattle to their first win of the season?

Houston Dash vs Chicago Red Stars

On March 25th at 5:00 pm the Houston Dash will take on the Chicago Red Stars for their home opener for the third consecutive time. In the two previous seasons, Houston has come out on top. The first in the 2016 season, with Rachel Daly scoring her first professional goal in her first professional game for the Dash, giving the Dash a 3-1 win. The next season, Daly did it again. Scoring a goal that made it on SportsCenter Top 10 that gave the Dash a 2-0 win. Last season, the Dash and Red Stars competed two other times with Chicago coming out on top both times with a 2-0 win and 3-2 win. 

Julie Ertz and Kealia Ohai | Photo: Abigail Guevara
Julie Ertz and Kealia Ohai | Photo: Abigail Guevara

Washington Spirit vs Orlando Pride

On March 31st, Washington will play at Maryland SoccerPlex for the first time in the 2018 season against the Orlando Pride. In 2016, the Pride and Spirit played each other twice, with the Spirit coming out on top both times. Last season, the Spirit were at Orlando for their home opener, which ended in a 1-1 tie. The two teams played each other two other times last season with one ending in a 2-2 tie and the other ending in a 3-0 win for Orlando. 

Chicago Red Stars vs Portland Thorns 

The Red Stars will host the Thorns in their home opener on March 31st at 8:15 pm. This will be the first time the fans at Toyota Park will watch Sam Kerr in the attack instead of Christen Press. Last season, the two teams play against each other three times with Portland coming out on top all three. The Red Stars have only been able to defeat the Thorns once and have been outscored 13-19. With the addition of Australian star forward, Sam Kerr give the Red Stars what they need to defeat the Portland Thorns?

Utah Royals FC vs Chicago Red Stars 

On April 14th the Utah Royals will play their first ever match at Rio Tinto Stadium. This game will be the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week. This game will also be the first game between the two teams. With US internationals Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara and former US international Amy Rodriguez on the Royals and the stars of Chicago in Julie Ertz, Sofia Huerta and Sam Kerr, this has the chance to be an excellent match up. 

Sky Blue FC vs Seattle Reign 

After two weeks, Sky Blue FC will get the chance to play in front of their fans at Yurcak Field on April 15th at 5 pm. This will be the first match Sky Blue fans will be able to see US international Carli Lloyd in blue. Last season Sky Blue and Seattle played against each other three times. Their first match up was the home opener for Seattle, which ended in a 1-1 tie. The other two were both 5-4 results, one in favor for Seattle and the other for Sky Blue. 

Sky Blue vs Seattle Reign | Photo: Jane Gershovich, ISI Photos
Sky Blue vs Seattle Reign | Photo: Jane Gershovich, ISI Photos

Portland Thorns vs Orlando Pride

With the last home opener of the 2018 season, Portland will take on Orlando on April 15th at 6:00 pm at Providence Park. This match will be the third time the Thorns have played the Pride in their home opener. Both games ending in favor of Portland. Last season, the Thorns and Pride played each other three times. The first being Portland's home opener which had an end result of 2-0 for Portland. The other two being a 0-0 tie and a 4-1 win for Portland. 

Preseason will officially start on Monday with the full NWSL schedule being released on Tuesday.  

All times mentioned are in eastern time.