The NWSL Soccer 2023 Schedule Is Finally Here—Portland Thorns’ First Home Game Is March 26
Portland soccer fans do a lot of waiting. Some may long to take an extended nap, Sleeping Beauty style, and not wake until the city's pro teams are owned and run by people who are not called out in the Yates Report, or until the surface of Providence Park has been replaced with grass, or until Thorns defender and US National Team Captain Becky Sauerbrunn has been elected to the US Senate or perhaps named United Nations Secretary-General. But one annual waiting game is, at last, over. Finally, finally, the National Women’s Soccer League has released its 2023 schedule. Scroll down for all the Thorns' home and away games, or see the full league schedule here.
The regular NWSL season begins March 25, and the Thorns see their first action the next day, when they host the Orlando Pride at Providence Park at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26. Their second game, at Kansas City Current on April 1, will be a rematch of last year's championship. The Thorns play Seattle at least four times, twice in the regular season and twice as part of the Challenge Cup, which run concurrently with the regular season, splits the league's 12 teams into three geographic groups of four teams, with each team playing a total of six "double round-robin" games before four of the teams advance to the mini-tournaments semifinals.
The 2023 NWSL Championship Game, traditionally held at a predetermined site, is scheduled for Saturday, November 11. Each of the league's 12 teams will play 22 games, 11 home and 11 away. There are only a few regular season games scheduled in July and August due to the 2023 Women's World Cup (July 20–Aug 20 in Australia and New Zealand), which will claim Thorns players on national teams for the US, Canada, Costa Rica, and Japan. But numerous Challenge Cup games fall in that window.
The schedule arrives 45 days before the start of the 2023 regular season, a little worse than the average of 48 days through the NWSL's 11 years of existence. Timbers fans and other followers of men's Major League Soccer learned the schedule for the 2023 season, which begins February 25, on December 20, 2022, a luxurious 67-day head start for making travel plans or blocking out home games on the calendar, with the information coming just 45 days after the MLS Cup. The NWSL released its 2023 schedule 102 days after its 2022 championship game.
It’s always obviously more than just fans frustrated with the lack of schedule especially given just how far you can travel for an away day but, this is a dreadful look for the NWSL, to have players publicly bantering the league off pic.twitter.com/TSrHVjleg6— Sophie Lawson (@lawson_sv) February 4, 2023
The women's league's notoriously late info dumps have inspired T-shirts, memes, and sick Twitter burns. It all adds up to art, perhaps, but most fans would be happy to trade all the cleverness for a few more weeks' notice of, for example, when to book train tickets for the Seattle rivalry game at Lumen Field instead of enduring the drive on I-5. On June 3, the OL Reign–Portland match will follow the Sounders–Timbers game at Lumen Field in back-to-back Pacific Northwest showdowns.
The Thorns won't be fielding quite the same roster in 2023. During the offseason, forward Marissa Everett and goalkeeper Abby Smith have left the team. In the annual college draft in January, the Thorns picked up Reyna Reyes from the University of Alabama, Izzy D'Aquila from Santa Clara, and two Laurens—DeBeau and Koval, a goalkeeper—from Michigan State. Following the departure of first-year (and championship-winning) coach Rhian Wilkinson in December following a situation in which she and a player developed romantic feelings for one another, last month the team elevated former assistant Mike Norris to the position of head coach.
Portland Thorns 2023 Schedule
Home games in bold; Pacific time zone; subject to change
- 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Orlando Pride, Providence Park
- 9:50 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at KC Current
- 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 14, Houston Dash, Providence Park
- 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, at San Diego Wave FC (part of the Challenge Cup)
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22, Racing Louisville FC, Providence Park
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Angel City FC, Providence Park
- 4 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at North Carolina Courage
- 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, at Houston Dash
- 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21, Chicago Red Stars, Providence Park
- 7 p.m. Friday, May 26, at San Diego Wave FC
- 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, Angel City FC, Providence Park (Challenge Cup)
- 5 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at OL Reign
- 4 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at Orlando Pride
- 3 p.m Sunday, June 18, at Chicago Red Stars
- 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 23, Washington (DC) Spirit, Providence Park
- 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, OL Reign, Providence Park (Challenge Cup)
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 1, KC Current, Providence Park
- 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9, at NJ/NY Gotham FC
- 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 21, San Diego Wave FC, Providence Park (Challenge Cup)
- 7 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at Angel City FC (Challenge Cup)
- 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug 6, at OL Reign (Challenge Cup)
- 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug 20, North Carolina Courage, Providence Park
- 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug 27, at Washington Spirit
- 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept 2, at Racing Louisville FC
- Possible Challenge Cup playoffs Sept 6 & 9
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept 16, OL Reign, Providence Park
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept 30, San Diego Wave FC, Providence Park
- 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct 7, NJ/NY Gotham FC, Providence Park
- 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct 15, at Angel City FC
- Possible playoffs Oct 22, Nov 4 & Nov 11