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NWSL Challenge Cup watch post: New year new Dash?

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Two teams trying to live up to a standard, two teams who don’t want to be underdogs anymore.

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SOCCER: JUL 20 NWSL - Houston Dash at Washington Spirit Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Opening day of the NWSL Challenge Cup went off, at least logistically, without too much fuss. The games were exciting, as exciting as they could be with everyone basically still in preseason mode. North Carolina and Portland certainly had it out on the field, but the Spirit and Red Stars might have been even more fun to watch, particularly as the young Spirit roster came out looking revitalized.

Now we get to the other half of the teams as they get their first kickoffs. First up, the Houston Dash have retooled their roster with trades and they’re hungry for some payoff. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do it without Nichelle Prince, who is out for personal reasons, likely related to the recent passing of her father. They’ll take on the Royals, who will be without some key players of their own due to a combination of injury, personal leave, and still being in international quarantine, but in a pregame interview, head coach Craig Harrington was high on newcomer Tziarra King.

After that it’s OL Reign vs the revamped Sky Blue FC. The Reign, of course, have a new head coach, and some interesting additions to their roster, although it’s nowhere near the overhaul that Sky Blue went through. As for Sky Blue, it’s a credit to the thoroughness of that overhaul that even without Carli Lloyd and Mal Pugh, they still look like they can put out a strongly competitive starting XI.

Join us in the comments as we watch day 2 of the Challenge Cup!

Team Previews

Houston Dash

Utah Royals

OL Reign

Sky Blue FC

Schedule

Houston Dash vs. Utah Royals
12:30 PM ET / 9:30 AM PT

OL Reign vs. Sky Blue FC
10:00 PM ET / 7 PM PT

Both games will stream on CBS All Access for domestic viewers and on Twitch for international viewers.