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How to watch NWSL Challenge Cup semifinals

How and where to watch the NWSL Challenge Cup semifinals live on July 22, 2020: preview and broadcast listings

July 22, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
No. 8 Portland Thorns will look for a consecutive upset when they take on No. 4 Houston Dash at 12:30 p.m. ET, while No. 7 Sky Blue has a chance to make their first-ever final if they defeat No. 6 Chicago Red Stars at 10 p.m. ET

Talk about a surprising quarterfinal stage. Forwards are usually the players who win games for teams, but that was not the case in the quarterfinals. The first playoff stage consisted of one goal, three penalty shootouts and three upsets, including North Carolina’s early exit.

On the first quarterfinal game, Thorns backup goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom set a high standard after recording eight saves, keeping a clean sheet against the tournament favorites North Carolina. This performance set a bar for goalkeepers in the following matches. Anyhow, the bar was met by Houston’s Jane Campbell, Sky Blue’s Kailen Sheridan and Chicago’s Alyssa Naeher, all who kept a clean sheet and managed to dominate their penalty shootouts.

No. 4 Houston Dash vs No. 8 Portland Thorns

Fresh faces will meet on Wednesday’s early game as the Houston Dash take on the Portland Thorns. Both teams come from facing a team that they played in the group stage. 

The Thorns were able to avenge their tournament-opening 2-1 loss against the Courage last time out winning 1-0. On the other hand, the Dash drew for a second time to hosts Utah Royals to win the game in penalties.

Houston head coach James Clarkson looks to avoid what the Courage lived through during their playoff game against Portland. Having scored five goals in their opening five matches and none in the following three, Clarkson will make focus on how to get his offensive players to link up and bag in some goals. This three-game goal drought is inexcusable for a team with offensive players like Rachel Daly, Shea Groom, Veronica Latsko and company.

Unlike the Dash, the Thorns come into this semifinal with better form having lost their first game, followed by three draws and a win over the Courage in regular time. Thorns head coach Mark Parsons and his squad have been patient, disciplined and hopeful, a recipe that helped them get to where they are now. Portland will have confidence going into this match with likes of Christine Sinclair, Lindsey Horan, Raquel Rodriguez, amongst others leading the pack.

No. 7 Sky Blue vs No. 6 Chicago Red Stars

Sky Blue and Chicago had similar group stage runs playing four games and accumulating four points. Both teams won against the other two teams that also summed-up four points with the Red Stars taking down Utah and Sky blue defeating the Dash. The two sides will look to end their inconsistent run of games and prove that they deserve a spot in the final.

Both sides have only scored two goals in five matches. This inefficiencies in front of goal might be an effect on the absences on both sides. Sky Blue’s Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh have sat out of the tournament as they fend-off injuries, while Chicago’s Yuki Nagasato and Tierna Davidson are on the same boat.

Anyhow, Chicago and Sky Blue find themselves in the Challenge Cup semifinals, and just like the quarterfinals, they will do everything they can to beat the odds and advance again.

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