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Dynamo/Dash Delivery: Countdown to the NWSL 2020 Challenge Cup

2019 NWSL Championship

The Dash are just days away from kicking off in the NWSL 2020 Challenge Cup. The tournament begins today with the defending champion NC Courage taking on perennial power Portland Thorns FC. The game airs live on CBS and CBS All-Access at 11:30 AM CT from Salt Lake City, Utah. The kick-off marks the first US pro league of any kind to return to competitive play.

The Houston Dash will return to the pitch with a June 30th match slated for 11:30 AM CT against Utah Royals. Dynamo/Dash Delivery will bring you its prediction for all matches leading to the knockout stage in our next article. Below are the are the parameters for play and links to the rules for the tournament matches.

The National Women’s Soccer League announced the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret Tournament Rules and Regulations. All policies and procedures found in the NWSL Competition Manual and NWSL Operations Manual are in effect, except where not applicable or superseded by the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup Rules.

For the NWSL Challenge Cup Roster Rules, click here.

For the NWSL Challenge Cup Tournament Rules, click here.

The tournament will kick off with the preliminary rounds where each team will play four matches, followed by two knockout stages and the final. The top-eight teams out of the preliminary rounds will be placed into a seeded bracket to contest the quarterfinals. If two or more teams are equal on points after completion of the preliminary stage, the following criteria shall be applied to determine team rankings:

A. Head-to-Head (only if two teams are tied and they’ve played each other);

B. Superior goal difference in all preliminary matches;

C. Greatest number of goals scored in all preliminary matches;

D. Lowest team conduct score relating to the number of yellow and red cards obtained:

yellow card: 1 point

indirect red card (as a result of two (2) yellow cards): 3 points

direct red card: 4 points

yellow card and direct red card: 5 points

*Only one of the above point totals shall be applied to a player in a single match.

E. Drawing of lots by NWSL

Each team has named a final list of 22-28 players selected to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup. Those rosters will be announced today. Only the players on the submitted list will be permitted to play in the tournament. However, players may join their teams late as long as they are included on the final rosters submitted to the league on June 21, 2020.

There will be no extra time in any match played in the NWSL Challenge Cup. In the knockout stage, if a match is tied at the end of regulation, kicks from the penalty mark shall be taken to determine the winner. Teams will be permitted five (5) substitutions per match and no more than three (3) substitution stoppages per team will be allowed in each game.

The NWSL has also announced a set of awards to be presented at the conclusion of the tournament. Those awards are: Tournament MVP sponsored by Budweiser, awarded to the most outstanding player of the tournament as voted on by the media, Golden Boot, presented to the leading goalscorer of the tournament, Golden Glove sponsored by Verizon, awarded to the best goalkeeper of the tournament as voted on by media, NWSL Future Legend, presented to the top-performing player in their first season with the NWSL, and Best XI, awarded to the best 11-players at the tournament. The NWSL Challenge Cup Best XI will be determined as a result of voting conducted among players, media, fans, and GMs/coaches.

Along with tournament awards, at the conclusion of each match, the NWSL will present and share postgame awards via social media. These awards include: the Budweiser Woman of the Match, who will do an exclusive post-game interview on Twitch, the No Sweat Play of the Match, presented by Secret and the Verizon Save of the Match. In addition to awards, a Secret All Strength No Sweat Recap Series on Twitch will provide recaps of the previous day’s matches, including match highlights and interviews.

Official Virtual Watch Parties presented by Secret deodorant will be hosted by the NWSL on Google Meet. There will be an Official Virtual Watch Party per team, per game.

To stay up to date with all the action and awards, follow the NWSL on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or use #NWSLChallengeCup.

Catch our Challenge Cup predictions for each match leading to the knockout rounds here on Dynamo/Dash Delivery in our next article.