Only 10 of an NWSL record 120 matches are scheduled to be played in the middle of the week during the 2017. The full schedule, released Wednesday morning, includes nine Wednesday night matches and one Tuesday night encounter. Five matches will be contested on Friday night with the others all slated for Saturday or Sunday. The 24-match schedule includes each team playing six opponents three times each with a straight home-and-home against the other three.
The fifth NWSL season opens Saturday, April 15 and will have the latest ending to date with the final matches scheduled for Saturday, September 30. The league will again go dark during FIFA windows meaning no matches will take place the weekends of June 10-11, July 29-30, or September 16-17.
In addition, on all but two Saturdays (June 3 and September 23), two matches have been scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT which will enable Lifetime to produce a second broadcast which will serve as a backup to the national broadcast. All 10 clubs have at least one home match scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. NWSL will announce the official Lifetime schedule and further streaming details at a later date.
On the dates to circle, former Spirit captain Ali Krieger will return to the Maryland SoccerPlex with the Orlando Pride on Saturday, July 8. The Pacific Northwest Derby will have three renewals, the first of which will be Saturday, May 6 in Portland. The teams will then play at Memorial Stadium in Seattle on Saturday, July 1 and Saturday, August 26. Only the August 26 match is currently scheduled in the Lifetime window.
The Midwest Melee matches are slated for Sunday, August 20 in Chicago and Saturday, September 9 in Kansas City. The Blues were already announced as the opponent for the Red Stars’ home opener on Saturday, April 22.
Regarding the 10 midweek matches, every team will host one. The Pride host the Spirit on Tuesday, August 8 with the other nine teams hosting a Wednesday match. The Breakers will host three of the five Friday night matches. Sky Blue and FC Kansas City have one Friday home date each.
Pre-season camps for the 2017 NWSL season are scheduled to open March 13.