The Houston Dash won the inaugural Challenge Cup in 2020. (ROB GRAY/ISI PHOTOS)

The 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup begins Friday with the Portland Thorns looking to defend their 2021 title.

The tournament will open with a matchup between the Thorns and OL Reign.

Expansion clubs Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC will make their debuts in the tournament, with their first game scheduled for March 19 at ACFC’s Titan Stadium.

The format for this year’s tournament features three regional groups of four teams. The East region comprises NJ/NY Gotham FC, the North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride and reigning NWSL champions Washington Spirit. The central region includes the Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, Kansas City Current and Racing Louisville FC. Angel City FC, OL Reign, Portland Thorns FC and San Diego Wave FC comprise the West region.

Round-robin play will be completed before the semifinal round and May’s Challenge Cup Final.

For the full schedule, see here.

All matches will be available on Paramount+ with a selection of matches available across CBS networks.

2022 NWSL Challenge Cup TV Schedule

  • April 2: San Diego Wave FC vs. Angel City FC at 4 p.m. ET on CBS
  • April 15: Kansas City Current vs. Houston Dash at 8 p.m. ET on CBSSN
  • April 17: OL Reign vs. Angel City FC at 6 p.m. ET on CBSSN
  • April 23: North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
  • April 24: Houston Dash vs. Racing Louisville FC at 6 p.m. ET on CBSSN
  • May 4: Semifinal 1 at 8 p.m. ET on CBSSN
  • May 4: Semifinal 2 at 10 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • May 7: Challenge Cup Final at 1 p.m. ET on CBS