NWSL Challenge Cup final will have fans under governor’s new guidelines


The Challenge Cup final will be played before fans, after all.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown eased COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, allowing the Thorns to host Gotham FC in the title match on Saturday with fans present at a limited capacity.

Leading up to the championship, Multnomah County — where the Thorns play — was under “extreme risk” limitations, meaning the game would have had to be played with no fans in the stadium. NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird had appealed to the governor earlier this week for an exemption for the title game, and there was even talk about the game being moved to New Jersey, but neither possibility seemed likely.

With the coronavirus risk diminished in the region, Providence Park will now be able to welcome roughly 3,800 fans for the Challenge Cup final, which airs Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.