The third matchday of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup started with a 0-0 draw between the Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns. Both teams had plenty of opportunities but could not find the back of the net in 90 minutes at Zions Bank Stadium.
The game began with the many NWSL players and staff choosing to take a knee during the pre-game anthem ceremony. Players and staff are continuing to take a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as the league also announced options for players to not participate in the pregame ceremony. The match ended in a scoreless draw despite Portland having 16 shot attempts and 58.4 percent possession.
Chicago and Portland both earned their first point of the cup after they lost their Saturday openers. The result was the second consecutive scoreless draw in the tournament after OL Reign and Sky Blue FC ended knotted 0-0 on Tuesday night. The NC Courage and Washington Spirit continue Challenge Cup action at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday night. All NWSL Challenge Cup games can be streamed on CBS All Access.
Portland Thorns FC: Head coach Mark Parsons gave the start to Bella Bixby once again in goal, after an impressive debut against North Carolina Courage on opening day. Portland regulars Christine Sinclair and Lindsay Horan played on the day, but couldn't put the Thorns ahead in the first half. The Thorns had the majority of shots, shots on goal, possession and the edge in passing accuracy on the day, but were unable to get on the scoreboard against two Chicago goalkeepers making tournament debuts in Emily Boyd and Cassie Miller.
Madison Pogarch and Morgan Weaver had standout games on the back and top lines, respectively, for the Thorns. Pogarch was able to get involved in the attack and disrupt Chicago's build, while Weaver created looks in front of goal.
Chicago Red Stars: Head coach Rory Dames has gone on record saying that this tournament was going to be an opportunity for younger players to get experience. We saw a big turn over for newer players on the squad with Ella Stevens and Julia Bingham getting time Wednesday.
Veteran player Danielle Colaprico had a good game in the first half before being subbed off for Cassie Rohan. But it was the complete backline shift for Chicago in this game that stood out. That transformation from the Red Stars' opener included Kayla Sharples and Hannah Davison, a center back paring of Chicagoland natives out of Northwestern.