With the Orlando Pride no longer participating in the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the team, the tournament’s schedule had to be augmented. The new schedule, released Tuesday, might actually help the host team Utah Royals FC.

The Royals will still begin the tournament on June 30, but it won’t be against the Washington Spirit, who Utah drew as the league revealed the first matchups for the preliminary rounds. Instead, the Royals will face the Houston Dash to start the tournament.

URFC will then get to spend part of its Fourth of July holiday playing Sky Blue FC. It gets the OL Reign after that on July 8, and the preliminary round culminates for the team July 12 against the Chicago Red Stars.

The Royals’ first three games kick off at 10:30 a.m.; the game against the Red Stars starts at 8 p.m.

The schedule change allows the Royals to avoid the North Carolina Courage in the preliminary round. The Courage, who Utah were originally schedule to play July 12, are back-to-back NWSL champions and have won the NWSL Shield in three consecutive seasons.

Additionally, Sky Blue and Houston were not playoff teams in 2019. However, the Royals lost two of their three games to the Dash last season.

The Royals confirmed Tuesday that U.S. Women’s National Team forward Christen Press opted out of the tournament, as previously reported by The Salt Lake Tribune. The team also signed former University of Utah player Holly Daugirda to a short-term contract.

NWSL CHALLENGE CUP SCHEDULE
All times Mountain


At Zions Bank Stadium


Saturday • NC Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC, 10:30 a.m., CBS and CBS All Access; Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


June 30 • Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash, 10:30 a.m., CBS All Access; OL Reign vs. NC Courage, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 1 • Portland Thorns vs. Chicago Red Stars, 10:30 a.m., CBA All Access; Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 4 • Utah Royals FC vs. Sky Blue FC, 10:30 a.m., CBS All Access; Houston Dash vs. OL Reign, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 5 • NC Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars, 10:30 a.m., CBS All Access; Portland Thorns vs. Washington Spirit, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 8 • Utah Royals FC vs. OL Reign, 10:30 a.m., CBS All Access; Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 12 • Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit, 10:30 a.m., CBS All Access; Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 13 • OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns, 10:30 a.m., CBS All Access; Sky Blue FC vs. NC Courage, 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 17 • Quarterfinals, 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 19 • Quarterfinals, 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., CBS All Access


At Rio Tinto Stadium


July 22 • Semifinals, 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., CBS All Access


July 26 • Championship, 10:30 a.m., CBS and CBS All Access