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Utah Royals get more games in 2020 as NWSL announces fall series

(Rick Bowmer | AP) Utah Royals FC defender Madeline Nolf, left, battles with OL Reign midfielder Shirley Cruz, right, during the first half of an NWSL Challenge Cup soccer match at Zions Bank Stadium Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Herriman.

The Utah Royals FC will play again in 2020.

The National Women’s Soccer League announced Tuesday a fall series that consists of 18 games in seven weeks starting Sept. 5. The series will be played in home markets.

The full schedule and competition format will be released next week, the league said. Three-team “regional pods” were created in order to minimize travel.

The Royals are in the West pod with the Portland Thorns and OL Reign. The Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC and Washington Spirit are in the Northeast pod, while the North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride and Houston Dash are in the South pod. Teams in pods will play only each other.

“Building on the success of this summer’s Challenge Cup, I am so excited to smartly and safely take this next step on the NWSL’s journey,” league commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement. “The women of the NWSL want to compete and we’ve certainly heard from our fans all over the world looking for more action this year.”

The series comes a little over a month after the completion of the Challenge Cup, a one-month tournament held in Utah where eight of the nine teams in the league competed. The Dash won the tournament championship.

Games will be broadcast on the CBS family of networks.

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