The great 2018 schedule shuffle

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by SiberianThunderT, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I know it'll still be a month or so before we (hopefully) hear about home openers and preseason events*, but there are still some things we know now that will probably be worth discussing:

    NWSL has said it will have 10 teams and should have 24 regular season games, just like this year, so in theory that means a regular season that stretches from the second week of April to the first week of October, with the final in the third week of October. I thought I heard a rumor that NWSL was thinking of expanding the schedule to be a bit earlier and a bit later for 2018, but at the moment I don't remember where I heard that, so that's probably a nothing-burger. What IS something to think about, though, is what happens if something in Boston falls through.

    In terms of home openers, one interesting case to watch might be Portland, since Providence Park is apparently undergoing renovations enough to force the Timbers' home opener all the way back to April 14th. Assuming the Timbers and Thorns won't both play at home the same week, that would mean the third weekend of April is the earliest the Thorns could host a match - which isn't too far off the norm, honestly, so maybe also a nothing-burger, but still something to think about.

    Bigger issues will be WWC qualifying campaigns that take players away from their teams on more than just the FIFA windows. AFC and CONMEBOL are both having their tournaments from the first through third weeks of April, while CONCACAF's tournament will be the first through third weeks of October. NWSL will either need to compress the schedule to fit between those or awkwardly put games on the bookends of them.

    *we do already know about DC-NC in Richmond
     
  2. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
  3. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The Timbers and Thorns don't like to have home games on the same day or weekend. Making the turnaround from one game to the next is difficult. But, they have done it at least once. Given that the April 14 weekend will be the first game exposure for the expanded stadium (and new turf if I recall correctly), they might decide to do two games in one weekend again. I sort of doubt it, but maybe ....
     
  4. BlueCrimson

    BlueCrimson Member+

    North Carolina Courage
    United States
    Nov 21, 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The season starts in March, so it will likely end in September to allow players some time to recover before WCQ starts in October.
     
  5. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Ah, so the season will start a bit earlier than is usually has! That's good. Well, good for the USA and CAN players, since it still means hitting the April AFC & CONMEBOL qualifiers.

    If the season does start in March, though, that means a fairly long time before POR or UTR (likely the two highest-attended teams) have their home openers. Not great for TV games.
     
  6. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    I suppose these are FIFA dates, so Seattle will have to release Utsugi for AFC. :cautious:

    (Kawasumi and Nagasato are less of a problem, since right now the coach is not calling them in NT. Not sure if Kawamura will recover at that date, nor if she's anyway in Takakura's plans, should she be back and fit).
     
  7. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    The full MLS schedule is now out! So I expect the NWSL to be out within a month of today. X-D

    Seriously, though, MLS/USL ownership is now half of the league. (Plus another NWSL team shares and MLS stadium, and another NWSL team controls its stadium.) That amount of control will hopefully make scheduling a much smoother process. Not to mention that - for the first time ever - we're ENTERING the scheduling process with an existing TV deal already in place!
     
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  8. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    So it's confirmed: season will start up in March this year, specifically the weekend of the 24th-25th. Hopefully that means we'll hear exactly when each team has its home opener in the coming days. That does still bring up this issue:
    Unless NCFC, HOU, and ORL can get the first two or three weeks with consistently good attendance numbers, it's gonna look sparse on the Lifetime games.

    We also still have the issue of AFC and CONMEBOL WWCQ conflicts through those first three or so weeks.

    BTW, preseason will begin February 19. National team players surely won't be spending much time with their clubs until the last minute.
     
  9. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
  10. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Sounds like the situation in Boston has turned back toward the darker direction, so that's probably what's stopping a true schedule announcement from coming out.
     
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  11. Smallchief

    Smallchief Member+

    Oct 27, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    So, what happens if Boston folds? Are players distributed to other teams by the league? Or is it a mad scramble by the players to find a team?

    Seems to me the best way to distribute the players is via a draft -- with the same order (before trades) as the regular draft. Moving toward parity would be the goal. .
     
  12. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    A draft would certainly be better, but timing is also an issue... Back in the WPS days, they were able to do a dispersal draft for the LA Sol, but not for the Saint Louis Athletica. Then again, a draft might be necessary with the single-entity structure; I don't think WPS had single-entity. If Boston folds, I would assume the player contracts probably stay with the league and don't just vanish, so a "free agency scramble" wouldn't be possible...

    There is the option that the league *itself* props up Boston for the year so players can play out their contracts and then folds the team after the 2018 season is over. Considering the league is (indirectly) run by USSF, I could see the situation mirroring AC St. Louis (during the year DII was run by USSF) more than mirroring the Saint Louis Athletica in this sense. Unlikely considering the margins, but possible I guess.
     
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  13. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Actually they can't just use byes because 10 teams in 24 matches was an uneven schedule - just dropping all of BOS's matches from the schedule (which I assume was mostly filled out already) would leave different teams with different numbers of games anyway.

    Whatever happens, they'll need to schedule some midweek games since you can't have all 9 remaining teams play in the same weekend. I'm guessing they try to keep 24 games each instead of reduce to 20 - makes more sense to add two or three games per team so that everyone plays each opponent 3x than to remove one or two games per team and still have an uneven schedule.

    At the very least, we now have a definite supermajority of teams that control their own venues (five by sharing ownership with a men's team, and DC controls the Soccerplex too, for 6 out of 9) so hopefully that's a nice amount of flexibility now.
     
  14. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Obviously the Breakers situation threw the schedule situation out the window, so it'll probably be a little more time before we hear anything definite about that... The owners should be reviewing a new schedule early this week, though, per this Tweet from Paulson three days ago:


    Also, nothing new, but confirming what we already knew about the early stages of Utah's schedule: under the link in the Tweet below, it explicitly mentions that the Royals will be away from RioT for the weekends of 3/24 and 3/21 before a FIFA break in early April, then finally having their home opener on 4/14
     
  15. kernel_thai

    kernel_thai Member+

    Oct 24, 2012
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    My guess is Seattle, Houston, Orlando, NCC and Washington will be hosting most of the March matches.
     
  16. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain

    Either they're admitting that things are dragging and are playing to their Twitter fans who've voiced the same concern, or they've already got their part of the schedule all settled and they're just waiting on other teams getting things sorted out so the whole thing can be released.

    Considering the Tweet from Paulson I previously posted, I certainly hope the full schedule is very close.... It's getting late for even my patience now. X-D
     
  17. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    blissett repped this.
  18. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
     
  19. kernel_thai

    kernel_thai Member+

    Oct 24, 2012
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
     
  20. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Ah, nice! Good to get the home openers out. Not real news about which weekend it would be, since that was announced ages ago, but knowing who's actually hosting then will be nice. And we can probably guess as to which match will be the Lifetime match, too.
     
  21. BlueCrimson

    BlueCrimson Member+

    North Carolina Courage
    United States
    Nov 21, 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One already confirmed- Reign host Spirit on 3/24.
     
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  22. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain

    Sky Blue on bye in week 1.

    Only 4 teams currently accounted for in week 2, but if we assume Sky Blue gets an away game that week, then it's SEA NC UTA or HOU on bye that week.

    6 teams accounted for in week 3, leaving possible byes as NC WAS and HOU. No way NC or HOU is on bye both week 2 and week 3.

    Confirmed Lifetime games already: NC v POR in week 1, WAS v ORL in week 2, and UTA v CHI in week 3.
     
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  23. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member+

    Jun 10, 2004
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
  24. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    #24 SiberianThunderT, Feb 16, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
    That's awesome! I hope all four teams market it as such - I think this would be a first in US soccer where two cities have a multi-team doubleheader like this! And will certainly be a nice bump to the Red Stars attendance numbers too. =-)

    Seriously though, on top of the regular bump the Red Stars get from their Fire double-headers, how big is that traveling Portland contingent gonna be??
     
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  25. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member+

    Jun 10, 2004
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    That's what I was thinking. I hope as many Portland fans come to Chicago as possible. I do know that Section 8 and Portland Timbers supporters group have good relations.

    I would like to think much of it was a good or getting better relationship between the Fire and Red Stars but I would also have no doubt that Merritt Paulson had something to do with this as well.
    All-in-all Good Job by everyone involved in putting this Doubleheader together.
     

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