With San Diego Wave FC on the verge of playing their first-ever competitive game, on Saturday when they take on fellow NWSL expansion side Angel City FC in Fullerton, a big question emerges: Just how competitive are the upcoming games in the NWSL Challenge Cup?

To provide some context, the Challenge Cup will be in its third year in 2022, after being the restart competition in a bubble format in 2020 at the most restrictive part of the pandemic, before taking place in the spring of 2021, like it’s doing again this year. In the second season, it appears the Challenge Cup is becoming a way for teams to “soft open” into the season, with the regular season, to come after the Challenge Cup, given far more priority by coaches. Read More