As the 2024 NWSL preseason is getting underway, there are some exciting preseason matchups for many of the teams in the league, including the Coachella Valley Invitational.
The Coachella Valley Invitational is a preseason tournament that is hosted by the LA Galaxy. The first edition of the tournament took place in 2022. It’s hosted at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.
It originally included just MLS teams, but it has since expanded to include USL sides, and the 2024 edition will include four NWSL teams. The Portland Thorns, Bay FC, San Diego Wave FC, and Angel City FC will all participate in the tournament.
The preseason exhibition-style tournament is set to take place on February 7-24. The NWSL bracket will be held between February 20-24.
Bay FC will take on the San Diego Wave in the first match, and it’ll be one of the first chances for fans to see the expansion side in action ahead of their inaugural season.
In just their second season, Angel City made it to the playoffs last season, and they’ll be looking to improve on that finish in 2024. They’ve got some exciting new faces like Casey Phair, Gisele Thompson, Messiah Bright, and Rocky Rodriguez joining the club. After finishing the 2023 season as the interim head coach, Becki Tweed had the interim tag removed and was named the head coach during the offseason.
San Diego Wave
San Diego has been about as successful as an expansion team can be. They’ve made the playoffs in both of their first two seasons, and in 2023, they won the shield. They got a big boost this offseason when their head coach, Casey Stoney, signed an extension with the club. They return most of their roster from last season and have added a few new faces, including Elyse Bennett and Savannah McCaskill.
Bay FC will play their inaugural season in 2024, and they’ve built an exciting team. The balanced roster of rookies, league veterans, and new faces will be exciting to watch. They’ve brought in the likes of Alex Loera, Katelyn Rowland, Caprice Dydasco, and Emily Menges from around the league. They just recently announced the signings of a few exciting internationals like Deyna Castellanos, Jen Beattie, and Asisat Oshoala. They’ll be led by head coach Albertin Montoya, who is a first-year head coach in the league. Montoya was the interim head coach for the Washington Spirit in 2022.
It’s always hard to predict how an expansion team will do in their first season, but on paper, Montoya and Bay FC look like they’re aiming to compete for a title in year one.
Last season, the Thorns finished the regular season in second place before falling to NJ/NY Gotham FC in the semifinal match of the playoffs. Portland has consistently been a title team, and they’ll be looking to stay on top again this season. They’re under new ownership this season, and they’ve brought back veteran players like Christine Sinclair and Becky Sauerbrunn for another season. One exciting face to watch will be Jessie Fleming, the Canadian international who joined the Thorns this offseason, and it’ll be her first season in the NWSL.
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