[DATEBOOK]The National Women's Soccer League will kick off its 2014 regular season April 12 with eight of the nine clubs in action. The day's big match: the expansion Houston Dash will host defending champion Portland Thorns FC in its inaugural game.
Each of the league's nine clubs will play a total of 24 games during a 19-week span. The late addition of a ninth team requires that at least one team play twice a week to avoid one team skipping a week. After the first two weeks of the 2014 season, there will be midweek games every week. In 2013, there were midweek games for only 12 of the 19 weeks.
Three returning teams -- Boston, FC Kansas City and Seattle -- will play in new homes in 2014. Boston (Harvard) and KC Kansas City (UMKC) will play at college stadiums, while Reign FC announced on Thursday a multi-year agreement with Seattle Public Schools to play at Seattle’s Memorial Stadium, the original home of the NASL Seattle Sounders during their first two seasons in 1974 and 1975.
The regular season will conclude the weekend of Aug. 16-17. The top four teams will qualify for the NWSL playoffs and compete in the semifinals on Aug. 23-24. The NWSL will crown its 2014 champion after the final on weekend of Aug. 30-31.