The gamers and coaches wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts in warmups before the game, which was nationally televised on CBS. The players additionally knelt at some stage in a moment of silence earlier than kickoff.

“We took a knee today to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic racism against Black human beings and people of color in America. We love our united states of america and we have taken this opportunity to keep it to a greater standard. It is our obligation to demand that the liberties and freedoms this state was centered upon are prolonged to everyone,” the Thorns and Courage stated in a joint assertion launched before the game.

The league said the day past that it would play the countrywide anthem earlier than the Challenge Cup games and that it would help the gamers in some thing they selected to do.

The NWSL is the first professional team recreation in the United States to return amid the coronavirus outbreak. The monthlong Challenge Cup opened Saturday with a pair of games performed besides fans at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.

“Today, hopefully, it used to be a effective statement,” Courage midfielder Sam Mewis said. “It was an emotional time and I hope that both teams’ message comes thru clearly.”

Thorns defender Becky Sauerbrunn said: `The (players’ association) has been about participating with groups on what we can do to keep and maintain the dialog round racial injustice in this country.

“We made a sturdy announcement and we wanted to form of maintain that momentum that has been taking place and to exhibit legit dedication to the cause,” she added.

Megan Rapinoe, who performs for OL Reign but opted out of the Challenge Cup, was once criticised when she knelt at an NWSL recreation and a pair of US countrywide team games in 2016.

She said she desired to categorical cohesion with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee for the duration of the anthem to bring interest to racial inequality.

Mewis stated the teams sketch to maintain calling attention to racial injustice.

“I suppose we prefer to maintain this momentum and maintain the interest on the Black Lives Matter motion at some stage in this tournament,” she said.