USL Release 2017 Schedule Ahead of March Kickoff
The 2017 USL Season is gearing up for kickoff as 13 matches are set for the weekend of March 24-26. The USL also builds upon its increase in exposure as additional televised matches are scheduled for 2017, including the launch of its Match Center that will air the games live online.
USL Soccer News: The United Soccer League (USL) has released the official 2017 regular season schedule set to span 30 weeks and 480 games.
The USL announced last week the home openers for all 30 clubs in the league, with the season set to kick off on Saturday, March 25 with a total of 13 games taking place over the weekend. The 2017 season will conclude on the weekend of October 12-15 with 14 matches. The Eastern and Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs will be held the following weekend.“We are happy to unveil the regular season schedule for what is set to be the biggest and most exciting season in the league’s history,” said USL President Jake Edwards.
“I’m very appreciative of the work that has been done by the staff from both the league and its clubs, and for the patience that has been shown by our fans during this process. This season will be marked by a number of heated rivalries, and new clubs and venues, with all the thrill and drama that has become the hallmark of USL soccer. The countdown to the new season is now officially underway.”
Edwards is committed to growing the game of soccer in America and believes strongly that the USL can make a huge difference in the sustainability of leagues and teams as well as enhancing the level of soccer played.
“One of the greatest responsibilities is to grow the game in the USA. I played youth soccer when I was young and I want to make sure today’s youths — tomorrow’s soccer professionals and amateur players — have a bright future,” said Edwards in an earlier interview. “It is about professionalism on all levels and producing the best soccer.”
Among the early-season highlights is the first meeting in the battle for the River Cities Cup, which will see FC Cincinnati welcome Louisville City FC on April 22nd to Nippert Stadium. 2016 USL attendance leader Cincinnati – which set a league record for single-game and single-season attendance – claimed the series between the teams last season on goal differential, and will be looking to get an early upper hand on its regional rival in front of its outstanding home support.
Other matches to watch early in the season include a postseason rematch between Sacramento Republic FC and Orange County SC at Bonney Field on April 1st. Another includes the first Keystone Derby of the season when the Pittsburgh Riverhounds host the Harrisburg City Islanders on April 29th.
A rematch of the 2016 Eastern Conference Final between the defending USL Cup champion New York Red Bulls II and Louisville City FC will be held on June 10th, the same night that a new rivalry will unfold when expansion side Reno 1868 FC hosts Sacramento Republic FC. Meanwhile, defending USL Western Conference champion the Swope Park Rangers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 will meet for the first time since their Western Conference Final last season on May 5th.
USL debutants Tampa Bay Rowdies will make as trip to San Antonio FC’s Toyota Field on October 7th for what could be a key showdown in the final regular-season stretch for both teams. Another inter-conference game to watch will be Saint Louis FC’s clash with the Swope Park Rangers at World Wide Technology Soccer Park on August 5th as the rivalry between the Missouri clubs continues, while the New York Red Bulls II and LA Galaxy II battle it out on May 14 at the Red Bulls II’s new home, the Pittser Soccer Complex.
The final weekend of the season sees a number of derby matches that could shape the field for the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs, with the Charlotte Independence set to host the Charleston Battery, San Antonio FC to host Rio Grande Valley FC, Reno 1868 FC to host Sacramento Republic FC, and the Rochester Rhinos to play host to the New York Red Bulls II.
The 2017 USL Season will also feature a number of nationally televised matches for the second consecutive year. Specific network and start times for the national and locally televised games be announced in the coming weeks. In addition, through the launch of USL Productions, the league’s $10 million investment in state-of-the-art broadcast production facilities, all USL matches will be available via the USL Match Center, along with up-to-the-minute match statistics provided by industry leader Opta.
Photo Credit: United Soccer League