The United Soccer League announced the league’s 2016 Regular Season Schedule, with the 435-game slate set to kick off on March 25 with an action-packed opening weekend of the season.
The opening weekend of the season will see 13 contests across the United States and Canada. Newcomer Bethlehem Steel FC will visit FC Montreal in the opening game of the season on Friday, March 25, with a big Western Conference clash between 2015 USL Playoff sides Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Sacramento Republic FC set to round out the East-West Doubleheader.
Four more expansion sides will be in action on opening weekend, as the Swope Park Rangers welcome the Portland Timbers 2 to Children’s Mercy Park for their inaugural home opener, and Orlando City B hosts Wilmington Hammerheads FC at the Titan Soccer Complex in the club’s return to the league.
FC Cincinnati’s inaugural season in the USL will kick off on the road as it visits the Charleston Battery in what’s certain to be a must-see contest between the old guard and the new in the Eastern Conference, while Rio Grande Valley FC will visit Tulsa Roughnecks FC at ONEOK Field as it makes its league debut.
Other highlights of the opening weekend’s schedule sees a rematch of the 2015 USL Playoffs’ Western Conference Semifinal between OKC Energy FC and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, which should produce another pulsating contest at Taft Stadium. The historic rivalry between the Richmond Kickers and Harrisburg City Islanders will also be renewed at City Stadium, while Arizona United SC will visit the LA Galaxy II in what will be a keenly-contested clash between the west-coast rivals.
Defending USL Champions the Rochester Rhinos will get their title defense underway in Week 2 of the season, as they visit the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium for a big rivalry clash. Meanwhile, San Antonio will take to the field for the first time when it visits Seattle Sounders FC on April 3 at Starfire Stadium.
The 2016 USL Regular Season will be staged over 27 weeks, with the final day of the season set for September 25. The top eight teams from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will then advance to the 2016 USL Playoffs, with four weeks of postseason action set to crown the league’s next champion.
USL: The USL is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league below Major League Soccer (MLS). The USL featured 24 teams in 2015 across the United States and Canada, with six new clubs already announced for 2016. Through aggressive and strategic growth, the USL has built a stable, national professional soccer league. In addition to league play, USL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. The USL is the longest-standing professional affiliate member of U.S. Soccer.
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