The United Soccer League (USL), the largest second division professional soccer league in the world, today announced the home openers for the 2017 regular season, with a 13-game slate set to feature on the 2017 USL Kickoff Weekend on Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26.
The 2016 USL Cup champion New York Red Bulls II will open their new campaign on the road as they visit a revamped Pittsburgh Riverhounds side at Highmark Stadium in one of 11 games on the opening Saturday of the season. The Red Bulls II will play host to the Richmond Kickers the following Saturday, April 1, in the club's first contest at its new home on the picturesque campus of Montclair State University.
The 2016 USL Western Conference champion Swope Park Rangers will also kick off the season on their opening Saturday when they host a marquee clash with OKC Energy FC.
Two of the league's newcomers in the 2017 season will also see action on home turf on the opening Saturday of the season, with the Tampa Bay Rowdies set to welcome Sunshine State rivals Orlando City B to scenic Al Lang Stadium, and Reno 1868 FC will square off with Orange County SC at Greater Nevada Field in its inaugural contest.
The third newcomer to the USL in 2017, Ottawa Fury FC, will kick off its inaugural season the following weekend with a visit to Saint Louis FC, while its home opener at TD Place arrives on April 22 against Toronto FC II.
Other highlights of the opening weekend in the Eastern Conference include the first clash for the Kings' Cup in 2017 when Louisville City FC hosts Saint Louis FC at Slugger Field, while a postseason rematch sees the Charleston Battery host FC Cincinnati at MUSC Health Stadium. Meanwhile in the West, Rio Grande Valley FC hosts Texas rival San Antonio FC, and two 2016 playoff teams meet as the LA Galaxy II welcome Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
The full 2017 USL regular season schedule will be announced in the coming days as the league begins the countdown to the seventh season in its history. Home opener kickoff times also will be announced at a later date.
2017 USL Home Openers
Saturday, March 25
Charleston Battery vs. FC Cincinnati
LA Galaxy II vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Louisville City FC vs. Saint Louis FC
Phoenix Rising FC vs. Toronto FC II
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. New York Red Bulls II
Portland Timbers 2 vs. Real Monarchs SLC
Reno 1868 FC vs. Orange County SC
Richmond Kickers vs. Harrisburg City Islanders
Swope Park Rangers vs. OKC Energy FC
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orlando City B
Tulsa Roughnecks FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Sunday, March 26
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. San Antonio FC
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Sacramento Republic FC
Thursday, March 30
Orlando City B vs. Louisville City FC
Saturday, April 1
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Rochester Rhinos
Charlotte Independence vs. Charleston Battery
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. OKC Energy FC
New York Red Bulls II vs. Richmond Kickers
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Phoenix Rising FC
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Orange County SC
Saint Louis FC vs. Ottawa Fury FC
San Antonio FC vs. LA Galaxy II
Friday, April 7
Toronto FC II vs. Rochester Rhinos
Saturday, April 8
OKC Energy FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2
Saturday, April 15
FC Cincinnati vs. Saint Louis FC
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Saturday, April 22
Ottawa Fury FC vs. Toronto FC II
Rochester Rhinos vs. New York Red Bulls II
Saturday, May 6
Orange County SC vs. LA Galaxy II
Host team listed first
USL: The USL is the world's largest Division II professional soccer league, with 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces for the 2017 season. In total, the USL reaches a population of 75 million people, fueling the growth of professional soccer across North America.
In 2016, more than $100 million were invested league-wide into stadium infrastructure to create venues that deliver an unforgettable fan and competitor experience. The USL has national media partnerships with ESPN and SiriusXM, and recently invested $10 million to create USL Productions - which includes a state-of-the-art facility that will produce and distribute nearly 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners, local affiliates, USL's Match Center and international markets.
A growing league, the USL has nearly doubled in size since 2014, with Ottawa Fury FC, Reno 1868 FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies scheduled to debut in 2017. Nashville SC is the first club set to join the league for 2018. Beyond league play, the USL regularly features international exhibitions against leading Premier League, Liga MX, and Bundesliga clubs, among others.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., the USL provides unparalleled club support with a growing team of more than 50 professionals across 17 departments, ranging from operations to marketing, communications, and sponsorship. Follow the USL at USLSoccer.com, and on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.