USL Championship Schedule
USL Championship team Reno 1868 FC stadium. Photo by David Calvert/ Reno 1868 FC.

USL Championship Schedule

Although all of the eyes are on the Major League Soccer (MLS) back tournament, people can’t forget about the USL Championship. Their projected start date is on July 11. The USL Championship schedule for the 2020 season has just been announced.

They have created eight regionalized groups. This will ensure that there is minimal travel for all participants. This will allow a 16-game regular season to occur. Then there will be a single-elimination playoff.

There are five groups of four teams and three groups of five teams. This allows all 35 clubs to be able to participate regionally.

For teams that were able to start in March, those games will count towards the season. There are only two teams, San Diego Loyal SC and Tacoma Defiance, that only have 14 games left. However, there are three teams, Birmingham Legion FC, Hartford Athletic and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, that have all 16 games to complete. The rest of the teams all have 15 games left to play.

Each team will play 12 games within their group. For groups with four teams, they will play three teams four times. For groups of five teams, they will play the other four teams three times.

Once that finishes, teams will start to play against other regionalized groups. This will then allow teams to meet the 16 game season.

The games have been evenly distributed to play home and away games. However, the Board of Governors has allowed an unbalance. If COIVD has affected a community that can no longer host, then the games will be played somewhere else.

Teams are also allowed to make up to five substitutions in the games during the 2020 season.

The group games will play for 13 weeks. The projected end of the regular season is the weekend of Oct. 2-4.

Groups

The groups have been broken up into regions. Group A-D is the Western Conference. Then Group E-H is the Eastern Conference.

Group A- Portland Timbers 2, Reno 1868 FC, Sacramento Republic FC, Tacoma Defiance

Group B- LA Galaxy II, Las Vegas Lights FC, Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC, San Diego Loyal SC

Group C- Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, El Paso Locomotive FC, New Mexico United, Real Monarchs SLC

Group D- Austin Bold FC, OKC Energy FC, Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio FC, FC Tulsa

Group E- Indy eleven, Louisville City FC, Saint Louis FC, Sporting Kansas City II

Group F- Hartford Athletic, Loudoun United FC, New York Red Bulls II, Philadelphia Union II, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Group G- Birmingham Legion FC, Charlotte Independence, Memphis 901 FC, North Carolina FC

Group H- Atlanta United 2, Charleston Battery, Miami FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies

Playoffs

The playoffs will use the top two teams from each group. Then the group winners will pair up with the group runner-ups.

Each round of the playoffs will be single elimination games. The knockout stages will still be regionalized. All Western Conference teams will face off, while the Eastern Conference will do the same.

USL Championship Schedule
The playoff bracket for USL Championship. Photo by USL Championship.