Thursday, January 30, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO announced its 2014 regular season format and schedule today, with each of its 14 clubs playing a 28-game regular season schedule opening on March 22 and concluding on September 7. As the league enters the second season of its groundbreaking partnership with MLS, every USL PRO squad will once again play a pair of regular season games vs. MLS Reserve teams.
Three new teams have joined USL PRO in 2014: the LA Galaxy II, OKC Energy FC and Sacramento Republic FC. Expansion teams in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Tulsa, Oklahoma have been added for 2015, with more announcements in the near future. Antigua Barracuda FC and VSI Tampa Bay FC will not return in 2014.
2014 USL PRO Games to Watch
3/22 – Charleston Battery vs. Orlando City – Defending champions open their final season in USL PRO on the road against the 2012 champion.
3/22 – LA Galaxy II vs. Los Angeles Blues – The first MLS-run club in USL PRO makes its debut at home to its cross-town rival.
3/29 – LA Galaxy II vs. Sacramento Republic FC – The Republic make their first appearance as they make the trip down the coast to Southern California.
4/5 – Los Angeles Blues vs. OKC Energy FC – The Energy and Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen begin their inaugural season on the west coast.
4/12 – Phoenix FC Wolves vs. OKC Energy FC – The Wolves’ home opener at the Peoria Sports Complex sees the Energy come to town.
4/26 – OKC Energy FC vs. Orlando City – The two affiliates of Sporting Kansas City meet in the Energy’s inaugural home opener at Pribil Field.
4/26 – Sacramento Republic FC vs. Harrisburg City Islanders – The Republic welcome the City Islanders for their inaugural home opener at the Cal Expo.
5/9 – Charleston Battery vs. Wilmington Hammerheads FC – Viewers north of the border will have an eye on Blackbaud Stadium as the affiliates of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC face off.
5/21 – Orlando City vs. Charlotte Eagles – A rematch of the 2013 USL PRO Championship game, the Eagles visit Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex to take on the Lions.
6/14 – Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – The Keystone Derby concludes with three games between the Pennsylvania rivals set for the month of June.
6/14 – OKC Energy FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC – Two of USL PRO’s expansion franchises meet for the first time, with a return fixture set for California on August 9.
7/4 – Sacramento Republic FC vs. Los Angeles Blues – The Republic host their first Fourth of July contest as their California rival visits the Cal Expo.
7/19 – Richmond Kickers vs. Charleston Battery – One of the oldest rivalries in U.S. soccer continues as the Battery visit City Stadium in the 22nd season for both clubs.
8/9 – Wilmington Hammerheads FC vs. Dayton Dutch Lions – The Hammerheads host the Dutch Lions in what could be a key game for playoff position down the stretch.
8/23 – Rochester Rhinos vs. Harrisburg City Islanders – The City Islanders visit the Rhinos in what has become a premier rivalry within USL PRO.
9/6 – Orlando City vs. Richmond Kickers – The top two finishers from the 2013 regular season meet on the final weekend of the season.
USL PRO will once again feature a single-table format.
2014 USL PRO Table (link)
Dayton Dutch Lions
Harrisburg City Islanders
LA Galaxy II
Los Angeles Blues
OKC Energy FC
Orlando City SC
Phoenix FC Wolves
Sacramento Republic FC
Wilmington Hammerheads FC
The 2014 USL PRO Playoffs will include the top eight finishers in the table, with the quarterfinals (No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, etc.) set for the weekend of September 12-14. The semifinals featuring the four remaining teams will be played the following weekend, with the 2014 USL PRO Championship set for the weekend of September 26-28. All playoff rounds feature a single-game knockout format and teams will not be re-seeded following each round.
Each of the 14 USL PRO teams will compete in two inter-league games against MLS Reserve League opponents. With eight teams remaining in the MLS Reserve League, a geographically influenced unbalanced schedule will be in place for interleague games. All inter-league games will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings.
The interleague schedule gets underway on Sunday, March 30, when the Phoenix FC Wolves travel to face the Colorado Rapids Reserves at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and the Dayton Dutch Lions travel to face the New York Red Bulls Reserves at Red Bull Arena.
Every USL PRO game in 2014 will stream live for free via YouTube, the largest global video sharing site. Live games and on-demand content will be available on each team’s YouTube channel, with archived games available shortly after each game’s completion. The USL PRO YouTube channel will showcase all of the archived and on-demand content produced by each team, including the USL PRO Goal of the Week as well as USL PRO Weekly, an audio podcast that uncovers the personalities throughout the league. Please visit http://www.uslsoccer.com/connect for links to each USL PRO account.