A Quick Look At: USL Return To Play

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It’s been a wild ride to get the USL Championship back to play. Back in March, the USL announced that they were suspending play. It was unsurprising as the NBA, NHL, and MLS all did the same thing. At the time, it seemed like the USL would be back after 30ish days. They didn’t return in April. Teams didn’t start training again until June. Around the same time teams started training again the USL announced that they wanted to cut players’ pay. They announced it before talking to the players. The players found out at the same time everyone else did. It looked like the players might strike. The USL retracted (instead of agreeing to a new deal) and nothing changed. Then the focus shifted to would every team be training in time to start the season in late June or early July. Then the USL Announced their plan for return to play. Now here we are and here is what the USL plans for this season:

The League has been divided into 8 groups. Each group has 4 or 5 teams. Teams will play 16 games. It’s only 14 or 15 from now until the end of the season as it is a total of 16 games for the 2020 season. Each team will play 12 games within its group. The remaining games will be played between teams within similar regions. Teams in a group with four other teams will play each other four times. Teams in a group with five other teams will play each other three times. The regular season starts today (July 11, 2020). The regular season will end the weekend of October 2, 2020. 

There will be 16 teams in the playoffs. The top two teams from each group. Playoffs will remain single elimination. The first round of the playoffs will be between the first place and second place teams in each group.  Playoffs should start the weekend of October 9, 2020. 

  • 8 groups
  • 4 or 5 teams per group
  • 16 games for 2020
  • 12 group games
  • 2 to 3 region games
  • Start date July 11
  • 16 team playoffs
  • Single elimination
  • top 2 teams from each group

I like this plan. I think it’s better than what the MLS is doing. I would rather see my team play an actual season than just a tournament. A lot of the games will be on the networks of ESPN. More so than there would have been otherwise. I would like to see the USL capitalize on this to become more popular but they probably won’t. I think that the USL has the opportunity this season to become as popular (or more) in the USA as the MLS is but again they probably won’t. Honestly, I’m excited about the season and can’t wait to see our boys take the pitch again. 

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