Time Think about 3-Conference Alignment for 2019?

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by m vann, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. m vann

    m vann Moderator
    Staff Member

    Colorado Rapids & Celtic FC
    Sep 10, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Club:
    Celtic FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As the 2019 season starts to take shape with clubs leaving (MLS and USL 3) and new clubs coming into the league, the club count stands at 37. That may be adjusted as USL 3 adds clubs. I suspect a few clubs may drop down a division when it's all said and done. Nonetheless, it may be time for the league to consider three conferences to offset travel costs, better regionalize matches, and cut down on criss crossing the country especially midweek. Below is a potential alignment based on the 37 clubs. Eastern and Central Conferences have 12 clubs while the Western Conference has 13. I love to see a 34-match Regular Season with each club playing their conference foes twice (home / away - 22 matches) and 12 non-conference matches ( 6 from each conference) evenly split home and away. For the Western Conference, due to 13 clubs, they would play 24 conference matches (home / away) and 8 non-conference matches. As for the Post Season, I think a 16-club playoff is doable. The top 3 in each division automatically qualify for the playoffs. The remaining 7 clubs are wildcards determined by highest season point total irregardless of conference. Who knows how it will all shape up for next season. I tried to take a reasonable stab at it while bored off my ass thinking about my CO Springs Swtichbacks playoff hopes dwindling. :)

    Eastern Conference

    Ottawa Fury
    NY Red Bulls 2
    Hartford Athletic
    Bethlehem Steel FC
    Penn FC
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Loudon County SC
    Charlotte Independence
    North Carolina FC
    Charleston Battery
    Atlanta UNited 2
    Tampa Bay Rowdies

    Central Conference

    St. Louis FC
    Indy Eleven
    Louisville City FC
    Nashville SC
    Memphis 901 FC
    Birmingham Legion FC
    OKC Energy
    Tulsa Roughnecks
    Swope Park Rangers
    Austin Bold
    San Antonio FC
    Rio Grande Valley Toros

    Western Conference

    El Paso
    Colorado Springs Switchbacks
    New Mexico
    Phoenix Rising FC
    Real Monarchs
    Las Vegas Lights FC
    Reno 1868 FC
    Tacoma (Seattle Sounders 2)
    Portland Timbers 2
    Sacramento Republic
    Fresno FC
    LA Galaxy 2
    Orange County SC
     
  2. jccann

    jccann Member

    Colorado Rapids
    United States
    May 26, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You forgot the Colorado Rapids who will be relegated from MLS.
     
  3. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Time to consider it? In 2017 the USL said that they would go to three conferences when the league got to 36 teams. That's beyond consideration.


    https://newsok.com/article/5557301/usl-to-create-central-conference

    July 21, 2017

    The question now is if there will be 36 teams in the USL next year since the USL-D3 is pulling some teams out. And if things will stay that big going forward. Obviously things have changed since the summer of 2017 but three conferences seems very, very likely.
     
    2in10 and TheJoeGreene repped this.
  4. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Right now schedules are almost completely within the conferences. I think there were only a couple of inter-conference games this year. I would expect that when USL goes to three conferences that system to remain. If they can work it out to have even numbers of teams in the conferences then I would expect almost all games to in be intra-conference. Odd numbers might increase the chances of a few inter-conference games. Playing some opponents three times has not been a problem historically.

    As far as the playoffs, that gets a lot trickier. A lot of that depends on how the conferences are structured. If they can keep the numbers relatively equal they are more likely to go to a national seeded tournament. It is also possible that they might go to a larger Eastern conference and relatively small Central and Western conferences. That could mean a more regional tournament in the early stages.
     
  5. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    #5 newtex, Sep 21, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
    Here is a more radical way that USL could go. Right now for 2019 there are 16 teams east of the Indy-Louisville-Nashville-Birmingham line including those 4. Why not put all of them in the East? Then divide the rest between the Central and West. Those conferences would be smaller for the moment but we know things will change by 2020 and beyond.

    For the playoffs, let 8 teams in the East qualify and have a seeded tournament to determine the Final participant. In the Central and West qualify 4 teams from each 10 or 11 team conference. Those teams would playoff within their conferences to determine the participants in a West-Central semifinal.

    Only 4 teams qualifying from an 11 team Central conference would be tough but four of the teams would be expansion teams so for the most part it would be 7 teams fighting for the 4 spots.

    Just a different way to go.

    Eastern Conference
    Ottawa Fury
    NY Red Bulls II
    Hartford Athletic
    Bethlehem Steel FC
    Penn FC
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Loudon County SC
    Charlotte Independence
    North Carolina FC
    Charleston Battery
    Atlanta United 2
    Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Indy Eleven
    Louisville City FC
    Nashville SC
    Birmingham Legion FC

    Central Conference
    Memphis 901 FC
    St. Louis FC
    OKC Energy
    Tulsa Roughnecks
    Swope Park Rangers
    Austin Bold
    San Antonio FC
    Rio Grande Valley Toros
    El Paso
    Colorado Springs Switchbacks
    New Mexico

    Western Conference
    Phoenix Rising FC
    Real Monarchs
    Las Vegas Lights FC
    Reno 1868 FC
    Tacoma (Seattle Sounders 2)
    Portland Timbers 2
    Sacramento Republic
    Fresno FC
    LA Galaxy 2
    Orange County SC
     
  6. 2in10

    2in10 Member

    Reno 1868 FC and Nevada Coyotes FC (UPSL)
    United States
    Jun 19, 2016
    Sparks, NV
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Penn FC is rumored to be going to D3 after this season.
    Nashville is gone after 2019.
    Chicago and East Bay are due in 2021.
    So....
    What cities, if any, will join in 2020?
     
  7. VBCity72

    VBCity72 Member+

    Aug 17, 2014
    Oki, J-pan
    Club:
    Plymouth Argyle FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I thought Chicago was 2020 and East Bay was 2021?
     
  8. 2in10

    2in10 Member

    Reno 1868 FC and Nevada Coyotes FC (UPSL)
    United States
    Jun 19, 2016
    Sparks, NV
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wikipedia has been showing 2021 for Chicago for most of the year. Maybe it is a typo?
     
  9. 2in10

    2in10 Member

    Reno 1868 FC and Nevada Coyotes FC (UPSL)
    United States
    Jun 19, 2016
    Sparks, NV
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A quick look around and it does appear to be 2020. But I only found that in one article. The others are mentioning no date to start. Who knows?
     
  10. 2in10

    2in10 Member

    Reno 1868 FC and Nevada Coyotes FC (UPSL)
    United States
    Jun 19, 2016
    Sparks, NV
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Interesting idea and definitely makes travel easier on the Western conference teams. So the East is down to 15 teams with Penn FC going on hiatus for 2019 and dropping to League One for 2020. That should move one of the playoff spots to the Central. Nashville is gone for 2020 and Ottawa may well be also, possibly going to the Canadian Premier League.

    I wonder how many more changes we will see once the USL season is over.

    Edwards was quoted as saying that the conferences were expected to have 12-14 teams. They may have changed their minds.
     
  11. JDogindy

    JDogindy Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Indy Eleven
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Also depends on if we will see more clubs demote themselves to League One.
     
    2in10 repped this.

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