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USL Announces 2016 Conference Realignment

The influx of new clubs, Bethlehem Steel included, leads USL to rethink the way their teams are split

The USL has a whopping six new clubs including Bethlehem Steel joining the league this year and as a result the league will have a few new looks. The meat of this announcement is the reordering of both the Eastern and Western conferences. The east will have 14 teams while the west will have 15 for a total of 29 teams gunning for the USL Championship. Below are the conferences with the teams participating listed, as well as a brief summary of how the league as a whole works.

Eastern:

-Bethlehem Steel

-Charleston Battery

-Charlotte Independence

-FC Cincinnati

-Harrisburg City Islanders

-Louisville City FC

-FC Montreal

-NY Red Bulls 2

-Orlando City B

-Pittsburgh Riverhounds

-Richmond Kickers

-Rochester Rhinos

-Toronto FC 2

-Wilmington Hammerheads FC

West:

-Arizona United FC

-Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

-LA Galaxy 2

-OKC Energy FC

-Orange County Blues FC

-Portland Timbers 2

-Real Monarch SLC

-Rio Grande Valley FC

-Sacramento Republic FC

-Saint Louis FC

-San Antonio

-Seattle Sounders FC 2

-Swope Park Rangers KC

-Tulsa Roughnecks FC

-Vancouver Whitecaps 2

The USL adopts a similar style to the MLS with the top record from each conference earning a regular season title, followed by a 16 team playoff. Similar to MLS each conference will crown a playoff champion and the two teams will then meet in the USL Championship with the only twist being all playoff matches are single elimination as opposed to the format of a home and home series.

The USL season is set to kick off on the 25th of March and will conclude on the 25th of September. The full season schedule will be released this coming Tuesday at 1pm.