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USL Championship Announces 2022 Competition Format

By Staff, 12/21/21, 12:00PM EST


League returns to full two-conference alignment, 34-game regular season to open on March 11

TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship today announced its competition structure for the 2022 season. The league’s 27 teams will be divided into two conferences – 14 in the Eastern Conference and 13 in the Western Conference (see lists below).

A 34-game regular season will be played from March 11 to Oct. 15, 2022. The home openers and full schedule for the 2022 USL Championship season will be announced in January 2022.

Every team will play each of its conference foes twice – once at home, once away. For Eastern Conference clubs, the remaining eight games will be against interconference opponents – four at home, four away. For Western Conference clubs, the remaining 10 games will be against a combination of interconference and intraconference opponents – five at home, five away.   

At the conclusion of the regular season, the top seven teams in each conference will qualify for the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs. The first overall seed in each conference will receive a bye to the Conference Semifinals of the playoffs. The bracket will be reseeded following the Conference Quarterfinals to ensure the first overall seed in each conference plays against the lowest-seeded remaining opponent. The USL Championship Playoffs will remain a single-elimination format, culminating in the 2022 USL Championship Final on a to be determined date between Nov. 10 and Nov. 14, 2022.

“We are pleased and eager to see the Championship in a traditional two-conference alignment in 2022,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “This regular season format increases the importance of each intra-conference match while also providing the variety and intrigue of more cross-conference matchups. The schedule footprint allows our teams time to compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and finish the playoffs prior to call-ups for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.” 

USL Championship debutants Detroit City FC and Monterey Bay F.C. will join the Eastern and Western Conference, respectively. Detroit City will be the league’s northernmost club, with its nearest conference opponents being Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (291 mi.), Indy Eleven (322 mi.), and Louisville City FC (363 mi.). Monterey Bay counts five California neighbors among its conference opponents, including Oakland Roots SC (116 mi.) and Sacramento Republic FC (186 mi). 


Atlanta United 2
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Detroit City FC
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Loudoun United FC
Louisville City FC
Memphis 901 FC
The Miami FC
New York Red Bulls II
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
FC Tulsa

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
LA Galaxy II
Las Vegas Lights FC
Monterey Bay F.C.
New Mexico United
Oakland Roots SC
Orange County SC
Phoenix Rising FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
Sacramento Republic FC
San Antonio FC
San Diego Loyal SC

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