ATL UTD 2 learned today its grouping for the upcoming, abbreviated USL Championship season set to start on JUly 11, which will be 16 games and feature regionalized matches to limit travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Atlanta will be in Group H with 3 other Southeastern teams: the Charleston Battery, Tampa Bay Rowdies and league debutant Miami FC.
As announced by the USL each side in the group will play each other 4 times (5-team groups will play each other 3 times), with the other 4 matches coming against teams from nearby regions – in Atlanta’s case, this almost certainly will be against a Group G that features the Birmingham Legion, Charlotte Independence, Memphis 901 FC and North Carolina FC. The 16 matches will be evenly split between home and away, but some adjustments could be made depending on health situations in each home market. The top 2 finishers in each of the 8 groups league-wide will advance to a knockout playoff bracket. Since Atlanta have played a match this season already (against Charleston), it will play 15 matches to round out the schedule.
The USL Championship’s top-flight counterpart will no doubt have a close eye on what is happening in the 2nd division as it weights its own plans for regular season. MLS is not far off from the MLS Is Back Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, and while it’s not announced what is in the works once that competition is completed, it will undoubtely co-opt some, or all, of the USL’s plan if proven successful and barring a continued outbreak of the coronavirus. But for now, in the USL’s case, all systems are go.
Group A: Portland Timbers 2, Reno 1868 FC, Sacramento Republic FC, Tacoma Defiance
Group B: LA Galaxy II, Las Vegas Lights, Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC, San Diego Loyal
Group C: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, El Paso Locomotive FC, New Mexico United, Real Monarchs SLC
Group D: Austin Bold FC, OKC Enegry FC, Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio FC, FC Tulsa
Group E: Indy Eleven, Louisville City FC, Sporting Kansas City II, Saint Louis FC
Group F: Hartford Athletic, Loudoun United, New York Red Bulls II, Philadelphia Union II, Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Group G: Birmingham Legion, Charlotte Independence, Memphis 901 FC, North Carolina FC
Group H: Atlanta United 2, Charleston Battery, Miami FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies