It’s the first Saturday of the season, and an 11-game slate of action awaits.
Here’s your morning USL Championship tea.
There were more great memories in the 2019 USL Championship regular season than you could count for Phoenix Rising FC and its fans.
The club swept through opponents at a record-setting pace – at one point recording a barely believable 20 consecutive victories – while showing the ability to win games in all manner of means.
But the club’s elimination at the hands of Real Monarchs SLC in the Western Conference Semifinals saw the campaign end on a bitter note, especially when two weeks later it was the Monarchs lifting the trophy Phoenix had envisioned would be in its possession when the postseason began.
As the club kicks off its 2020 regular season on Saturday night against the Portland Timbers 2 at Casino Arizona Field, victory in the USL Championship Final – a feat that has eluded the club so far – is firmly in its crosshairs.
“We are going for more trophies, there’s no two ways about it,” 2019 Championship MVP Solomon Asante told the Arizona Republic’s Rob Kleifield.
The club has certainly looked locked in so far this preseason. For the first time there were multiple victories against Major League Soccer opposition, which allowed Rising FC to finish second as the lone non-MLS side in the six-team Visit Tucson Sun Cup.
And while there have been departures – notably the transfer of All-League First Team selection Adam Jahn to Atlanta United FC – the new recruits and returning faces have the side primed as the favorite to win it all at the end of the season.
From the team’s perspective, that’s all well and good, but the real business starts on Saturday night.
“Beating MLS teams is a good sign, but the real season starts March 7, and that’s when we want to win some trophies,” playmaker Jon Bakero told Kleifield.
They've been legends for the U.S. Men's National Team on the field, but now San Diego Loyal SC's Landon Donovan and Memphis 901 FC's Tim Howard are taking on a new challenge as stakeholders in USL Championship clubs. Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus takes an in-depth look.
Storylines abound across the Championship for the 2020 season, but Pro Soccer USA’s Mitchell Northam has picked out 14 players you need to watch throughout the campaign.
A new chapter begins for Landon Donovan tonight as he leads San Diego Loyal SC into its inaugural season as the club’s Head Coach. Cesar Hernandez has a special feature on the U.S. soccer legend, his management philosophy, and his aims for the club.
Since he retired from the game, Donovan had been looking for what his next passion would be. According to the Los Angeles Times’ Kevin Baxter, he’s found it in coaching and leading SD Loyal.
Las Vegas Lights FC made a solid improvement in their second year in the Championship. With more new faces on board this season to bolster their squad, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Le’Andre Fox found hopes are high for Eric Wynalda’s squad going into Year 3.
Playmaker Sebastian Velasquez might be the final piece of the puzzle for Miami FC’s attack this season, having returned to prominence in the Championship after alcoholism curtailed a promising start to his career. The Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman caught up with the Colombian.
Steve Trittschuh grew up in the outskirts of St. Louis, Mo., just across the state line in Granite City, Illinois. Now, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Lyons, he’s returned home to become Head Coach of Saint Louis FC and is looking forward to a special at the club’s home opener.
Change can be the biggest constant in the USL Championship, but OKC Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi has become a fixture at the club thanks to his consistency between the sticks, as FOX 25’s Danielle Dwyer found out.
Louisville City FC kicks off its 2020 Championship season on the road in a familiar setting against North Carolina FC. As the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Hayes Gardiner writes, though, a fourth consecutive trip to the USL Championship Final is in the club’s sights.
Win a State Championship with your High School? Check. Sign your first professional contract with San Antonio FC? Check. Stay on course for graduation in May? Check that one off as well for SAFC’s Jose Gallegos, via the San Antonio News-Express’ Greg Luca.
In more big news for Louisville City FC, the Metro City Council proved a new public-private partnership with the club’s parent company Soccer Holdings, LLC, which will privately fund a new multi-million dollar practice facility updating a portion of Champions Park on River Road.
Tag(s): San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks LA Galaxy II OKC Energy FC Phoenix Rising FC Real Monarchs SLC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC FC Tulsa Philadelphia Union II Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Louisville City FC New York Red Bulls II Pittsburgh Riverhounds Saint Louis FC Tampa Bay Rowdies Sebastián Velásquez Cody Laurendi Las Vegas Lights FC Austin Bold FC Atlanta United 2 North Carolina FC Indy Eleven Memphis 901 FC Solomon Asante New Mexico United Loudoun United FC Adam Jahn Jose Gallegos San Diego Loyal SC Sporting KC II The Miami FC The Morning Tea