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2022 SEASON PREVIEW – Eastern Conference

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 03/03/22, 5:00PM EST


Rowdies, LouCity lead likely contenders as full-conference play returns to league

The 2022 USL Championship season brings a welcome return to the full-conference system and schedule, and as the Eastern Conference gears up for the new campaign there are more than a handful of clubs that could contend to reach the USL Championship Final in November.

The two teams everyone else will be looking to measure up to, though, will be the ones that have contested the past two Eastern Conference Finals. The two-time defending Eastern Conference title-holder Tampa Bay Rowdies and seven-time Eastern Conference Finalist Louisville City FC have been the standard for the past two seasons, and are led by bright young coaches in Neill Collins and Danny Cruz, respectively. Collins and Cruz have now seen their experienced squads supplemented by new additions to try and maintain their position in the standings.

There is notable continuity elsewhere too, however, especially at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, where a strong returning core will be aiming to achieve postseason success this year after reaching the playoffs in four consecutive seasons under Head Coach Bob Lilley. Miami FC has also retained multiple key pieces for new Head Coach Anthony Pulis, while also making some major waves in free agent signings with 2021 Championship All-League selections Mark Segbers and Kyle Murphy both coming aboard.

Other clubs have made big changes, including on the sidelines. Indy Eleven brought in 2021 Coach of the Year finalist Mark Lowry to lead its squad this season after his success at El Paso Locomotive FC, and former United States international Conor Casey has taken the reins for the Charleston Battery’s 30th anniversary season. How both those sides fare this year after missing out on the playoffs a season ago will be a storyline to watch this campaign.

Then there’s the storyline of league newcomer Detroit City FC, which joins the Championship after achieving dominant success over the past three years in the National Independent Soccer Association. The squad led by returning Head Coach Trevor James features a collection of players that drove that success and who’ll now be looking to achieve more at their new higher level of competition.

For details on where each club stands currently, click through to find out more.

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