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USL Oct 06, 2020

Brackets set for 2020 USL Championship Playoffs

TAMPA, Fla. – The field and bracket for the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs was completed on Sunday night, with 16 teams set to vie for a place in the 2020 USL Championship Final on Sunday, November 1 on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and SiriusXM FC as the postseason kicks off next Saturday night.

Four teams clinched playoff berths in the final Saturday of the season, with the Charlotte Independence’s victory against North Carolina FC earning Head Coach Mike Jeffries’ side first place in Group G ahead of Birmingham Legion FC, which advances to the playoffs for its second consecutive season. The Independence are back in the postseason for the first time since the 2017 campaign.

Also making its first appearance in the Championship Playoffs since 2017 is FC Tulsa, which claimed second place in Group B with a 2-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday night, capping a three-game winning streak to close the regular season.

[+READ: USL team San Diego Loyal forfeits mid-match in protest of alleged homophobic insult]

Finally, Saint Louis FC became the first team in the Championship to reach the postseason in both the Eastern and Western Conferences as it defeated Indy Eleven 2-1 in its final game of the season to jump past Indy into second place in Group E and advance to the Eastern Conference bracket. STLFC’s only prior trip to the playoffs came in the Western Conference in 2018.

Sunday also saw a pair of group titles decided as El Paso Locomotive FC and Hartford Athletic each took victories on the road to clinch first place in Group C and Group F respectively. Locomotive FC wrapped up its second season with a 4-0 victory against 2019 Championship Final winner Real Monarchs SLC – which becomes the first defending title holder to miss the playoffs in the following year – while the Athletic took a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls II to pass Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on the final day of the season.

The 2020 USL Championship Playoffs will open on Saturday night as three-time defending Eastern Conference title-holder Louisville City FC opens its bid for a fourth consecutive trip to the Championship Final at home to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Lynn Family Stadium after earning the top seed in the East. LouCity claimed victory in its last six regular season contests, a throwback to the conclusion of its 2018 campaign that saw it sweep through the playoffs with four more victories on the way to its second Championship Final victory.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, there will be a battle of the Carolinas as the Charlotte Independence host the Charleston Battery at the Sportsplex at Matthews, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies will welcome Birmingham Legion FC to Al Lang Stadium to complete the bottom half of the bracket and Hartford Athletic hosts Saint Louis FC in the first playoff game at Dillon Stadium.

Reno 1868 FC will enter the Western Conference bracket holding the best record in the Championship and the potential to hold homefield advantage throughout the playoffs after another standout season by Head Coach Ian Russell’s squad. Reno will host the LA Galaxy II at Greater Nevada Field to open their fourth consecutive postseason trip having taken victory in its last two meetings with Los Dos during the 2019 regular season.

Elsewhere in the Western Conference, San Antonio FC returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 with a home clash against New Mexico United at Toyota Field, with United having reached the playoffs for a second consecutive year despite restrictions in its home state having meant New Mexico has played every game on the road this season. Phoenix Rising FC will play host to Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night at Casino Arizona Field, while El Paso Locomotive FC will play host to FC Tulsa at Southwest University Park.

2020 USL Championship Playoffs
Contests in the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs will be played according to standard FIFA rules. If a match is level at the end of regulation, extra time shall be played. Extra time shall consist of two 15-minute periods which will be played in their entirety.

If the score is still level at the end of extra time, a penalty shootout will determine the winner, in accordance with the procedure specified in the Laws of the Game. Each side will be allowed to make a fourth substitution during extra time. No substitutions will be permitted between the end of extra time and the beginning of a penalty shootout.

Every game of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs through the Eastern and Western Conference Finals can be seen in the United States on ESPN+ and internationally through the Championship’s broadcast partners and the league’s YouTube channel, with the final set to air nationally on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on Sunday, November 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

2020 USL CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Saturday, October 10

  • Charlotte Independence vs. Charleston Battery, Sportsplex at Matthews, 7 p.m. ET
  • Hartford Athletic vs. Saint Louis FC, Dillon Stadium, 7 p.m. ET
  • Louisville City FC vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Lynn Family Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Birmingham Legion FC, Al Lang Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET

Western Conference Quarterfinals

Saturday, October 10

  • San Antonio FC vs. New Mexico United, Toyota Field, 9 p.m. ET
  • Reno 1868 FC vs. LA Galaxy II, Greater Nevada Field, 9 p.m. ET
  • El Paso Locomotive FC vs. FC Tulsa, 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Phoenix Rising FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC, Casino Arizona Field, 10:30 p.m. ET