2023 USL Championship schedule announced
A much more even road than 2022
The USL Championship today revealed the full season schedule. For the Legion, there were really only two questions: which Western Conference teams will we play at home and will we suffer through a long road stretch as we did last year?
To answer the second question first, the answer is kinda sorta. With the USFL expanding to include other hub cities and the World Games no longer being a factor, the season is much more evenly distributed than it was last season. In fact, the Three Sparks do not have any road trip longer than 2 games. However, between March 25th and May 3rd, the Legion will play 5 of 7 games away, but interrupted twice by home games. The road opponents in that period are Hartford Athletic, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Loudoun United, Orange County and The™ Miami FC. The two toughest outs are likely to be the first two; Tampa is obviously competitive, but Hartford have made some serious upgrades this season and this will also be their home opener. Other than that, probably the hardest road trip will a 2-game stint at San Antonio and Las Vegas Lights. San Antonio are going to be just as difficult to beat as last year. Las Vegas is a question mark at this point with little goin on roster-wise. The real problem is that these game are July 1st and 8th, so summer weather could be a big factor.
The longest stretch of games in the entire season will be a 3-game home stand between June 7th and 21st, with Memphis 901, Indy Eleven and Loudoun United coming to town. The season also kicks off with 2 straight home games; after the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, the Legion will host FC Tulsa on March17th in a Friday night matchup. And that leads to another piece of good news: there are 7 games all season not on a weekend. 5 on Wednesdays and 2 on Fridays. And only 2 of those are home games, the second being the game against Loudoun on June 21st (a Wednesday).
The season will end with a road game against the Charleston Battery, another significantly improved team, on October 14th.
As for the Western Conference opponents, we already know we will play all of them. The 8 teams the Legion played last year obviously all repeat, but the home game for each matchup will be switched, which looks to be happening league-wide in what is clearly a reasonable approach. Also, the only Western team the Legion played in 2021 (San Antonio) was a road game, so that pattern is consistent over 3 years now. So, adding in the 4 teams we didn’t play last season, the home opponents from out west will be Phoenix Rising, Oakland Roots, El Paso Locomotive, Sacramento Republic, New Mexico United and Monterey Bay Union. On the road, then, will be Orange County, San Antonio, Las Vegas Lights, Colorado Springs Switchbacks, San Diego Loyal and Rio Grande Valley Toros.
Game times have not been officially announced by the league, but if you go to the Legion website and download the PDF schedule, all home games have times included. The home opener against Pittsburgh will in fact be a evening game on Saturday March 11th, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30pm. And the team doesn’t have a single home game earlier than 4:00pm.
So all that remains is to get out and buy those tickets!