The USL announced today that the 2016 season will comprise of 29 total teams separated into two conferences. The Eastern Conference will have 14 teams, including newcomers Bethlehem Steel FC, Orlando City B, and FC Cincinnati. The Western Conference will add Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio, and Swope Park Rangers, totaling 15 teams.
The 2016 USL season kicks off on March 25th and ends on September 25th with each team playing 30 regular-season matches. The team with the most combined points across both conferences will win the USL Regular Season Title. The playoffs will include 8 teams from each conference that will battle in a single-elimination tournament to determine who will take home the USL Cup. The Cup will be played between the conference champions.
The 2016 playoffs will include more teams than it did in 2015, up from 12 to 16. This should give San Antonio a better shot at making the playoffs in their inaugural season. The club has yet to announce any player signings, and with the season starting in just over two months, it will be a challenge for coach Powell in his first season in the Alamo City.
UPDATE: Scheduling will be interesting for 2016. With 15 teams, the West could play each other home & away for a total of 28 games + 2 games vs East teams. This leaves the East teams with an unbalanced schedule with only 14 teams - 26 games in-conference + 4 vs the West. The league could just make the regular season an intraconference schedule + two extra games vs regional rivals. For San Antonio this would probably look like three games vs RGV FC and OKC or Tulsa. This would mean that San Antonio would not play ANY Eastern Conference opponent unless they reach the USL Cup Final.
The schedule will be release next Tuesday, January 26th at 12pm CST. Expect a club name announcement before then.
p.s. If you're confused about the coloring of the states on the map, you're not alone.
San Antonio FC & the USL
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