New Season, New LeagueMarch 1, 2011 - USL PRO (USL PRO) Harrisburg City Islanders
They will be joined by fourteen other teams following the merger of the old USL-1 and USL-2 leagues, making USL PRO the strongest, best operated and most sophisticated North American men's professional soccer league below MLS, both on and off the field.
With the league being divided into three regional divisions (National, American, and International), Harrisburg will be competing in the National Division. The City Islanders' divisional opponents will include the Dayton Dutch Lions, FC New York, Rochester Rhinos, and Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
The Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Orlando City, Richmond Kickers, and Wilmington Hammerheads will make up the American Division, while the Los Angeles Blues, Antigua Barracuda FC, Puerto Rico United, River Plate Puerto Rico, and Sevilla Puerto Rico will round out the International Division.
"Teams will play 24 games in the 2011 season, facing each team in their division at least once at home and once on the road," USL announced on its website in January.
"The schedule for teams in the American and National Divisions sees each of the 10 teams play a home-and-home series with the other. In addition, each team also makes one trip to either the Caribbean or Los Angeles for a pair of games, and each team will host two games against competition from the International Division. The final two games that complete the schedule will match traditional rivals." Click for full USL schedule.
This format will see the City Islanders travel to California to play the Los Angeles Blues twice over a three-day span (June 24th and 26th).
They will then host River Plate Puerto Rico on July 6th at the Skyline Sports Complex.
The USL PRO will also expand its playoff format to include eight teams, instead of four like the old USL-2.The postseason will include three teams from both the National and American Divisions, while two teams from the International Division will also qualify. The eight teams will be seeded based on their divisional finish, as well as their overall record.
After the quarterfinal round, the remaining teams will be re-seeded based on their record.
The playoff matches will be set up as follows:
Quarterfinals - August 19-21
International Division #2 at International Division #1
National Division #3 at National Division #1
American Division #3 at American Division #1
National Division #2 vs. American Division #2 (team with most points to host)
Semifinals - August 26-28
#4 Seed at #1 Seed
#3 Seed at #2 Seed
Championship - September 2-4
#2 Seed at #1 Seed
The City Islanders may be participating in a new league, but one thing that won't be changing is Harrisburg's participation in the 98th edition of the Lamer Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The team made great strides in the tournament, reaching the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, and they will look to have another strong run in the famous knock-out tournament.
"Each of the 11 U.S.-based USL PRO teams will receive a spot in the storied tournament, as will nine qualifiers from the Premier Development League. The remainder of the field will be filled by eight teams from MLS and 12 additional amateur qualifiers," USL announced on its website.
USL PRO teams, PDL teams, and amateur teams will comprise the first and second round, with those games taking place on June 14th and 21st.
The eight teams that advance from there will play the eight MLS teams in the third round on June 28th.
The quarterfinals will be played on July 12th, with the semifinals scheduled for August 30th.
The Championship game will take place on October 4th.
All U.S. Open Cup matches will be played on Tuesdays. The host and venue will be selected at a later date through a bidding process.
With the 2011 season fast approaching, the Harrisburg City Islanders' maiden voyage in the USL PRO promises to be one to remember.
For any more information on the City Islanders, or any questions regarding season ticket discounts for the upcoming season, contact the team at 717-441-GOAL, or visit www.cityislanders.com.
USL PRO Stories from March 1, 2011
- Shaw to Captain F.C. New York - FC New York
- Rhinos Sign Trio - Rochester Rhinos
- Charleston Battery Day in Berkeley County March 5, 2011 - Charleston Battery
- New Season, New League - Harrisburg City Islanders
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