Breaking Down the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs
CHARLOTTE - For the first time since 2017, the Charlotte Independence have qualified for the USL Championship playoffs.
The Independence will host the Charleston Battery, a team that boasts a 3-2-3 all-time record at the Sportsplex at Matthews in the regular season, in the round of 16 on October 10 at 7 p.m. ET. If the Jacks manage to defeat the South Carolina side, they'll advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they would take on the winner of Tampa Bay Rowdies - Birmingham Legion FC on October 15-18. Should Charlotte and Birmingham advance, the Jacks would be set to host the matchup.
The 16-team bracket will remain in a regionalized single-elimination bracket, with the four group winners in each conference earning hosting rights for the Eastern and Western Conference Quarterfinals. Following the opening round, hosting rights will be determined by regular season record.
Following the recommendations of the league's Competition Strategy Committee, teams will see no less than four days between games should they advance. In the case of a postponement, the rescheduled match would need to take place within 48 hours of the original kickoff.
Additionally, a four-day match window (Thursday-Sunday) will be employed for each of the first three rounds of the postseason. As in previous seasons, at least a five-day window will remain in effect for the 2020 USL Championship Final to allow flexibility for broadcast purposes.
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 five substitutions within three opportunities during regulation. Teams will also be permitted one additional substitution in extra time, and will each have one additional substitution opportunity; substitutions may also be made before the start of extra time and at halftime in 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.
For live match updates, follow @Independence on Twitter, or tune in as #CLTvCHS will air live on ESPN+.
2020 2020 USL CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF DATES
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
Conference Semifinals - October 15-18
Conference Finals - October 22-25
USL Championship Final - TBD
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