Eastern Conference Preview: Part Three
North Carolina FC
Head Coach: Dave Sarachan
2019 Record: 16-10-8 (W-L-D), 7th place
2019 Postseason: Eliminated in Play-In Round by No. 10 seed Birmingham Legion FC
Stadium: Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, North Carolina
Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, North Carolina
North Carolina FC made the USL Championship playoffs in 2019, but was knocked out at home by Birmingham Legion FC in extra time. Last year saw two players, Steven Miller and Robert Kristo both finish on nine goals to lead the team together. Both players remain on the roster for 2020.
The Rowdies struggled against North Carolina last season, losing both matches. It was NCFC that snapped Tampa Bay's 13-game unbeaten streak in league play to start the year. The Rowdies were scheduled to host North Carolina in their home opener on March 21 but that match has been postponed. Tampa Bay will visit North Carolina on July 25.
NCFC opened the season with a 1-0 home loss to Louisville City FC.
Philadelphia Union II
Head Coach: Sven Gartung
2019 Record: 8-19-7 (W-L-D), 16th place
2019 Postseason: Did Not Qualify
Stadium: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Union II rebranded this year after playing previous seasons under the name Bethlehem Steel FC. Last year, Union II/Steel FC struggled through a difficult season, finishing in 16th place, 12 points short of the playoff line. Last year's lead scorer, Faris (11 goals), is no longer with the club.
Tampa Bay beat up on Steel FC last year, winning both matches by a combined score of 8-2. This year's matches are scheduled for May 30 in St. Petersburg and August 2 in Philadelphia.
The Union opened the year at home against Loudoun United FC with a 0-0 draw.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Head Coach: Bob Lilley
2019 Record: 19-4-11 (W-L-D), 1st place
2019 Postseason: Eliminated in Conference Semifinals by No. 4 seed Louisville City FC
Stadium: Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Last year's Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC team slowly but steadily crept its way up the table all the way to a regular season Eastern Conference crown, having lost only four matches. After winning its Conference Quarterfinal, Pittsburgh lost at home in extra time to eventual conference champion Louisville. Last year's leading scorer, Neco Brett (17 goals), has departed the club to sign with Legion FC.
Tampa Bay did well against the Riverhounds last year, beating them 1-0 in St. Pete in March and earning a 1-1 draw in Pittsburgh in July. This year's meeting in St. Pete has been postponed from March 27 and the match in Pittsburgh is scheduled for August 23.
Pittsburgh had the opening weekend of the USL Championship season off.
Saint Louis FC
Head Coach: Steve Trittschuh
2019 Record: 11-14-9 (W-L-D), 11th place
2019 Postseason: Did Not Qualify
Stadium: West Community Stadium, Fenton, Missouri
West Community Stadium, Fenton, Missouri
Saint Louis FC failed to make the playoffs last season, finishing just short of the playoff line in 11th place, one point shy of qualifying. Head Coach Anthony Pulis departed for Inter Miami CF and was replaced by former Colorado Springs Switchbacks coach Steve Trittschuh. Last year, Sam Fink and Kyle Greig tied for the team lead with seven goals. Both players remain with the club.
Tampa Bay found some success against Saint Louis last year, earning a 1-1 draw on the road in March and then winning 4-1 at home in St. Pete on July 20. This year's meetings are scheduled for May 2 in Saint Louis and July 4 in St. Pete.
Saint Louis opened the 2020 season with a dominant 4-1 win over Miami FC.
Sporting Kansas City II
Head Coach: Paulo Nagamura
2019 Record: 6-20-8 (W-L-D), 18th place
2019 Postseason: Did Not Qualify
Stadium: Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Sporting KC II rebranded from the Swope Park Rangers this winter after a difficult first season in the Eastern Conference. Sporting/Swope Park picked up just six wins a year and finishing last in the conference, 17 points short of the playoff line. Last year's leading scorer, Wilson Harris (12 goals), remains with the club.
Tampa Bay beat Sporting KC in both meetings last year, 1-0 at home in May and then 3-1 in Kansas in July. Sporting KC's visit to Al Lang has been postponed from April 4, while the match in Kansas is scheduled for July 12.
SKC II opened the year with a 2-1 home loss to the Charlotte Independence.
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from March 12, 2020
- Statement from San Antonio FC Managing Director Tim Holt - San Antonio FC
- Orange County SC Statement on USL Championship Temporary Suspension of Play - Orange County SC
- Updates to the 2020 FC Tulsa Season - FC Tulsa
- SD Loyal Postpones All Match Play for a Minimum of 30 Days Following USL Championship Decision to Suspend the 2020 Season - San Diego Loyal
- USL Suspends 2020 Season - Saint Louis FC
- United Soccer League Temporarily Suspends 2020 Season, Including New Mexico United Matches - New Mexico United
- Eastern Conference Preview: Part Three - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- USL Championship Temporarily Suspends Play - Indy Eleven
- USL Championship Temporarily Suspends Play - Memphis 901 FC
- El Paso Locomotive FC Issues Update - El Paso Locomotive FC
- USL Games Postponed for 30 Days - Loudoun United FC
- North Carolina FC Issues Statement on USL Decision to Temporarily Suspend Season - North Carolina FC
- Statement from the Rio Grande Valley FC - Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
- USL Championship Temporarily Suspends Play - Birmingham Legion FC
- Riverhounds SC Season Suspended for Minimum of 30 Days - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Club Statement Issued Regarding USL Championship Announcement - Phoenix Rising FC
- Upcoming Republic FC Matches Postponed - Sacramento Republic FC
- Usl Suspends Match Play for Minimum of 30 Days - OKC Energy FC
- USL Suspends Play 30 Days - Louisville City FC
- USL Announces Minimum 30-Day Suspension of Competition - Reno 1868 FC
- Miami FC's Home Opener Scheduled for Friday Is Suspended - Miami FC
- USL Championship Temporarily Suspends Play - USL
- Hartford Athletic Signs Conor McGlynn - Hartford Athletic
- Tickets Sales for Louisville City's April 7 Open Cup Match Suspended - Louisville City FC
- United Soccer League Teams Prioritize Recovery with NormaTec - USL
- Hartford Athletic Signs Connecticut Native Alfonso Vazquez - Hartford Athletic
- Sanchez: Response Has Been Extremely Positive - Louisville City FC
- Tacoma Defiance Drops 2-1 Decision to San Diego Loyal SC - Tacoma Defiance
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