FC Tulsa Heads to Eastern Conference for 2021 USL Championship Season
TAMPA, Fla. - FC Tulsa is packing its bags and heading East. On Tuesday afternoon, the USL Championship announced its 2021 league alignment, and the most notable change is that FC Tulsa will be in the Eastern Conference, and specifically in the Central Division. It will be the first-ever USL Championship season in the East for FC Tulsa after spending its first six seasons in the West.
For the first time in league history, the 31 USL Championship clubs will be split into four geographic divisions, the Atlantic and Central in the Eastern Conference and the Mountain and Pacific in the Western Conference. With its move to the East, FC Tulsa will be in the eight-team Central Division alongside Louisville City FC, Indy Eleven, Memphis 901 FC, Birmingham Legion FC, Atlanta United 2, Sporting Kansas City II and in-state rival OKC Energy FC.
"The new conference and division alignment is exciting as we will get to see some different competition as well as continue our traditional match up against OKC," said FC Tulsa head coach Michael Nsien. "The Central Division will have a unique mixture of teams that should create some fascinating matchups. We are looking forward to being a part of this new division in the Heartland and can't wait for our opponents to be welcomed to Tulsa by our great fans."
FC Tulsa will play each of its divisional opponents four times, two at home and two on the road, making up 28 of the club's 32 matches in the regular season. The other four matches will come outside of the division and could potentially be cross-conference matchups. FC Tulsa's non-divisional opponents are still TBD.
The move to the East means that FC Tulsa will face off against at least five new opponents in 2021 - Louisville City FC, Indy Eleven, Memphis 901 FC, Birmingham Legion FC and Atlanta United 2. Louisville has two USL Championship titles to its name in 2017 and 2018, while Indy Eleven made the Eastern Conference Final in 2019. Memphis, Birmingham and Atlanta have all shown incredible success on and off the pitch in bringing professional soccer to the traditionally football-loving South.
On the flip side, FC Tulsa is very familiar with Energy FC, beating the other Oklahoma team in last year's Black Gold Derby and taking home the Wrench trophy. FC Tulsa has not lost to OKC since 2018, earning results in each of the last five meetings.
While FC Tulsa's full 2021 USL Championship schedule hasn't been released, the league is anticipating announcing each club's home openers, the 2021 ESPN national broadcast schedule and the full schedule soon.
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from March 2, 2021
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