Get Ready: the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs Are Here
October 14, 2018 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) News Release
TAMPA, Fla. - The biggest regular season in the USL's history concluded this weekend as the final four berths in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs were claimed in dramatic fashion across the 16-game slate on Saturday and Sunday, setting the matchups for the opening weekend of action on the road to the 2018 USL Cup on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
In the Eastern Conference, Nashville SC and Bethlehem Steel FC claimed the final two postseason berths, as Ottawa Fury FC and North Carolina FC saw their hopes of a trip to the postseason come up short, with Nashville reaching the playoffs in its first professional season as an organization. The conclusion of the playoff race in the Western Conference also saw a club reach the postseason for the first time as Saint Louis FC clinched its place before a club-record crowd at Toyota Stadium - Saint Louis, while the defending Western Conference champions Swope Park Rangers were the final side to earn a spot after defeating the LA Galaxy II on Sunday afternoon.
2018 USL Regular Season champion FC Cincinnati will begin its quest to add the USL Cup to its trophy cabinet on Saturday afternoon when the top seed in the Eastern Conference hosts No. 8-seed Nashville SC at Nippert Stadium at 4 p.m. ET. FCC is looking for its first postseason victory in club history after being eliminated in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons. Cincinnati will also try to avoid the jinx that saw predecessors, including Seattle Sounders FC, Orlando City SC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Portland Timbers, felled in their quest for the postseason championship in their final seasons before joining Major League Soccer.
Defending USL Cup champion Louisville City FC sits at the opposite end of its River Cities Cup rival in the Eastern bracket as the No. 2 seed and will take on No. 7-seed Indy Eleven on Saturday night at Slugger Field, looking to become the first team to win the championship in back-to-back seasons. Saturday night will also see No. 3-seed Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC host its first postseason contest at Highmark Stadium when No. 6-seed and Pennsylvania rival Bethlehem Steel FC visits, while 2012 USL Cup champion and No. 4-seed the Charleston Battery will host 2016 USL Cup champion and No. 5-seed the New York Red Bulls II at MUSC Health Stadium in a rematch from the same stage last season that saw the Red Bulls II claim a 4-0 victory.
The 2018 USL Cup Playoffs will kick off on Friday night in the Western Conference when No. 3 seed Phoenix Rising FC plays host to No. 6-seed the Portland Timbers 2 at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in a contest that marks both Rising FC's first home playoff game in club history and T2's first postseason contest ever. Portland took a 1-0 victory in Phoenix to seal sixth position in the Western standings and will get an immediate return to the desert to open its debut playoff appearance.
Saturday brings the remaining three Western Conference clashes as No. 4-seed Real Monarchs SLC plays host to fellow postseason returnee and No. 5-seed Reno 1868 FC for an afternoon kickoff at Zions Bank Stadium. Later in the night, Western Conference No. 1-seed Orange County SC hosts the first postseason contest at Champions Soccer Stadium when it faces No. 8-seed Saint Louis FC, while No. 2-seed and 2014 USL Cup champion Sacramento Republic FC plays host to No. 7-seed Swope Park Rangers at Papa Murphy's Park.
The 2018 USL Cup Playoffs will be conducted as a single-elimination, fixed-bracket tournament with the higher seed playing host in each round through the Eastern Conference and Western Conference Final.
The 2018 USL Cup will be held at the venue of the conference champion with the superior regular season record on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. ET, with the game to be aired on ESPN2.
Every game of the Eastern and Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs will be aired on ESPN+ in the United States and via YouTube for overseas viewers. Games can also be followed live on the USL Match Center with game updates and statistics powered by Opta.
2018 USL Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Saturday, Oct. 20
No. 1 FC Cincinnati vs. No. 8 Nashville SC, 4 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
No. 3 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. No. 6 Bethlehem Steel FC, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium
No. 4 Charleston Battery vs. No. 5 New York Red Bulls II, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium
No. 2 Louisville City FC vs. No. 7 Indy Eleven, 7:30 p.m. ET, Slugger Field
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Friday, Oct. 19
No. 3 Phoenix Rising FC vs. No. 6 Portland Timbers 2, 10:30 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Saturday, Oct. 20
No. 4 Real Monarchs SLC vs. No. 5 Reno 1868 FC, 5 p.m. ET, Zions Bank Stadium
No. 1 Orange County SC vs. No. 8 Saint Louis FC, 10 p.m. ET, Champions Soccer Stadium
No. 2 Sacramento Republic FC vs. No. 7 Swope Park Rangers, 10:30 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy's Park
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from October 14, 2018
- Nashville SC to Renew Rivalry with FC Cincinnati in First Round of USL Cup Playoffs - Nashville SC
- Get Ready: the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs Are Here - USL
- Hounds Complete Regular Season - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Bethlehem Steel FC to Face Rival Pittsburgh Riverhounds in Opening Round of USL Cup Playoffs - Philadelphia Union II
- Steel FC Knocks off Tampa Bay to Secure USL Cup Playoff Spot - Philadelphia Union II
- Bethlehem Steel FC Secures Second-Consecutive Trip to USL Cup Playoffs - Philadelphia Union II
- Nashville SC Draws USL Leaders in Thrilling 3-3 in Regular Season Finale - Nashville SC
- T2 Earn 1-0 Road Victory over Phoenix Rising FC in Regular-Season Finale Saturday Night - Portland Timbers 2
- Republic FC Clinch Second Seed Ahead of the Playoffs - Sacramento Republic FC
- Phoenix Rising Looks Ahead to Playoffs Following Season Finale Loss - Phoenix Rising FC
- Lights FC Closes 2018 USL Season with Hard-Fought 1-0 Defeat at Sacramento Republic FC - Las Vegas Lights FC
- FC Cincinnati sets USL record of 23 consecutive matches without a loss - FC Cincinnati
- Real Monarchs SLC Shutout Fresno FC 1-0 in Regular Season Finale - Real Monarchs SLC
- Indy Eleven Fall in Tight Contest to Louisville City FC, 1-0 - Indy Eleven
- STLFC Makes Playoffs with 0-0 Draw against OKC Energy FC - Saint Louis FC
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