The 2016 USL schedule was released Tuesday afternoon. As expected, clubs do not play outside of their conference, instead taking on some clubs multiple times. What wasn’t expected is that instead of playing home-aways with each club, SA & the rest of the league will face certain opponents multiple times.
SA opens their debut USL season on the road at Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Sunday, April 3rd. The home opener at Toyota Field will be the following Saturday, April 9th, against Swope Park Rangers who are the USL affiliate of MLS club Sporting Kansas City.
SA will take on their de-facto in-state rival Rio Grande Valley Toros FC four times across the season, twice at home and twice away. Teams that will face San Antonio three times are Arizona United SC, OKC Energy FC, Swope Park Rangers KC, and Tulsa Roughnecks FC. San Antonio will play home-aways with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, LA Galaxy II, Orange County Blues FC, Saint Louis FC, and Seattle Sounders FC 2. SA will only see Portland Timbers 2, Real Monarchs SLC, Sacramento Republic FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps 2 once each with all but the last being away matches.
Overall its a favorable schedule in terms of travel as all of the teams we play 3-4 times are relatively close, or as close as you can get to the middle of Texas. Its better to travel to Arizona three times than Vancouver or Seattle.
My assumption is that travel, and the costs associated with it, played a part in the scheduling. While SA has benevolent overlord Spurs Sports and Entertainment backing it, some other teams are MLS owned and not seen as the priority of their respective organizations. Regardless of the drawbacks of that, SA gets both Oklahoma teams, Arizona, and RGV at home twice each which could make for some fun, rivalry style matches.
My biggest disappointment is that we only face fellow MLS-aspiring club Sacramento Republic FC once, and its an away match. It would be truly enjoyable to pit the two clubs with the highest chance of moving to MLS against each other multiple times, creating a rivalry that could continue in the top-tier league.