There is more soccer on the horizon for Oklahoma City in the 2018 USL Season. Earlier this week at the USL’s Mid Season Board of Governors meeting in Chicago, the league adopted a longer schedule that includes more games for 2018.
The 2018 USL Season begins the weekend of March 16 – 18, 2018 with the regular season concluding October 12 – 14, 2018. The 31-week regular season will see teams play a total of 34 matches. The increase in games pushes the league’s total games to over 500 for the first time ever.
What does that mean for Oklahoma City?
Quite simply that means one more match to see Energy FC playing at Taft Stadium
Who would those matches be against?
That is something that the schedule makers will decide. As reported by James Poling, beat writer for The Oklahoman and in the USL’s statement about the increase in games for the season, the league will keep its two-conference format and 16-team playoff structure for 2018. There have been hints that the league would move to a three-conference format as early as 2018, but that decision appears to be on hold until at least 2019.
Where does Energy FC land in the conferences?
Oklahoma City’s centralized location makes a great fit in a three-conference format and offers flexibility in a two-conference format. As Nashville joins the USL, they’re expected to join the Eastern Conference. Adding Nashville to the existing Eastern Conference slate makes 16 teams in the East.
Fresno and Las Vegas will certainly be in the Western Conference. The addition of those franchises to the existing Western Conference lineup for 2017 would make a total of 17 teams out west.
One could make a case for Energy FC to be in either conference. Currently, the team makes trips westward to Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, LA (OC and Los Dos), Sacramento, Reno and Phoenix. That could easily be replaced with trips to New York, Charlotte, Tampa, Orlando, Charleston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville or Saint Louis for 2018. The negative for OKC to play in the Eastern Conference is the loss of the natural regional rivalries that exist against teams like Swope Park, San Antonio, Colorado Springs and more importantly, Tulsa.
Odds are, Energy FC stays in the Western Conference.
Although this the addition of a game and the conference alignment are important, the focus for the team is on the final 12 games of the season, beginning with a match against the conference-leading Real Monarchs SLC on August 5. Tickets for the match that features Kids 12-and-under eating free and Fidget Spinners to the first 2,000 fans through the gates. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
See you there!