The United Soccer League Board of Governors have announced that the league’s regular season will be expanded from 32 to 34 matches. The move is prompted by the expected addition of teams in Fresno, Las Vegas and Nashville.
For Seattle Sounders FC 2, the more significant part of the announcement is that the regular season will now take place over 31 weeks instead of 27. A less dense season will be good for S2. Over the past two months the team has been stretched thin by a combination of US Open Cup, First Team friendlies and the USSDA national playoffs. Having a few more weeks in the season should make it a little easier to work around those other competitions.
The league will keep it’s two conference format and the intra-conference regionalization is likely to continue to keep down costs. This means S2 won’t face any Eastern Conference teams and will face their Cascadia foes four times each.
The league also announced that the 16 team playoff format will remain unchanged in 2018.
The 2018 USL regular season will kick-off March 16, significantly earlier than the last couple seasons. At least that is the plan for now, but keep in mind that the chaos around the NASL and the coming addition of a Canadian second division means the number of teams set to compete in 2018 could still change and with it the schedule.