Loyal SC Joins Group B in USL Championship Return Structure

San Diego will fight for two playoff sports in a pod of five clubs

San Diego Loyal

How about this for something pretty cool: When San Diego Loyal S.C. gets to resume its inaugural season they'll be in first place.

USL Championship revealed details of its return to play plan this week.

All 35 clubs will be broken into eight groups based on geography. Some groups will have four teams, others will have five teams. The plan is to complete a 16-game regular season with eight home matches and eight road matches. Loyal S.C. was placed in Group B, which looks like this:

Group B: LA Galaxy II, Las Vegas Lights FC, Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC, San Diego Loyal SC

Since the Local is in a five-team group they'll play the other clubs three times each. The remaining games will come against clubs from Group D, which looks like this:

Group D: Austin Bold FC, OKC Energy FC, Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio FC, FC Tulsa

San Diego has already played a pair of matches, a draw against Vegas and a win at Tacoma. Those matches will count (even though Tacoma is not in Group B or D) so their four points put them on top of their group. Phoenix, L.A., Las Vegas and Orange County have all played one match.

At the end of the regular season, which is expected to be the weekend of October 2-4, the 16-team playoffs will begin in a World Cup-style tournament. The first place team from Group B will play the second place team from Group A while the second place team from Group B will play the first place team from Group A.

(Photo courtesy: USL Championship)

That, of course, means the Loyal only has to beat out three clubs in its group to make the playoffs as an expansion team. USL Championship will still try to resume its season in the 2nd week of July.

There are a few other changes of note. If COVID-19 restrictions make it too dangerous to play all eight matches for one club those games can be moved to another site. Also teams will be allowed extra substitutions and changes made at halftime will not count against the substitution total.

Fans will not be allowed in the stands at least at the beginning of the resumption of play.

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