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What We Know About the 2020 USL League One Season

Here is a refresher on Orlando City B and the upcoming USL League One season.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

USL League One announced Friday afternoon that it is planning a return to action on July 18. This announcement came one day after the USL Championship announced its return, planned for a week earlier. With Orlando City B finally planning to start its 2020 season, fans might be curious about where the current season stands and what the plans are. Here is what we know so far about the upcoming 2020 USL League One season.

How far along is the current USL League One season?

NBA player Rudy Gobert tested positive on March 11 for COVID-19, creating a quick reaction by professional sports leagues. The USL first announced a suspension of USL Championship league play on March 12. The 30-day suspension of play meant that the USL League One season, which was scheduled to start on March 28, would be delayed. To date, USL League One’s 2020 season has yet to actually begin.

How many games have been missed?

Orlando City B’s first game was scheduled on March 28 at Gillette Stadium against New England Revolution II. The Young Lions were scheduled to play their first home game at Osceola County Stadium on April 11. Should USL League One start on its tentative date of July 18, the team will have missed 15 of its 28 games. The last game it would have played if not for the delay was on July 15 against Forward Madison and the next scheduled game would be on July 18 against the Greenville Triumph. However, as with all other leagues, the schedule will change due to the missed games.

When will the season begin?

Currently, the league plans on resuming play on July 18. On Thursday, the USL announced that the USL Championship Board of Governors approved a plan to restart on July 11. A day later, the USL League One Board of Governors went forward with a similar plan to start a week later. This follows the typical USL season scheduling, with the USL Championship starting shortly before USL League One does.

How many teams will be playing?

During the inaugural USL League One season there were nine teams. Lansing Ignite FC folded following the 2019 season, but the other eight teams are returning. Additionally, there are three new teams joining the league for the 2020 season as the league expands. Two of those teams — Fort Lauderdale CF and New England Revolution II — are developmental sides for MLS clubs. Union Omaha will be the lone independent team joining the league this season.

Where will games be played?

It’s currently unknown where games will take place when the season does eventually come back. MLS and the NBA decided to keep players quarantined for safety by playing all games in Orlando. The NHL will play in a limited number of areas. The decision on where USL League One games will be played is expected in the coming weeks.

Will fans be allowed at games?

As USL League One only announced the return of games and no other specifics, it has yet to announce if fans will be allowed at games. However, many of the independent clubs are small and depend greatly on attendance. On Friday, Forward Madison FC said,

“We remain committed to working with local public health officials and will host games only when it is safe for both players and fans.”

This indicates that if games are played in home cities, they’ll make sure that fans can attend in accordance with local and state regulations regarding the gathering of people.

How will games be broadcast?

The USL has a deal with ESPN+ to air all USL Championship and USL League One games through the 2022 season. This deal means that, barring any sudden changes, all OCB games in 2020 will be aired on ESPN’s subscription service, just as they were in 2019.

There are still several specifics that need to be decided and announced, but the important thing is that American soccer is coming back. The top three divisions of American soccer have now announced their intention to return, providing local soccer for fans. With that, soccer fans in this country can begin to get a little bit of normalcy back in their lives.