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Phoenix Rising’s 2021 season to be 32 matches, 4 divisions; starts May 1

Phoenix Rising FC stadium Casino Arizona Field. (Arizona Sports/Ashley Orellana)

Phoenix Rising FC’s 2021 season is beginning to take shape.

Following the league’s Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, USL Championship announced that the league will start on May 1 (compared to the normal early-March start).

The governors also voted for flexible start dates, which means clubs have been approved to commence play anywhere from April 24 to May 15.

The 2021 USLC campaign will feature 32 matches across 27 weeks, with the regular season finishing at the end of October and playoffs scheduled for November.

But the biggest change will be the installation of four divisions, which will presumably be split evenly at two apiece across both conferences.

The 2020 USLC season featured 16 games — most of which began in July due to the coronavirus pandemic — across eight divisions and concluded in early October, with the eventual cancellation of the Final on Nov. 1.

Details on a schedule, division alignment and playoff structure will be made in the coming months, as USL continues to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As it stands right now, USL Championship is the only league in the U.S.’s top four flights that has set dates for a 2021 season.