Phoenix Rising releases full 2021 USL Championship season schedule
Phoenix Rising FC fans got a glimpse of the 2021 USL Championship campaign last week. Now they get the full picture.
The league released the entirety of the 32-match schedule on Tuesday, with PRFC opening its new stadium at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler against San Diego Loyal SC on April 30.
Phoenix will compete in the Pacific Division, which consists of Tacoma Defiance, Oakland Roots SC, Sacramento Republic FC, Orange County SC, LA Galaxy II, San Diego Loyal SC and Las Vegas Lights FC.
Rising will play each of its seven division opponents four times each — two home and two away — which makes up 28 of the 32-game slate.
The remaining four contests will feature two cross-conference and two cross-division matchups.
The two matches against Eastern Conference competition will both be on the road, as Phoenix will travel to take on Tampa Bay Rowdies on May 15 and Charlotte Independence on July 10.
PRFC will then host Rio Grande Valley FC on July 31 and New Mexico United on Aug. 28.
As for the postseason, the league said it will be announcing the playoff structure in the coming weeks prior to the start of the season.
2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
In other scheduling news, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that this year’s U.S. Open Cup will only feature 16 teams — one of which will be PRFC.
Of the 16 teams, eight will be MLS sides, four will be USLC clubs, one from USL League One and three from lower divisions. The five USL clubs will be Phoenix, Tampa Bay, El Paso Locomotive FC, Louisville City FC and Greenville Triumph SC (League One).
The round of 16 draw will take place on May 4. However, the committee will meet on April 19 to decide whether matches will take place on May 18-19 or if the tournament will be canceled for a second consecutive year.
Should the 2021 U.S. Open Cup be played, Phoenix would be paired against one of the eight MLS teams.
However, it would also mark the first time a team from Arizona has made it to the round of 16. The previous record was held by Arizona United, who made it to the round of 32 before getting knocked out by MLS side LA Galaxy in 2014.