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USL announces Conference Alignment for 2021

The USL Championship has announced its conference alignment ahead of the 2021 campaign.

In addition to the two conference alignment that’s been in place for some time, there will be four divisions in 2021, comprised of 31 teams, who will compete across a 32 game season. The Charleston Battery have been placed in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

The division is filled out by New York Red Bulls II, Old Guard rivals Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Miami FC, Hartford Athletic, Loudon United and rivals Charlotte Independence.

The other division in the Eastern Conference is the Central Division, while the Western Conference is made up of the Mountain and Pacific Divisions.

The schedule will be populated in the same style that last year’s groups were following the league’s return to play after lockdown. Teams will play their division foes four times, twiice at home and twice away, while the other four fixtures will be against regional or cross-conference opponents.

This is the first time that the USL has employed divisional alignment since 2003, when the Battery won their second league championship by beating the Minnesota Thunder in the 2003 A-League Playoffs, but the first in the USL’s “Modern Era”.

The alignment allows the Battery to keep its rivalries with teams such as Tampa and Charlotte intact, while welcoming back Pittsburgh and New York. As part of the alignment, however, Atlanta United 2 will be in the Central Division.

The league have stated that play will begin “On or about” May 1st, with a flexible range between April 24th and May 15th for teams to kick off their new campaigns.

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