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Two Legs for USL1

USL1, the second tier of the U.S. pro soccer system, announced today that its postseason championship will be determined with a two-leg final instead of a single title match. Seven of the 11 teams will qualify for the playoffs, with the top seed receiving a bye. The three first-round series will be home and home, as will the semifinals.

According to the league, this championship format will be used in a high-level, U.S.-based league for the first time since the NASL's 1970 season, when the Rochester Lancers won the first leg at home, 3-0, over the Washington Darts and lost the second leg on the road, 3-1, to capture the title on a 4-3 aggregate.

Seattle and Atlanta are no longer in USL1, Cleveland moved up from USL2 and Austin has been added. The rest of the league is Portland, Montreal, Puerto Rico, Carolina, Rochester, Charleston, Miami, Minnesota and Vancouver.

By Steve Goff  |  January 23, 2009; 1:26 PM ET
Categories:  USL  
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Next: Qualifier at RFK?


Both clubs rewarded with a home piece of the final. It's all about revenue baby.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 23, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Definitely a money grab. The final should One game and the loser goes home.

Posted by: PHXguy | January 23, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that USL 1 lineup is decently strong. I'd like to see Portland, Montreal, Puerto Rico, Rochester, Charleston, and Vancouver in the league someday.

Posted by: dpowellutkedu | January 23, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Definitely a money grab. The final should One game and the loser goes home.

Posted by: PHXguy | January 23, 2009 1:53 PM

In theory, I agree. In practice, whatever it takes to keep the clubs in business...

Posted by: Kev29 | January 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Flick Tampa and Atlanta in 2010 and maybe Ottawa and St. Louis in that league in the future and really, how much better is MLS than them?

Posted by: IamAM | January 23, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Charleston? A town of 500k in MLS? I love that town, but no way.

Posted by: Reignking | January 23, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Are you serious? Have you ever been to a USL game? For some of them you are litterally sitting on bleachers at a high school. FIFA ranks them as 2nd tier, even when there was no MLS by the way, for a reason. Some teams can make a good showing, Mtl, PR, in tourneys, but compared league to league there is no contest. MLS is better. And by the way I go to USL regularly and love it, but it ain't no MLS.

Posted by: LWPA | January 23, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Any chance of adopting promotion and relegation among the various sub-MLS leagues? I know it would be a non-starter for MLS, but I'd like to see if it works in our equivalent of divisions 2, 3, and 4.

Posted by: SSMD1 | January 23, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I prefer both formats. I think MLS is right to try and build-up some marquee value for its championship -- the kind that goes with a one-off title match.

USL is right to give the fans of both teams a chance to back their team in a title game.

There might come a time when I change my mind about the MLS Cup -- if it's not making it as a Super Bowl knock-off. There's a lot to be said about giving all the home fans a chance to watch without having to fly cross-country at last-minute prices.

Posted by: fischy | January 23, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, why not a 3 game series?
(kevlar vest - on)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 23, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, why not a 3 game series?
(kevlar vest - on)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 23, 2009 3:56 PM


And settle the third match with the running, 40 yard, leg breaking shootout!

Posted by: Kev29 | January 23, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Kevlar Vest - a great name for rock band.

Posted by: joedoc1 | January 23, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Kevlar Vest - a great name for rock band.

Posted by: joedoc1 | January 23, 2009 4:36 PM

There appear to be a ton of small bands using the name "Kevlar" and one that goes by "Bulletproof Vest":

Posted by: edgeonyou | January 23, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like an *OG Soccerfan* Molly Hatchet cover band...;-)

I have a question about the Charleston Challenge:
Is going down there for this tournament a good time? I doubt I'd be able to make it for the entire week, and seeing as how the first match day is not involving a DCU/Charleston game, I'd be looking to go down there to catch that double header, be it the 11th or 14th. Anyone know what the other match day fixtures are yet? Can't find em.
I was impressed with Charleston's supporters showing at the Open Cup and would love to experience some action down there if it's thought to be worthwhile.

I wouldn't want to go, if it was approached in the same manner they approached their preseason friendly in Richmond last year...(Hella WEAK!)
Thanks for any feedback.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 23, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

We just lost 3-1 but we're champions anyway!! Awful idea.

Posted by: thamlin | January 23, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Call it the PR Islanders Rule

Posted by: DrewROC | January 23, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd prefer if MLS playoffs were all one and done at the higher seed like they do with the NFL.

If you're going to have playoffs then do it right.


Posted by: mcontento | January 24, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

no thanks! this is such a europosuer idea it make's me sick...hey, USL this is america! it's right their in you're name..."US"! get with the program or GET OUT!! what if the superbowl was two games? or the world series? that's not how we do it over here!!

Posted by: pimpdaddy2000 | January 24, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

uh...pimpdaddy? the world series IS more than one game and both teams get to host.

I much prefer the two game series, but I also put more value on a supporters shield than an mls cup, so what do I know?

another thing about having the games in the cities that participate is that the fan bases can attend. having a neutral site final like mls has doesn't seem to be helping attendance.

Posted by: troy6 | January 24, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

A trip to Charleston is almost worth it alone to see the in-stadium pub:

Posted by: Pedalada | January 24, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think the final should be the final, in large part because it is still very hard for the MLS teams to sell playoff dates in advance, and it is in some keeping with a lot of other international competitions that have two legs leading up to the final (champs league comes to mind. I wouldn't mind seeing the conference finals expanded to two legs, though.

Posted by: DCU4everton | January 24, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Terrific idea for USL! This format gives the fans of each team an opportunity to see a championship game. (How many Puerto Rico Islanders fans do you think flew to Vancouver to see the 2008 final?) Money grab? Nonsense. Without the fans there is no USL. If only MLS would start thinking as creatively...

Posted by: Brokenbil | January 25, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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