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USL Announces Conference Alignment

Some news from USL today as conference alignment and the playoff format were announced

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The United Soccer League announced its 2016 conference alignment and playoff format today in the run up for the season that will begin in late March.  Here is the conference breakdown:

Eastern Conference

Bethlehem Steel FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
FC Cincinnati
Harrisburg City Islanders
Louisville City FC
FC Montreal
New York Red Bulls II
Orlando City B
Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Richmond Kickers
Rochester Rhinos
Toronto FC II
Wilmington Hammerheads FC

Western Conference

Arizona United SC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
LA Galaxy II
OKC Energy FC
Orange County Blues FC
Portland Timbers 2
Real Monarchs SLC
Rio Grande Valley FC
Sacramento Republic FC
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio
Seattle Sounders FC 2
Swope Park Rangers
Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2

Some general informational notes:

1)  Each team will play a 30 game regular season over 27 weeks.

2)  The 2016 USL season starts on March 25 and ends on September 25

3)  Eight teams will make the playoffs in each conference

4)  The team with the highest regular season points total will win the USL regular season title

5)  The playoff bracket will be a single elimination contest with the team with the highest regular season points total acting as the home team in each game.

The Charlotte Independence missed the 2015 season playoffs by a single point and will be looking to make their first postseason berth in 2016.  Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC qualified for the 2015 USL playoffs but were eliminated in the semifinal round of the Western Conference playoffs in penalty kicks.