The 2019 USL Championship schedule is finally here! Only 80 more days until Nashville SC kicks off their campaign!
Like last season, the schedule features 34 matches, but with an even number of teams in the Eastern Conference, each team will play each other twice, home and away. The season has also been expanded by two weeks, so that means less midweek games and more weekend action!
2019 sees a tough start to the season, with five of their first 10 matchups against playoff teams. Nashville will go a month between home games in late May/early June, but in general it's a better mix. Also worth noting that eight of their last 12 matches are at home, which will be key in their push for better playoff seeding.
From a supporters standpoint, it's a shame that two of Nashville's easiest road trips happen midweek, with trips to Birmingham and Memphis both scheduled for Wednesday evenings.
The 2019 playoffs will see ten teams from each conference get in (an increase from the eight teams in 2018). An initial play-in round will see the no. 7 seed versus the no. 10 seed, and the no. 8 seed versus the no. 9 seed, before advancing to the main bracket. Also worth noting that the playoffs have been pushed back a week, with the final set to be played between November 14-18.
Nashville vs Saint Louis FC - March 16
St. Louis is back in the east (again), and Nashville's first test against a playoff team comes early in the schedule.
Nashville vs Memphis 901 FC - April 13
While Memphis is an expansion team, they're still one of Nashville's closest neighbors and could bring some decent away support.
Nashville vs Swope Park Rangers - May 11
Swope Park are new to the eastern conference, but bring a history of dominance in the west. Sporting Kansas City's affiliate should be an immediate playoff contender in the east.
Indy Eleven vs Nashville - May 25
Indy seemed to have Nashville's number last season, beating Nashville twice. They've made some significant signings and should be one of the top teams in the east.
Louisville City vs Nashville - July 6
Nashville will have to wait until midway through the season to get a shot at the defending champions. They won, drew, and lost to them last year in one of the more closely-played rivalries in the east. This will be another key matchup as both teams look to challenge for the USL Cup.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Nashville - August 31
Tampa had a bit of a down year last season, but have made some strong signings and are typically a playoff contender. This late in the season, an away game against an in-form side could have major playoff implications.
Nashville vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds - September 21
Another late matchup against a playoff contender. Pittsburgh had the best defense in the league in 2019, so this could be a good test of how much Nashville's attack has improved heading into the stretch.
Nashville vs Louisville City FC - October 8
Nashville's last matchup against a 2018 playoff side is a good one. Fans of the Boys In Gold will be hopeful that this could be a battle for the top seed in the east.
We'll have more in-depth previews and predictions on our next podcast. Are there games that stand out to you? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or dial (615) 640-0664 to drop a take on our hotline!