San Diego Loyal SC hosts Las Vegas Lights FC March 7, 2020
This will be an interesting year in American soccer as former superstar players take to the other side of the white line and field teams. One interesting match up to watch will be when Landon Donovan’s SD Loyal team hosts Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights FC.
The United Soccer League (USL) today announced the home openers for all 35 clubs in the USL Championship, with the league’s 10th anniversary season set to kick off on Friday, March 6.
The 2020 campaign opens with a Friday doubleheader surely to please soccer fans. It will feature three teams that reached the postseason in the Western Conference last season, with Orange County SC set to host El Paso Locomotive FC in the opening game at Championship Stadium in California before Tacoma Defiance takes on Reno 1868 FC at Cheney Stadium.
The weekend’s marquee matchup arrives late on Saturday night when expansion side San Diego Loyal SC, led by Landon Donovan, hosts Las Vegas Lights FC and Head Coach Eric Wynalda as the former U.S. Men’s National Team legends square off on the sidelines for the first time.
“I couldn’t be more honored to lead SD Loyal onto the field for our inaugural game.”Landon Donovan, SD Loyal
“Having played twice at Torero Stadium, I know there is no better venue to help us bring the fans what they want – entertaining soccer on the field and a great experience off of it,” said Donovan. “This will be the start of something incredibly special in San Diego and we look forward to bringing the city something they can be truly proud of.”
This will be a match not to miss.
The competition between these two former teammates started years ago. For example, until 2008, Wynalda was the all-time leading goalscorer for the U.S. Soccer Men’s National team … only to be surpassed by Landon Donovan. Donovan scored 57 goals for the USA and is still the LA Galaxy’s top scorer, and even has an award named after him in the MLS — the Landon Donovan MVP Award is an annual award for MLS players. Does Wynalda have an MLS award named after him? No.
“I have unfinished business here,” Wynalda told the USL in November when he signed a new contract to remain as the team’s manager for the 2020 USL Championship season. “I want to win, and I want to win in Las Vegas, it’s an honor to be back with the club. We’re very optimistic about not just making the playoffs but being a challenger for the title next year.”
For tickets: SD Loyal
More USL Championship Kick Off Games
The weekend’s opening matches also include the perennial playoff contenders North Carolina FC hosting Louisville City FC and the New York Red Bulls II hosting the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
In the Western Conference, Real Monarchs SLC will open its title defense on the road against San Antonio FC, while two sides that reached the postseason in their inaugural seasons will kick off their second campaigns when Austin Bold FC hosts New Mexico United.
Other notable home openers include the first game at home for defending champion Real Monarchs SLC, which welcomes 2019 Regular Season Title-Winner Phoenix Rising FC to Zions Bank Stadium on Saturday, March 14, while Miami FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies will meet for the first time in the USL Championship on Friday, March 13 at Riccardo Silva Stadium.
Louisville City FC will be the visitor for two early 2019 Eastern Conference playoff rematches as it visits Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday, March 21 at Highmark Stadium and then takes on Indy Eleven on April 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The two-time champion will then open its new 11,700-seat Lynn Family Stadium on Saturday, April 11 as it plays host to Birmingham Legion FC, kicking off a new era for the club as it aims to reach the USL Championship Final for an unprecedented fourth consecutive season.
Dates of 2020 USL Championship Home Openers
- Orange County SC vs. El Paso Locomotive FC
- Tacoma Defiance vs. Reno 1868 FC
- Austin Bold FC vs. New Mexico United
- Memphis 901 FC vs. Indy Eleven
- New York Red Bulls II vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
- North Carolina FC vs. Louisville City FC
- OKC Energy FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
- Philadelphia Union II vs. Loudoun United FC
- Phoenix Rising FC vs. Portland Timbers 2
- Sacramento Republic FC vs. FC Tulsa
- Saint Louis FC vs. Miami FC
- San Antonio FC vs. Real Monarchs SLC
- San Diego Loyal SC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC
- ATL UTD 2 vs. Charleston Battery
- Rio Grande Valley FC vs. LA Galaxy II
- Sporting Kansas City II vs. Charlotte Independence
For the complete listing, please visit USL Championship