Rochester 1-1 Louisville City FC: Rhinos Concede Late, Settle for a Draw on the Road

Earlier this season, Louisville City FC traveled to Rochester and beat the Rhinos for the first time. After that match on June 18, Rochester head coach Bob Lilley told me that he saw a lot of the grit, determination, and luck that drove his team to the USL Championship at the end of a one-loss campaign. Lilley credited his opponents after that match for getting ahead early and holding on to their lead on the road, a game-plan that worked wonders for Rochester in 2015.

With a 2015 playoff match and that June game in Rochester as context, the two teams faced off in Louisville on Saturday.

In the 13th minute, Steevan dos Santos picked up an errant pass from Kadeem Dacres in the center circle intended for Aodhan Quinn and immediately looked ahead. Dos Santos hit a well-timed pass with the outside of his right foot into the path of strike partner Christian Volesky. The pass split Louisville’s two central defenders, Sean Reynolds and Paco Craig, and Volesky ghosted in between them. One step inside the penalty area, with goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh rushing off his line, Volesky coolly finished with the right instep.

Aside from the goal, the biggest moment of the first half occurred in the 38th minute. Louisville’s Andrew Lubahn, who scored the only goal of the match in Rochester earlier in the season, went down in Rochester’s 18-yard box under a challenge from Mike Garzi. Lubahn and his team’s fans adamantly believed the play deserved a penalty.

Louisville City FC fans have often reverted to bashing the performances of match officials this season despite sitting high in the USL Eastern Conference. The Lubahn-incident late in the first half on Saturday night will no doubt be seen as yet another log in the fire for Louisville but referee was thoroughly, but rather evenly, poor on the night.

While there may have been a strong shout for Lubahn’s penalty, the officiating crew missed three possible bookings in the final five minute of the match. In the 88th minute Ben Newnam fouled dos Santos from behind close to midfield on the near side of the field to prevent a Rochester counter. In the 90th minute Dominic Samuel beat Dacres on the far side of the field and the Louisville winger chased Samuel down and dragged him to the ground him from behind. In the first minute of stoppage time, dos Santos was fouled hard and late by Craig in the attacking third.

Louisville may feel aggrieved by the non-call in the first half, but the entire league suffers from the lack of quality officiating.

In the 85th minute, central defender Joe Farrell did see a booking for a foul about 22 yards from goal. Ben Newnam took the free kick that caromed off Tomas Gomez’s near post. Louisville central midfielder Guy Abend got his head to the rebound and directed his the ball into the ground, which may have deflected off Vasili Apostolopoulos. The ball bounced up at the top of the six-yard box and Paco Craig was on hand to crash the net and finish the equalizer late in the game.

In the 67th minute, Louisville forward and former Tottenham academy player Cameron Lancaster caught Rochester’s Sofiane Tergou with a clear elbow to the face. There was a long stop in play as Tergou received treatment on the field. Both trainer Doug Graham and assistant coach Gavin McInerney showed the extent of the injury on Tergou’s face to the fourth official but there no was booking on the play.

In a bit of childish retribution, Apostolopoulos caught Lancaster with an elbow on the next available play and was duly shown a yellow card.

 

Chandler Hoffman has been the go-to striker for Louisville to cope with the loss of 2015 USL MVP and Golden Boot Winner Matt Fondy. Against Rochester, Hoffman had a number of chances but either rushed his shot or stumbled over the ball. In the 65th minute right back Ben Newnam dribbled into space in the channel and sent a good, low cross into the center. Hoffman made a run to meet the ball at the near post but somehow rifled his shot well wide of the frame from close range.

In the final minute of the game, the third minute of stoppage time, Louisville wasted a three on one break. A Louisville player drove up the middle of the field before dishing the ball to Hoffman on the left. Hoffman appeared to almost overrun the ball before taking a left-footed shot from 19 yards out that dribbled wide of the goal.

In a positive sign for Rochester, dos Santos and Volesky continued their on-field chemistry. During the recent loss at home to Richmond, dos Santos attempted to pull rank and take the penalty instead of Volesky. Volesky’s poorly-struck penalty was easily saved by Richmond’s Matt Turner and dos Santos can be seen on the replay reacting very poorly to Volesky’s decision.

Against Wilmington at home last Saturday, the pair exchanged assists for each other as the Rhinos downed the Hammerheads 2-0. That connection produced Rochester’s early goal in Louisville and will be key to the Rhinos looking towards the postseason.

The 1-1 draw is not a poor result for Rochester but the fans are right to be upset the team could not hold out for all three points. With difficult trips to Cincinnati, Charleston, and Charlotte on the horizon, the Rhinos need to take momentum from the good showing in Louisville into the next home match. A decisive victory over an inconsistent Pittsburgh Riverhounds team on Saturday will put Rochester in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot.

2014 USL Pro Attendance Update: Week 19

Here is the basic list that will satisfy most fans of American soccer and American soccer numbers. Right here at the top of the post I have listed out each of the clubs in USL Pro in terms of average announced home attendances over the course of the season (through week 19). After each team name in parentheses is the number of home games followed by a colon and the average attendance figure. Go nuts.

1. Sacramento Republic FC (9):     13123
2. Rochester Rhinos (10):     5530
3. Orlando City SC (10):     4713
4. Charleston Battery (9):     3847
5. OKC Energy FC (10):     3738
6. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (10):     2708
7. Richmond Kickers (11):     2536
8. Wilmington Hammerheads FC (9):     2379
9. Arizona United SC (11):     2240
10. Harrisburg City Islanders (10):     1894
11. Charlotte Eagles (10):     793
12. Orange County Blues FC (10):     782
13. LA Galaxy II (10):     687
14. Dayton Dutch Lions (11):     499

The league’s total attendance through week 19 is 440,605

The league wide average attendance (buoyed at the top by Sacramento’s early-season matches at Hughes Stadium) is 3147.18.

The median team average is 2459, the average between Richmond Kickers and Wilmington Hammerheads FC, though this number doesn’t really tell us too much while each team has hosted a different number of games during the season.

The average of team averages above the median is 5171, that is the mean of team averages for teams above the median is 5171.
The per game average of all of the games hosted by the 7 teams above the median is 5036.41

The average of team averages below the median is 1325.
The per game average of the 7 teams below the median is 1311.17.

Again, the league’s total attendance through 19 weeks is 440,605.
Over 140 matches, the league has a per game average of 3147.18.

Without Sacramento Republic FC home matches included, the total league attendance drops by 118,107 to a less impressive 322,498.
With no Sacramento, the league wide per game average falls to 2461.82, a decrease of 685.

The league’s highest attendances are Sacramento’s three sell-outs at Hughes Stadium against Harrisburg City Islanders, LA Galaxy II, and Arizona United SC: 20,231.

The league’s lowest attendance is Dayton’s match against Orlando City on June, 22 which only drew an announced attendance of 275.

Sacramento’s sell-out is nearly 74 times larger (73.57) than Dayton’s lowest draw.

 

Anything else y’all think is noteworthy?
Any of figures I should keep track of in addition to the ones listed above?

USL Pro Attendance Recap: May 19

Here are the averages by team through Week 9:
The format is Team name (number of home matches): average attendance

Sacramento Republic FC (3):     19292
Rochester Rhinos (2):     5908
Orlando City SC (4):     4716
OKC Energy FC (3):     4002
Charleston Battery (4):     3547
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (3+):     2880
Arizona United SC (5):     2704
Richmond Kickers (3+):     2629
Wilmington Hammerheads (4):     2538
Harrisburg City Islanders (4):     1558
Charlotte Eagles (3):     855
Orange County Blues FC (5):     764
LA Galaxy II (6):     717
Dayton Dutch Lions (4):     644

(+) indicates missing match data

The league-wide average attendance is 3291, though I’m missing a match from Richmond and a match from Pittsburgh.

The league’s average without Sacramento’s 3 home matches drops to 2331, a difference of 960. Sacramento Republic FC’s attendance adds over 40% to the average of the rest of the league.

The median team average in 2666.5.

The teams above the median hold an average of 5704.4 across 24 games with one game missing.

The teams below the median hold an average of 1294.2 across 29 games with one game missing

Sacramento Republic FC has drawn 33.2% of USL Pro’s total attendance through Week 9 of the 2014 season (with two games missing) Continue reading

USL Pro Attendance Recap: April 28, 2014

Here’s the current team average home attendance as of Monday, April 28.
Sacramento Republic FC (1):     20231
Rochester Rhinos (1):                 6358
Orlando City SC (3):                    4777
OKC Energy FC (1):                    4230
Richmond Kickers (1+):               3507
Charleston Battery (3):                 3234
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2):          3078
Wilmington Hammerheads (2):     2945
Arizona United SC (3):                  2907
Harrisburg City Islanders (1):        1711
Charlotte Eagles (3):                      855
Orange County Blues FC (4):        847
LA Galaxy II (5):                              779
Dayton Dutch Lions (2):                 775

 

Let’s start at the top with the three highest “drawing” clubs in USL Pro. If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that the number posted for the announced attendance may not equal the actual persons in seats and that the actual figure may not resemble what you saw on the livestream because there are also seats under the camera.

But back to the top three clubs:
Sacramento Republic FC; 20,231 = Holy wow!
The Republic are the toast of the town in American soccer after selling out Hughes Stadium for Saturday’s night home opening loss to Harrisburg. Get this: Sacramento has a higher 2014 season average than all of USL Pro (clearly, more than 3x), all of NASL (3x more than all but Indy Eleven), and 12 of the 19 MLS clubs. Sacramento outdrew the overall MLS average attendance for 2013 and for the first 8 weeks of 2014. The question for Sacramento is whether the team can replicate that figure for the next two home games before moving to the 8,000 capacity venue at Cal Expo for the remainder of the season.

Rochester Rhinos; 6358 = Is it for real?
I ask this question not only for the attendance figures but also for the results the club has grabbed so far. Rochester has been for a number of years the primary target of cynical internet users’ ire over bloated attendance numbers based on a range of evidence and delusions. This year’s home opener is better than 2013’s gate (Harrisburg City Islanders, 5963) but not quite as impressive as 2012’s first match Sahlen’s Stadium (Charlotte Eagles, 7953). As with that opening number, the results appear to be sandwiched between 2013 and 2012, which is fine by me.

Orlando City SC; 4777 = Coasting, or…
Orlando City received some (undue, in my opinion) criticism for the perceived notion that the club had nothing left to prove for the 2014 season. The Lions’ prowess over the previous three season in USL Pro had garnered the attention of MLS and, having been awarded an expansion franchise for 2015, Orlando had made it. While the team may be playing at a cramped venue in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. While the numbers just shy of 5,000 may not approach 2013’s 8,053 or even 2012’s 6606, Orlando is in no danger of losing too many of the 20,886 fans that turned up to the USL Pro Playoff Final last year against Charlotte ahead of its debut in MLS returning to the Citrus Bowl.

As for notable figures from the remaining 11 clubs:

OKC Energy FC; 4230 = Promising for a shiny new thing
You wouldn’t be wrong to accuse me of being cynical about lower division soccer. In USL Pro we’ve seen teams come and go (6 teams, to be precise) but potential organizational support from Sporting KC may provide the foundation for success for the 2014 expansion side. OKC Energy FC sold out the game and then sold “obstructed view” walk-up tickets for more than most teams charge for general admission. Good on them but similar to Sacramento (and as we’ve seen with the NASL’s Indy Eleven this year and to the opposite effect NY Cosmos last year) the second game is much more indicative of the strength of a team’s penetration in its market than the home opener. Will OKC’s next match at Pribil Stadium against OC Blues on May 10 bring a similar crowd of high-3000 or low-4000?

Orange County Blues FC; 847 = Has rebranding had an effect?
Through 4 games last season, the (then LA) Blues averaged 659 and finished the year between 542 and 718 [my number, missing three games, and Kenn‘s which includes super secret special detective numbers]. I’d like to say that the rebrand to the Orange County moniker and the move to UC Irvine from Cal State Fullerton and a myriad other venues, a stabilization I begged for over the past two years, has been successful but hte jury is still out.

Dayton Dutch Lions; 775 = The little locomotief that could?
I gosh-darn hope so.
I apologize for the expletive language above but I want this club to succeed so badly. Now with VSI Tampa Bay FC Flames rightly extricated from the league, Dayton holds the unwanted tag of “Lowest Drawing Club in USL Pro.” I know a certain leader of the
rechterhand van de leeuwen who deserves larger numbers not only in the Oranje Legion but overall in the Dutch Lion’s home, and maybe that’ll happen at DOC.

A lot of the other numbers are what has come to be expected. Pittsburgh (in the still shiny Highmark Stadium), Wilmington, Richmond, and Charleston will form the solid middle of USL Pro. Arizona United SC has started out well but so did Phoenix FC last year; hopefully this club can maintain its current position in the middle of the pack. LA Galaxy II isn’t trying to win attendance awards but the Eagles will want to leave a lasting mark before it sells its market franchise rights.

Who is Winning the USL-Pro Preseason so far?

I assigned each returning team in USL-Pro a letter grade based on how impressed I’ve been with its off-season/preseason up to this point (the morning of February 28). Tell me why you think my grades are completely arbitrary.

Austin da Luz, Yordany Alvarez, Corey Hertzog, Brad Rusin, Carl Woszczynski

An MLS Homegrown player with quality NASL experience. A former player returning with a wealth of experience from his two year stint at a model MLS club. A young forward who lit up USL-Pro in 2012. A ball-playing defender who made 16 starts for Vancouver last year despite a number of serious injuries. A third year goalkeeper who could make a case to start anywhere else in the league.

Orlando City is also returning starting goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, defenders Luke Boden and Rob Valentino, ball-winner Adama Mbengue, playmaker Kevin Molino, and forward Dennis Chin. While Jamie Watson’s move to Minnesota United FC of NASL is a loss, head coach Adrian Heath could not promise the midfielder the amount of playing time he wanted which suggests Orlando will be just fine.

Honestly, it’s hard to look past Orlando City based on the team’s track record and the impressive arsenal Heath has assembled for the Lions’ victory lap through USL-Pro in 2014 before joining MLS next year.

Orlando City: A+

As for the rest of the league…

Odeen Domingo clued us in that Phoenix FC has been unable to sign new players because of outstanding debt from 2013 player salaries. Not a good look, guys.

Phoenix FC: F

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds, after an off-season of discussing lofty ambitions, is returning at least 12 players including 2013 All League First Team-ers Jose Angulo and Matt Dallman. Add to that mix midfield bruiser Anthony Obodai, who played with Phoenix last year, and versatile forward Joseph Ngwenya, who played 6 years in MLS but most recently in Richmond. Considering that the ‘Hounds have yet to receive its 4 loanees from Houston Dynamo, the team has had quite the off-season. Pittsburgh is a club on the up and easily looks like a play-off team.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: A

After a downright awful 2013 campaign, head coach Bob Lilley has the task of building a Rochester Rhinos squad that can once again challenge in the postseason. Indicative of the wholesale roster clearing, Rochester is only returning a handful of players from last year: Tyler Rosenlund, JC Banks, Mike Reidy, Lance Rozeboom, and Matt Luzunaris. Pierre Rudolph Mayard was penciled in for 2014 and goalkeeper Alex Horwath was signed for this campaign but both have since signed for other clubs. Rochester has brought in defender Kyle Hoffer, who played with VSI Tampa Bay FC Flames last year, and rookie goalkeeper John McCarthy but has so far lacked other notable acquisitions though hopes are high for this year’s loanees from New England.

Rochester Rhinos: D

The biggest news from Wilmington leading up to the 2014 season has not been related to player signings. Under a new majority owner, the club announced a rebranding, naming themselves Wilmington Hammerheads FC, and reached an affiliation partnership with Toronto FC. Wilmington is bringing back a handful of key players like Cody Arnoux and Tom Parratt while also acquiring defender Troy Cole and Maryland stand-out Sunny Jane. The team may be affected by Gareth Evans moving to expansion side Oklahoma City.but could very easily improve over last year.

Wilmington Hammerheads FC: C+

Richmond Kickers has not been very active so far, at least not publicly. The team generated some buzz when a number of players joined affiliate D.C. United on its off-season tour of Indonesia. On a technical side, the club consolidated its youth academy structure by combining operations with the Richmond Strikers youth club. On the player side, the Kickers have brought back veteran midfielder Luke Vercollone who has been with the club since 2008. Last year Richmond benefited considerably from the players that D.C. United sent on loan, expect the same this season. D.C. announced on Thursday that goalkeeper Joe Willis, homegrown signing Collin Martin, and Haitian forward Christiano Francois.

Richmond Kickers: B-

Orange County Blues FC, formerly Los Angeles Blues, have been quiet aside from its much-needed rebranding. It is important that the club has announced a single home venue for the upcoming season as the team has played at as many as four different locations in previous years. The club has so far announced the return of forward Chris Cortez and midfielder Gabriel Gonzalez. OC Blues FC may face some increased competition for players with LA Galaxy II setting up shop nearby, but the club finally has the west coast rivals that have been missing from its first three years in the league.

Orange County Blues FC: C

Harrisburg City Islanders was a surprise package last year but several key figures from that squad have moved on. Andrew Ribeiro, Sainey Touray, and Lucky Mkosana have all signed with teams in higher divisions. The players on loan from Philadelphia Union combined for 55 appearances in 2013 and as the relationship between the two clubs has only grown stronger, expect a similar or increased contribution this year. While two other clubs have unveiled a new look, Harrisburg still uses its monstrosity of a palm tree image.

Harrisburg City Islanders: C-

Dayton Dutch Lions has brought back several key figures from its 2013 playoff run and is well on its well to establishing a brand within the American soccer landscape. Joel DeLass, Shintaro Harada, Shane Smith, and Eric Kissinger will return to the field for Dayton in 2014. Rookie signing David Clemens comes from FC Tuscon, a top PDL club, winger Cameron Vickers moved from Phoenix FC, and midfielder Sebastien Thuriere was a regular for VSI Tampa Bay FC Flames last year. This year Dayton will also benefit from a group of loaned players from the Columbus Crew, as well.

Dayton Dutch Lions: B

Charlotte Eagles has lost a number of key players: goalkeeper Eric Reed to other career options, defender Fejiro Okiomah to Chivas USA, and forward Christian Ramirez to Minnesota United FC. Charlotte Eagles has returned a number of key players: midfielders Matt Gold, Ben Newnam, Jorge Herrera, and Drew Yates. Charlotte Eagles has brought in a number of key players: forward David Geno, goalkeeper Doug Herrick, and defenders Richard Dixon, Jonathan Leathers, and Bilal Duckett. As the Eagles enter its final season as a professional soccer club, the player transaction balance appears to be in the team’s favor.

Charlotte Eagles: B+

Charleston Battery has long been one of the model clubs of lower division American soccer. Without breaking the bank, head coach Michael Anhaeuser consistently puts quality teams on the field. Though attacking midfield talisman Nikki Paterson has moved to Ottawa Fury FC of NASL, the Battery has retained the services of most of the 2013 squad. Jamaican forward Dane Kelly, Cuban goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper, and captain defender Colin Falvey highlight the list of returning players for the upcoming season. Charleston is assured of an early preseason due to the Carolina Challenge Cup against MLS teams, which can smoothly translate into confident preparedness once the USL-Pro season rolls around.

Charleston Battery: A-

What happens when a USL-Pro team doesn’t have a single, quality stadium? Strug-city

There are several indicators one can use to judge or measure a professional sports team. The most common is probably through the results on the field in terms of regular season standings or the ability to perform in the postseason. Bored Americans (like myself) seem to obsess over attendance statistics. In the age of internet dominance, social media engagement can be equally as important as traditional community marketing for smaller sports franchises.

A stable home venue can provide the basis for a team’s success and the failure to secure one is a strong sign that a team will suffer.

Home Field Advantage:
While there are notable exceptions like the L.A. Clippers, most teams is most sports benefit from having a facility to call home.

As there are tremendous discrepancies in playing surfaces and field dimensions in soccer, knowing the size and bounce of the home field can allow a team to attack from the first whistle without needing time to adjust.

Groups of fans singing players’ names will drive a team forward while constant harassment can throw off opposition players. There’s a reason that teams found guilty for their role in match-fixing in Italy were punished by having to play matches behind closed doors without fans. Fans matter; simply put, and that’s not even including the revenue that ticket sales, food, and merchandising can bring an organization.

If social media releases or general advertisements have to use a significant amount of the limited space available to explain where the team is playing this week or next week, the organization is missing out on an opportunity to entice fans.

All signs point to this question, over several seasons why are the teams with higher attendances also the teams with better results also the teams with quality singular home venues?

Los Angeles Blues:
Club was founded in 2010 as a companion to the successful Pali Blues women’s soccer team of the USL W-League and the Blues began play in USL-Pro the following year. In the 2011 season the team played matches in Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton (5 matches at an average of 518) but also at Centennial High School in Corona (2 matches at 353*) and Norco College (4 matches at 175*). LA Blues also played a home U.S. Open Cup match at Riverside Community College.

In 2012 the team also played at Sherbeck Field (2 matches at 167) in addition to Titan Stadium (10 matches at 777)

The team played most matches of the 2013 season at Titan Stadium (11 matches 616*) but also featured at Sherbeck Field (1 match at 337), Anteater Stadium at UC Irvine (3 matches at 440). For some reason the team played both matches in their home-and-home series against the Galaxy Reserves at the Home Depot / Stub Hub Center.

(* of course denotes that the team didn’t publish attendance data)

Phoenix FC Wolves:
Phoenix FC’s original team owner, Tim Thomas, was talking up a storm about how the team would easily average 5,000 fans per game and sell-out all its home matches at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium at Arizona State University in Tempe just before the 2013 season started. Thomas even gave Odeen Domingo the amazing quote, “If you do it right, you should sell out every time.” Then Kenn Tomasch wrote about the club fumbling around with ticket sales and venue renovations. Despite starting the season with impressive figures and boasting a rapacious supporters’ group, La Furia 1881, the club first removed temporary seating at the college stadium at which they were playing before ultimately moving to a public park facility.

The team drew very poorly for its second match-up against cellar-dwelling Antigua, which it played at Grand Canyon University on July 11.

At Reach 11 (the public park), fans were encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs as if they were attending their son or daughter’s under-15 summer recreation league game. There were multiple reports of conflicts between members of La Furia and the local police department at those games. The team averaged an attendance of just 420 at Reach 11 after achieving a mark of 1,975 across its games at Sun Devil.

Overall this team struggled to keep its head above water both on and off the field. After a shambolic PR episode in November 2013, in which Neil Morris reported that the league had terminated the franchise agreement for Phoenix FC’s ownership group without having the replacement ready to announce, the club is preparing for 2014.

VSI Tampa Bay FC Flames:
Plant City Stadium was an eye-sore on match streams and it couldn’t have been much better for players. This team, while competing on the field thanks to USL veterans, was a disaster off the field. The rather remote location and underwhelming condition of the field itself gave the venue more of a highway truck stop vibe than the home of a professional soccer club.

After struggling to draw actual people to games, with a reported attendance of just 381, VisionPro Sports Institute pulled the plug not only on its professional team but on the club as a whole. VSI operated a teams in USL-Pro, in PDL, W-League, and in the Super-20 and Super Y-Leagues.

Moving on to 2014:
While VSI has fallen by the wayside, LA Blues and Phoenix FC have made encouraging strides ahead of the 2014 season.

Phoenix FC has regrouped around former part-owner Tim Donald and found a new home venue. The team plans to play all 14 of its home matches this upcoming season at Peoria Sports Complex. Located in Peoria, AZ, (duh) the facility is a baseball park but will reportedly cost about half as much to rent per game as Sun Devil Stadium cost in 2013. The team’s own release tells that the team will utilize the practice and training facilities at the PSC and also take advantage of parking available for 2,800 vehicles, which is more than enough unless the club plans to give away all of its tickets.

Will Phoenix FC’s fortunes in 2014 differ from its troubled debut season? This bit from local paper Peoria Times shows that someone has recognized some of the club’s shortcomings: “Phoenix FC announced an average of 1,200 to 1,500 fans last season, but organizers also admitted they did little to no marketing.”

Los Angeles Blues have been a difficult endeavor to understand. Though related to a women’s team and a PDL team, the Blues were all alone on the West Coast for the 2011 and 2012 USL-Pro seasons. While Phoenix FC joined LA in 2013, USL’s western expansion exploded in 2014 with Oklahoma City Energy FC, Sacramento Republic FC, and LA Galaxy II filling out the ranks on the other side of the Mississippi, especially in the Pacific Time Zone.

Along with San Jose Earthquake and Wilmington Hammerheads FC, LA Blues underwent a long-needed rebranding. With 2014’s introduction of the Galaxy’s reserve team in USL-Pro, the Blues finally decided to ditch the “Los Angeles” from its moniker and rename the club Orange County Blues FC.

In its press release on the subject, the team also announced its “new home” will be Anteater Stadium at UC Irvineand that the “relocation and name change reflect a deeper transition within the team organization to a new level of seriousness about the future of the club.” This is all good rhetoric but the results of this transformation wait to appear, though the only way is up for this organization.

Initial Analysis of 2014 USL-Pro Schedule

“back-to-back” means that a team plays games on consecutive days
“two-games-in-three-days” means that a team has one day to rest/travel between games
“mid-week” means Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

Rochester Rhinos plays 2 sets of back-to-back:
at Charleston and at Charlotte, August 15 and 16
at Richmond and at Wilmington, May 2 and 3
and 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
against Richmond and at Dayton, May 30 and June 1
against Dayton and at Oklahoma City, June 20 and June 22
*1 mid-week match

Charleston Battery plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Pittsburgh and at Rochester, April 26 and 27;
and 3 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Harrisburg and at Dayton, May 2 and 4;
at Rochester and at Montreal Impact Reserves, August 1 and 3;
against Los Angeles and against Rochester, August 13 and 15;
*8 matches in August
*August 24, 27, 30 makes for 3 matches in less than a week at OKC, at Sacramento and against Pitt
*2 mid-week matches

Charlotte Eagles plays 2 sets of back-to-back:
against Chicago Fire Reserves and at Wilmington, April 25 and 26;
at Harrisburg and at Rochester, June 27 and 28;
and 4 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Phoenix and at LAG II, May 3 and 5
at Charleston and against Sacramento, July 12 and 14;
at Pittsburgh and at Dayton, July 17 and 19;
against Wilmington and at Montreal Impact Reserves, July 26 and 28;
*7 matches in July, only one of which isn’t part of a 2-in-3 series
*May 8 at Los Angeles makes for 3 games within a week
*4 mid-week matches

Dayton Dutch Lions plays 2 sets of back-to-back matches:
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, June 7 and 8;
at Charleston and at Wilmington, August 8 and 9;
and 1 set of two-games-in-three-days:
at Rochester and against Dayton, June 20 and 22;
*7 matches in June
*June 7, 8, 11 (at Phoenix) makes for 3 matches in less than a week
*2 mid-week matches

Harrisburg City Islanders plays 2 sets of back-to-back matches:
against Richmond and at Pittsburgh, May 31 and June 1;
at Charleston and at Charlotte, September 5 and 6;
and 1 set of two games in three days:
at Los Angeles and at Sacramento, April 24 and 26.
*5 mid-week matches

Oklahoma City Energy FC plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Wilmington and at Charlotte, June 6 and 7;
and 5 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, April 5 and 7;
against Phoenix and against LAG II, July 17 and 19;
against Phoenix and against LAG II, August 14 and 16;
against Phoenix and at Oklahoma City, August 22 and 24;
at Sacramento and at Los Angeles; September 4 and 6.
*5 mid-week matches

Orlando City plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Pittsburgh and at Rochester, May 9 and 10;
and 0 sets of two-games-in-three-days.
*7 mid-week matches

LA Galaxy II plays 0 sets of back-to-back matches:
and plays 1 set of two-games-in-three-days:
at Phoenix and at Los Angeles, April 25 and 27;
*the claim that the league needs to congest the schedule and put players’ health at risk in order to drive down travel costs is laughable in this case. Only giving LAG II one day between playing at Phoenix and playing at Los Angeles has nothing to do with travel costs as the team would have returned to Los Angeles after the Phoenix match anyway.
*2 mid-week matches
*June 8 (v Dayton), 11 (v Rochester), 14 (at Charleston) makes for 3 matches in less than one week

Los Angeles Blues plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Pittsburgh and at Rochester, August 8 and 9;
and plays 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
against Charlotte and at Oklahoma City, May 8 and 10;
at Orlando and at Charlotte, June 11 and 13;
*4 mid-week matches
*August 8, 9, and 13 (at Charleston) makes for 3 games in less than a week
*The Blues play 7 games in August
*The Blues go 12 days without a match at the end of May

Phoenix FC’s schedule won’t load. But Odeen Domingo has screenshots of each team’s schedule on his recent post that you can read here.
Phoenix FC Wolves plays 1 set of back-to-back games:
at Richmond and at Harrisburg, May 9 and 10;
at Wilmington and at Charleston, July 25 and 26;
and 3 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Sacramento and against Los Angeles, June 26 and 28;
at Oklahoma City and against Los Angeles, July 17 and 19;
at Oklahoma City and against Pittsburgh, August 14 and 16.
*4 mid-week matches

Pittsburgh Riverhounds plays 2 sets of back-to-back matches:
at Wilmington and at Charleston, May 23 and 24;
at Charlotte and at Charleston, August 29 and 30;
and 1 set to two-games-in-three-days:
at RSL Reserves and at Sacramento, July 25 and 27.
*3 mid-week matches

Richmond Kickers plays 2 sets of back-to-back:
at Rochester and at Harrisburg, May 30 and 31;
at Charleston and at Wilmington, June 27 and 28;
and 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Oklahoma City and at Chicago Fire Reserves, May 16 and 18;
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, August 30 and September 1;
*Richmond only plays matches on Friday through Monday, no mid-week matches.

Sacramento Republic FC plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Los Angeles Blues and at LA Galaxy II, April 12 and 13;
and 4 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Rochester and at Dayton, May 23 and 25;
against Phoenix and at Oklahoma City, June 26 and 28;
at Richmond and at Charlotte, July 12 and 14;
against Oklahoma City and against LA Galaxy II, September 4 and 6.
*3 games in less than a week: July 12, at Richmond; July 14, at Charlotte; July 17 against Orlando
*5 mid-week matches

Wilmington Hammerheads FC plays 3 sets of back-to-back matches:
at Harrisburg and at Rochester, July 18 and 19;
against Phoenix and at Charlotte, July 25 and 26;
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, August 23 and 24;
and 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days which is actually 3 games in 5 days:
against Orlando and at Dayton, September 3 and 5;
at Dayton and at Rochester, September 5 and 7
* ^^ 3 games in 5 days is absurd
*August 20 (at Sac), 23, 24 makes for 3 games in less than a week
*3 mid-week matches