Looking at the 2015 NASL Fall Season Schedule

On Tuesday, January 20, the NASL announced the schedule for the 2015 Fall Season. Each of the 11 teams in the NASL this year will play each other twice for a total of 20 matches. Because of the odd number of participants in 2015, one team will have a bye and will sit out during every regular 5-game weekend fixture list.

The format is similar to the 2015 Spring Season that the NASL released on Wednesday, December 20. The spring campaign will see each team play each other once for a total of 10 matches before the mid-summer break in league play.

Since the NASL instituted the split-season format in 2013, the season has generally maintained a length from the beginning of April until the start of November.

The 2015 spring campaign will last from 04/04/15 until 06/13/15 and the 2015 fall campaign will last from 07/04/15 until 11/01/15.
The 2014 spring campaign lasted from 04/12/14 until 06/08/14 and the 2014 fall campaign lasted from 07/12/14 until 11/02/14.
The 2013 spring campaign lasted from 04/06/13 until 07/04/13 and the 2013 fall campaign lasted from 08/03/13 until 11/02/13.

The total NASL schedule has fluctuated only very slightly since its inception between 26 and 30 games for each team (not counting New York’s 2013 season).

2011: 28 total games
2012: 28 total games
2013: 12+14, 26 total games for 7/8 teams
2014: 9+18, 27 total games for 10 teams
2015: 10+20, 30 total games for 11 teams

The 2015 Fall Campaign will see each team play 20 games, 10 at home and 10 on the road, across 18 weeks. This format requires each team to play two mid-week games during the split season, an increase from just one in 2014.

There are three Friday night matches that are parts of the regular 5-game weekend fixture list. None of the teams that play on Friday will have played since the previous Saturday except for Carolina, who play the Sunday before: August 30 and September 4.

The league will play two games on Tuesday nights, Atlanta hosting Minnesota on September 15 and New York hosting Ottawa on September 22. Atlanta doesn’t play the weekend before that match while Minnesota plays the Saturday before. Both New York and Ottawa play on the Saturday prior their Tuesday meeting.

Teams will compete in 18 Wednesday night games to round out 20 total mid-week matches. Only two Wednesday night games feature a team that played the previous Sunday, all other teams playing the Friday or Saturday before. This ensures that for all but those two games, teams will have at least 3 full days in between games to travel, recuperate, and train between league fixtures. The two exceptions are when Edmonton hosts Ottawa on August 2 before hosting Indy on Wednesday, August 5, and when New York hosts Atlanta on October 4 before Atlanta hosts the return fixture on Wednesday, October 7.

Despite the difficulties of have an odd number of teams, the NASL maintained its commitment to a balanced schedule and proper rest between matches.

Comparing USL-Pro and NASL Schedules from 2012 and 2013

On January 10, NASL released their 2013 Spring Regular Season schedule.  The schedule is a balanced format in which each of the 7 teams play each other team twice, once at home and once away.  A team will play each team once before playing any team a second time.  There will be three matches a week with one team having a bye each weekend.  The last matchday will be the Fourth of July, a Thursday, and FC Edmonton will have a bye that day.

2012’s NASL schedule was also a balanced format with each team playing the other 7 teams 4 times during the regular season (as was 2011’s).

Division III USL-Pro’s 2012 schedule was notably messier by comparison.  Each team played 24 matches, 12 at home and 12 away, but the placement of those matches raised a few eyebrows.

As an example, the Rochester Rhinos played 5 of their first 6 games on the road and then finished the season with 5 straight at home with 8 out of the last 10 games in Rochester.  The Rhinos started their season with two games against LA Blues on successive weekends.  After that the team had to play back-to-back nights in different cities twice (meaning they played in Charlotte Friday and then in Charleston the next night, and then in Harrisburg before playing in Dayton the following night).

A closer look at USL-Pro’s 2012 schedule:
Rochester had two instances of matches on back-to-back nights [May 11&12, May 25&26], and two instances of two games in three nights [June 15&17, July 12&14]

Richmond had three instances of games on back-to-back nights [Jun 1&2, June 15&16, July 27&28] and one instance of two games in three nights [Aug 17&19 (at Antigua)].

Dayton had three instances of back-to-back games [May 18&19, July 20&21, Aug 17&18] and two instances of two games in three nights [Jun 15&17 (at LA), July 18&20], which means Dayton had a game on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the same week all in different cities. Continue reading