Dane Kelly - Swope Park Rangers - celebrates a goal in 2016 USL playoffs
Courtesy of Swope Park Rangers

USL unveil conference alignment for 2017 season

Even with conference realignment, the United Soccer League's fledgling (and heated) cross-Missouri rivalry will go on.

Saint Louis FC, the Chicago Fire's affiliate in the second-tier USL, moved from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference with the addition of expansion side Reno 1868, who will be affiliated with the San Jose Earthquakes. But under a scheduling provision that allows for interconference play for regional rivals, Saint Louis and Kansas City, Mo.-based Swope Park Rangers -- who are owned by Sporting Kansas City and joined the USL in 2016 -- will play each other in 2017.

The other new MLS-affiliated club in USL, Ottawa Fury FC, joins the league from the North American Soccer League. The Fury are affiliated to the Montreal Impact, who closed the club-owned FC Montreal this offseason, and will take FC Montreal's place in the Eastern Conference. 

The Tampa Bay Rowdies also join from NASL and will play in the Eastern conference of the 30-team league. Los Angeles FC -- who will enter MLS in 2018 -- already have an affiliation deal in place with Orange County Blues FC.

Here are the full conference alignments for 2017:

Eastern Conference

  • Bethlehem Steel FC (Philadelphia Union)
  • Charleston Battery (Atlanta United FC)
  • Charlotte Independence (Colorado Rapids)
  • FC Cincinnati
  • Harrisburg City Islanders
  • Louisville City FC
  • New York Red Bulls II
  • Orlando City B
  • Ottawa Fury FC (Montreal Impact)
  • Pittsburgh Riverhounds (Columbus Crew SC)
  • Richmond Kickers (D.C. United)
  • Rochester Rhinos (New England Revolution)
  • Saint Louis FC (Chicago Fire)
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies
  • Toronto FC II

Western Conference

  • Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
  • LA Galaxy II
  • OKC Energy FC (FC Dallas)
  • Orange County Blues FC (Los Angeles FC)
  • Phoenix Rising FC
  • Portland Timbers 2
  • Real Monarchs SLC (Real Salt Lake)
  • Reno 1868 FC (San Jose Earthquakes)
  • Rio Grande Valley FC (Houston Dynamo)
  • Sacramento Republic FC
  • San Antonio FC (New York City FC)
  • Seattle Sounders FC 2
  • Swope Park Rangers (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Tulsa Roughnecks FC
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2