The United Soccer League announced Friday that Philadelphia Union II, Portland Timbers 2 and Orlando City B have withdrawn themselves from all Championship and League One competitions.
“We want to thank all three teams for their participation in recent years,” said USL President Jake Edwards in a statement. “We wish them nothing but success going forward.”
Portland announced on Friday that Timbers 2 will forgo the 2021 USL Championship season in anticipation of 2022. T2 will go on hiatus for one season while the Timbers work closely with MLS on a solution for competition in the post-formation period (players 18-23 years old) as part of the professional player pathway.
"The Timbers have had a longstanding and productive relationship with USL, one that provided us the platform to enter MLS, and for that we are extremely appreciative,” said Timbers GM and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson in a statement. “With the inability to share players between T2 and the first team due to COVID this season we have been unable to use this platform for player development as we would have hoped and we don’t expect that to change in 2021. We are working closely with MLS to complete the pro player pathway for the post-formation period in 2022 and are excited to disclose more details at the appropriate time.”
Orlando City SC also announced Friday that Orlando City B, the club’s second tier developmental team, will withdraw from USL League One following the conclusion of the 2020 season. The club is working closely with Major League Soccer in regards to a future competition for players. Additional information will be announced as it becomes available.
In a statement on Friday the Union said that the club is working on a competition platform for the transitional phase between academy and first team. Player development remains a key pillar of the Union’s philosophy, and the club looks forward to continuing streamlining its strategy throughout all stages of the organization. More information about a future competition platform will be announced at a later date.
Phill Grooms of The Beautiful Game Network is reporting that at the end of the 2020 season, the Philadelphia Union II and Portland Timbers 2 will be leaving the USL Championship and Orlando City B will leave USL League One.
Formerly known as the Bethlehem Steel, the Philadelphia Union 2 made the playoffs in 2018, but finished near the bottom of the conference in 16th place in 2019. They finished 2W-11L-3D in the 2020 season and failed to qualify for the postseason.
Portland Timbers 2 have been in the USL Championship since 2015 and their best finish was 6th place in the Western Conference in 2018. The squad that season included names like Eryk Williamson and Jeremy Ebobisse. They finished 3W-13L-0D in 2020, missing out on the playoffs.
Orlando City B, which began play in 2016, are sitting in last place this season with a record of 1W-8L-3D and are out of contention for a spot in the League One championship. Their only win of the season so far has come against the New England Revolution II on August 7. They have three matches remaining through the end of the season on Oct. 24.
The future reserve team plans of each organization have yet to be announced.