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2024 USL League One Preseason - Matches to Watch

By ETHAN TRIEBSCH -, 02/08/24, 12:45PM EST


Nearly 70 matches to take place ahead of League One's sixth season

Nearly 70 matches to take place ahead of League One's sixth season | Image Credit: Louisville City FC

The 2024 USL League One preseason officially kicked off on Feb. 4 with Northern Colorado claiming victory in the first of nearly 70 friendly matches. Regional rivalries, high-stakes matchups and familiar faces in new places highlight the preseason slate ahead of League One's sixth season which kicks off on March 9.

Bluegrass battle between two of Kentucky's finest

Matchup: Louisville City FC (USL Championship) vs. Lexington SC
Venue: Lynn Family Stadium; Louisville, Ky.
Kickoff: Feb. 18

  • LouCity narrowly got the better of Lexington in the pair's lone competitive meeting in the Second Round of the 2023 U.S. Open Cup. Less than a year later, Lexington will return to Lynn Family Stadium - after converting Louisville's all-time leading scorer, Cameron Lancaster, to LSC colors - as the second-year club aims to cement its status as a legitimate title contender heading into 2024.

2023 USL League One Final rematch in Cary

Matchup: North Carolina FC (USL Championship) vs. Charlotte Independence
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Kickoff: Feb. 21; 1 p.m. ET

  • The Jacks will get a crack at North Carolina FC again after falling to NCFC in penalties in the 2023 USL League One Final. Now prepping for its first season back in the USL Championship since 2020, North Carolina will match up with its Dogwood Derby rival as the pair prepare to compete in separate leagues for the first time since 2017.

Hailstorm look to remain perfect at Weidner Field

Matchup: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USL Championship) vs. Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
Venue: Weidner Field; Colorado Springs, Colo.
Kickoff: Feb. 17; 2 p.m. ET

  • In two U.S. Open Cup Second Round matches at Weidner Field, Northern Colorado have upended in-state rivals Colorado Springs - both in extra time. A test against a perennial USL Championship playoff team will be a good challenge for a Hailstorm team hungry to forge a new identity ahead of its third season.

Newcomers take on defending USL Championship winners

Matchup: Phoenix Rising FC (USL Championship) vs. Spokane Velocity FC
Venue: Phoenix, Ariz.
Kickoff: Feb. 17

  • Leigh Veidman's squad is starting to take shape in Spokane ahead of the club's inaugural campaign. The former Charleston Battery assistant coach will have a chance to avenge his loss to Phoenix in the 2023 USL Championship Final.

USL Championship, League ONe runners-up go head-to-head

Matchup: Charleston Battery (USL Championship) vs. Charlotte Independence
Venue: Patriots Point Soccer Complex; Charleston, S.C.
Kickoff: Feb. 17; 7 p.m. ET

  • Less than a year after Charleston downed the Jacks in extra time of a 2023 U.S. Open Cup Third Round fixture, Southern Derby rivals Charleston Battery and Charlotte Independence will meet again a season after the pair finished as runners-up in their respective leagues.

Spokane's first-ever contest against a professional side

Matchup: Sacramento Republic FC (USL Championship) vs. Spokane Velocity FC
Venue: Tucson, Ariz.
Kickoff: Feb. 14

  • Prior to Spokane's contest against Phoenix, Velocity FC will arrive in Tucson, Ariz. to face USL Championship power Sacramento Republic FC for the Desert Friendlies hosted by Visit Tucson. The match will serve as a good indicator of both Spokane's quality early in the preseason and 2023 USL League One Player of the Year Trevor Amann's impact on Republic FC.

Lowcountry visits upstate

Matchup: Greenville Triumph SC vs. Charleston Battery (USL Championship)
Venue: Alumni Stadium; Greenville, S.C.
Kickoff: Feb. 9

  • Palmetto State powers Greenville Triumph SC and Charleston Battery will face off on Feb. 9 after last meeting in official competition in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup - a 2-1 victory for the Battery in Greenville. A tale of two sides, new Greenville Head Coach Rick Wright will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to replicate the success of John Harkes, while Charleston Head Coach Ben Pirmann will aim to guide his side back to the USL Championship Final.

The  ̶L̶o̶u̶i̶s̶v̶i̶l̶l̶e̶ Lexington-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football contest (LIPAFC Lite?)

MatchupLexington SC vs. Indy Eleven (USL Championship)
Venue: Toyota Stadium; Georgetown, Ky.
Kickoff: Feb. 24; 4 p.m. ET

  • A week after facing Louisville City FC on the road, Lexington will welcome USL Championship side Indy Eleven to town in another important tune-up for the second-year side. Expect LSC to find success against both USL Championship sides.

Intra-state, Inter-league clash in Colorado

Matchup: Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC vs. Colorado Rapids 2 (MLS NEXT Pro)
Venue: Future Legends Complex; Windsor, Colo.
Kickoff: March 3

  • A stellar season for all three of Colorado's lower-division men's professional clubs, the Hailstorm will host MLS NEXT Pro regular season champions Colorado Rapids 2 at Future Legends Complex in their final preseason match ahead of a high-stakes regular-season opener in Lexington less than a week later.

Penultimate test for Players' Shield holders

Matchup: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USL Championship) vs. Union Omaha
Venue: Weidner Field; Colorado Springs, Colo.
Kickoff: March 2; 1 p.m. ET

  • In the final preseason match for the Owls against professional competition, Union Omaha will travel to Colorado Springs to take on Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field. By this point in the preseason, we should know who is in line to fill the shoes of Noe Meza, JP Scearce, Shaft Brewer Jr. and Joe Brito - all of whom moved up to the USL Championship during the offseason.

Others to watch

  • One Knoxville SC vs. Chattanooga FC (MLS NEXT Pro)
    • Feb. 10
    • Knoxville, Tenn.
  • South Georgia Tormenta FC vs. Charleston Battery (USL Championship)
    • March 2; 7:30 p.m. ET
    • Tormenta Stadium; Statesboro, Ga.
  • Tacoma Defiance (MLS NEXT Pro) vs. Spokane Velocity FC
    • March 3; 7 p.m. ET
    • Lampson Stadium; Kennewick, Wash.
  • Indy Eleven (USL Championship) vs. Forward Madison FC
    • March 1; 1 p.m. ET
    • Grand Park Sports Campus; Westfield, Ind.
  • Birmingham Legion FC (USL Championship) vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
    • Feb. 17; 3 p.m. ET
    • Protective Stadium; Birmingham, Ala.
  • Louisville City FC (USL Championship) vs. One Knoxville SC
    • March 9; 3 p.m. ET
    • Lynn Family Stadium; Louisville, Ky.
  • Sacramento Republic FC (USL Championship) vs. Central Valley Fuego FC
    • Feb. 21; 3 p.m. ET
    • Cosumnes River College; Sacramento, Calif.
  • Lexington SC vs. University of Kentucky (NCAA)
    • March 2; 6 p.m. ET
    • Toyota Stadium; Georgetown, Ky.
  • Crown Legacy FC (MLS NEXT Pro) vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
    • Feb. 28; 3 p.m. ET
    • Atrium Health Performance Park; Charlotte, N.C.
  • One Knoxville SC vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
    • Feb. 24; 2 p.m. ET
    • Sansom Sports Complex; Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Sporting Kansas City II (MLS NEXT Pro) vs. Union Omaha
    • Feb. 17; 2 p.m. ET
    • Rock Chalk Park; Lawrence, Kan.
  • Monterey Bay F.C. (USL Championship) vs. Central Valley Fuego FC
    • Feb. 10; 7 p.m. ET
    • Cardinale Stadium; Seaside, Calif.
  • Richmond Kickers vs. James Madison University (NCAA)
    • Feb. 24; 2 p.m. ET
    • VACU Fields at Striker Park; Glen Allen, Va.
  • Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC vs. University of Denver (NCAA)
    • Feb. 23
    • Future Legends Complex; Windsor, Colo.
  • Loudoun United FC (USL Championship) vs. Richmond Kickers
    • Feb. 17; 12 p.m. ET
    • Segra Field; Leesburg, Va.

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