The USL dropped the official divisions for the 2021 USL Championship season this week, and Sacramento Republic FC are officially in the Pacific Division.
Like the name indicates, the Pacific is for teams that are along the West Coast and thereabouts, and it’s going to be a deep slate of contenders:
- Sac Republic
- Tacoma Defiance
- Oakland Roots
- LA Galaxy II
- Orange County SC
- San Diego Loyal
- Las Vegas Lights
- Phoenix Rising
Three of these teams made the playoffs last year — Sacramento, Phoenix and Galaxy II — and San Diego and Orange County have been reloading pretty heavily in the offseason. Phoenix is always tough, of course, and could be the favorite in the West overall yet again this year.
Tacoma, Las Vegas and Oakland are somewhat unknown quantities for different reasons. Tacoma played Sacramento a lot last year, and actually were quite good against Republic FC on the whole, but their youthful MLS2 squad could not keep up in the playoff chase in 2020. Will that change this year? It very well could.
In a related vein, Vegas has done next to nothing in the offseason but reports indicate the club is set to be bought in part or in whole by LAFC and become an MLS2 team. Former U.S. Men’s National Team defender Steve Cherundolo is expected to coach the side, but given the changes, they could be cannon fodder for the rest of the division, or perhaps LAFC’s youngsters will be better than most expect, we’ll see.
Oakland is an unknown because they are new to the USL Championship. Will they be ready for what may be the toughest division in the league? Buckle up, they’re jumping straight into the deep end.
The league teased home opener info is dropping before long. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.