ST PETERSBURG, Fla (April 20, 2021) - The USL Championship announced today its playoff structure for the 2021 season, which will feature 16 teams when the regular season concludes in the last weekend of October. The Tampa Bay Rowdies will be aiming to reach the postseason for the third straight season and build on the success of last year’s Eastern Conference title win.
Following the announcement of the Championship’s divisional alignment in March, the top four teams from each division in the regular season will advance into a regionalized single-elimination bracket. The top two clubs in each of the Atlantic, Central, Mountain and Pacific Divisions will earn hosting rights in the Eastern and Western Conference Quarterfinals, regardless of total points.
Division winners will be matched with the fourth-place team, while second-placed teams will meet third-placed teams from the opposing division in the Conference Quarterfinals, matching up teams from the Atlantic Division and Central Division in the Eastern Conference and the Mountain and Pacific Division in the Western Conference.
Following the Conference Quarterfinals round, home advantage will be determined by total points earned, regardless of division rank, for the remainder of the postseason.
The Rowdies are in the Atlantic Division, which includes 2020 postseason participants Hartford Athletic, Charleston Battery, Charlotte Independence, and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. New York Red Bulls II, Loudoun United FC, and in-state rival Miami FC are also Tampa Bay’s direct competition for postseason spot. Each team will be play divisional opponents twice at home and twice away in 2021, as well as four additional matches against non-divisional opponents.
The USL Championship also announced that the season will culminate with the USL Championship Final on Sunday November 28. Kickoff for that match is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.