ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The USL Championship announced Thursday the four groups made up of teams from the Western Conference that will battle for a place in the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs. New Mexico United will be in Group C which also includes Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, El Paso Locomotive FC, and Real Monarchs SLC.
Each team in Group A and C will play its fellow group members four times during the regular season. Each team in Group B and D will play its fellow group members three times. The remaining games will be played against teams that are in a similar geographic area.
Fans are excited to hear the news and the prospect of games starting again but do have some questions.
“I think it’s kind of a mixed bag. Thrilled that we have a group and that, you know, it’s another step towards getting started. Also, a little disappointed in the grouping itself,” David Carl, President of New Mexico United’s fan club, The Curse, said. “We should’ve been in a group with Phoenix and I don’t know why we weren’t. It should’ve been Phoenix, Salt Lake, Colorado Springs, and New Mexico, it’s the four corners.”
Until further notice, fans will not be allowed in the stands at New mexico United games. But, some may be temped to take a road trip with at least two of the team’s three opponents planning on having fans.
“We would hate for somebody to get sick as a result of a group trip, so that’s not something that we’re going to organize. But, I would be surprised if there weren’t at least a few fans that made the trip down there,” Carl said.
In El Paso, The Locomotive is expecting to have fans at about 20-25% capacity, which is about 2,000 people. In Colorado Springs, The Switchbacks expect to have about 700 people inside its 4,000 seat venue. In a press conference on Thursday, the United ownership group encouraged United fans to follow the Governor’s orders.
“If she’s advising that people do not travel out of state unless it’s an emergency, then we are 100% supportive of that,” Peter Trevisani, Owner of New Mexico United, said. “You will not see us trying to create packages to bus people to a certain location or fly people to a location like we did last year.”
Trevisani encouraged fans to still enjoy the games at home, like at breweries, which are open at 50% occupancy. Carl said The Curse may organize ways to enjoy the game without traveling like hosting a drive-in, socially distanced, watch party.
Right now, it’s still unclear if the United will even be able to play in New Mexico since there is a ban on large groups of athletes competing in the state. On Wednesday the USL announced 2020 season format. The league returns to play on Saturday, July 11.
Other groups include the following teams:
- Group A: Portland Timbers 2, Reno 1868 FC, Sacramento Republic FC, Tacoma Defiance
- Group B: LA Galaxy II, Las Vegas Lights FC, Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC, San Diego Loyal SC
- Group C: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, El Paso Locomotive FC, New Mexico United, Real Monarchs SLC
- Group D: Austin Bold FC, OKC Energy FC, Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio FC, FC Tulsa.