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Five Rivalry Matches To Watch Ahead Of 2019 Season

By Matt Reed - matt.reed@uslsoccer.com, 02/07/19, 2:30PM EST

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Thunder Bay Chill and Des Moines Menace among rivalries featured

USL League Two unveiled its full 2019 regular season schedule last week ahead of the league's 25th anniversary in May, which includes 500 matches contested between 72 clubs across the United States and Canada.

While returning champions Calgary Foothills FC aim to defend their 2018 PDL title, 71 other teams will be gunning for the Canadian side, who held off Reading United AC in last season's final.

Meanwhile, this season will renew a number of the league's top rivalries, including an all-Dutch Lions affair (Cincinnati and Dayton) and a Pacific Northwest battle between Sounders FC U23 and Portland Timbers U23.

Below, we take a look at five of the league's top rivalries heading into the 2019 campaign.

Matchups

   

 

 

2019 Meetings

Thunder Bay Chill    Des Moines Menace   2
Cincinnati Dutch Lions    Dayton Dutch Lions 4
Sounders FC U23   Portland Timbers U23 3
New York Red Bulls U23   Long Island Rough Riders 2
AHFC Royals   Houston FC 3

THUNDER BAY CHILL VS. DES MOINES MENACE

These two Midwest-based clubs have battled it out in the Central Conference for a number of years, despite being separated by almost 600 miles. 

With both clubs previously having massive success, including a combined 13 division crowns and a PDL title to each of their names, Des Moines and Thunder Bay have been a staple of the Midwest and proven to be in the mix when it comes playoff time.

2018 results: Des Moines Menace secured 3-0 & 1-0 wins over Thunder Bay Chill

2019 matches: 6/21 at 7:30 pm, 6/22 at 7:30 pm

CINCINNATI DUTCH LIONS VS. DAYTON DUTCH LIONS

The two Ohio-based clubs were both in the thick of the playoff mix in 2018 during a tight Great Lakes Division race, however, it was Dayton that topped the division.

Although the two Dutch Lions sides have regularly faced stiff competition in the division, their own meetings against one another have provided great drama and tightly-contested results.

2018 results: Cincinnati Dutch Lions won 2-0, Dayton Dutch Lions won 1-0 & 4-0

2019 matches: 5/18 at 7 pm, 6/9 at 7 pm, 6/21 at 7 pm, 6/28 at 7 pm

SOUNDERS FC U23 VS. PORTLAND TIMBERS U23

With a number of MLS affiliates in USL League Two comes one of the league's biggest rivalries. Over the years, the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders have built up an intense battle in the Pacific Northwest, and that has trickled down to their affiliates Sounders FC U23 and Timbers U23.

Although both clubs missed out on the postseason in 2018, the teams each posted at least one win against one another. 

2018 results: Timbers U23 won 3-0, Sounders U23 won 2-0 & 4-0

2019 matches: 5/24 at 10 pm, 6/14 at 10:30 pm, 7/14 at 5 pm

NEW YORK RED BULLS U23 VS. LONG ISLAND ROUGH RIDERS

This match up features two of the Northeast's top teams from last season, and hopefully we're in store for more action that reflects when they met in 2018.

With one of the best matches of the 2018 regular season, a 4-3 Red Bulls U23 victory, the New Jersey-New York rivalry is set for more installments in 2019 as the two clubs meet again in the Mid Atlantic Division. 

2018 results: Rough Riders won 3-1, Red Bulls U23 won 3-1 and 4-3

2019 matches: 6/1 at 7:30 pm, 7/2 at 7 pm

AHFC ROYALS VS. HOUSTON FC

The two Houston, Texas-based clubs both debuted in the league back in 2017, and in that short span of time we've already seen some enticing matches.

Last season, all three games were decided by a goal, making for some exciting encounters in the Lone Star State.

2018 results: AHFC won 2-1 & 1-0, Houston FC won 3-2

2019 matches: 5/13 at 8 pm, 5/24 at 8 pm, 7/4 at 8 pm


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