Okay MYBookie soccer betting buffs, with the field and bracket for the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs now complete, it’s time to take a look at two opening slate playoff matchups. Beginning on Saturday, October, 10, 16 teams will be going all-out in order to emerge victorious in the 2020 USL Championship Final on Sunday, November 1. Let’s take a closer look at some of the games so you can wager on their USL odds.
USL Championship 2020 Playoffs Preview & Predictions
Four teams made it into the playoffs on the final Saturday of the season. Charlotte’s win against North Carolina FC gave the Independence first place in Group G ahead of Birmingham Legion FC. Charlotte, San Antonio and FC Tulsa are all back in the postseason for the first time since 2017. Reno 1868 FC will enter the postseason with the best record in the Championship. Saint Louis FC is the first team in the Championship to reach the postseason in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.
On Sunday, the El Paso Locomotive FC and Hartford Athletic both recorded huge road wins to clinch first place in Group C and Group F respectively. 2019 Championship Final winner Real Monarchs SLC is the first defending title holder to miss the playoffs the following year. Here is a look at the complete schedule of opening round playoff matches.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Saturday, October 10
- Charlotte Independence vs. Charleston Battery, Sportsplex at Matthews, 7 PM ET
- Hartford Athletic vs. Saint Louis FC, Dillon Stadium, 7 PM ET
- Louisville City FC vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Lynn Family Stadium, 7:30 PM ET
- Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Birmingham Legion FC, Al Lang Stadium, 7:30 PM ET
Western Conference Quarterfinals – Saturday, October 10
- San Antonio FC vs. New Mexico United, Toyota Field, 9 PM ET
- Reno 1868 FC vs. LA Galaxy II, Greater Nevada Field, 9 PM ET
- El Paso Locomotive FC vs. FC Tulsa, 9:30 PM ET
- Phoenix Rising FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC, Casino Arizona Field, 10:30 PM ET
Now, let’s get to my top picks for the opening round.
Louisville City FC (11-3-2) Vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (1-4-1)
- When: Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 6:30 PM ET
- Where: Lynn Family Stadium
Three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Louisville City FC will host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in what looks like a great match just waiting to happen. Louisville City will be looking for revenge after losing to Pittsburgh 3-1 back in July.
“You gotta beat everybody to be the champion and we’re going to catch one of the best teams in the first round,” Louisville City FC head coach John Hackworth said. “We made some mistakes in that Pittsburgh game that really hurt us,” Hackworth added. “And while we didn’t change wholeheartedly, what we did was is we learned from it.”
Louisville City is unbeaten in their last 11 matches while recording nine wins. The Boys in Purple have also scored two goals or more in five of their last six matches while scoring three or more three times.
Louisville City FC has a lot riding on this opener as they seek their fourth straight Eastern Conference crown. LouCity has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and hits the postseason on an impressive six-game winning streak. The three-time Eastern Conference champs get the hard-fought win in this one.
Pick: Louisville City FC 2 Pittsburgh 1
Phoenix Rising (11-3-2) Vs Sacramento Republic (8-2-6)
- When: Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 9:30 PM ET
- Where: Casino Arizona Field
Perennial powerhouse, Phoenix Rising FC is looking to reach its second finals appearance in three years. They hit the postseason having won three straight and five of their last six matches, including a 4-1 smackdown of the LA Galaxy II on Saturday. Sacramento managed only one win in their last five regular season matches, but it came in their finale against Portland, via a 4-0 win on Saturday.
Phoenix has looked playoff ready for a few weeks now and they are the better team at both ends of the pitch in this matchup. Still, Sacramento has a history of pulling off upsets in the playoffs after reaching the Western Conference Semifinals just last year as a No. 7 seed In 2017 the Republic beat the Real Monarchs SLC as a No. 8 seed in a penalty shootout after the Monarchs had the best record in the league in the regular season. With Phoenix finishing +29 in gal differential and Sacramento just +10, I think the handwriting is on the wall in this opener as Phoenix avoids the upset.
Pick: Phoenix 3 Sacramento 1