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 image via reddit user /u/KickapooPonies

Its been just shy of 12 hours since USL released the 2016 schedule. I briefly discussed the structure of it here, but wanted to take a look at just how difficult the road ahead would be for our beloved San Antonio fighting somethingorothers.

The first factor I wanted to look into was travel. As far as I know, most USL clubs fly commercial so the numbers I’m referencing are using the shortest commercial flight I could find. All flights leave from SAT and arrive at the nearest major airport unless otherwise indicated. I also wanted to see the milage just to give another metric by which to measure the intensity of travel. Here’s how all of that shakes out:

Seattle Away 2,145 miles, 4.5 hour flight
Swope Home
LA Away 1,353 miles, 3.5 hour flight
OC Away 1,337 miles, 3.5 hour flight
Colorado Springs Away 851 miles, 4 hour flight
Tulsa Home
RGV Home
OKC Away 467 miles, 3 hour flight
OKC Home
RGVHome
RGV Away 228 miles, 3.5 hour flight (McAllen…no point in flying)
Portland Away 2,071 miles, 4.5 hour flight (from Austin to PDX)
Colorado Springs Home
OC Home
Tulsa Away 569 miles, 3 hour flight
OKC Home
Vancouver Home
LA Home
Swope Away 816 miles, 3.5 hour flight
Sacramento Away 1,736 miles, 5 hour flight
AZ Away 995 miles, 2.5 hour flight
AZ Home
Seattle Home
Saint Louis Away 903 miles, 2 hour flight
Swope Away 816 miles, 3.5 hour flight
AZ Home
Saint Louis Home
SLC Away 1,307 miles, 3 hour flight
Tulsa Home
RGV Away 228 miles, 3.5 hour flight (McAllen…no point in flying)

All totaled, USL SA is traveling 31,644 miles with a round-trip flight time of 104 hours.

The Four matches scheduled against RGVFC help travel distance tremendously, but there’s no escaping that Western Conference teams are at a disadvantage in that regard to their Eastern counterparts. Seven teams, or half of the Eastern Conference, can be found in the 700 mile stretch from Richmond to Montreal. LA and Orange County, the Oklahoma clubs, the Texas clubs, and the Missouri clubs are all relatively close to their counterparts, but as a whole, the Western Conference covers a massive amount of land. With this in mind, the “rivalry” scheduling of having teams like SA and RGV play four times makes perfect sense.

But how did SA fare in strength of schedule?

For that metric I used regular season standings from the 2015 season. SA may have lucked out in drawing Arizona United SC three times for 2016 as they finished 10th in the Western Conference last season. However the first stretch of USL SA’s 2016 schedule might be a trial by fire as four of their first five matches are against clubs that made the playoffs in 2015. Swope Park Rangers, the club that USL SA will be facing in their home opener, is the outlier only because they are new to USL in 2016.

For those who prefer their numbers in semi-food form, here’s a pie chart detailing the number of matches USL SA will play against teams who made the playoffs, missed the playoffs, or are new to the league.

NumberofMatches

Despite being geographically constructed, USL San Antonio’s schedule actually looks to be fairly well-rounded with teams who did well last season, teams who didn’t, and two fellow USL freshmen RGVFC and Swope Park Rangers.

Of course with the transient nature of a lower division league, 2015 results could mean very little once players take the pitch. But if SA can come out of the first five matches with a handful of points, they stand to finish well based on 2015 results. The wildcard of course is the four matches against RGVFC but knowing San Antonio supporters, Toyota Field will hold a true home-field advantage for two of those matches.

Posted by Pitch Black News Staff

One Comment

  1. […] While no pre-season matches have been announced by the San Antonio club, NASL club Rayo OKC has USL San Antonio on their pre-season friendly list for February 27th in Dallas. It stands to reason that San Antonio won’t host any pre-season friendlies at Toyota Field until the remnants of the Scorpions FC branding have been replaced, which could take some time. More info on the USL San Antonio regular season schedule can be viewed here. […]

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