Last year was the first year in partnership between Major League Soccer and USL PRO. MLS teams could either partner with a USL team in the form of an affiliation or the Reserve team would get two games against USL PRO teams.
Three new teams have joined USL PRO in 2014: the LA Galaxy II, OKC Energy FC and Sacramento Republic FC. Expansion teams in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Tulsa, Oklahoma have been added for 2015, with more announcements in the near future. Antigua Barracuda FC and VSI Tampa Bay FC will not return in 2014.
Each of the 14 USL PRO teams will compete in two inter-league games against MLS Reserve League opponents. With eight teams remaining in the MLS Reserve League, a geographically influenced unbalanced schedule will be in place for inter league games according to the USL-Pro release. All inter-league games will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings.
FC Dallas unfortunately didn't get the greatest of tests in those games last year as they played a team that went winless in the USL-Pro season (Antigua). This year will be a little better for the FCD Reserves as they get four games against some pretty good USL clubs.
Up first on April 15 is a home match with expansion side Oklahoma City Energy FC, kickoff for this one is set for 8pm. OKC is the affiliate of the defending MLS champions Sporting KC.
Quickly after that on Tuesday April 22, FC Dallas Reserves will host the defending USL PRO champions and future MLS side, Orlando City SC. The location and time of the game is still to be determined but I would imagine this game will be played at Toyota Stadium. This game comes three days after FC Dallas hosts Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe and Toronto FC.
The third test will come on July 11 against the Rochester Rhinos, New England's USL PRO affiliate.
The fourth match will make one of the Big D Soccer writers very happy as the FCD Reserves head to north to battle the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on August 24th at 3pm. It should be noted that Pittsburgh is the MLS affiliate of the Houston Dynamo. That game will be two days after FCD hosts Real Salt Lake.
Will any of you be heading up to Oklahoma City for their first season?