Union II

Union II schedule analysis

Photo @PhilaUnionII

Union II’s 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season begins St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17 at 3 PM at Subaru Park.

Conference alignments and game schedules are now official. We organize them visually, then break down Philadelphia Union II’s game schedule structure, and close by exploring “developmental double duty,” a facet of the interplay between the schedule and the organization’s philosophy of professional player development.

Predictions and additions

In MLS NEXT Pro’s first two years, the quality of  Union II’s league opponents fluctuated meaningfully from match to match let alone season to season, so we predict no outcomes for 2024. Red Bull II is the most intense rival, but there is already too much history with New York City, New England, Toronto, and Columbus for them to be ignored.

The single biggest change in the competitiveness of the entire Eastern Conference may be the departure of Columbus Crew 2 head coach Laurent Courtois for MLS to become CF Montreal’s new head man. Courtois twice led Crew 2 to the league championship match, winning it once. Crew 2 has not yet announced Courtois’s replacement.

A fresh development that probably already affects Union II’s roster strength is the new academy U16 side. Likely the U16s thin the academy support available to Union II because a brand-new side must now be fully staffed directly below the U17s.

Additions to the league are Chattanooga and Carolina as new independent sides.

Chattanooga has played for 15 years, most recently in the National Independent Soccer Association  (NISA) and the Southeast Division of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). They are stepping up from Division 4 to Division 3.

Carolina is a brand-new expansion side from Cary, NC led by these names from U. S. Soccer’s and MLS’s past: Eddie Pope (Chief Soccer Officer), Roy Lassiter (Head Coach), Donovan Ricketts (Goalkeeper Coach), and Andy Williams (Head Scout).

Conferences and divisions

For 2024 there are eight teams in the Northeast division and seven each in Southeast (the re-christened old Central), Frontier, and Pacific. All changes are in the east. The Western Conference remains as it was in 2023.

Union II plays only Eastern Conference opponents. Twenty of their 28 games are with the Northeast division.

  • The Northeast has added Chicago, Columbus, and Cincinnati to Toronto, New England, both New Yorks, and Philadelphia.
  • The newly christened Southeast adds newcomers Carolina and Chattanooga to holdovers Atlanta, Crown Legacy (Charlotte), Huntsville (Nashville), Orlando, and Miami.
Eastern Conference Western Conference
Northeast Div Southeast Div Frontier Div Pacific Div
Chicago Atlanta Austin Galaxy
Cincinnati Carolina Colorado Los Angeles FC
Columbus Chattanooga Houston Portland
New England Crown Legacy Kansas City Real Monarchs
New York City Huntsville Minnesota San Jose
New York Red Bull Miami North Texas Tacoma
Philadelphia Orlando St. Louis Whitecaps


Union II’s game schedule

The structure of UnionII’s 28-game schedule is complex. Reasons probably include maintaining or strengthening existing rivalries and reducing travel time and mileage.

  • Union II plays six of the other seven teams in its division three times.
  • They play six of the seven teams in the Southeast division only once.
  • They play the remaining two teams, one from each division, twice. (NYC FC and Atlanta)
Northeast Division – 20 games Southeast Division – 8 games
Chicago away HOME away Atlanta away HOME
Cincinnati away HOME HOME Carolina away
Columbus HOME away HOME Chattanooga HOME
New England HOME away away Crown Legacy away
New York City away HOME Huntsville HOME
N Y Red Bull HOME away HOME Miami away
Toronto HOME away away Orlando HOME


We divide U II’s schedule home and away. Click here for the chronologically integrated original.

Home – 14
Su, Mar 17 Toronto 3:00 PM Subaru Park
Su, Mar 24 New England 3:00 PM Subaru Park
Th, Apr 11 Orlando 4:00 PM Subaru Park
Su, Apr 21 NYRB 3:00 PM Subaru Park
Su, May 05 Huntsville 3:00 PM Subaru Park
Su, Jun 02 Columbus 6:00 PM Subaru Park
Th, Jun 06 Cincinnati 6:00 PM Subaru Park
We, Jun 26 NYRB 6:00 PM Subaru Park
Th, Jul 11 Chattanooga 6:00 PM Subaru Park
Sa, Aug 03 Cincinnati 6:00 PM Subaru Park
Sa, Aug 10 Chicago 4:00 PM Subaru Park
Mo, Aug 26 Columbus 6:00 PM Subaru Park
Mo, Sep 23 NYC FC 4:00 PM Subaru Park
Su, Sep 29 Atlanta 3:00 PM Subaru Park
Away – 14
Th, Mar 28 @ Chicago 7:00 PM SeatGeek Stadium
Su, Apr 14 @ Atlanta 3:00 PM Kennesaw State University
Su, Apr 28 @ Cincinnati 4:00 PM Northern Kentucky University
Su, May 19 @ New England 3:00 PM Ouellette Stadium – SNHU
Su, May 26 @ NYRB 5:00 PM Montclair State University
Th, Jun 13 @ Crown Legacy 7:30 PM Mecklenburg Sportsplex
Su, Jun 30 @ Toronto 3:00 PM York Lions Stadium
Sa, Jul 06 @ New England 7:00 PM Ouellette Stadium – SNHU
Fr, Jul 19 @ NYC FC 8:30 PM St. John’s University Stadium
Su, Jul 28 @ Columbus 6:00 PM Historic Crew Stadium
Su, Aug 18 @ Toronto 3:00 PM York Lions Stadium
We, Sep 11 @ Carolina 6:30 PM Truist Point
Su, Sep 15 @ Miami 7:00 PM DRV PNK Stadium
Su, Oct 06 @ Chicago 1:00 PM SeatGeek Stadium

*Dates and times are subject to change.

Streaming sources are currently available only for the three games of March. All three are listed with Apple Plus under MLS Season Pass.

Developmental double duty

Ever since Earnie Stewart became Sporting Director Keystone Sports has used every opportunity to provide its first team reserves with developmental minutes on the second team. From the perspective of Union II, such participation might be called first-team reinforcements.

Twelve of Union II’s 28 matches occur the day after a first-team game. Eight are either in the same place — or geographically close enough to each other — to allow players to sit on the first team’s bench on day one and then play for the second on day two. The season’s last six consecutive matches fit that pattern.

We do not include any projected first-team Concacaf Champions Cup matches or any unannounced Leagues Cup ones, i. e., beyond the group stage.

Reinforcements Possible? Team U II Day After U (12)
Close Venues Apart Venues
No 1st 16-Mar @ Austin
2nd 17-Mar H Toronto
No 1st 23-Mar @ Portland
2nd 24-Mar H NEngland
No 1st 27-Apr H Salt Lake
2nd 28-Apr @ Cincinnati
Yes 1st 4-May @ D. C.
2nd 5-May H Hunstville
Yes 1st 18-May @ NEngland
2nd 19-May @ NEngland
No 1st 25-May @ Charlotte
2nd 26-May @ NYRB II
Yes 1st 1-Jun H Montreal
2nd 2-Jun H Columbus
Yes 1st 29-Jun @ Montreal
2nd 30-Jun @ Toronto
Yes 1st 14-Sep @ Miami
2nd 15-Sep @ Miami
Yes 1st 22-Sep H D. C.
2nd 23 Sep H NYC FC 2
Yes 1st 28-Sep H Atlanta
2nd 29-Sep H Atlanta 2
Yes 1st 5-Oct @ Columbus
2nd 6-Oct @ Chicago


Of course just because reinforcement is possible does not mean that it will occur. The first team’s needs at any moment will always take precedence over those of Union II.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Thanks for posting these articles, Tim.
    One thing to note is that next week’s game (Mar 24) is not only the day after a Union game on the other side of the country, some Union 2 regulars who are first team loanees may need to be in Portland since the first team will be without at least 5 regulars (Blake, Lowe, Gazdag, McGlynn, and Harriel) who will be on international duty.

    • Dead right on Andy.
      The Union will not have a full 20 available for Portland, necessarily. Their important variable is whether Venezuela is calling Jose Martinez in for a friendly. A less important one is whether Israel is calling Tai Baribo in for their Euro 24 qualifier against Iceland.
      Union II can have no first teamer for their match hosting New England. None. They will all be in Portland.
      Union II also has two certain absences. Neil Pierre and David Vazquez with the national U19s. Whether Other U17s besides Pierre will be held out in preparation for the GA Cup is not easily calculated at this time. Some will probably sit Union II’s bench, since it is six days before GA tap, but how many and who I cannot guess.
      It would surprise me a bit if any of the available U II’s went to Portland. Vazquez and Pierre cannot. That leaves only Olney, and he’s needed to make the numbers in chester.

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