Much like MLS, the start to the 2017 USL season is just around the corner.
Last Friday, the league announced the dates for all 30 home openers, beginning with 13 matches that kick off the season on the weekend of March 25-26, and on Tuesday they confirmed the full schedule.
Toronto FC II feature in that opening round with an away date against Phoenix Rising, formerly known as Arizona United, on the Saturday.
Their home opener at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan comes a fortnight later, on Friday, April 7, when they host the Rochester Rhinos, the side against whom they closed out the 2016 season with a 1-0 loss.
TFC II will also welcome the Ottawa Fury FC to USL in their home opener on Saturday, April 22, which should be a tasty fixture. The Fury will make their USL debut on Saturday, April 1 on the road against Saint Louis FC.
Not only are the Fury provincial rivals – cue Battle of Ontario narratives – but they are also the Montreal Impact's affiliate this season after the demise of FC Montreal, making this a rivalry twice over.
Circle this one on the calendar and for those brave enough to make the trek to the capital, they can catch Friday's TFC match against the Chicago Fire before embarking to Ottawa for the following day's festivities.
The full fixture list looks like this:
2017 TFC II Schedule
|Saturday March 25th||Phoenix Rising FC||Phoenix|
|Saturday April 1st||Tampa Bay Rowdies||Tampa Bay|
|Tuesday April 4th||Orlando City B||Orlando|
|Friday April 7th||Rochester Rhinos||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Saturday April 22nd||Ottawa Fury FC||Ottawa|
|Saturday April 29th||Louisville City FC||Louisville|
|Wednesday May 3rd||Pittsburgh Riverhounds||Pittsburgh|
|Saturday May 13th||Bethlehem Steel FC||BMO Field|
|Friday May 19th||Tampa Bay Rowdies||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Wednesday May 24th||Richmond Kickers||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Saturday May 27th||FC Cincinnati||Cincinnati|
|Friday June 2nd||Saint Louis FC||St. Louis|
|Saturday June 10th||Pittsburgh Riverhounds||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Wednesday June 14th||Orlando City B||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Saturday June 24th||Charleston Battery||Charleston|
|Saturday July 1st||Harrisburg City Islanders||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Saturday July 8th||Ottawa Fury FC||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Friday July 21st||New York Red Bulls II||New York|
|Wednesday July 26th||Rochester Rhinos||Rochester|
|Saturday July 29th||Ottawa Fury FC||Ottawa|
|Saturday August 5th||Charleston Battery||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Wednesday August 9th||Charlotte Independence||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Sunday August 13th||Bethlehem Steel FC||Bethlehem|
|Saturday August 19th||Richmond Kickers||Richmond|
|Saturday August 26th||Charlotte Independence||Charlotte|
|Wednesday August 30th||Saint Louis FC||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Saturday September 2nd||Rochester Rhinos||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Saturday September 9t||New York Red Bulls II||BMO Field|
|Saturday September 16th||Harrisburg City Islanders||Harrisburg|
|Wednesday September 27th||Louisville City FC||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Friday October 6th||Bethlehem Steel FC||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
|Saturday October 14th||FC Cincinnati||The Ontario Soccer Centre|
It is also worth noting that TFC II will twice play at BMO Field as part of a double header with the big club, with the USL game set to kick off after the first-team match is played. Those matches are on May 13 and September 9, where the opponents will be Minnesota United/Bethlehem Steel and the San Jose Earthquakes/New York Red Bulls II for TFC and TFC II respectively.
The entire 30 week, 480 match USL schedule for all 30 clubs can be viewed here.
Expect plenty of TFC II news between now and the season’s start. The side has some substantial roster building to do – there are currently only 12 players listed on the roster page, though one gets the impression that it will be more a case of internal promotion than external signings.
TFC II began their preseason with the first team, getting fitness testing out of the way before the next phase of TFC's training moved to California - that is, once a large portion of II (Liam Fraser, Shaan Hundal, Aidan Daniels, Dante Campbell, Lucca Uccello, Malik Johnson, Richie Ennin) returned from international duty with Canada in Panama.
Several of that group – Fraser, Daniels, Campbell, Ennin, Hundal, Uccello – are currently training with Canada in Mexico ahead of a pair of friendlies against youth sides from Cruz Azul and Club America in anticipation of February's CONCACAF U-20 Championship.