TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League Friday announced the conference alignment and home openers for the regular season.

The league will feature 33 teams across two conferences, with the clubs set to embark on a 31-week regular-season schedule that will open with a 14-game slate of matches the weekend of March 16-18.

Louisville City FC, the defending USL Cup champion, will kick off the season on home turf as it welcomes expansion side Nashville SC March 17. Two other expansion clubs also will face off that same night as Fresno FC meets Las Vegas Lights FC at Chukchansi Park in the inaugural regular-season game for both clubs.

One of the Western Conference’s major rivalries also will be at the fore on the opening weekend, with the Black Gold Derby between OKC Energy FC and Tulsa Roughnecks FC set to resume at OKC’s Taft Stadium that Saturday night. Also in the Western Conference, two of the league’s marquee clubs will square off, as Sacramento Republic FC hosts San Antonio FC at Papa Murphy’s Park, while Orange County SC welcomes Phoenix Rising FC to Champions Soccer Stadium.

In the Eastern Conference, a pair of familiar foes will meet at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park as North Carolina FC makes its USL debut against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. For a third successive year, the Charleston Battery will host FC Cincinnati at MUSC Health Stadium on the opening Saturday.

The regular season will open on Friday, March 16 when Rio Grande Valley FC plays host to Saint Louis FC at H-E-B Park and Seattle Sounders FC 2 marks its debut in Tacoma, Wash., by hosting Cascadia rivals, the Portland Timbers 2.

Other notable home openers include the first meeting between Nevada rivals Las Vegas Lights FC and Reno 1868 FC, which will be hosted at Las Vegas’ Cashman Field Saturday, March 24, the same night that Nashville SC will host its inaugural home opener against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. One week later, defending USL regular season champion Real Monarchs SLC will open its new state-of-the-art home at Zions Bank Stadium when the Portland Timbers 2 visit Saturday, March 31.

FC Cincinnati will be part of two home openers that are sure to be memorable occasions, with the side visiting USL newcomer Indy Eleven for Indy’s inaugural home game Saturday, March 31 before hosting River Cities Cup rival Louisville City FC for its home opener at Nippert Stadium Saturday, April 7.

The full 2018 USL regular season schedule will be released next week, with the 561-game slate to conclude the weekend of Oct. 12-14.

USL conference alignment
Eastern Conference

Bethlehem Steel FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
FC Cincinnati
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Nashville SC
New York Red Bulls II
North Carolina FC
Ottawa Fury FC
Penn FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Richmond Kickers
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Toronto FC II

Western Conference
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Fresno FC
LA Galaxy II
Las Vegas Lights FC
OKC Energy FC
Orange County SC
Phoenix Rising FC
Portland Timbers 2
Real Monarchs SLC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
Sacramento Republic FC
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
Seattle Sounders FC 2
Swope Park Rangers
Tulsa Roughnecks FC

2018 USL Home Openers (Home team listed first)
Friday, March 16

Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Saint Louis FC
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Portland Timbers 2

Saturday, March 17
Charleston Battery vs. FC Cincinnati
Charlotte Independence vs. Ottawa Fury FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. LA Galaxy II
Fresno FC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC
Louisville City FC vs. Nashville SC
New York Red Bulls II vs. Toronto FC II
North Carolina FC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
OKC Energy FC vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Orange County SC vs. Phoenix Rising FC
Reno 1868 FC vs. Swope Park Rangers
Sacramento Republic FC vs. San Antonio FC

Sunday, March 18
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Richmond Kickers

Saturday, March 24
ATL UTD 2 vs. New York Red Bulls II
Las Vegas Lights FC vs. Reno 1868 FC
Nashville SC vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Phoenix Rising FC vs. OKC Energy FC
Richmond Kickers vs. Indy Eleven
San Antonio FC vs. Saint Louis FC
Swope Park Rangers vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Tulsa Roughnecks FC vs. Real Monarchs SLC

Saturday, March 31
Indy Eleven vs. FC Cincinnati
LA Galaxy II vs. San Antonio FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Penn FC
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Portland Timbers 2
Saint Louis FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Toronto FC II vs. Ottawa Fury FC

Saturday, April 7
FC Cincinnati vs. Louisville City FC

Wednesday, April 18
Portland Timbers 2 vs. Rio Grande Valley FC

Saturday, April 21
Penn FC vs. Charleston Battery
Ottawa Fury FC vs. North Carolina FC