USL First Division Virginia Beach and USL Second Division champions Richmond will have new regional rivals when the 2007 season opens.
The Virginia Beach Mariners will have a short trip to face the newest USL1 entry, the Carolina RailHawks. The California Victory, operated by its parent club Deportivo Alaves of Vitoria, Spain, is the other new first division team.
With the addition of Toronto FC to MLS, the Toronto Lynx, formerly of USL1, will drop two divisions to play in the Premier Development League.
For Richmond, the Kickers will have Crystal Palace USA, just up I-95 in Maryland, Bermuda and the Cleveland City Stars as new entrants in USL2. The Long Island Rough Riders will drop to the PDL, while Pittsburgh Riverhounds have suspended operations for 2007.
The USL1 playoffs will expand to eight teams in 2007, with all eight qualifying clubs playing two-leg aggregate score series in the quarterfinals the first week after the close of the regular season. The winning clubs from the quarterfinals will be re-seeded for the semifinals, also two-leg aggregate score series to determine the two clubs for the USL1 championship game to be hosted by one of the two finalists.
The USL2 playoffs will consist of single-game semifinals the weekend after the close of the regular season with the winners meeting in the USL2 championship the following week.
USL1 (13 teams)
Virginia Beach, Carolina, Charleston, Atlanta, Puerto Rico, Miami FC, Montreal, Rochester, Minnesota, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, California (Say Goodbye To: Toronto Lynx)
USL2 (10 teams)
Richmond, Crystal Palace USA, Harrisburg City, Charlotte, Wilmington, Bermuda, Cleveland, Western Mass, New Hampshire, Cincinnati (Say Goodbye To: Pittsburgh, Long Island)