The Colorado Rapids Reserves will face the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in the first match of the new partnership between Major League Soccer and USL PRO, which was unveiled in January. The Reserve League match, which will be streamed live on ColoradoRapids.com, will be played inside Dick's Sporting Goods Park following the completion of the Rapids versus Seattle Sounders regular season contest, which kicks off at 4 p.m. MT (TICKETS).
As part of the new multi-year collaboration between the two leagues, each of the 13 USL PRO teams will compete in two interleague games against MLS Reserve teams. With the exception of Antigua, which will play both of its games at MLS Reserve teams, USL PRO teams have been paired with a single MLS team to play a home and home series. All interleague games will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings.
The return match of the Rapids-Islanders series will be played at Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, Penn. on June 8.
The Islanders, which began their regular season last week with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, have had success against MLS teams in recent years. Last year Harrisburg defeated the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup before falling to the Philadelphia Union in the Quarterfinals.
The Rapids Reserves are 1-1-1 so far, with their last match a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake's Reserves on April 6.
MLS RESERVE LEAGUE
The MLS Reserve League provides meaningful competition for players who are not regulars in the first team’s matches such as young players, players returning from injury, and youth development products. Each of the 19 MLS clubs will field either a Reserve Team or establish an affiliation with a USL PRO club. After fielding reserve sides from 2005 through 2008, Major League Soccer re-launched its Reserve League in 2011, providing essential development opportunities to players.
Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO will feature 13 teams participating in the 2013 season, including expansion teams in Phoenix and Tampa. The league is focused on deliberate growth by adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and US Soccer standards, which are located in markets that further promote regional league play. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams will compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. USL PRO is the longest-standing pro league affiliate member of US Soccer.