The Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer announced today that they will launch stand-alone USL PRO teams, Portland Timbers 2 and Seattle Sounders 2. “T2” and “S2”, as they will be known, become the seventh and eighth new franchises announced for the 2015 season. The Cascadia rivals will join the highly successful LA Galaxy II – who reached the 2014 USL PRO semifinals – as MLS-owned clubs in USL PRO, with more official announcements for the 2015 season expected in the coming weeks.
T2 will play its home games at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland, while S2 will be based at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. Both clubs also announced unique founders programs that provide participating fans with unique benefits including ticket discounts, private events and voting rights for team decisions. Andrew Opatkiewicz, with a decade of professional sports experience and a targeted focus in professional soccer, was announced as Sounders FC 2 General Manager.
“The addition of Seattle & Portland marks the beginning of the next phase of MLS owned and operated teams joining USL PRO, and the continued elevation in the competition and sophistication of our league,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “As two of the best supported MLS clubs with roots in USL, we welcome these outstanding organizations into USL PRO for 2015. These announcements set off several new and exciting initiatives – both on and off the field – that will come from USL PRO during the next several months.”
Former long-time members of the USL professional division, both clubs have continued to operate teams in the under-23 PDL for several seasons and now add a crucial additional step in the path of progression for their young talent. The Timbers U-23s are the only club in PDL history to record a perfect season (2010), as they went 20-0-0 to claim the league championship. The Sounders U23’s claimed the PDL’s Western Conference Championship in 2012, when they were led by All-League selection and current USMNT star DeAndre Yedlin.