Little Rock, Arkansas - For the first time since 2018, the state of Arkansas gets to watch postseason soccer. The Rangers welcome three teams from the southern region for a weekend of soccer that ends with a spot in the Southern Conference Finals and a USL National Quarter-Finals berth. While it was a tough final two matches for the Stags, they will sit well in control of their own destiny. Especially behind last match’s season record crowd of 5,046 people, just 250 people shy of the club record.
On the morning of Monday, July 17th, the United Soccer League announced the official bracket for the 2023 League Two playoffs. Little Rock knew ahead of time that they would be hosting, while other teams were unsure of where they would be headed. Here are the three teams coming to the Natural State for the Round of 32 and Southern Conference Semifinals on July 21st and 23rd.
Texas United. A familiar foe for the Rangers. Texas United finished the USL Mid-South season unbeaten for the second year in a row. Sporting a 10-2-0 record (32 points), and a +67 goal differential. The Plano, Texas side also produced a USL record 22-0 victory over Blue Goose SC. The Rangers drew level with Texas United earlier this season in Little Rock 1-1, and will be hoping to get the last laugh should they meet on July 23rd. Texas United will play Nona FC on Friday, July 21st at 4 P.M. for a chance to play on Sunday, July 23rd.
AHFC Royals. The Lone Star Conference Champions. A USL Power Rankings Top 5 team. The Royals have been solid all season long and never slowed down. Sporting a 10-1-1 record (31 points), and a +22 goal differential. It will be an interesting matchup for the Rangers on the 21st. The last time these teams met was in 2021 when the Rangers won 1-0 at home. However, both teams look very different compared to that match. The Royals will play Little Rock Rangers on Friday, July 21st at 7:30 P.M. for a chance to play on Sunday, July 23rd.
Nona FC. Much like the Rangers, Nona is a very solid 2-seed from their conference. Nona finished 8-2-2 (26 points) in the Southeast Division with a +23 goal differential, the best in their division. With a very solid attack going forward, the Florida side will get the chance to shock Texas United in the Round of 32. Nona FC will play Texas United on Friday, July 21st at 4 P.M. for a chance to play on Sunday, July 23rd.
All matches will be played at War Memorial Stadium. With the schedule below to be varied off weather, extra-time, penalties, and other potential set-backs.
Friday, July 21st:
Nona FC vs Texas United - 4 P.M.
Little Rock Rangers vs AHFC Royals - 7:30 P.M.
Sunday, July 23rd:
Winner Game 1 vs Winner Game 2 - 7 P.M.