Sporting Director Adam Pribyl has announced the Mighty Crows' schedule for the 2022 league season, slated to begin on May 7. The Crows will see competitive action before then in the U.S. Open Cup. The first round is scheduled for the weekend of March 22-23, but U.S. Soccer has not announced the pairings yet.
"This is a difficult schedule and a fun one" said Pribyl. "The obvious highlight is taking on the big boys in USL League Two, and our players and staff are going to have to be at their best to handle the demands on two concurrent leagues."
The season gets underway with a visit to Minnesota TwinStars (May 7), as the side from Brooklyn Park were allowed to re-join the league after spending two seasons dormant.
The real fun starts with the home opener as the Crows host League Two national champion Des Moines Menace on Sunday, May 8 at Edor Nelson Field. CLICK HERE to get tickets.
"Everyone in the club wants to go up against the best" said Pribyl. "Des Moines has proven their quality over the years and won everything possible last season. It's not an easy opener, that's for sure, and it will be an exciting way to be introduced to the league."
The games come thick and fast from there, with the packed League Two and North Conference schedules keeping the Crows busy. Next up after the home opener are two big away games, against expansion side Peoria City in League Two and rival Duluth in NPSL (May 14). The Crows return home to host Peoria City on Friday May 20 and then immediately head to Sioux Falls in NPSL action against the Thunder (May 21). May finishes up with a midweek game against Med City in Rochester (May 25) before Dakota Fusion come to Edor Nelson at the same time the League Two Crows head to Stillwater to take on St. Croix (May 27).
June opens up with the visit of Duluth to Minneapolis (June 4).
"It is strange to have the Duluth matches out of the way before the halfway point in the season" commented Pribyl. "Usually, they are the centerpiece of the end of the season, but we look it just means we have to be in form and ready from the first game of the season to get the results we strive for."
City head to Stillwater for a midweek game against St. Croix on Tuesday, June 7 before hosting TwinStars in the NPSL the next day (June 8).
"The compressed season makes the overlapping games something we will have to deal with," said Pribyl. "It won't be easy, but it will be intense and could create a ton of momentum. We have the talent, and the players are hungry to compete."
That weekend, the Crows fly to Des Moines to take on the Menace at Valley Stadium (June 11) and will also host La Crosse Aris that same day. Then, it's a two-legged Canadian trip in League Two with visits to Thunder Bay (June 17) and FC Manitoba (June 19). Fans will be able to watch City at home though, as the Crows host Med City in North Conference action on Saturday June 18.
The month finishes with three straight home games: Sioux Falls Thunder comes to town on Wednesday (June 22), Peoria City make their second trip to Minneapolis on Saturday (June 25) while the NPSL team is away at Joy Athletic, before finishing out the month hosting FC Manitoba (June 29).
City will host regular season home matches in July this year, a rarity to date, with Thunder Bay promising to bring a big traveling contingent as they visit during the USA Cup (July 6). The NPSL team will be up in Moorhead that same day taking on Dakota Fusion.
Then it's a derby against Joy Athletic (July 9) before City finishes the North Conference season in La Crosse while the League Two season finale is the big derby against St Croix on Friday July 15.
"Three derbies is going to be exciting for fans, challenging for the team, and fun to watch," said Pribyl. "Those two there at the end could be really consequential. This schedule is really a soccer fan's dream."
The league playoffs start immediately after the end of the regular season with seeding and scheduled determined by league performance. In both USL League Two and in the NPSL Midwest Region the top two teams in each division move on to the national playoffs.
Click to download schedule