As was rumored previously, MLS is coming back (yet again) in 2020. Each club will play 18 additional games in 2020, not including the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Nashville SC and FC Dallas, who left the bubble after multiple positive COVID-19 cases, will kick things off on August 12th in the first of three games between the two teams to make up their missed group stage games. Then the remainder of the league will join them in action starting August 20th.
So far, only the “phase one” games have been announced, which are the first six of the final 18 planned games. The games will be played in team’s home markets. There are obvious concerns about potential coronavirus cases with teams traveling from stadium to stadium, especially as issues remain prevalent in Major League Baseball and seem set to derail other sports like College Football and the NFL. MLS has a plan and protocols in place (available here) but it remains to be seen if it will work. Inevitably, without a bubble, games will be postponed at a minimum or cancelled all together.
The playoffs will also be expanded to 18 (!) teams of the 26 in the league, making missing the playoffs nearly impossible for a team like Sporting Kansas City who currently sit in first place in the Western Conference after five games played. The team needs to average just over a point per game to lock in a spot, though one assumes they’ll be aiming for much more to obtain a higher seed and home field advantage (e.g. no travel) in the single elimination games.
Key Dates for the League
- August 12th: The MLS Regular Season resumes
- August 21st: Sporting KC start back up against Minnesota United (again)
- August 25th: First SKC home match against the Houston Dynamo (again)
- November 8th: Decision Day
- November 20th: MLS Cup Playoffs Begin
- December 12th: MLS Cup Final
Sporting KC Specifics
The team announced, just after MLS, that they have their first six games scheduled. Three games at home and three on the road. Children’s Mercy Park will host limited fans for the three initially announced home games. There will be “reduced-capacity, socially distanced seating” for the three games at CMP. The capacity will be approximately 14 percent. The stadium has a soccer capacity of 18,467, so 14% will be about 2,585 fans in attendance. Face coverings will be mandatory and new safety measures will be in place.
All tickets will be available exclusively to SKC season ticket members, with no single game tickets being sold. They will be decided through a lottery system.
SKC Broadcast Plans
“Each of Sporting’s next six matches will air live on FOX Sports Kansas City or FOX Sports Kansas City Plus in Kansas, Nebraska and western Missouri and on FOX Sports Midwest or FOX Sports Midwest Plus in St. Louis, mid-Missouri and Iowa. They can also be streamed via the FOX Sports GO app or FOXSportsGO.com by customers of pay-TV providers who receive the channel. Each broadcast will be supplemented by 30-minute pregame and postgame shows. Viewers outside of the FOX Sports Midwest footprint in the U.S. can watch every match on ESPN+.
Additionally, all six games will air locally in English on Sports Radio 810 WHB or one of its sister stations, and in Spanish on La Grande 1340 AM.”
Sporting KC Schedule
Below is the phase one schedule. The teams are being divided into regionalized groups for the first six games with Sporting KC playing Minnesota United (x2), the Houston Dynamo (x2), FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids.
They’ve already met the Dynamo, Rapids and Minnesota in 2020 with their lone regular season loss coming to the Loons after a Tim Melia red card. United sit just one point behind SKC in the Western Conference Standings. The Dynamo are 10 points behind Sporting KC in next to last place just ahead of the abysmal LA Galaxy.
Sporting KC 2020 Phase 1 Schedule
|Friday, Aug. 21||at Minnesota United FC||6:30 p.m.|
|Tuesday, Aug. 25||HOUSTON DYNAMO||7:30 p.m.|
|Saturday, Aug. 29||at Colorado Rapids||8 p.m.|
|Wednesday, Sept. 2||FC DALLAS||7:30 p.m.|
|Saturday, Sept. 5||at Houston Dynamo||7 p.m.|
|Sunday, Sept. 13||MINNESOTA UNITED FC||7:30 p.m.|