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MLS announces 2021 season and preseason dates

Sporting KC now has dates that they can start planning around

Sporting KC training in 2020
Thad Bell

Major League Soccer announced their plans for the 2021 MLS season. League play will open on Saturday, April 3 and each team is expected to play 34 matches. Playoffs will start November 19th and MLS Cup will be played on Saturday, December 11.

Preseason training is allowed to start on February 22, six weeks prior to MLS opening weekend and all players will be required to quarantine and conduct individual trainings when they reporting back to their clubs In accordance with MLS health and safety protocols.

MLS still plans on getting in all of the various competitions with the MLS All-Star Game, Campeones Cup, and Leagues Cup during the late summer window as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Canadian Championship and Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.

Austin FC will make their debut in 2021. The 27th club will feature former Sporting Kansas City players with Josh Wolff as the head coach, Davy Arnaud as an assistant and Matt Besler presumably anchoring the back line.

With Austin FC bringing the total number of clubs to 27, there will be 14 in the Eastern Conference and 13 in the Western Conference.

Western Conference

Austin FC

Colorado Rapids

FC Dallas

Houston Dynamo FC

Sporting Kansas City

LA Galaxy

Los Angeles Football Club

Minnesota United FC

Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake

San Jose Earthquakes

Seattle Sounders FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Eastern Conference

Atlanta United

Chicago Fire FC

FC Cincinnati

Columbus Crew SC

D.C. United

Inter Miami CF

CF Montréal

Nashville SC

New England Revolution

New York City FC

New York Red Bulls

Orlando City SC

Philadelphia Union

Toronto FC

With travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, Major League Soccer stated they are working with the three Canadian clubs regarding plans for the 2021 regular season.

Continuing protocols from the 2020 season, COVID-19 testing will be a key part of making the season work.

“During the regular season, all players, technical staff and essential club staff will continue to be tested every other day, including the day before each match day. In addition, clubs will take chartered flights for all road trips until further notice.”

The complete 2021 regular season schedule, including the national broadcast schedule for the league’s media partners in the U.S. and Canada will be announced in the coming weeks.


Feb. 22 MLS Preseason training begins (6 weeks)

Players will observe a mandatory quarantine upon reporting

Apr. 3-4 MLS is Back - Opening Weekend 2021

Late Aug. MLS Heineken® Rivalry Week

Late summer MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, Leagues Cup, Campeones Cup

Nov. 7 MLS Decision Day

Nov. 19 Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs begin

Dec. 11 2021 MLS Cup