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.
Sporting Kansas City
Los Angeles Football Club
Chicago Fire FC
Inter Miami CF
New York Red Bulls
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.
KEY DATES – MLS 2021 SEASON
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