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MLS releases home openers for the 2021 season

Sporting KC starts the season on the road in New York against the Red Bulls.

Thad Bell

MLS released the home openers for the league today and Sporting Kansas City knows three of their first games.

Sporting KC will be in New York to face the Red Bulls on April 17th before returning home to Children’s Mercy Park to host Orlando City SC on the 23rd. SKC will also play Real Salt Lake in their opener on May 1st.

  • Saturday, April 17 - 12 p.m. @ New York Red Bulls
  • Friday, April 23 - 6:30 p.m. Orlando City SC – Fox Sports 1
  • Saturday, May 1 - 1 p.m. @ Real Salt Lake

Manager Peter Vermes is the longest-tenured head coach in MLS and will lead a team with a mix of veterans and young homegrown players. New players Remi Walter and Nicolas Isimat-Mirin will be competing for starting spots while returning stars like Johnny Russell and Alan Pulido will hope to keep SKC on top of the Western Conference for the second straight season.

These three games have been described as SKC’s first three games, and probably are the first three. But it would be possible that MLS could squeeze a mid-week game in there at a location that has already played.

Cheery thought

Orlando has traditionally not been great team but in the turned upside down world of 2020 they were strong, finished fourth and actually made the playoffs. So of course, Mike had to remind SKC fans this game from last season where SKC was terrible in the first half and dominated in the second half but could only claw back one goal to finish on the down side of a 2-1 score.

Open Cup

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is changing the amount of teams allowed in for this season. MLS will get eight teams entering in the round of 16 but it is not yet known which eight teams. It has been reported that the first three games of the season will be used to determine placing for the eight MLS teams.

Not a very balanced method considering some teams will play at least two of their first three on the road and two of them will likely not even be in the same conference.

Opening Round

  • Eight USL Championship teams
  • Four Open Division teams
  • Two USL League One teams
  • Two NISA teams

Round of 16

  • Eight Opening Round winners
  • Eight MLS teams (to be determined)

New Team

Austin FC will begin play this season with a major connection to Kansas City. Head coach Josh Wolff, assistant Davy Arnaud will be on the sideline while KC native Matt Besler will hope to return to form on the field, anchoring the expansion sides backline.

Canadian teams

Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, the three Canadian clubs will begin the MLS regular season in the U.S. with each club hosting matches in a U.S. city: