After much delay, Major League Soccer has finally released the 2021 schedule. Sporting Kansas City plays the standard 34-game schedule again (after a shortened 2020 schedule). On top of that, and not in the release, Sporting will participate in the Leagues Cup between MLS and Liga MX and they could still qualify for the US Open Cup.
While the vast majority of the schedule is against the MLS Western Conference, Sporting do still get some new experiences. They have their first meeting with expansion side Austin FC in just their fourth game of the year, at home, on Fox Sports 1, on May 9th. They’ll make their first trip to Austin, much, much later on November 3rd in the penultimate game of the year.
However, SKC still won’t play 2020 expansion side Inter Miami CF. That marks two seasons that will have gone by unless they meet in a non-MLS competition. They also won’t have a return trip against Nashville SC after meeting them once in 2020.
How the West was Won
Sporting KC only play three Eastern Conference opponents in 2021: New York Red Bulls (season opener April 17th), Orlando City SC (home opener April 23rd on FS1) and the Chicago Fire (at home on September 11th). All 31 other games are against the Western Conference... over and over again.
Sporting meets each opponent in the West home and away, with third games against Austin FC (home), Colorado Rapids (home), Houston Dynamo (home), FC Dallas (away), LAFC (away), Minnesota United (away) and the Seattle Sounders (away).
14 of the leagues 27 teams will qualify for the playoffs, with seven from each conference. That would appear to indicate a bye for the 1st seed and no one else, but that will be confirmed at a later date.
In the second ever edition of the Leagues Cup between MLS and Liga MX, Sporting KC will make their first appearance. It’s not represented in the MLS schedule below, but KC will have to jam games into the schedule under the following rules:
- Week of August 9th (Hosting Liga MX Opponent)
- Week of Sept. 13: Semifinals (hosted in the U.S.)
- Week of Sept. 20: Final (neutral-site venue in U.S.)
In total, eight teams will participate, four from MLS and four from Liga MX. It’s single elimination with the known MLS teams being: KC, Seattle Sounders FC, Orlando City SC and New York City FC. Club Leon has been rumored to join, but all other team’s will be confirmed after the Liga MX season ends.
We don’t know what day the game will fall on, but The Blue Testament’s Mike Kuhn is thinking on August 11th between road games to Colorado (7th) and Dallas (14th). That makes sense, but also makes it really tough to think Sporting will put out a first choice lineup after playing at elevation a few days prior.
On top of that, SKC have a Wednesday game on the 4th (LAFC) and another on the 18th (Portland). Only the Portland game is at home, so that’s a brutal amount of travel and tight scheduling.
None of this accounts for potential US Open Cup games, which qualifying has yet to be confirmed (though there are rumors).
For those hoping to attend a Sporting KC match, the day of the match can play a big factor in how easy it is to attend. Speaking strictly of regular season games, it breaks down like this:
- Saturday - 6
- Sunday - 5
- Wednesday - 5
- Friday - 1
Ticketing will be available first to season ticket members with a general sale to the public later. “Children’s Mercy Park will begin the season with a reduced capacity of approximately 6,500 fans.”
“We are excited to welcome supporters back to Children’s Mercy Park this year,” Sporting KC President and CEO Jake Reid said. “With assistance and guidance from local officials, we were permitted to host matches at a larger capacity to begin the season but will start with a more limited number of approximately 6,500 fans. The safety and wellbeing of supporters remains our top priority. To that end, we will utilize the detailed safety protocols in place at the stadium and continue to adapt in accordance with the changing landscape.”
The full schedule, for your own analytical breakdown, is below. Seven games will appear on national television and the games in CAPS are home games.
2021 SKC Regular Season Schedule
|Date||Opponent||Time CT (TV)|
|Date||Opponent||Time CT (TV)|
|Saturday, April 17||at New York Red Bulls||7:00|
|Friday, April 23||ORLANDO CITY SC||6:30 (FS1)|
|Saturday, May 1||at Real Salt Lake||1:00|
|Sunday, May 9||AUSTIN FC||6:30 (FS1)|
|Wednesday, May 12||at Houston Dynamo||7:30|
|Sunday, May 16||VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC||1:00|
|Saturday, May 22||at San Jose Earthquakes||9:00|
|Saturday, May 29||HOUSTON DYNAMO FC||7:30|
|Saturday, June 19||at Portland Timbers||9:30|
|Wednesday, June 23||COLORADO RAPIDS||7:30|
|Saturday, June 26||LAFC||4:00 (ESPN)|
|Sunday, July 4||at LA Galaxy||9:30|
|Saturday, July 17||AUSTIN FC||7:30|
|Wednesday, July 21||SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES||7:30|
|Sunday, July 25||at Seattle Sounders FC||8:00|
|Saturday, July 31||FC DALLAS||7:30|
|Wednesday, Aug. 4||at LAFC||9:30|
|Saturday, Aug. 7||at Colorado Rapids||8:00|
|Saturday, Aug. 14||at FC Dallas||7:30|
|Wednesday, Aug. 18||PORTLAND TIMBERS||7:30|
|Saturday, Aug. 21||at Minnesota United FC||2:30 (ESPN)|
|Saturday, Aug. 28||COLORADO RAPIDS||7:30|
|Friday, Sept. 3||at LAFC||9:00 (UniMas)|
|Saturday, Sept. 11||CHICAGO FIRE FC||7:30|
|Wednesday, Sept. 15||MINNESOTA UNITED FC||7:30|
|Sunday, Sept. 26||SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC||5:00 (FS1)|
|Wednesday, Sept. 29||at FC Dallas||7:00|
|Sunday, Oct. 3||HOUSTON DYNAMO||TBD|
|Sunday, Oct. 17||at Vancouver Whitecaps FC||9:00|
|Saturday, Oct. 23||at Seattle Sounders FC||8:00|
|Wednesday, Oct. 27||LA GALAXY||7:30|
|Sunday, Oct. 31||at Minnesota United FC||TBD (ESPN)|
|Wednesday, Nov. 3||at Austin FC||8:00|
|Sunday, Nov. 7||REAL SALT LAKE||5:00|
As always, thanks to TBT’s own, Mike Kuhn, for lots of statistical breakdowns. Follow him on Twitter!