Major League Soccer 2021 Season to Begin April 3, Will Feature 34 Matches for All 27 Clubs
By Orlando City Soccer // January 26, 2021
Campeones Cup and Leagues Cup Will Take Place in Late Summer
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Major League Soccer today announced the 2021 MLS season will begin on Saturday, April 3, and feature 34 matches for each of the league’s 27 clubs.
MLS’s 26th regular season will conclude on MLS Decision Day, November 7, and the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs will begin November 19. MLS Cup will be played on Saturday, December 11.
Clubs will be permitted to open preseason training on February 22, six weeks prior to MLS is Back opening weekend. In accordance with MLS health and safety protocols, players will be required to quarantine and conduct individual training upon reporting back to their clubs.
The 2021 season will feature the debut of the league’s 27th club, Austin FC, and their new world-class stadium. MLS also will see the opening of two new soccer stadiums in Ohio this season for FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC.
In addition to regular-season matches, the 26th season will include the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, Campeones Cup, and Leagues Cup during the late summer window.
MLS clubs also will participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Canadian Championship, and Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League in 2021.
The league also anticipates dozens of players competing for their respective national teams in competitions such as FIFA World Cup qualifying, Concacaf Nations League Finals, the Concacaf Gold Cup, Copa América, the European Championship and the Summer Olympics.
With Austin FC joining MLS, the 2021 season will feature 27 clubs, 14 in the Eastern Conference and 13 in the Western Conference.
Western Conference Eastern Conference
■ Austin FC Atlanta United
■ Colorado Rapids Chicago Fire FC
■ FC Dallas FC Cincinnati
■ Houston Dynamo FC Columbus Crew SC
■ Sporting Kansas City D.C. United
■ LA Galaxy Inter Miami CF
■ Los Angeles Football Club Club de Foot Montreal
■ Minnesota United FC Nashville SC
■ Portland Timbers New England Revolution
■ Real Salt Lake New York City FC
■ San Jose Earthquakes New York Red Bulls
■ Seattle Sounders FC Orlando City SC
■ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Philadelphia Union
■ Toronto FC
Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, Major League Soccer continues to work with the league’s three Canadian clubs regarding plans for the 2021 regular season. More details on plans for the Canadian teams will be announced in the near future.
Similar to the 2020 MLS season, COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an important role in MLS’s competition framework. MLS continues to work closely with the league and MLSPA’s infectious disease advisors on health and safety protocols, including testing.
MLS continues to meet with the Major League Soccer Players Association and players to discuss working together to put MLS on a secure footing given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.
On January 5 MLS presented the MLSPA with a proposal that committed to paying the players 100% of their salaries this year, in return for a two-year extension of the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Major League Soccer will announce the complete 2021 regular-season schedule, including the national broadcast schedule for the league’s media partners in the U.S. and Canada, 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
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