Austin FC will make their debut in MLS in the 2021 season and will compete in the Western Conference. As a result, there will be 14 clubs in the Eastern Conference and 13 in the West.
Major League Soccer had announced on January 25 that the 2021 MLS season will begin from Saturday, April 3 onwards with teams permitted to begin their preseason training from February 22, Monday, six weeks prior to the MLS is Back opening weekend.
Columbus Crew SC are the defending champions, having defeated Seattle Sounders FC in MLS Cup 2020, while the Philadelphia Union are the defending Supporters’ Shield winners.
The Briefing to MLS ’21
MLS’s 26th season will feature 34 matches for each of the league’s 27 clubs and will conclude on the Decision Day i.e. November 7. The Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs will get underway on November 19, culminating with MLS Cup on Saturday, December 11. 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.
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.
- February 22: MLS Preseason training begins (6 weeks)
- April 3-4: MLS is Back – Opening Weekend 2021
- Late August: MLS Heineken® Rivalry Week
- Late Summer: MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, Leagues Cup, Campeones Cup
- November 7: MLS Decision Day
- November 19: Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs begin
- December 11: 2021 MLS Cup
An unexpected roadblock ahead
Due to travel restrictions between the US 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.
Protocols under the pandemic
In accordance with health and safety protocols, players will be required to quarantine and conduct individual trainings upon reporting back to their clubs for the start of preseason. Similar to the 2020 season, COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an important role in the competition’s framework. MLS continues to work closely with the league and MLSPA’s infectious disease advisors on health and safety protocols, including testing. 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.
Austin FC will make their debut in MLS in the 2021 season and will compete in the Western Conference. As a result, there will be 14 clubs in the Eastern Conference and 13 in the West. Outside of Austin FC, two new MLS stadiums will make their debuts with FC Cincinnati and reigning champions Columbus Crew moving into new stadiums.
Western Conference Team List
Houston Dynamo FC
Sporting Kansas City
Los Angeles Football Club
Minnesota United FC
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Eastern Conference Team List
Chicago Fire FC
Columbus Crew SC
Inter Miami CF
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Orlando City SC
The 26th edition of Major League Soccer is hopefully going to be another breathtaking memory to all the impatient fans out there and certainly once again shows how collaborations are possible between two neighbouring nations to continue such a successful series of this football league, for years to come.
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