MLS officially released its schedule for 2020, the 25th season of the league. 26 teams, including two expansion sides, will participate. We’ll get the first ever edition of the new All-Star game format, in which a team of MLS All-Stars will face Liga MX All-Stars on July 29 at Banc of California Stadium in LA.
When does the 2020 MLS season start?
A handful of MLS teams begin competitive play in the Concacaf Champions League prior to the start of the regular season. Atlanta United will travel to Honduras to face FC Motagua in the first leg of their CCL tie on February 18. LAFC will play Club Leon in Mexico on the same day. The Montreal Impact, Seattle Sounders, and NYCFC will also participate in the Champions League.
February 29 is the first day of league games. D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids is the first game of the season, at 1pm ET. The marquee matchup of the day is Nashville SC vs. Atlanta. It’s the league debut for Nashville in a game that MLS hopes will become a rivalry. The next day features Inter Miami vs. LAFC, a potentially star-studded matchup hosted by LA.
Nashville SC and Inter Miami are the two expansion clubs this season. Each team has core pieces in place, with Miami’s looking a bit better at the moment, but we’ve yet to see the attacking stars arrive for either. It’s a good bet that Miami will target someone notable for at least one of their Designated Player spots, and they still don’t have a manager yet.
The best games often occur on Rivalry Week, which takes place August 20-23 this year. We’ll get the expected Seattle Sounders-Portland Timbers and LAFC-LA Galaxy matches that week, in addition to a Miami-Orlando City SC game. The two Florida clubs play for the first time on July 10. May 26 is the date of the first El Trafico.
Seattle plays Toronto FC in an MLS Cup rematch on July 18 at BMO Field. We’ll get to see Atlanta play LAFC on August 16 at Banc of California. MLS scheduled the San Jose Earthquakes to play D.C. United on April 11, a rematch of the first MLS ever game from 1996.
Unfortunately, the increased number of teams means that not everyone can play each other this season, a first in MLS. The difference in strength of schedule is another blow to the Supporters’ Shield, which rewards the regular season champion.