Major League Soccer on Friday revealed its regular season through the end of the month, giving its 26 teams clarity over their next three opponents.
MLS had previously announced matches only through Sept. 16 as part of “Phase One” of its return-to-play slate following this summer’s MLS is Back Tournament in Florida that restarted the U.S. and Canada’s top league in July following a nearly four-month shutdown in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. The regular season resumed in home markets last one
“Phase Two” will begin Sept. 18 with the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders hosting LAFC, last year’s regular season champ. The two teams have already met twice so far in 2020, with the Sounders rolling to a 3-1 victory in their most recent meeting two weeks ago. The slate will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 27, when 22 of the 26 teams will be in action.
With the international border between the U.S. and its northern neighbor still closed because of the health crisis, the league’s three Canadian teams will play all three of their matches in the U.S., with each club staging one “home” match in an American stadium.
The Montreal Impact will host Philadelphia Sept. 20 at Red Bull Arena Harrison, N.J. One week later, Toronto FC will meet the Columbus Crew in Hartford, Conn., while the Vancouver Whitecaps will “host” the Portland Timbers, without fans, at Portland’s Providence Park.
MLS also confirmed that the MLS Cup Playoffs will again consist of a single-elimination tourney with games hosted by the higher-seeded team all the way to the Dec. 12 MLS Cup. The postseason will feature 18 teams in 2020, four more than a year ago, with the extra spots added because of the unprecedented havoc the pandemic has wreaked on this season.
The league said that the playoff schedule will be announced at a later date.