Major League Soccer announced on Monday that the 2021 season will begin April 3 and all clubs will play 34 matches. The 26th season will feature 27 teams with Austin FC beginning play as an expansion franchise. The MLS Cup Playoffs will begin Nov. 19, with MLS Cup 2021 set for Dec. 11.
Outside of Austin FC, two new MLS stadiums will make their debuts with FC Cincinnati and reigning champions Columbus Crew moving into new stadiums. Preseason training can begin as early as Feb. 22.
Major League Soccer will continue its strict COVID-19 testing again next season. Here’s what the league said in a statement:
“Similar to the 2020 MLS season, COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an important role in MLS’ competition 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.”
More details on the schedule will be available in the coming weeks.