January 12, 2017
THE BIGGEST SEASON
MLS schedule includes two rivalry weeks, most games, new teams, new stadiums
NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer Thursday unveiled the regular season schedule for its 22 clubs, including broadcast coverage across the five national broadcast partners in the U.S. and Canada.
Highlighted by two new teams and two new soccer stadiums, this season will see the most regular season matches in league history.
The first week of action will celebrate the debut of two new MLS teams and Orlando City SCís new stadium
The first week of the season is highlighted by the debut of 2017 expansion clubs Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United, as well as the opening of Orlando City SCís new downtown stadium, one of two new stadiums opening this year. All three debuts will be broadcast on national TV as well as LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas on Univisionís flagship station.
MLS to take a break during CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage
Just as MLS has done for the World Cup since 2010 and the 2016 Copa America Centenario, the schedule will include a break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage for the first time. Group stage matches for the CONCACAF Gold Cup will be played from July 7 through July 17.
Atlanta United to play first-ever sporting event in Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Following the opening of Orlando City SCís new downtown stadium in MLS week one, Atlanta United will make history on July 30, playing the first-ever sporting event in Atlantaís new state-of-the-art downtown sports and entertainment venue, Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Atlanta hosts regional foe Orlando City SC live on the FOX broadcast channel and FOX Deportes at 4:30 p.m. ET. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 17th MLS stadium built with soccer in mind will host nine games during Atlantaís inaugural season, while eight games from March through July, will be played at Georgia Techís Bobby Dodd Stadium.
MLS Rivalry Weeks to serve up more established rivalry action than ever before
Two MLS Rivalry Weeks will set canít-miss dates on the calendar with the first edition in June and the second in August. The first edition of Heineken Rivalry Week, June 23-25, will consist of three consecutive days of rivalry games across the Leagueís national TV partnersí channels.
The second Heineken Rivalry Week, Aug. 23-27, will see two Cascadia Cup matches contested with Seattle facing both Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Portland Timbers. The same week will see five additional rivalry matches, including Montreal Impact hosting Toronto FC for the first time since the heated 2016 Eastern Conference Championship.
Record-breaking match days scheduled for the Final Push to the Playoffs and Decision Day
The Final Push to the Playoffs, the final two weekends of the regular season, will see more MLS matches played on those single dates than ever before. Comprised of predominantly intra-conference matches played on October 15 and Decision Day, October 22, the final two game dates will again usher in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in dramatic fashion. All Eastern Conference matches will kick off at 3 p.m. ET, while the Western Conference matchups will all kick off at 5 p.m. on the penultimate weekend. Decision Day will see all 11 MLS matches played simultaneously as the postseason landscape takes shape through the final 90 minutes of the regular season.
With an odd number of teams in each conference (11 teams each), both weeks will feature one inter-conference match-up.
The final two weeks of the regular season will again feature flex scheduling, allowing broadcast partners to bring the most compelling games to national audiences as the dust settles over the playoff landscape.