July 24, 2021

MLS 2020 season: What will match schedule look like after MLS Is Back tournament?

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Here’s what you need to know about when and how the remainder of MLS 2020 will be played, following the conclusion of MLS is Back on August 11

With MLS is Back concluding August 11, questions have been raised about when the remainder of the regular MLS season will take place.

The MLS regular season started on February 29, but teams were only able to play two games before the Covid-19 outbreak forced all games to be suspended from March onwards.

So when could the remainder of 2020 MLS be played? Goal takes a look.

When will the regular MLS season resume?

MLS 2020 could continue with their regular season as soon as August 22, two weeks after the MLS is Back final on August 11.

MLS is Back began on July 8 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, with the three group-stage fixtures counting towards the final standings.

Additionally, the winner of the MLS is Back tournament will earn a place in the Concacaf Champions League, as well as a share of a $1.1 million (£880k) prize fund.

Once the tournament ends, MLS plans to continue the regular season “with a revised schedule in home markets” and complete the MLS Cup playoffs and final.

No official confirmation has been released about the remainder of the MLS 2020 season, but several figures from around the league have hinted about the current campaign’s future.

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson iterated his belief that the campaign will begin later this summer, alongside expert advice from MLS medical staff on how to resume the season safely.

“I’d say I’m confident,” Paulson said. “It’s not without its challenges. A lot of thinking, equal amount if not more thinking, is going into the second phase of this season post-Orlando MLS is Back Tournament.

“And a lot more moving parts there. I know the league is working tirelessly right now in ironing out a plan. Again, not without its challenges, but I’d say I’m confident.”

Additionally, New England Revolution coach Bruce Arena added: “I think there’s a plan. And I know the league hasn’t announced that yet, but we anticipate getting on with our regular season once we leave Orlando, and there’s going to be a lot more games ahead.”

“I think when September comes around, we’re going to have a better feel for all the clubs in Major League Soccer.”

What could the MLS 2020 schedule look like?

According to the Athletic, the potential fixture schedule for MLS 2020 would see teams playing six games between August 22 and September 13 as part of phase one of the restart.

The three MLS Canadian teams (Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps) would stay in Canada and play exclusively against each other.

The second phase of the restart would involve teams playing 12 games from September 16 to November 8, which would mean that each team would play a total of 23 regular season games (including the two fixtures played prior to the Covid-19 suspension, as well as three from the teams’ group stage results during MLS is Back).

The 18 remaining fixtures following the conclusion of MLS is Back would be played over 11 weeks.

Following the end of the regular season, the 18 sides (nine per conference) progress to the postseason that begins on November 20.

The teams participating would then play in a single-elimination tournament leading up to the MLS Cup as the grand finale of MLS 2020, to take place on a proposed date of December 12.