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Expanding MLS books March 2 kickoff for 2019 campaign

New York (AFP) – Major League Soccer welcomes expansion side FC Cincinnati to the competition when the 2019 campaign opens on March 2 with 10 games, the league announced on Thursday.

The 10-match opening-day slate will find the MLS newcomers, the league’s 24th club for its 24th season, debuting at Seattle with their second match a March 10 visit to Atlanta United for the reigning MLS champion’s home season opener.

Not until Match 17 against Portland, who lost to Atlanta in the MLS Cup final earlier this month, will FC Cincinnati players make their MLS home debut.

The season’s first MLS kickoff will come when the Philadelphia Union entertain Toronto FC in an afternoon contest on March 2.

The first match in Canada will come later on March 2 when the Vancouver Whitecaps welcome Minnesota United.

Atlanta United will open its bid to repeat as champions on March 3 at DC United.

Minnesota United will open a new home stadium, the 20th built or renovated specifically for an MLS side, on April 13 when New York City FC visits.

The Portland Timbers, whose park is undergoing renovations to add 4,000 seats, have the latest home opener in 2019, a June 1 date with Los Angeles FC after three months on the road.

Each club will play 34 matches, 17 at home, and face each conference rival twice and each team from the opposite conference once, with the full schedule to be announced next month.

MLS has plans for expansion clubs in Miami and Nashville in future seasons and a 27th team in Austin, Texas, is expected in 2020 or 2021.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jason

    December 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I think MLS should be 36 games at least. Also as the league expands, most of the games should be intra-conference, with very few cross over games. Perhaps as little as 4 games vs an outside the conference team. Maybe even 2 exclusive 16 team leagues one day can be done. MLSEast and MLSWest considered co-equal division 1 leagues with the champs of each playing for MLS Cup.

    • JP

      December 20, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Once they have enough expansion they should finally introduce pro/rel. 27 clubs by 2021 could be enough. 16 team top league with the also rans debuting in the 2nd division. 30 matches a year for regular season that begins in April (March too early for most locations given the weather) and ending in September/October.

      • Jason

        December 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm

        Geography makes that idea too difficult unfortunatly. That is also too few games and too short of a season. Typical Euro league season is 9 1/2 months. League might want designate certain cities to host all games in the first month of the season. Atlanta, Miami, Houston, LA clubs, etc.

        • JP

          December 20, 2018 at 2:46 pm

          I don’t see geography as an issue since it’ll be about one match per week. Shorter schedule is a benefit IMO for where MLS currently resides in our sports landscape. The season seems absurdly long considering even MLB begins later and ends sooner, and MLB is too long. Euro leagues are also longer since they incorporate a winter breaks and numerous international breaks during the campaign. I could be wrong, but don’t believe MLS shuts down for any such breaks. 30 matchs vs 34 for Bundesliga and 38 for PL, La Liga, Serie A isn’t that big of a difference. Could split the difference and make it an 18 club league with 34 matches.

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