PORTLAND, Ore. – Major League Soccer today announced that following the conclusion of the MLS is Back Tournament, the league’s 25th season will continue in the home markets of the 26 clubs. The Portland Timbers will continue regular-season play against Cascadia-rival Seattle Sounders FC at Providence Park on Sunday, Aug. 23; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific) on FS1. The return to play in home markets will feature comprehensive health and safety protocols, including regular testing of players, coaches and essential staff for COVID-19.
Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, MLS announced the initial phase of the league’s revised schedule with each U.S. club playing six matches by Sept. 14. The Timbers will travel for road matches against the San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle and Los Angeles FC, and play host to matches at Providence Park against Sounders FC, Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy. All three home matches at Providence Park will be played without fans.
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Portland will take on San Jose in a road match on Aug. 26 and will then return to Providence Park for consecutive home matches against Real Salt Lake on Aug. 29 and the LA Galaxy on Sept. 2. Portland concludes its six-game stretch with a road match against Seattle on Sept. 6, before traveling to square off against LAFC on Sept. 13.
Each club will play 18 additional regular season games in a phased approach, culminating with Decision Day on Sunday, Nov. 8. In an expansion of the postseason for 2020, 18 clubs will compete in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs -- up from 14 teams last year. MLS Cup will be played on Dec. 12.
At this time, the majority of the matches in local markets will be played without fans in attendance. MLS and club leadership are working with local health authorities and government officials on a plan for limited capacity at certain games where allowed.
As with the MLS is Back Tournament, COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an important role in MLS’ competition framework. MLS continues to work closely with the league’s infectious disease advisors as well as advisors for the MLSPA on the plan for testing. All clubs are forming testing partnerships with a local certified lab, and all players, technical staff, and essential club staff will be tested every other day, including the day before each match day. Also, guidelines will be provided to players, coaches and essential staff to avoid the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 during their time away from club facilities.
In addition to adhering to health, safety and medical protocols, another focus of the new schedule is efficient travel. Teams will take chartered flights, or buses, and for the majority of road trips will arrive in the host market on matchday and depart after the match later that evening.
MLS plans to announce the balance of the regular-season schedule by early September as the league continues to work with infectious disease experts, league and club medical personnel, and government officials in all markets.
|Sun., Aug. 23||SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC||7 p.m.||FS1|
|Wed., Aug. 26||@San Jose Earthquakes||7:30 p.m.||FOX 12 PLUS|
|Sat., Aug. 29||REAL SALT LAKE||7:30 p.m.||FOX 12 PLUS|
|Wed., Sept. 2||LA GALAXY||7:30 p.m.||FOX 12 PLUS|
|Sun., Sept. 6||@Seattle Sounders FC||7 p.m.||ROOT SPORTS|
|Sun., Sept. 13||@LAFC||8 p.m.||ROOT SPORTS|