Major League Soccer has announced the schedule format and conference alignment for the 2022 MLS season. To balance the conferences at 14 teams each, Nashville SC will move to the Western Conference with Charlotte FC joining the East.
To best align with the 2022 international soccer calendar and the winter World Cup, the MLS regular season will begin Saturday, Feb. 26, and run through Decision Day on Sunday, October 9. February 26 is the earliest start in league history.
All teams will play a 34-game regular season – 17 home games, 17 away games – facing each of their conference opponents two times and playing eight non-conference opponents once.
The MLS regular season schedule will consist mostly of weekend matches with just five, or fewer, midweek matches for each team. The goal is to play one mid-week game each in May, June, and July, with two in August. The midweek match dates for each team will not be scheduled in consecutive weeks.
In observance of the 2022 FIFA calendar, MLS will seek to avoid scheduling matches during the FIFA international windows in March, June, or September. Only at a team’s request will MLS consider scheduling a match during the March window, or during the second weekend of the June double window. Teams may not request to play matches during the September window, at the final stretch of the regular season.
3rd Degree’s Take
We wish there were more non-conference games as playing each team at least once would be nice. The small amount of mid-week games is a good move and should allow – we hope – for US Open Cup games as well as the other outside tournaments MLS take part in like Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup.
Also, Chicago should be in the West instead of Nashville. Although given the current list of likely expansion teams to come – St Louis confirmed, Vegas, Pheonix, Indy, Detroit, San Diego, and Louisville to name a few candidates – Nashville will probably end up back in the East.
Here are some other important dates for this upcoming off-season.
Dec. 11 – MLS Cup
Late December?– Waiver draft & expansion draft
Early January? – MLS SuperDraft
January – USMNT Camp
Late January? – MLS camps open