MLS Schedule 2019: League Releases Official Regular-Season Dates, Times

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2019

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 08:  Atlanta United celebrates with the MLS Cup after their 2-0 over the Portland Timbers during the 2018 MLS Cup between Atlanta United and the Portland Timbers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Monday, Major League Soccer released its full schedule for the 2019 season, which kicks off on March 2. 

The teams will once again play 34 matches, including 17 each home and away, although there should be more drama this season based on the newest playoff format. Beginning this season, 14 teams will make the playoffs with only one in each conference getting a bye in a single-elimination bracket.

Every seed line will be important to get a home game, which could create plenty of excitement from March to October.

Check out the upcoming schedules for each team in 2019.

      

Eastern Conference

Atlanta United FC

Chicago Fire

FC Cincinnati

Columbus Crew SC

D.C. United

Montreal Impact

New England Revolution

New York City FC

New York Red Bulls

Orlando City SC

Philadelphia Union

Toronto FC

        

The first thing you notice on this list is the addition of FC Cincinnati, an expansion team making its debut in 2019.

The squad will begin its campaign with a road match against the Seattle Sounders on March 2, a place that has always been difficult for away teams. FC Cincinnati won't make its home debut at Nippert Stadium until the third match of the year on March 17 against the Portland Timbers.

While the new team has an uphill battle to be competitive, head coach Alan Koch believes more key players will be added before the season starts.

"We definitely need a few more key pieces to get us over the hump. If we started the season today, I wouldn't be happy," Koch said, per Patrick Brennan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We need to get a few more pieces to help set the group up for success. We can hopefully get them in the open market, in trades, and through the draft."

Of course, the team could look at Atlanta United FC for inspiration. The club won the MLS Cup title last season in just its second year of existence, riding an exciting offense and a great home crowd to the championship.

There is enough talent still on the roster to keep the team a top contender in 2019 as it tries to win a second straight championship.

        

Western Conference

Colorado Rapids

FC Dallas

Houston Dynamo

Los Angeles Football Club

LA Galaxy

Minnesota United FC

Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake

San Jose Earthquakes

Seattle Sounders

Sporting Kansas City

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

     

Sporting KC finished last season with the best record in the Western Conference, but it was the Portland Timbers who advanced to the final with a dramatic run through the playoffs.

While the players are likely hoping for some revenge, they will have to wait a while to get an opportunity.

With a lot of experience throughout its roster, Sporting KC should once again be among the top teams in the conference, but the team will have to take care of business in the postseason this time around.

Another team to watch are the Los Angeles Galaxy, who feature some notable international stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and both Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos. While the latter didn't live up to expectations in his first year with the club, he is talented enough to be a star in this league.

This type of firepower could help the Galaxy get back to the playoffs after a lost 2018 season.

One big game will be the rivalry battle against Los Angeles FC on Aug. 25.

A full rivalry week will take place from Aug. 21-25, with the Sounders and Timbers battling in one of several interesting matchups.

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