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League releases its schedule for 2020: Here are the 10 most intriguing games of season
The 2020 Major League Soccer schedule dropped Thursday, giving fans a chance to dissect the best matchups.
As usual, the league’s top clubs received the highest spots on the marquee, including Atlanta United, which will play 18 times on national television.
Below is a look at some of the most intriguing matches spread from March to October listed chronologically.
Minnesota United at Portland Timbers
One of the most intriguing matchups of opening weekend takes place at Providence Park.
Minnesota United is coming off their best season in franchise history, and they are expected to build off of it right away.
Portland is still among the best teams in the Western Conference, but it needs to get younger with Diego Chara and Diego Valeri getting older.
Although most fans will tune in on March 1 for LAFC versus Inter Miami CF, this game should pack a bigger punch from a competitive standpoint due to how many stars both teams bring back.
D.C. United at San Jose Earthquakes
D.C. United and the San Jose Earthquakes will commemorate the league’s first game at Avaya Stadium on April 11.
The inaugural MLS match occurred April 6, 1996, and this edition of the series will be broadcast on ESPN.
How both sides are set up by mid-April will be intriguing. D.C. is going through a transitional phase with Wayne Rooney gone and Luciano Acosta on his way out. Matias Almedya, meanwhile, is building a strong roster for his second season in charge of the Quakes.
Inter Miami CF at Nashville SC
The initial clash between expansion sides Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC should show us a stark contrast in roster-building strategies.
Before it was recognized as an MLS club, Inter Miami was linked with the world’s biggest stars, and it is dipping into South America to bring some young playmakers to the league.
Nashville is conservatively making moves by adding MLS veterans and some less recognizable names from Europe and South America.
Two months into the season, we should have an idea how each side will fare in its first season.
LA Galaxy at Los Angeles FC
The first El Trafico without Zlatan Ibrahimovic will have a different feel to it.
No matter who the LA Galaxy bring in during the offseason, LAFC will come into this match with more expectations and pressure.
Bob Bradley’s side is loading up for a shot at an MLS Cup in 2020, and it has not beaten the Galaxy in a regular-season meeting.
LAFC earned its first victory in the rivalry in the 2019 postseason during an epic 5-3 affair.
Inter Miami CF at Orlando City
Orlando City hasn’t been successful during its rivalry with Atlanta United, but the Lions have a chance to earn the upper hand when they host Inter Miami
CF on July 10.
Miami is expected to join MLS with the same bang as Atlanta United, and it will be interesting to see which of the other two southeast teams the expansion side gravitates toward as its main rival.
The game is in the middle of a key home stretch for new Orlando City coach Óscar Pareja’s side, with the Lions pushing to earn their first playoff berth. The Lions have two other contests at Exploria Stadium in July to take advantage of the Florida heat wearing down on opponents .
Seattle Sounders at Toronto FC
The 2019 MLS Cup rematch occurs at a tough time for the Seattle Sounders.
The trip to BMO Field will mark a third road contest in 10 days. Seattle visits the New York Red Bulls on July 8 and Atlanta United on July 12.
After visiting Ontario, Brian Schmetzer’s side has to go home to play Houston on short rest and then play LAFC in back-toback games.
Toronto does not play a midweek game in July, so it should be rested fully for the rematch with the Sounders.
Columbus Crew at FC Cincinnati
The second season of “Hell is Real” in MLS should be much more entertaining than the first two in 2019.
By July, Caleb Porter should have the Columbus Crew humming at full speed and back in contention for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
FC Cincinnati has nowhere to go but up during Ron Jans’ first full season in charge, and no matter what form the club is in, it will be ready for the rivalry in front of a raucous Nippert Stadium crowd.
Los Angeles FC at Atlanta United
LAFC and Atlanta United could be at, or near, the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings by the time they meet at MercedesBenz Stadium.
In 2019, the two new contenders in MLS entertained during a seven-goal match at Banc of California Stadium.
By this point, both teams should be sharpening their approach with the playoffs looming.
New York City FC at New York Red Bulls
During the past two years, the Hudson River Derby has leveled out, with New York City FC winning two of the four matches.
By the time 2020 Rivalry Week rolls around, the second meeting of New York clubs in New Jersey will be different than most in the rivalry’s history.
Bradley Wright-Phillips and Luis Robles are among the key figures gone from the Red Bulls, and by August, the Red Bulls should have figured out their identity with younger players.
NYCFC is still without a head coach and could have a different feel to its style of play, depending on who is hired.
D.C. United at New York City FC
The final of four NYCFC games played at Citi Field could have a significant impact on the Eastern Conference playoff race.
After Sept. 1, last year’s No. 1 seed in the East plays one game inside the shorter confines of Yankee Stadium, which could make it vulnerable if it is involved in a tight playoff race.
Just like Yankee Stadium, Citi Field’s grass will be torn apart by baseball season at this juncture, and it will be interesting to see how it holds up for a game of high magnitude.
Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez and the Five Stripes will be showcased during multiple high-profile matchups during the 2020 season.