Shortly after the newly ratified MLS CBA went through, there was talk about potentially shifting the start to the 2021 MLS season. At the end of last week, MLS did announce that their preseason and season would be pushed back. After MLS revisits 2021 season dates; will this be good or bad for the 27 teams?
MLS revisits 2021 season dates
As we move closer and closer to the 2021 MLS season, everything now has a set date. We don’t have to worry about if there would be a lockout, or how delayed the season could be. The season is set to begin on April 17, 2021. The primary transfer market is set to run from March 10 to June 1. We now know that preseason will kick off at the beginning of March.
The season is starting almost a month later than it normally does. This will lead to congestion early on for the teams involved in Concacaf Champions League, but more time to prepare and set rosters for the other squads. Will this help or hurt the league in 2021?
In a way, the season starting later will be helpful for the MLS clubs. While it does mean a bit of a congested international schedule, there are some major benefits here.
First, the season will skip those late winter months. With no matches in February or March, there will likely be some nicer weather for those opening games.
Second, this changes the length of time that the primary transfer market runs. While this may not seem that big of a deal, it is. With the window closing in June, it can help players who may be transferring from Europe secure a quicker move to MLS. The extra month will be a game-changer in negotiations for reinforcements for clubs.
This schedule change will bring some good; it could bring out a better quality of play and players. However, this change will be a hindrance for the league’s top teams from a year ago.
Teams that have either qualified or could still qualify for the Concacaf Champions League (CCL) will be in a bit of a bind as they being that CCL campaign. The first matches of the 2021 CCL come just before the start of the MLS season. On top of this, the teams from the other regions of the world have started their season’s already. This means they may have a leg up in this international competition.
MLS may be dealing with its best teams from a year ago prioritizing CCL over the start to their MLS seasons. We’ve seen it in the past, and now we will see this congestion again, but at the very beginning of the MLS season.
whether this delay to the season is good or bad for all the teams, we can be sure of one thing. That is, that there will be a full 2021 season! As we hopefully get closer to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we will be able to have the distraction of the sport and league we love. Now we just need MLS to release each team’s schedules!
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Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire
Philadelphia Union Editor of Soccer Content
A passion for the beautiful game drives me.