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Crew announces next six games of 2020 MLS season

The Black & Gold will be back on the field at MAPFRE Stadium starting in August.

Columbus Crew SC v Minnesota United FC: Knockout Round - MLS Is Back Tournament Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

MLS is back. No, not the tournament in Orlando. Major League Soccer is back, the 2020 regular season.

On Saturday, MLS announced its plan to resume the 2020 regular season in home markets following the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida.

The plan is for the regular season, which was postponed in mid-March following just two games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to pick up on Aug. 22, a little under two weeks after the MLS is Back Tournament ends, allowing all teams time to recover from the Orlando trip. Teams will play 18 games between Aug 22 and Nov. 8, taking the complete number of 2020 regular season games to 23 — two from pre-pandemic, the three MLS is Back group stage games and the 18 contests following the tournament.

MLS’s schedule will include conference-only games upon the resumption of play in order to keep travel as minimal as possible. A source told Massive Report that teams will charter in and out of cities for away games and, as much as possible, arrive on the day of the game and fly home after its conclusion.

Phase 1 of the return to play will begin on Aug. 22 and include six games for each team. Columbus Crew SC will host the Chicago Fire as the first of its six games going through Sept. 12. Details on whether fans will be allowed at the Black & Gold’s home matches will be announced at a later date.

Columbus Crew schedule

DATE OPPONENT REGIONAL TV NETWORK TIME (ET)
DATE OPPONENT REGIONAL TV NETWORK TIME (ET)
Thursday, August 20 CHICAGO FIRE FOX Sports Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Monday, August 24 @ New York City FC FOX Sports Ohio 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 29 @ FC Cincinnati SportsTime Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 2 PHILADELPHIA UNION FOX Sports Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 6 FC CINCINNATI SportsTime Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 12 @ Chicago Fire SportsTime Ohio 7:30 p.m.

For the league’s three Canadian teams, Toronto FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact are expected play against only each other from Aug. 22 to Sept. 13. This is because the Canadian border is currently closed to the United States. MLS’s hope is that Canadian teams will be cleared to travel to the U.S. by mid-September. These three teams did not release a schedule on Saturday.

The two MLS teams that were not able to play in the MLS is Back Tournament due to too many positive COVID-19 tests, FC Dallas and Nashville SC, will play each other an additional three times to compensate for the three regular season games they missed in Orlando. Nashville will remain in the East for the remainder of the year, as was the plan for the MLS is Back Tournament.

MLS plans to announce the remainder of the regular season schedule, following Phase 1, by early September as the league continues to work with infectious disease experts, league and club medical personnel, and government officials in all markets.

Come the conclusion of the MLS regular season, 18 teams, nine per conference, will advance to the MLS Cup playoffs beginning on Nov. 20. These teams will meet in a seeded, single-elimination tournament with MLS Cup taking place on Dec. 12. There will be a 12-day break between the conclusion of the regular season and the start of the postseason, coinciding with FIFA international window from Nov. 9-17.

According to MLS, state and local government guidelines will determine whether fans can attend games in their teams’ home markets.

Columbus Crew SC currently sits atop the Eastern Conference and MLS Supporters’ Shield standings with 13 points through five MLS regular season games. The Crew defeated New York City FC 1-0 at MAPFRE Stadium on opening weekend and managed a 1-1 draw at the Seattle Sounders prior to the league’s pause. The Black & Gold then defeated Hell Is Real rivals FC Cincinnati 4-0 in the first game of the MLS is Back Tournament, followed by a 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls and 1-0 victory against Atlanta United to complete the group stage.

Columbus fell in penalty kicks to Minnesota United in the Round of 16 in the MLS is Back Tournament after a 1-1 draw in regulation.