The Union’s 2020 schedule was unveiled Thursday, highlighted by the team’s most national television appearances since 2014. That’s a strong endorsement of the potential for next year after a historic season in which the Union won a playoff game for the first time.
Seven of the season’s 34 games are slated for national broadcasts, including the home games against regional rivals D.C. United (March 22), New York City FC (April 19), and the New York Red Bulls (Sept. 27).
Visits to last year’s Supporters’ Shield winner Los Angeles FC (March 8), expansion team Inter Miami (April 5), powerhouse Atlanta United (June 20) — which beat the Union in this year’s playoffs — and the Red Bulls (June 6) will also be nationally televised.
The game at Red Bull Arena will be the teams’ first meeting since this year’s playoffs, when the Union rallied from 3-1 down to beat New York, 4-3, in extra time at Talen Energy Stadium.
Of the seven national TV broadcasts, three will be on Fox Sports 1 (LAFC, D.C. and NYCFC), three will be on ESPN (Miami, Atlanta, and the Red Bulls home game) and one will be on UniMás (the Red Bulls road game).
It will be MLS’s 25th season overall, and the first in which every team does not play every other team. The Union will play each Eastern Conference opponent home and away, and one game each against 10 of the 13 Western Conference teams. The three teams the Union won’t play are the Houston Dynamo, Minnesota United, and defending-champion Seattle Sounders.
The Union will visit all three teams they’ve recently made major trades with: FC Dallas (Fafa Picault), the Colorado Rapids (Auston Trusty), and expansion team Nashville SC (Derrick Jones). Dallas will be the season-opener, as previously announced, on Feb. 29; Colorado will be on May 23; and Nashville, on May 13.
The Union’s travel schedule is very favorable, with the year’s only trips to the West Coast both coming in March: at LAFC on March 8 and at Portland on March 28. There will be no games against Western Conference teams after the end of June, and just one trip out of the Eastern time zone after the Colorado game: at the Chicago Fire on July 8.
That game will be played at Soldier Field, which the Fire are returning to in 2020 after 14 years in suburban Bridgeview. Inter Miami’s home will be Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Nashville SC’s will be the Tennessee Titans’ Nissan Stadium. Both expansion teams will move into newer, soccer-specific venues in future years.
The visit to New York City FC will come with a twist: It will be played at the Mets’ Citi Field instead of Yankee Stadium. NYCFC moved four games from the Bronx to Queens to avoid having too many midweek dates.
At the end of the season, the Union will be the only team in all of MLS with home games on each of the last two weekends: the Red Bulls, then the Fire on Oct. 4.
The home opener, also previously announced, will be March 14 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
There are just three midweek league games on the calendar: a home date with the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 15 and the games at Nashville and Chicago. That leaves room for the U.S. Open Cup, which the Union will enter May 19 or 20, and the Leagues Cup, featuring MLS and Mexican teams. That tournament’s schedule has not been set.
The Union qualified for the Leagues Cup as one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference behind those that qualified for the Concacaf Champions League: regular-season No. 1 New York City FC and U.S. Open Cup winner Atlanta United.
All times listed are Eastern. Local broadcast arrangements are still to be determined.
Saturday, Feb. 29: at FC Dallas, 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 8: at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes)
Saturday, March 14: vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 22: vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes)
Saturday, March 28: at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 5: at Inter Miami, 3 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
Saturday, April 11: vs. Montreal Impact, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 15: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, time TBD
Sunday, April 19: vs. New York City FC, 4 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Saturday, April 25: at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 2: vs. FC Cincinnati, time TBD
Saturday, May 9: vs. Atlanta United, time TBD
Wednesday, May 13: at Nashville SC, 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 16: vs. Sporting Kansas City, time TBD
Tuesday, May 19 or Wednesday, May 20: Union enter U.S. Open Cup in round of 32
Saturday, May 23: at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 30: vs. Columbus Crew, time TBD
Saturday, June 6: at New York Red Bulls, 6 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN)
Saturday, June 13: vs. Real Salt Lake, time TBD
Saturday, June 20: at Atlanta United, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Saturday, June 27: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 4: at Montreal Impact, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 8: at Chicago Fire, 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 11: vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 18: vs. New England Revolution, time TBD
Saturday, July 25: at Orlando City, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 1: vs. Inter Miami, time TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: at New York City FC, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 15: at Toronto FC, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 22: at D.C. United, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 29: vs. Orlando City, time TBD
Saturday, Sept. 12: at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 19: at FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27: vs. New York Red Bulls, time TBD (ESPN)