MLS rivalry games in 2020: Listing all the regular season matchups

Aaron Long – Jesus Media – New York derby

It's schedule release day! The dates have been revealed and MLS 2020 is almost here.

One of the first things most fans will do is to circle the rivalry dates on the calendar. We've got the full rundown of regular season dates for each of the league's top rivalries below. Most will feature during Heineken Rivalry Week (Aug. 20-23).

El Trafico

  • May 16: LAFC vs. LA Galaxy
  • Aug. 23: LA Galaxy vs. LAFC

Though just two years old, El Trafico is one of the league's must-watch rivalries. The series has given us a few instant classics and always seems to feature a ton of goals. 

Last season, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Carlos Vela three times. The Galaxy won one (3-2) and tied the other (3-3) in the regular season before LAFC got their first victory over their in-city neighbors in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs 5-3. What will Vela vs. Cristian Pavon and Co. have in store for 2020?

Cascadia Cup

  • April 18: Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
  • April 25: Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
  • May 17: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders
  • June 13: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders
  • Aug. 22: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers
  • Oct. 4: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers

Figured it'd be the most concise to wrap the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps into the same section, as the three battle for the annual Cascadia Cup. 

The reigning MLS Cup champion Sounders also took home the 2019 Cascadia Cup, narrowly edging the Timbers by a point, winning in Portland in August to hoist the cup for the second year running. 

Hudson River Derby

  • May 31: NYCFC vs. New York Red Bulls
  • Aug. 23: New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC

After another two hard-fought matches last year, the Hudson River Derby returns in 2020 with both teams facing some major change.

NYCFC are still without a successor for former head coach Dome Torrent while the Red Bulls parted ways with club legends Bradley Wright-Phillips and Luis Robles. Long offseason left. 

Hell is Real Derby

  • July 19: FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew SC
  • Aug. 22: Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati

Last year was a disappointing season for both clubs, but a pair of late-season Hell is Real derbies were the highlights. The Crew stormed FC Cincinnati at home while Cincy showed well at Nippert Stadium. What will Year Two have in store for this young rivalry?

Atlanta United vs. Orlando City SC

  • April 26: Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United
  • Aug. 23: Atlanta United vs. Orlando City SC

Will 2020 be the year that Orlando City get their first win over Atlanta United?

The Southeastern rivalry has been totally one-sided thus far, but the Lions are reloading for 2020 with Oscar Pareja appointed head coach. Josef Martinez and Co. will look to stay unbeaten against their foes in Florida. 

Texas Derby

  • May 16: FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo
  • Aug. 20: Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas

FC Dallas retained El Capitan in 2019 after the teams split their two matches, as FCD had the superior goal difference thanks to a big 5-1 win at home. That's two seasons in a row for FCD, but new Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos will hope to avenge that next season. 

Inter Miami vs. Orlando City SC

  • July 10: Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami
  • Aug. 20: Inter Miami vs. Orlando City SC

Heading into their inaugural campaign, Inter Miami have often made headlines for their signings, stadium news and reported targets. A few months before the season starts, their roster is coming into focus. 

Led by young DP Matias Pellegrini, Miami hope to be competitive in year one and get the better of in-state rivals Orlando City in their inaugural matches.

Atlantic Cup

  • April 26: D.C. United vs. NY Red Bulls
  • May 23: NY Red Bulls vs. D.C. United 

One of the league's longest-standing rivalries, the Red Bulls and D.C. United have already met 95 times across all competitions since their first meeting in 1996.

Canadian Classique

  • June 13: Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact
  • Aug. 22: Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC

The bitter rivalry between two of the league's teams north of the border, Toronto FC took both games of the Canadian Classique last season, but Montreal Impact had their revenge. L'Impact triumphed in the Canadian Championship final after penalties over Toronto, booking a place in this year's Concacaf Champions League. 

Michael Bradley is coming back for Toronto and Thierry Henry will be in charge of Montreal in this year's iteration of the rivalry. 

Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United

  • Feb. 29: Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United

With Nashville SC in the Western Conference this season, these two clubs will meet just once in Nashville's inaugural campaign. 

The expansion club will open their season at Nissan Stadium against Atlanta on opening weekend, one of the marquee matchups to welcome MLS back for 2020. 

California Clasico

  • June 13: LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes
  • June 27: San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy

Two hugely entertaining games over a two-week span, the San Jose Earthquakes swept the Galaxy in 2019. The games come in rapid succession again in 2020.

The Quakes hope to take another step forward under Matias Almeyda next season while the Galaxy begin life After Zlatan.

Rocky Mountain Cup

  • April 11: Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids
  • Aug. 22: Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake

The Colorado Rapids haven't beaten Real Salt Lake in their last five meetings, and just three times since 2013 (3W-12L-2D). Can that change in 2020?

Colorado still have work to do this offseason with two Designated Player slots opened up for transfer season. Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, dropped the interim tags on both head coach Freddy Juarez and GM Elliot Fall, entering a new era of their own. 

Minnesota United vs. Sporting Kansas City

  • April 25: Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United
  • July 18: Minnesota United vs. Sporting Kansas City

Dubbed the "Nicest rivalry in MLS," Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City split their MLS season series in 2019 but MNUFC eliminated SKC in the US Open Cup. 

Off the field, the two worked together when SKC traded Ike Opara to the Loons, where he'd win MLS Defender of the Year.