Season Preview - 2020 - index primary image

MLS is Back! Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC to open inaugural MLS seasons

Top Things to watch in MLS this week
MLS is Back: All 26 teams will be in action during Opening Weekend, which kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 29. The complete MLS Regular Season Schedule is available HERE.
Roster Compliance Deadline: By Friday, each club’s official roster of players under contract must comply with the guidelines outlined in MLS roster rules.
A Pair of Debutants: David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF and Music City’s newest attraction Nashville SC open their inaugural MLS campaigns this season. 
It’s Anyone’s Game: There have been 10 different MLS Cup champions over the last 13 seasons.
Young Stars: The average age of 2020 newcomers to MLS from outside of the U.S. and Canada is 24.5, which is more than two years younger than it was four years ago.
Newcomer Nashville SC takes center stage on FOX
Nashville SC is commanding the spotlight for its highly anticipated inaugural home opener with a primetime matchup against perennial powerhouse Atlanta Unitedthis Saturday, Feb. 29, at Nissan Stadium.
Coverage begins on FOX and FOX Deportes at 8 p.m. ET. 
Dax McCarty – a veteran midfielder and two-time MLS All-Star – has Nashville steady at its core, and the back line just got a major defensive upgrade after a blockbuster acquisition secured U.S. Men’s National Team defender Walker Zimmerman – a Supporters’ Shield winner with both FC Dallas (2016) and LAFC (2019).
On the opposing side, Atlanta United’s attacking trio of South American superstars is more than ready to reaffirm that they are the true Kings of the South. Josef Martinez iscoming off a 27-goal season that ranked him among the top three scorers in the league. The 2018 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot winner is eyeing a return to the top, while teammates Ezequiel Barco and Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez could be on the brink of their most prolific MLS campaigns yet.  
Will Nashville SC keep the Music City a buzz or will Atlanta United serve up some Southern hospitality of its own.
Inter Miami CF heads to Hollywood for season opener
Inter Miami CF will take the field for their first MLS Regular Season match this weekend with crop of fresh young faces and three-time Liga MX champion Rodolfo Pizzaro leading the charge against the 2019 MLS Supporters’ Shield champions LAFC and reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP Carlos Vela on March 1 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Miami’s offensive power will be led by 26-year-old Pizarro, a Mexican National Team mainstay who was recently named to the Liga MX Best XI for 2019 Clausura. He will be joined by the young talents of 19-year-old Argentines Matias Pellegrini and Julián Carranza, who both have youth national team experience. Organizing the back will be goalkeeper and three-time Supporters’ Shield winner Luis Robles, who owns the record for most consecutive MLS regular season starts and ranks sixth all-time in wins for a goalkeeper (14).  
With momentum coming into their inaugural season, Miami is challenging a giant of an opponent with a probable chip on its shoulder. LAFC dominated the 2019 regular season, winning Supporters’ Shield, setting a regular season points record (72), and tying the single-season team goals record (85) among other accolades. However, their dream season came to an end in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Championship – one win away from making it to MLS Cup.  
Will Inter Miami make a bold entrance into its inaugural season, or will LAFC’s winning ways be too much for them to handle?
Mexico National Team, Liga MX Standouts Highlight Star-Studded Offseason Signings
Clubs across MLS continue to sign young dynamic players with international flair, as the more than 90 international newcomers representing 42 countries signed so far this offseason average 25 years of age, in line with marks from the last two seasons, the youngest in league history. This year’s offseason signings hold a distinct Mexican background, as 10 players transferred to MLS from Liga MX clubs, the most in League history, while six offseason signings were born in Mexico.
Among the six Mexican born players, four have represented the Mexican National Team including two FIFA World Cup veterans in Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (LA Galaxy) and Alan Pulido (Sporting Kansas City).  Meanwhile, of the 10 players from Liga MX, four commanded club-record transfer fees from their respective MLS clubs upon their entrance into the League (Lucas Cavallini – Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Lucas Zelarayán – Columbus Crew SC, Rodolfo Pizarro – Inter Miami CF, Pulido).
Outside of North America, the largest contingent of newcomers hailed from South America (35 players), including 13 players from Argentina and five each from Brazil and Colombia. Of the 13 Argentines, six were signed to Designated Player contracts, the most of any country.
MLS Clubs on Brink of CCL Quarterfinals with Homefield Advantage
The five MLS clubs competing in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League return home to host the second leg in the Round of 16, with four holding advantage following their first leg performances last week.
Seattle Sounders FC host Olimpia on Thursday for its first competitive match at CenturyLink Field since capturing the 2019 MLS Cup. Sounders FC finished Leg 1 with a 2-2 draw with goals from newly-signed Designated Player João Paulo and academy product midfielder Jordan Morris.
Elsewhere in MLS CCL action, New York City FC forward Héber led all players with three goals in the club’s 5-3 Leg 1 victory over AD San Carlos, the first CCL match in NYCFC history.
Atlanta United, the only MLS club that also qualified for last year’s tournament, was lifted to a 1-1 draw in Leg 1 with a Josef Martínez goal. The Venezuelan finished last year’s tournament with a team-best three goals.
MLS CCL Schedule
Tuesday, Feb. 25
Atlanta United vs. CD Motagua (Honduras) – 8 p.m. ET – FS1 / TUDN / TSN.ca / TSN App
Wednesday, Feb. 26
New York City FC vs. AD San Carlos (Costa Rica) – 6 p.m. ET – FS2 / TUDN
Montreal Impact vs. Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica) – 8 p.m. ET – FS2 / TUDNxtra 1 / TSN5
Thursday, Feb. 27
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Club León (Mexico) – 10 p.m. ET – FS1 / TUDN
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Olimpia (Honduras) – 10 p.m. ET – FS2 / TUDNxtra 1
MLS Clubs Finalize Lineups Ahead of 2020 Roster Compliance
The 2020 MLS Roster Compliance deadline, the date where all clubs must submit their 2020 roster adhering to League rules, is Friday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. ET.
While a club may continue to add or release players from its roster or training camp, the club's official roster - players under contract - must remain within the MLS roster guidelines.
MLS clubs will have until the close of the Primary Transfer Window on May 5 to continue adding players to its 2020 roster via international transfers.
 

MLS Regular Season: Week 1 Game Notes
 
Saturday, Feb. 29
D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids, 1 p.m.
  • D.C. United concluded their preseason with a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday in Clearwater, Fla. Ola Kamara scored a pair of goals, with the third coming from Ulises Segura. United completed their preparatory campaign with a 3-2-1 record, 2-2-1 vs. MLS teams.
  • The Rapids saw their preseason campaign come to an end in a rain-shortened 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Saturday. Andre Shinyashiki scored the Rapids’ goal on three minutes, after TFC had opened the scoring in the first minute, but the match was halted at halftime. The Rapids concluded their preseason with a 2-3-2 record, 1-3-1 vs. MLS teams.
  • D.C. United has a nine-game undefeated streak, and a three-game winning streak, alive in the all-time series, including a 3-2 win last April 13 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the only meeting between the clubs. The Rapids’ last win in the series came April 3, 2011, a 4-1 in Commerce City.
  • D.C. United has a five-game home undefeated streak in the series, dating back to 2010, with three wins in that span, including a 2-1 win in the last meeting in D.C., July 28, 2018 in the first encounter at Audi Field.
 
Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution, 3 p.m. (TVAS)
  • The Impact claimed a stunning result in their first competitive match of the year, reaching a 2-2 draw with Deportivo Saprissa in San Jose, Costa Rica on Wednesday evening. The Impact were up by two goals after just 22 minutes on goals from Orji Okwonkwo and Romell Quioto, but Saprissa netted two goals in the final 10 minutes to pull level. The return match will be played Feb. 27 in Montréal.
  • The Revolution concluded their preseason campaign with a 3-1 win against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday evening. Gustavo Bou netted two goals for the Revs, the third coming from new acquisition Adam Buksa. The Revolution ended their preparations with a 2-2-1 record, all vs. MLS sides.
  • The Impact gained points from both meetings between the clubs a season ago, a 3-0 win April 24 at Gillette Stadium, and a goalless draw May 18 at Stade Saputo.
  • The Impact have taken points from the last two home encounters in the series, after the Revolution had won the previous two matchups in Montréal, in 2016 and 2017. The teams are meeting for the first time at Olympic Stadium.
 
Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy, 3:30 p.m. (Univision)
  • The Dynamo saw their preseason schedule come to an end in a 4-1 loss to Columbus Crew SC in Tucson, Ariz. Tommy McNamara scored the lone Dynamo goal, who completed their preparations with a 3-1-1 record, 1-1-1 vs. MLS competition.
  • The Galaxy ended their preseason campaign with a 1-1 draw vs. Chicago Fire FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday evening. The Galaxy’s lone goal came from Sacha Kljestan, his first of the preseason since coming to the club in the offseason. The Galaxy ended their preseason with a 3-1-1 record, all vs. MLS competition.
  • The teams split their two encounters a season ago, each winning on their home ground. The Galaxy claimed a 2-1 victory April 19 at Dignity Health Sports Park, then the Dynamo took a 4-2 victory Oct. 6 at BBVA Stadium.
  • The Dynamo have won the last two meetings between the clubs in Houston; the Galaxy’s last victory there came Oct. 16, 2016, a 1-0 victory.
 
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Toronto FC, 5:30 p.m. (TSN)
  • The Quakes concluded their preseason preparations with a 3-1 loss in a closed-door scrimmage vs. Sacramento Republic of the USL on Friday. The lone San Jose goal came through Andy Rios in the first half. The Quakes recorded a 2-2-1 record in their preseason matches, one vs. an MLS side (a 4-1 loss to Columbus Crew SC on Feb. 3).
  • Toronto FC had their preseason campaign come to a conclusion with a rain-shortened 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Saturday. Tsubasa Endoh scored the TFC goal after just 33 seconds, before the match was eventually abandoned at halftime. TFC concluded their preseason with a 3-2-1 record, 2-2-1 vs. MLS teams.
  • The Quakes won the lone meeting between the teams a season ago, a 2-1 win May 26 at BMO Field, their first win in Toronto in four matches (since 2012).
  • The Quakes have a four-game home undefeated streak alive in the series, dating back to 2010, when TFC claimed a 3-1 win at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara. The Quakes have never lost to TFC at Avaya Stadium in two meetings all-time (one win, one draw).
 
FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union, 6 p.m.
  • FC Dallas ended their preseason with a closed-door scrimmage vs. Inter Miami CF on Saturday in Tampa, where results and team information were not disclosed. FCD had a 5-2-1 record in preseason matches, 1-1-1 vs. MLS teams.
  • The Union ended their preseason schedule with a 3-1 loss to D.C. United on Saturday afternoon in Clearwater, Fla., Jamiro Monteiro netting the lone Union goal. The Union completed their preseason campaign with a 3-4-0 mark, all vs. MLS competition.
  • The Union took a 2-1 win in the lone meeting between the clubs a season ago, April 6 in Chester. The home team has won each of the last four meetings, over the last four seasons.
  • FC Dallas is undefeated all-time at home vs. the Union, with five wins and one draw in league play, and victories in the last three meetings in Frisco dating back to 2014.
 
Orlando City SC vs. Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m.
  • Orlando City concluded their preseason preparations with a 2-1 win against USL Championship side San Antonio FC at Exploria Stadium on Friday evening. Chris Mueller netted the game-winner for OCSC after Tesho Akindele gave the side a first-half lead. Orlando City ended their preseason with a 6-1-0 record, 1-1-0 vs. MLS competition.
  • Real had their preseason preparations come to an end with a 3-2 loss to USL side Phoenix Rising FC in the final match of the Visit Tucson Sun Cup in Arizona on Saturday evening. Damir Kreilach and Justin Meram scored the RSL goals, who ended their preseason schedule with a 1-2-0 record, 1-1-0 vs. MLS teams.
  • Real Salt Lake won the lone meeting between the clubs a season ago, a 2-1 win April 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium, their first win ever vs. Orlando City SC in five meetings all-time. OCSC had won two of the first four meetings, with two draws.
  • Orlando City won the last meeting between the clubs in Orlando, a 3-1 win May 6, 2018. The first meeting between the teams in Orlando, in 2016, ended in a 2-2 draw.
 
Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United, 8 p.m. (FOX)
  • Nashville SC concluded their first MLS preseason with a 3-1-2 record, ending their preparatory campaign with a 1-1 draw with D.C. United in Clearwater, Fla. Nashville SC ended with a 2-1-1 mark vs. MLS sides.
  • Atlanta United gained a quality result from their competitive opener in 2020, reaching a 1-1 draw with FC Motagua in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on Tuesday evening. The home side took the lead after 34 minutes, but Josef Martínez equalized barely a minute later to give ATLUTD a vital away goal ahead of the return leg Feb. 25, which will be played at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Atlanta.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m. (TSN)
  • Whitecaps FC concluded their preseason preparations with a dramatic victory, Fredy Montero netting the game-winner in stoppage time for a 2-1 win vs. Minnesota United FC at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. Lucas Cavallini pulled Whitecaps FC level earlier in the second half, who finished their preparations with a 3-2-1 record, all vs. MLS competition.
  • Sporting saw their preseason come to a close in a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls at the Visit Tucson Sun Cup in Arizona on Saturday. Gadi Kinda scored the lone goal for Sporting, who concluded their preparations with a 2-3-1 preseason record, 1-2-1 vs. MLS competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City have a four-game undefeated streak alive in the series, with three victories in that time, over the last two seasons. The teams met twice a season ago, first reaching a 1-1 draw May 18 at Children’s Mercy Park, then SKC claiming a 3-0 win July 13 at BC Place.
  • Sporting have won the last two meetings in Vancouver, also taking a 4-1 there in 2018. SKC has come away with points on six of their eight trips all-time to BC Place, with four wins and two draws.
 
Sunday, March 1
Columbus Crew SC vs. New York City FC, 12:30 p.m.
  • Crew SC completed an undefeated preseason campaign with a 4-1 win against the Houston Dynamo in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday. Gyasi Zardes scored the first of his two goals in the opening minute – the second consecutive match Columbus scored in the opening minute – with Jonathan Mensah and Lucas Zelarayan also scoring. The Crew ended their preparations with a 5-0-2 record, 3-0-2 vs. MLS sides.
  • NYCFC captured a massive victory in the first international match in the club’s history, defeating AD San Carlos in Costa Rica in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie in the Concacaf Champions League on Wednesday. Héber netted a hat trick for NYCFC’s first three goals and then strikes by Alexander Callens and Alexandru Mitrita put the match away. The return match will be played at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Wednesday.
  • The teams met twice in 2019, with NYCFC coming away with points in both. The teams reached a 2-2 draw June 1 at Mapfre Stadium, then NYCFC took the win by the game’s only goal Aug. 21 at Yankee Stadium.
  • NYCFC have won once all-time in Columbus, a 3-2 win there in 2017. Crew SC have won two of the six meetings at home in the series in league play; three have ended in draws.
 
New York Red Bulls vs. FC Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
  • The Red Bulls concluded their preseason schedule with a 2-1 win vs. Sporting Kansas City in the Visit Tucson Sun Cup in Arizona on Saturday. Cristian Casseres Jr. set up a goal by Florian Valot to give the Red Bulls the lead, then netted a penalty kick four minutes from time to seal the win. The Red Bulls concluded their preparations with a 4-2-2 record, 3-1-2 vs. MLS teams.
  • FC Cincinnati wrapped up their preseason with a 3-3 draw with Icelandic top flight side KR Reykjavik in Bradenton, Fla. on Saturday. Kendall Waston, Jimmy McLaughlin and Allan Cruz all netted goals for FCC, who concluded their preparatory campaign with a 3-2-1 record, 1-2-1 vs. MLS teams.
  • The Red Bulls won both meetings between the clubs in FCC’s inaugural season, without conceding a goal. The Red Bulls took a 1-0 win in the first meeting ever, April 27 at Red Bull Arena, then claimed a 2-0 win May 25 at Nippert Stadium.
 
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Chicago Fire FC, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Sounders FC kicked off their competitive campaign with a solid result, gaining a 2-2 draw with CD Olimpia in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie in the Concacaf Champions League on Thursday. Newcomer Joao Pinto gave Sounders FC and early lead and Jordan Morris doubled it shortly after the halftime break, but Olimpia scored two late goals to equalize. The return leg is set for Feb. 27 at CenturyLink Field.
  • Fire FC ended their preseason preparations with a 1-1 draw vs. the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park, Micheal Azira scoring a late equalizer for the Fire. Fire FC concluded their preseason schedule with a 3-2-1 record, 2-2-1 vs. MLS competition.
  • Sounders FC won the lone meeting between the clubs a season ago, a 4-2 victory at SeatGeek Stadium. It was Seattle’s fourth win in eight trips all-time to Chicago, including wins in three of the last five visits there, since 2012. The teams have never met at Soldier Field.
  • Sounders FC are undefeated in six meetings all-time with the Fire at CenturyLink Field, with a 4-0-2 record, last a 1-1 draw there in 2018.
 
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Inter Miami CF, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • LAFC kicked off the first international campaign in the club’s history with a 2-0 loss to Club León of Mexico in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie in the Concacaf Champions League on Tuesday. The return match will be played at Banc of California Stadium on Feb. 27.
  • Inter Miami CF ended their preseason preparations with a 1-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL Championship at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa on Saturday. The lone IMCF goal came from No. 1 overall pick Robbie Robinson. Inter Miami CF also played a closed-door scrimmage vs. FC Dallas, where no results or team information was released; Inter Miami played one open friendly vs. an MLS side, suffering a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Feb. 15.
 
Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United FC, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
  • Minnesota United FC concluded their preseason preparations with a 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. on Saturday. Ethan Finlay netted the lone goal for MNUFC, who suffered their first preseason loss in the effort, ending their schedule with a 4-1-1 record, 1-1-1 vs. MLS teams.
  • The Timbers saw their preseason come to an end in a 3-1 defeat by the New England Revolution at Providence Park on Saturday evening. Diego Chara netted the Timbers’ lone goal, as the club ended its preseason schedule with a 4-2-0 record, 1-2-0 vs. MLS teams.
  • MNUFC came away with points in both league meetings between the clubs a season ago, without conceding a goal. Minnesota United won the first encounter by the game’s only goal, Aug. 4 at Allianz Field; the teams then reached a goalless draw Sept. 22 at Providence Park.
  • MNUFC are now undefeated over the last four meetings in all competitions vs. the Timbers. Portland’s last victory in the series came April 14, 2018, a 3-2 win at home.


 

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