NEW YORK_ (November 5, 2021) --_ Major League Soccer today announced the schedule format and conference alignment for the 2022 MLS season.
To best align with the 2022 international soccer calendar, the MLS regular season will begin earlier than ever before, kicking off on Saturday, Feb. 26, and run through Decision Day, the regular season finale, on Sunday, October 9. Following three consecutive weeks of Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs action, MLS Cup will be played on Saturday, Nov. 5, more than two weeks prior to the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Nov. 21 and more than a week prior to the player release date on Nov. 14.
Major League soccer also confirmed today that Charlotte FC, set to begin play as Major League Soccer’s 28th team, will compete in the Eastern Conference, while Nashville SC will compete in the Western Conference, resulting in two conferences of 14 teams each.
All teams will play a 34-game regular season - 17 home games, 17 away games - facing each of their conference opponent two times and playing eight non-conference opponents once.
The MLS regular season schedule will consist of all weekend matches with the exception of five, or fewer, midweek matches – targeting one each in May, June and July, and two in August. The midweek match dates for each team will not be scheduled in consecutive weeks.
In observance of the 2022 FIFA calendar, MLS will seek to avoid scheduling matches during the FIFA international windows in March, June or September. Only at a team’s request will MLS consider scheduling a match during the March window, or during the second weekend of the June double window. Teams may not request to play matches during the September window, at the final stretch of the regular season.
The full MLS regular season schedule will be announced later this year.