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Union return to regular season play with six games beginning August 21

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The Union didn’t have to wait long after the end of their MLS is Back Tournament run to find out their next opponents.

Major League Soccer announced a plan to resume the regular season in home markets on Saturday morning, with (broadly speaking) each team set to play six matches within the initial resumption of the season.

For the Union, those matches are:

Friday, 8/21 @ New England, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, 8/25 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, 8/25 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 9/2 @ Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, 9/7 @ Red Bulls, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, 9/12 vs. New England, 7:30 p.m.

All matches will be televised in-market on PHL17 and out-of-market on ESPN+.

Per MLS, the “focus of the new schedule is efficient travel. Teams will take chartered flights, or buses, and for the majority of road trips will arrive in the host market on matchday and depart after the match later that evening.”

MLS plans to play matches in front of fans where allowed by state and local health authorities, although “the majority of the matches in local markets will be played without fans in attendance.” Matches at Subaru Park — where the current permitted capacity is just 250 people — look set to fall into the latter category.

MLS also announced a revised format for the playoffs that will see 18 teams qualify for the playoffs. Decision Day will be November 8 and MLS Cup is set for December 12. The league “plans to announce the balance of the regular season schedule by early September.” The Athletic and others report that the plan is for each team to play a total of 18 games during the remainder of the season, leaving 12 games yet to be scheduled.

Coming off a deep run in the MLS is Back Tournament and securing seven out of nine available points in the group stage, the Union will feel good about their position as the season resumes. They sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with eight points through five matches.


  1. On the sporting side of things, that is a lot of games in a little amount of time.

    You would THINK this would be a great place to rotate the squad and get young players like Turner and De Vries playing time.

    You would HOPE Curtin is able to use these short rests smartly and rest Bedoya and other veterans. You would WISH you see Fontana get a start in there, and maybe Turner come in late to close games out and see what he can do.

    SADLY I don’t think that is going to happen…

    • The play on the fourth day from games two through five. The final match of the six is played on the sixth day.

      since there are twelve more games coming, and they looked leg weary against Portland even playing on the sixth day, squad rotation would be a good idea.
      The positive virus test with Union II emphasizes that movement between the first and second teams would be medically risky for both squads. Even more risky now that the easier isolation of the bubble is over..
      Once the initial infections were excised through exile, the bubble has stayed virus free, at least as reported by the interested party, MLS itself.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    According to the e-mail I received from the team this afternoon, games will also be streamed on their website (for those who don’t have access to PHL-17).

    • Andy’s information tallies with what sources indicated to me earlier in the season. The streaming is available only for locally broadcast games. It does not apply to any national telecasts.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    As Tim mentioned above, someone involved with Union 2 has tested positive and is in isolation. As a precaution, their game tomorrow (Sunday) has been postponed.

  4. Any reason that 3 teams that played both games away before COVID are playing away for the first restart games? Chicago and Philly have already had a lot of travel and have to start off away again? NYCFC is playing “across town” at Red Bull arena for their 3rd away game and have shot themselves in the foot by not finding a home outside Yankee stadium already so I don’t feel to bad for them. I hope never to have to watch a soccer match on that pitch again.

    No home fans but a home locker room and driving your own car to work carry some weight don’t they?

    • I’m guessing everyone plays 3 home and 3 away of the next 6 games, so it’s probably just random.

    • I think Andy is right – the primary thing is playing three home and three away. The nature of things this year is that the schedules aren’t going to be perfectly even, and (from MLS’s perspective) keeping the logistics simple is the most important thing.

  5. Just FYI: In Holland they are now allowing 5,000 spectators into the stadium (but singing is not allowed). A strict shutdown period there has worked!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      At Suburu Park they are going to allow STH to purchase cutout pictures of themselves to be shown around the stadium. The bad news is that they are $40. The good news is that the money is going to the Union Foundation which has obviously lost a lot of money in 50/50 sales this year.

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