As the curtains close on Austin FC’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer this Sunday, fans of the Verde & Black can already begin to look forward to next year. On Friday, Major League Soccer announced the schedule format and conference alignment for the 2022 MLS season.
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar beginning in November as opposed to its usual summer scheduling, the MLS regular season will begin earlier than ever before next year. The season will kick off on Saturday, February 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, November 5, more than two weeks prior to the start of the FIFA World Cup.
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 alongside Austin FC in the Western Conference, resulting in two conferences of 14 teams each.
All MLS clubs, including Austin FC, will play a 34-game regular season, with 17 home matches and 17 away matches. ATXFC will face each of its conference opponents two times and play eight non-conference opponents once.
The 2022 MLS regular season schedule will consist of all weekend matches apart from five, or fewer, midweek matches for each club – targeting one each in May, June and July, and two in August. 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.
MLS will announce the full regular season schedule for Austin FC and all of its clubs later this year.