Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule is out, and it’s tough

August 29, 2020 Atlanta - Atlanta United forward Erick Torres (left) and Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson battle for the ball with Orlando City defender Antonio Carlos (left) and Orlando City defender Joao Moutinho during the second half in a MLS soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, August 29, 2020. Orlando City won 3-1 over the Atlanta United. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
August 29, 2020 Atlanta - Atlanta United forward Erick Torres (left) and Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson battle for the ball with Orlando City defender Antonio Carlos (left) and Orlando City defender Joao Moutinho during the second half in a MLS soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, August 29, 2020. Orlando City won 3-1 over the Atlanta United. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Atlanta United will start its 2021 MLS season playing three of four games on the road and end its season with two road games, according to the schedule released by the league Wednesday.

The team, led by new manager Gabriel Heinze, will start the season at Orlando on April 17 and is scheduled to end the 34-game season Nov. 7 at Cincinnati.

Atlanta United’s games are scheduled for national broadcasts by UniMas, Univision, ESPN, ABC, Fox or FS1 14 times. TV information is TBD for two games. The others are scheduled to be broadcast on either Bally Sports South or Bally Sports Southeast or on the app.

The Five Stripes, who missed the playoffs for the first time last year, will have home-game stretches of four consecutive during late August and September, and three in October. It will play three consecutive road games, its longest stretch, in late July-early August at Orlando, at Montreal and at Columbus.

The team plans to open Mercedes-Benz Stadium to full capacity for games July 24 against Columbus and Aug. 15 against LAFC.

The team will play only two teams from the Western Conference, at Seattle on May 23 and at home against LAFC on Aug. 25, and won’t play expansion-side Austin.

Atlanta United will play Orlando, which made the playoffs for the first time last season, three times, twice on the road at once at home; Montreal, which made the playoffs last season, three times, twice on the road (which may be played at a site to be determined because of international travel and COVID-19 restrictions) and once at home; and Cincinnati three times, twice on the road in its new stadium and once at home.

It will play rebuilt Inter Miami three times, twice at home and once on the road; Toronto, which made the playoffs last season three times, including twice at home and once on the road (which may also be at a site TBD); Nashville, which made the playoffs last season, three times, twice at home and once on the road.

It will play MLS champ Columbus, Philadelphia, NYCFC, the New York Red Bulls, Chicago, New England and D.C. United twice in home-and-home series.

Philadelphia, NYCFC, the Red Bulls and New England made the expanded playoffs last season.

The team will play on short rest (four or less days from one game to next) at least 14 times, starting with the season opener because the team is scheduled to host Alajuelense in the second leg of its Champions League series April 13. Because of the congested international schedule this summer, which includes breaks in June and October, the league schedule is composed of 23 weeks. The roughest stretch may be June 20-27 when it plays Philadelphia on June 20, NYCFC on June 23 and the Red Bulls on June 27.

Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule:

April 17 at Orlando, 3 p.m., UniMas

April 24 vs. Chicago, 8 p.m., Bally Sports South or Bally Sports Southeast

May 1 at New England, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 9 at Inter Miami, 1 p.m., ABC

May 15 vs. Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 23 at Seattle, 4:30 p.m., Fox

May 29 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 20 vs. Philadelphia, 2 p.m., ESPN

June 23 at NYCFC (at Red Bull Arena), TBD, BSSO/BSSE

June 27 vs. New York Red Bulls, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at Chicago, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 8 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. New England, 5 p.m., ESPN

July 21 at Cincinnati, 7 p.m., FS1

July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC

July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN

Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, B7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

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