Atlanta United is scheduled to host Orlando on Aug. 29 at 3:30 p.m. It will play at Orlando on Sept. 6. The Lions, led by Nani and new manager Oscar Pareja, are 2-1-2 this season and on Tuesday will compete for the championship of the MLS tournament. Orlando has yet to defeat Atlanta United in eight regular season meetings (0-6-2).
Decision Day, the final game of the regular season, will be Nov. 8. The playoffs will be Nov. 20 and the MLS Cup is scheduled for Dec. 12. Eighteen teams, an increase of four compared to last season, will qualify for the playoffs: ten from the East and eight from the West. The East will feature two play-in games.
Teams will continue to follow protocols to try to minimize the chances of COVID-19. Teams will take chartered flights to and from road games. Teams typically will arrive for road games on match day and will depart after the game. According to MLS, “All players, technical staff, and essential club staff will be tested every other day, including the day before each match day. Also, guidelines will be provided to players, coaches and essential staff to avoid the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 during their time away from club facilities.”
“We believe we have a good plan,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.
While MLS succeeded in its bubble, with the league reporting zero positive tests among players and staff from the 24 teams that competed in the past 28 days, other leagues playing outside of bubbles haven’t had the same success. Numerous players in Major League Baseball and the United Soccer League have tested positive, resulting in the postponement of games.
Garber was asked repeatedly during a press conference on Saturday why the league has chosen to only resume in local markets, but to do so in some cases with supporters allowed to attend games in some markets when allowed by local governments.
“Playing games with fans in attendance is a step toward what the new normal in sports is going to be,” Garber said.
Garber said that should there be positive cases among players or staff, the league will act accordingly, which can include the postponement or cancellation of matches. If there are points inequalities because of a difference in the number of games played, Garber said the playoff spots may be determined by points-per-match averages.
“If we have issues we will deal with them,” he said.
Atlanta United schedule
(After these six games, the team is expected to play 12 more)
Aug. 22 vs. Nashville, 7 p.m., Fox Sports South
Aug. 26 at Miami, 8 p.m., Fox Sports South
Aug. 29 vs. Orlando, 3:30 p.m., Univision
Sept. 2 vs. Miami, 7 p.m., FS1
Sept. 6 at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports South
Sept. 12 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m. Fox Sports South