Circle the dates in your calendar. Start making plans. MLS is Back in just over two months as the 28th season of Major League Soccer kicks off Feb. 25.
All 29 clubs - including expansion side St. Louis City SC - will commence a campaign featuring 34 regular season matches in 34 weeks with hopes of lifting the Supporters' Shield trophy and securing a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs when the final whistle blows on Decision Day on Oct. 21.
Major League Soccer released Sporting Kansas City's full 2023 regular season schedule on Tuesday and here are 10 things for fans to know about the competitive calendar that lies ahead in the new year.
1. MLS is Back on Feb. 25
Let the countdown begin. MLS is Back on Feb. 25 and all matches during the opening weekend will be available to watch for free on the Apple TV app.
Sporting Kansas City will cap off all the action on the opening day of the season when Manager Peter Vermes' side takes on the Timbers in a 9:30 p.m. CT kickoff at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
It will go down as the earliest regular season match in club history -- breaking a record set at the start of this year with a Feb. 27 opener held indoors at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta -- and comes against a Timbers squad that won the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 and finished as MLS Cup runners-up in 2021.
In preparation for the upcoming campaign, Sporting will begin the club’s 2023 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy on Jan. 6 when players report to Kansas City for entrance physicals, testing and meetings. The team will then travel to Arizona from Jan. 9 to Feb. 8 and from Feb. 15 to Feb. 24 for training and exhibition matches.
2. Home Opener set for March 11
After back-to-back road matches to open the campaign, Sporting Kansas City's highly-anticipated home opener arrives on Saturday, March 11 against five-time MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy. A pair of MLS charter clubs, Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy are historically two of the most successful teams in Major League Soccer.
Sporting are unbeaten in the team's past four matches against the Galaxy to level the series at 26-26-16 in 68 all-time regular season encounters and SKC is 16-3-8 all-time in regular season home openers, including a 5-1-6 record at Children's Mercy Park under Vermes.
3. Quest for U.S. Open Cup begins in April
Four-time champions of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2004, 2012, 2015, 2017) and semifinalists in 2022, Sporting Kansas City will enter the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the Third Round on April 18-19. The single-elimination competition will continue with the Round of 32 (May 9-10), Round of 16 (May 23-24), Quarterfinals (June 6), Semifinals (Aug. 23) and Final (Sept. 27) as the winner secures entry into the Concacaf Champions League.
Entering its 108th edition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – U.S. Soccer's National Championship – is open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer and has crowned a champion annually since 1914 (excluding 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States and the world's third-longest-running open soccer tournament.
4. Arch rivals St. Louis City SC join MLS
For the first 20 years of Major League Soccer, Kansas City's closest opponent was eight hours by car whether you went west to Denver, south to Dallas or northeast to Chicago. Then Minnesota United FC arrived in MLS in 2017 and SKC fans had a slightly shorter road trip - just under seven hours up Interstate 35 to St. Paul.
Now, St. Louis City SC joins the Western Conference and supporters of both clubs will have three opportunities in 2023 to drive less than four hours on Interstate 70 - or ride the Amtrak - for highly-anticipated regular season match-ups. First up is the inaugural meeting between the regional rivals on Saturday, May 20 at CITYPARK with a national television audience on FS1 before two late-season showdowns on Saturday, Sept. 2 in Kansas City and Saturday, Sept. 30 in St. Louis.
5. MLS All-Star Game on July 19
The 2023 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target is set for Wednesday, July 19 at Audi Field in the nation’s capital and will be free to watch exclusively on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app.
The 2023 MLS All-Star Game will be the culmination of a week-long series of events throughout Washington, D.C., including community initiatives, concerts, parties, the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G and more.
After two years of facing the Liga MX All-Stars in the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Commissioner Don Garber hinted a new opponent may be in store for 2023. The MLS All-Star Game has featured several different iterations in years past, including East vs. West and MLS All-Stars against international clubs.
6. MLS vs. Liga MX in Leagues Cup
In a new chapter for North American soccer, all 47 MLS and LIGA MX clubs will compete in Leagues Cup 2023 from July 21 to Aug. 19 as the MLS regular season will pause following matches on July 15 for the annual World Cup-style tournament.
A total of 77 matches will be played across the United States and Canada with the Leagues Cup champion, as well as the second and third place teams, qualifying for the Concacaf Champions League.
Sporting KC will play two matches in the group stage - one home and one away - with the top two finishers in the three-team group advancing to the Round of 32.
7. Inaugural match-up with Miami
St. Louis City SC isn't the only MLS opponent Sporting will face for the first time in 2023.
In the club's fourth season, Inter Miami CF will welcome SKC on Saturday, Sept. 9 at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The match - which coincidentally comes on the 23-year anniversary of Kansas City winning the Supporters' Shield on Sept. 9, 2000 in Tampa, Fla. - marks the first-ever meeting between the cross-conference foes.
And might Miami have a massive summer signing in the works?
8. International dates to know
Fresh off the thrilling 2022 FIFA World Cup, national teams will have a full slate of matches in 2023 with five designated international windows and several marquee competitions - at the youth and senior levels - for Concacaf and FIFA.
The official FIFA windows are scheduled for March 20-28, June 12-20, Sept. 4-12, Oct. 9-17 and Nov. 13-21. MLS will pause during the October and November FIFA international windows. MLS clubs were presented with the option to play during the June and September FIFA international window and Sporting KC was one of 13 clubs electing to do so.
The 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup will take place from June 24-July 16 as the United States Men's National Team looks to defend its title, while the league phase of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League will conclude in March before the semifinals, third place match and final are held in June. Globally, the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup is scheduled for May 20-June 11 in Indonesia with the United States one of 24 countries competing in the competition.
Also of note, the transfer windows for MLS clubs to acquire players from abroad are set for Jan. 31-April 24 and July 5-Aug. 2.
9. Tickets now on sale for 2023
Want full season tickets to cheer on Sporting Kansas City all year long at Children's Mercy Park in the MLS regular season, U.S. Open Cup and Leagues Cup? Season tickets for Sporting Kansas City's 2023 campaign feature exclusive benefits, including a subscription to MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app and complimentary away match tickets, and are available by calling 888-4KC-GOAL or visiting SportingKC.com.
Looking for other options to secure seats? Sporting also offers a variety of ticket packages and promotions. The Captain’s Flex Pack allows fans to build their own ticket package by selecting five or more matches while the Home Opener Pack provides tickets to Sporting’s home opener against the LA Galaxy on March 11, an additional regular season home match of your choice (excluding St. Louis City SC) and the Leagues Cup group stage home match. In addition, fans can select the five home matches they are most excited to attend in 2023 as part of the My Five ticket contest and be entered to win tickets to attend those matches.
Finally, single-match tickets for Sporting Kansas City's first eight regular season home matches at Children's Mercy Park in 2023 are now on sale via SeatGeek at the links below. Single-match tickets for the remaining regular season home matches will be released at a later date.
- Saturday, March 11 vs. LA Galaxy (7:30pm)
- Saturday, March 25 vs. Seattle Sounders (7:30pm)
- Saturday April 8 vs. Colorado Rapids (7:30pm)
- Saturday, April 29 vs. CF Montreal (7:30pm)
- Saturday, May 13 vs. Minnesota United (7:30pm)
- Sunday, May 28 vs. Portland Timbers (2pm)
- Wednesday, May 31 vs. FC Dallas (7:30pm)
- Saturday, June 10 vs. Austin FC (7:30pm)
10. How to watch all the action
The 2023 season will see the debut of MLS Season Pass, the new subscription service from Apple and Major League Soccer that will have every match of the MLS regular season, Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs and Leagues Cup with no blackouts. With MLS Season Pass, fans can enjoy every MLS match – as well as a weekly five-hour live whip-around show from 6:30-11:30 p.m. CT - through the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes, game consoles and the web at tv.apple.com.
Starting February 1, fans can subscribe to MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app for the price of $14.99 per month during the season or $99 per season, and Apple TV+ subscribers can sign up at a special price of $12.99 per month and $79 per season. A subscription to MLS Season Pass will be included with each full-season ticket account. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share the subscription using their own Apple ID and password.
Fans can ensure they catch all of the action in 2023 by following their favorite MLS clubs through My Sports on the Apple TV app. With iOS 16, Apple introduced a new My Sports section across iPhone, iPad and Apple TV for users. Fans can visit apple.co/MySportsMLS on iPhone or iPad to be directed to the Apple TV app and follow their favorite team to get alerts before upcoming games, follow scores in real time and more. My Sports also makes it easy to get personalized, real-time sports coverage from Apple News. Fans can stay up to speed with the best stories from top publications — plus get live scores, schedules, standings, and highlights.
In addition to Apple TV, select matches during the MLS regular season, Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and Leagues Cup will be broadcast in the United States by FOX Sports (FOX/FS1/FOX Deportes) and TelevisaUnivision (Univision/UNIMÁS/TUDN) - headlined by MLS Cup airing on FOX and FOX Deportes, while the Leagues Cup Final will be available on Univision. Three Sporting Kansas City matches - all in the month of May - will be nationally televised in 2023: May 7 at Seattle on FOX and May 20 at St. Louis on FS1, followed by the club's May 28th home match versus Portland on FOX.