Preseason Countdown presented by Children's Mercy - 23 Days

Preseason Countdown presented by Children's Mercy: 23 Days until MLS is Back

As Sporting Kansas City prepares for its 26th season as a charter member of Major League Soccer, is rolling out a 26-day countdown to the start of the 2021 campaign. A mouthwatering opening weekend of MLS action will see Sporting Kansas City visit the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. CT on April 17, giving supporters their first look at Manager Peter Vermes’ side since last December.

The 2021 Preseason Countdown, presented by Children’s Mercy, will serve as the comprehensive, go-to preview of everything that awaits Sporting Kansas City in the weeks and months to come. From key storylines and bold predictions to statistical breakdowns and players to watch, the 2021 Preseason Countdown will highlight the many reasons to be excited for what’s ahead. To visit the series homepage as it expands, visit

Major League Soccer treated supporters to a welcome and long-awaited treat on Wednesday by dropping the 2021 regular season schedule, which will see Sporting Kansas City play 34 matches between April 17 and Nov. 7.

Manager Peter Vermes' men may be getting off to a late start in 2021, but matches will be coming thick and fast as a back-loaded regular season campaign kicks off less than a month from now.

Better yet, the MLS regular season is just the tip of the iceberg. Bouncing back strong after a turbulent 2020 that posed plenty of unforeseen challenges, the entire soccer world is about to buzz as loudly as ever.

In the space below, we help you identify the biggest dates of the year—from Sporting's season opener in New York and various national team tournaments to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Leagues Cup. The year may have begun slowly from a soccer perspective, but buckle up—because we're about to kick things into overdrive.

MLS Regular Season and Playoffs

  • April 17: Season opener at New York Red Bulls (7 p.m. CT)
  • April 23: Home opener vs. Orlando City SC (6:30 p.m. CT)
  • May 16: "Soccer For All" vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1 p.m. CT)
  • May 29: "Sporting Sustainability" vs. Houston Dynamo FC (7:30 p.m. CT)
  • June 23: "Sporting Legends" vs. Colorado Rapids (7:30 p.m. CT)
  • July 31: "Sporting Salutes" vs. FC Dallas (7:30 p.m. CT)
  • Aug. 28: "Retro Night" vs. Colorado Rapids (7:30 p.m. CT)
  • Sept. 26: "Kick Childhood Cancer" vs. Seattle Sounders FC (5 p.m. CT)
  • Oct. 27: "Fan Appreciation" vs. LA Galaxy (7:30 p.m. CT)
  • Nov. 7: Regular season finale vs. Real Salt Lake (5 p.m. CT)
  • Nov. 19: Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs begin
  • Dec. 11: 2021 MLS Cup (2 p.m. CT)

U.S. Open Cup

  • May 18-19: Round of 16
  • May 25-26: Quarterfinals
  • June 15-16: Semifinals
  • June 29-30: Final
  • Note: Eight MLS clubs will compete in the 2021 U.S. Open Cup. Mechanisms for participation will be announced soon.

Leagues Cup

  • Week of Aug. 9: Sporting hosts LIGA MX club in quarterfinals
  • Week of Sept. 13: Semifinals (matches in U.S.)
  • Week of Sept. 20: Final (neutral-site venue in U.S.)

MLS Transfer Windows

  • March 10 - June 1: Primary Transfer Window
  • July 7 - Aug. 5: Secondary Transfer Window

USL Championship

  • April 24 - Oct. 31: USL Championship regular season
  • May 1: Sporting KC II season opener at FC Tulsa
  • May 7: Sporting KC II home opener vs. OKC Energy FC at Children's Mercy Park
  • November: USL Championship Playoffs

International Tournaments

  • March 28 & 30: Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship in Mexico (Semifinals and Final)
  • June 3 & 6: Concacaf Nations League in United States (Semifinals and Final)
  • June 10-16: Tournament of Nations (U.S. WNT)
  • June 11-July 10: Copa America in Argentina and Colombia
  • June 11-July 11: UEFA Euro in 12 countries across Europe
  • July 10-Aug. 1: Concacaf Gold Cup (host TBA)
  • July 21-Aug. 7: Summer Olympics in Japan (Men and Women)
  • All FIFA windows: 2022 World Cup Qualifying

National Women's Soccer League

  • April 9 - May 8: NWSL Challenge Cup (debut of Kansas City NWSL)
  • May 15 - Oct. 30: NWSL Regular Season
  • Nov. 6-20: NWSL Playoffs