The next batch of MLS regular season matches has been released and the Seattle Sounders know their next three opponents. Due to on-going issues with Covid-19, the Sounders will continue to play regional opponents. Their next three matches are against LAFC, the Portland Timbers, and the LA Galaxy, with the Galaxy being the only “new” team that Seattle will play. The schedule is as followed:
• Friday, Sept. 18 vs. LAFC 7:00pm
• Wednesday, Sept. 23 at Portland 7:00pm
• Sunday, Sept. 27 at LA Galaxy 7:30pm
The Sounders have already played LAFC twice, although only their 3-1 win on Aug. 30 counted toward the regular-season standings. Seattle has already played Portland twice since the restart, with both teams picking up a win.
MLS has also officially announced the format for the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. A total of 18 clubs will compete in the tournament, with 10 teams from the 14-team Eastern Conference and eights teams from the 12-team Western Conference qualifying. The east gets a little trickier with two “play-in” matches. The 7th seed will play the 10th seed and the 8th seed will play the 9th seed and then face the top two seeds.
After the completion of these next three matches, the Sounders will have played a total of 13 regular-season games. Previous reporting has suggested that MLS is hoping to have 23 regular season games — two pre-covid, three at MLS is Back and a total of 18 after — for every team, so at least one more batch of games is expected to be released.
MLS has previously said the plan was to have “Decision Day” on Nov. 8 with the playoffs starting on Nov. 20 and MLS Cup scheduled for Dec. 12. That would leave the Sounders with 10 games to play in the six weeks between their last currently scheduled match (Sept. 27) and Decision Day (Nov. 8). The two-week gap between Decision Day and the start of the playoffs had likely assumed Concacaf World Cup qualifiers being played during that time, but with those matches moved to 2021 MLS could choose to extend the season without dramatically altering their timeline.