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MLS announces 2021 season start date

The league's announcement comes on the same day as Austin FC's stadium name unveiling.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin FC has not officially released a 2021 schedule yet, but the MLS announced Monday that the season would start on April 3.

In a press release, the league announced that clubs would play a 34-match regular season schedule starting on April 3. Preseason training for the clubs is slated to start on Feb. 22, and MLS Decision Day will conclude the season on Nov. 7. 

The Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs are scheduled to begin on Nov. 19 and the MLS Cup is set for Dec. 11. 

The league's announcement comes on the same day as Austin FC's stadium name unveiling. Austin FC's new stadium, Q2 Stadium, will be one of three venues introduced to MLS clubs in 2021, including two new soccer stadiums in Ohio this season for FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC.

RELATED: Austin FC unveils 'Q2 Stadium' name

As the 27th MLS franchise, Austin FC was put in the Western Conference alongside 12 other teams: 

  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • LA Galaxy
  • Los Angeles Football Club
  • Minnesota United FC
  • Portland Timbers
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

MLS officials said during the regular season all players, technical staff and essential club staff will continue to be tested every other day, including the day before each match day, per the league's COVID-19 protocols. In addition, clubs will take chartered flights for all road trips until further notice, the league said in the announcement.

Key dates for 2021 MLS season

  • Feb. 22:  MLS Preseason training begins (six weeks)
  • April 3-4: MLS regular season starts
  • Late August: MLS Heineken Rivalry Week
  • Late summer: MLS All-Star game
  • Nov. 7: MLS Decision Day
  • Nov. 19: Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs start
  • Dec. 11: 2021 MLS Cup

MLS officials said the league would announce a complete 2021 regular-season schedule, including the national broadcast schedule for the league’s media partners in the U.S. and Canada, in the coming weeks. 

Austin FC President Andy Loughnane told the media Monday that Q2 Stadium's construction is slated to be finished by late March to early April. However, he added that the stadium would not be ready to host a home game until potentially early June. 

"There are some things happening on ancillary, adjacent private land that are very important to the ecosystem of the stadium. There is private land that is being built on off of Burnet [Road]. There is a traffic signal being installed off of Burnet and a traffic signal being installed off of Braker [Lane]. There is some Q2 signage. There's also some training that has to go on with staff and so, what I'm describing is under any circumstance, I don't anticipate our first MLS match taking place until early June." Loughnane said. 

Austin FC officials told KVUE the club plans to play all road matches until the stadium is ready to host a game.

WATCH: Daniel Pereira: First ever No. 1 pick from Venezuela | KVUE

Here's the shape up of Austin FC's roster:

Goalkeepers:

  • Brady Scott 
  • Brad Stuver 
  • Andrew Tarbell 
  • Noah Lawrence

Defenders:

  • Julio Cascante 
  • Nick Lima 
  • Jhohan Romaña 
  • Ben Sweat 
  • Matt Besler
  • Freddy Kleeman
  • Aedan Stanley

Midfielders: 

  • Diego Fagundez 
  • Hector Jimenez 
  • Alex Ring 
  • Ulises Segura 
  • Jared Stroud  
  • Daniel Pereira

Forwards: 

  • Cecilio Domínguez 
  • Jon Gallagher 
  • Danny Hoesen 
  • Rodney Redes
  • Daniel Steedman
  • Kekuta Manneh

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