Major League Soccer announced its full 2021 regular season schedule today, with clubs and fans finding out how the full calendar of 34 games looks for the year. D.C. United, who had previously found out that their first two games would include hosting NYCFC and a road trip to New England Revolution, now knows how the fixture list will look for the rest of the year.
Owing to precautions concerning extensive travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, MLS has largely handed teams intra-conference schedules. The resulting slate of games has an old-school, 90s MLS feel, with United facing six conference foes three times, and having the oddity of both of their games against Inter Miami coming in consecutive matches late in the spring.
That Eastern bias for United also means just two games against the Western Conference: a May 1 trip to face the San Jose Earthquakes, and a September 29 home game against Minnesota United. The Black-and-Red will only leave the Eastern time zone three times: that San Jose game, plus road games in Chicago and Nashville.
The schedule features some tough stints. There’s a difficult start (three out of the first four on the road, two of which come against last year’s Eastern Conference finalists), but the standout in terms of toughness is a spell of six games in 22 days from July 17 to August 8, of which four are on the road. On the plus side, six of D.C.’s final nine games are at home, which could be helpful in a season where new coach Hernán Losada has said he expects a slow build while introducing the club’s changed playing style.
A familiar complaint for United and their oldest rivals, the New York Red Bulls, is back. Once again, MLS has scheduled the majority of their meetings on either a weeknight or a Sunday, making significant away travel difficult for fans of both clubs. The Atlantic Cup is as follows:
- Sunday, July 25 (at Audi Field)
- Saturday, September 11 (at Red Bull Arena)
- Sunday, October 27 (at Audi Field)
The league has also continued an unfortunate trend of simply not including its original rivalry in the “Rivalry Week” set of games from August 20-29. United will face Atlanta and Philadelphia during that spell instead.
MLS has elected to take a break during the June international window, leaving United with a three-week break between their aforementioned back-to-back series with Miami. There will then be a second break the week of July 9-16 for the start of the Gold Cup. However, that break does not include the preliminary stage of the Gold Cup in the first week of July, and United will end up with five games during the entire length of the tournament.
Clubs were given the option of choosing to play through the September FIFA window (which runs from August 30-September 8), but United apparently declined. There will be a further schedule gap in October, with no MLS games scheduled during that month’s FIFA window.
Steven Goff from the Washington Post is reporting that United’s television plans are essentially what they were in 2020: WJLA 24/7 (with the modest possibility of some games being on ABC 7 instead), and free streaming on the team site if you’re within the team’s geofence.
Only one DCU match is scheduled to appear on national TV, Sept. 18 at Atlanta on Univision. The others are slated for WJLA 24/7 News or, in some possible cases, ABC-7. United’s website will stream every match free of charge, though availability is limited to the D.C. region.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 24, 2021
United’s 2021 schedule is as follows:
2021 D.C. United schedule
|Game||Day||Date||Home team||Away team||Time (Eastern)|
|Game||Day||Date||Home team||Away team||Time (Eastern)|
|1||Saturday||April 17||D.C. United||NYCFC||8:00 PM|
|2||Saturday||April 24||New England Revolution||D.C. United||8:00 PM|
|3||Saturday||May 1||San Jose Earthquakes||D.C. United||10:00 PM|
|4||Saturday||May 8||Columbus Crew||D.C. United||1:30 PM|
|5||Thursday||May 13||D.C. United||Chicago Fire||8:00 PM|
|6||Sunday||May 16||D.C. United||Orlando City||7:00 PM|
|7||Sunday||May 23||D.C. United||Philadelphia Union||7:00 PM|
|8||Saturday||May 29||Inter Miami||D.C. United||TBD|
|9||Saturday||June 19||D.C. United||Inter Miami||8:00 PM|
|10||Wednesday||June 23||CF Montreal||D.C. United||8:00 PM|
|11||Sunday||June 27||NYCFC||D.C. United||6:00 PM|
|12||Saturday||July 3||D.C. United||Toronto FC||5:30 PM|
|13||Saturday||July 17||Philadelphia Union||D.C. United||7:30 PM|
|14||Wednesday||July 21||Chicago Fire||D.C. United||8:00 PM|
|15||Sunday||July 25||D.C. United||New York Red Bulls||8:00 PM|
|16||Saturday||July 31||FC Cincinnati||D.C. United||7:30 PM|
|17||Wednesday||August 4||Columbus Crew||D.C. United||7:30 PM|
|18||Sunday||August 8||D.C. United||CF Montreal||8:00 PM|
|19||Sunday||August 15||Nashville SC||D.C. United||7:00 PM|
|20||Wednesday||August 18||New England Revolution||D.C. United||7:00 PM|
|21||Saturday||August 21||D.C. United||Atlanta United||8:00 PM|
|22||Saturday||August 28||D.C. United||Philadelphia Union||8:00 PM|
|23||Saturday||September 11||New York Red Bulls||D.C. United||7:00 PM|
|24||Wednesday||September 15||D.C. United||Chicago Fire||8:00 PM|
|25||Saturday||September 18||Atlanta United||D.C. United||3:30 PM|
|26||Saturday||September 25||D.C. United||FC Cincinnati||7:30 PM|
|27||Wednesday||September 29||D.C. United||Minnesota United||8:00 PM|
|28||Saturday||October 2||Orlando City||D.C. United||7:30 PM|
|29||Saturday||October 16||D.C. United||Nashville SC||7:30 PM|
|30||Wednesday||October 20||D.C. United||New England Revolution||8:00 PM|
|31||Saturday||October 23||NYCFC||D.C. United||7:30 PM|
|32||Wednesday||October 27||D.C. United||New York Red Bulls||8:00 PM|
|33||Saturday||October 30||D.C. United||Columbus Crew||7:30 PM|
|34||Sunday||November 7||Toronto FC||D.C. United||3:30 PM|