Major League Soccer announced the remaining games of the 2020 regular season — or the final three games of Phase 2 and all of Phase 3, if you like. Orlando City will play four teams it has already played across the final nine matches — five if you count the MLS is Back knockout stages — and five of the last nine will be at Exploria Stadium.
Orlando City, which has already played three Tropic Thunder matches against Inter Miami this season, will see the Herons once more during the 2020 regular season. That game will be in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m. In addition, the Lions have already played Atlanta United twice, but will face the Five Stripes two more times — Wednesday Oct. 7 away and a nationally televised match-up at home Wednesday, Oct. 28. Orlando will finish the season at home vs. Nashville on Decision Day, Nov. 8.
That means 11 of the 23 games this season will be against the other three southeastern teams and 15 of the games will be against teams from the southeast or New York City.
The Lions will also play the New York Red Bulls home and away in the final nine (Oct. 3 and Oct. 18, respectively), the Supporters Shield-leading Columbus Crew (Oct. 11) and New York City FC (Oct. 14) at home, and the Montreal Impact at Red Bull Arena (Nov. 1).
In the end, the Lions will have played 10 home games, nine away matches, and four neutral site games in 2020. Considering the fact there is one more home game than away, and that three of the four neutral site matches were just down the road at Disney, that’s a pretty favorable schedule, actually.
Orlando City will avoid the following Eastern Conference teams in 2020 during the regular season:
After the Lions’ current two-game road swing into the Western Conference, there will be no more cross-conference opponents on the schedule. That means Orlando will finish the year having played four league games against the West, with three of those — Colorado Rapids, Sporting Kansas City, and FC Dallas — on the road. The team also played Minnesota United, LAFC, and the Portland Timbers during the MLS is Back Tournament but those do not count as league games. The Lions will finish the 2020 regular season without games against the three aforementioned MLS is Back opponents, plus:
The biggest problem with the schedule? It’s brutal. The crowded fixture slate will affect every team, of course, but the Lions will play seven games in October and then again on Nov. 1. The next time Orlando City will get an actual full week between matches is the week after the Nov. 1 match-up against Montreal, with the final game set for a week later at home against Nashville on Nov. 8.
If you count the current run of three matches in nine days, the Lions will finish this gauntlet having played 11 times in 44 days before that blessed week between the last two matches. The teams that stay fittest and have the best rotation plan will have a huge advantage in this final push to the 2020 MLS season.
Here are the remaining previously unannounced games at a glance:
- Saturday, Oct. 3, — vs. New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m. (FOX/FOX Deportes)
- Wednesday, Oct. 7 — at Atlanta United, 7 p.m. (FOX 35 Plus)
- Sunday, Oct. 11 — vs. Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m. (FOX 35 Plus)
- Wednesday, Oct. 14 — vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m. (FOX 35 Plus)
- Sunday, Oct. 18 — at New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m. (FOX 35 Plus)
- Saturday, Oct. 24 — at Inter Miami CF, 3:30 p.m. (Univision)
- Wednesday, Oct. 28 — vs. Atlanta United FC, 7:30 p.m. (FS1/FOX Deportes)
- Sunday, Nov. 1 — vs. Montreal Impact at Red Bull Arena, 7:30 p.m. (FOX 35 Plus)
- Sunday, Nov. 8 — vs. Nashville SC, 3:30 p.m. (FOX 35 Plus)