Atlanta United will open the defense of their Major League Soccer crown with a game against Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United when the 2019 season kicks off in March, it was confirmed on Monday.
Atlanta, who won the MLS Cup last month in only their second season, launch their campaign at Washington’s Audi Field on March 3, a day after the first games of the new season take place.
The 24th season of MLS will see expansion to accommodate the league’s 24th franchise, with FC Cincinnati making their bow against Seattle on March 2.
Cincinnati will make their home debut a fortnight later on March 17, when they host Portland at Nippert Stadium.
Meanwhile, another recent expansion team, Minnesota United, will unveil their new stadium, Allianz Field, when they face New York City FC on April 13.
The season will be interrupted in June, with no matches scheduled between June 14-21 during the opening rounds of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The 2019 MLS All-Star Game takes place on July 31 at Florida’s Orlando City Stadium.
The final round of the regular season takes place on October 6, before the kickoff of a revamped post-season on October 19 following the international break.
The new-look playoffs will comprise 14 teams — seven each from the Western and Eastern Conferences — playing in a knockout competition.
Unlike previous years, the 2019 post-season will be a single elimination format, scrapping the home-and-away two-leg system used in previous campaigns.
The MLS Cup will take place on November 10, roughly a month earlier in the calendar than before.