Minnesota United now has official start dates for the 2021 season.
While MLS announced Jan. 25 when preseason camp and season openers were set to begin, a labor dispute was brewing with the players’ association and the league, making those dates tentative.
On Monday, the players’ association said it had ratified amendments to a new collective bargaining agreement. “Players are ready to play,” their statement, in part, said. The league and MLSPA reached a tentative agreement Friday after weeks of negotiations and pushed-back deadlines.
The agreement runs through 2027, and since the league started in 1996, it has avoided a work stoppage.
Now, the Loons and other clubs can move forward with a schedule to open preseason camp in exactly two weeks, on Feb. 22, and kick off the season on April 3-4. MLS plans to play its traditional 34-game season through Nov. 7. The MLS Cup Playoffs will run from Nov. 19 to Dec. 11.
MLS said the full schedule will come in the next few weeks.
United plans to conduct its preseason both indoors at the National Sports Center in Blaine and with a trip to a warm-weather climate. In previous years, the Loons have gone to Florida and Arizona. Manager Adrian Heath said in mid-January the club’s plans for a preseason trip were in a holding pattern while the labor issues were being addressed.