The season's slate of games is highlighted by the debut of FC Cincinnati, who will play its first game on the road against the Seattle Sounders on March 2, and will play its first home game in MLS against MLS Cup finalist the Portland Timbers on March 17.
The schedule is also noteworthy for a pair of stadium-related events. Minnesota United will celebrate the opening of Allianz Field on April 13 when it hosts New York City FC, becoming the 20th MLS stadium built or renovated for soccer. Portland's Providence Park will reopen on June 1 when the Timbers face LAFC, this after undergoing renovations to add 4,000 seats to increase the venue's capacity to around 25,000.
The league will go on a brief hiatus from June 14-21, a period covering the start of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The MLS All-Star Game will take place at Orlando City Stadium on July 31.
Heineken Rivalry Week is set to take place from Aug. 21-25, a timeframe that witnesses games between D.C. United and the New York Bulls on Aug. 21, an Aug. 23 doubleheader featuring Orlando City versus Atlanta United, as well as the Portland Timbers against the Seattle Sounders. The Hudson River Derby between the Red Bulls and NYCFC will take place a day later, with the week culminating in a match between new in-state rivals FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew, as well as a game between LAFC and the LA Galaxy.
Teams will place conference opponents twice each and teams in opposite conference once. There have been times in the past where certain rivals (such as the San Jose Earthquakes and the Galaxy) played three times a year.
The regular season will conclude with Decision Day on Oct. 6. The MLS Cup Playoffs -- utilizing a new single elimination format -- will begin on Oct. 19, with the MLS Cup final set to take place on Nov. 10.