When does the 2021 MLS season begin? All you need to know

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Alexandre Pato is a 'low-risk' signing for Orlando City (1:43)

Janusz Michallik reacts to former Milan star Alexandre Pato's move to MLS on a one-year deal with Orlando City. (1:43)

Find out all you need to know ahead of the 2021 Major League Soccer season.

When does the 2021 MLS season begin?

The 26th season of MLS will begin on Friday, April 16 -- seven weeks later than in 2020 due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With the end of the 2020 season delayed, clubs reported back for preseason training starting Feb. 22 and no later than March 1 before a seven-day quarantine period, medical exams and testing ahead of full training beginning March 8.

Are there any new franchises?

Yes, Austin FC will play its inaugural season.

Can I see the MLS fixtures?

Yes. The home opener information was released earlier in March. And check out the can't-miss games and fixture highlights.

Who is Austin FC?

Originally the Columbus Crew SC franchise was planned to move to Austin for the 2019 MLS season, but the club was acquired by local businessmen and remained in the city.

MLS decided instead to establish Austin FC as an expansion franchise, and the club was founded in 2018 to become the 27th MLS franchise as of 2021.

The club's sporting director is former United States international Claudio Reyna, while another USMNT star -- Josh Wolff -- will coach the team.

It will play its games at the Q2 Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium with a capacity of 20,500 made up of seating and safe standing.

Its club colors will be green and black stripes.

Who won MLS Cup in 2020?

Columbus Crew SC beat the defending champion Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 with a pair of Lucas Zelarayan goals key to securing the club's second MLS Cup title at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

In the regular season, which was severely disrupted by coronavirus, Sporting Kansas City won the Western Conference and Philadelphia Union were top in the Eastern Conference.

When does the 2021 MLS season end?

The regular season will come to a close with Decision Day on Nov. 7. The playoffs begin on Nov. 19 and MLS Cup takes place on Dec. 11.