TACOMA, WASH. – MLS NEXT Pro today announced its 2023 regular season schedule, a campaign that sees each of its 27 teams play 28 matches over the course of six months, including 14 Tacoma Defiance home games at Starfire Stadium. Defiance opens its second MLS NEXT Pro season on the road at St. Louis CITY2 on Sunday, March 26, streaming on Apple TV, before hosting Real Monarchs on Sunday, April 2 in its home opener.
The majority of regular season matches, plus all Decision Day matches, playoff matches and MLS NEXT Pro Cup, are available to watch live and on-demand on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app. The remainder of regular season matches will stream live on mlsnextpro.com. MLS Season Pass is the subscription service from Apple and Major League Soccer that is home to all MLS and Leagues Cup matches, as well as hundreds of MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches.
Tickets for all home matches are now on sale with all proceeds benefiting RAVE Foundation, Sounders FC’s charitable partner. New this year is a Season Pass option for $200*, guaranteeing access to each of Tacoma’s 14 home matches. Single-match tickets are also available for $18 each.
With the addition of new clubs LA Galaxy II and Los Angeles FC 2 to Tacoma’s Pacific Division, the club will now play four additional matches compared to its 2022 campaign. The club hosts LA Galaxy II on Sunday, April 30 before traveling to take on the Southern California side on Sunday, July 16. Defiance hosts LAFC2 on Friday, May 26 before the return fixture at Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, July 23.
After Tacoma’s home opener against Real Monarchs at Starfire Stadium on April 2, Defiance’s additional divisional fixtures include home matches against Whitecaps FC 2 on July 30, Portland on September 4, San Jose on September 10 and a Decision Day matchup with Whitecaps FC 2 on September 24. Tacoma travels to Real Monarchs on May 5 and September 15, Whitecaps FC 2 on May 21, San Jose on June 11 and Portland on August 4.
All of Tacoma’s regular season matches are against Western Conference teams. Other highlights from Defiance’s 2023 regular season slate include a trip to new MLS NEXT Pro club Austin FC II on April 7 before hosting the Texas side on June 25. In addition to the season opener, Defiance hosts St. Louis CITY2, the team that eliminated Tacoma in the Western Conference Finals last year, on June 5 at Starfire Stadium.
The 2023 season features an expanded postseason format that includes a pick-your-opponent element in the first two rounds. Within each conference, the two division champions and the five clubs with the next highest point total (seven clubs total) advance to the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. The playoffs consist of three rounds followed by MLS NEXT Pro Cup, taking place over four consecutive weeks beginning the weekend of September 29. The club with the most regular season points in each conference earns a first-round bye, automatically advancing to the Conference Semifinals. The second and third-seeded teams in each conference choose their opponents and host their match in the Conference Quarterfinals. The two remaining teams that are not selected play each other, with the higher-seeded team hosting. In the Conference Semifinals, the top-seeded team chooses its opponent from the remaining two lowest-seeded teams and host the match. In the Conference Finals and MLS NEXT Pro Cup, the team with the most regular season points hosts.
Complete information on the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro schedule, playoff format and new league rules can be found here.
*Season Passes are non-transferrable