During his State of the League press conference on Tuesday, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber confirmed that Nashville SC will remain in the Eastern Conference for the 2021 season.
Nashville SC was set to play in the Western Conference in their expansion year, but lasted two matches in the West before Covid-19 put the league on hold for several months.
After the league resumed play in August, Nashville was moved to the East, where they eventually finished in 7th place, advancing to the conference semifinals, where they fell to eventual finalists Columbus Crew in extra time.
Austin FC will join MLS as an expansion team in 2021, and will almost certainly play in the West. With an odd number of teams, MLS will play with unbalanced conferences, and will likely keep the Eastern conference unchanged, with the addition of Austin the only change to the West.
With Charlotte, St. Louis and Sacramento set to join the league from in 2022 and 2023, further re-alignment is inevitable. Garber said he couldn’t confirm where Nashville will end up long-term, but the coming season is set.
Garber also confirmed that MLS plans to start the 2021 season in early to mid March as has been typical in years past. Final details on the schedule will be announced later in the offseason.