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How to Watch MLS Throughout the Regular Season Without Cable

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English Premier League is back.

Stream it live on NBCUniversal channels with Fubo!

Major League Soccer is more popular than ever. And if you are a serious fan, you won’t be satisfied with cable. You need to stream to get access to every match. Read on to learn how.

In a hurry? If you want to watch every MLS match, you need to check out Season Pass. But if you watch a lot of different sports and are happy with the most important MLS matches on live TV, these are your best options:

  • Fubo: The best streaming service for international sports also provides 150+ well-selected channels. Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial.
  • DIRECTV STREAM: Get a great channel lineup with the best selection of RSNs in the industry. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
  • Sling TV: This low-cost service allows you to select just the channel lineup you want. Save 50% on your first month of Sling TV.

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Major League Soccer continues to improve its status as one of the most significant professional sports leagues in the US. It is now the third-most attended one in the country with about 20,000 attending every match.

In fact, some teams average quite a bit more than that; Atlanta United is the best example at 50,000 per contest. Those figures also make MLS one of the 10 most-attended soccer leagues in the world.

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Major League Soccer
MLS by Matt Boulton under CC BY-SA 2.0.

MLS Basics

Major League Soccer is the top soccer league in the US.


MLS was created as part of the deal with FIFA that awarded the US hosting rights to the 1994 World Cup. In the first match in league history, which was played on April 6, 1996, at San Jose’s Spartan Stadium, Eric Wynalda scored the winning goal in the San Jose Clash’s 1-0 victory over DC United.

The league has always been home to some big-name players, more recently as the result of its designated player rule, which was adopted in 2007. It allows teams to sign those marquee names to much larger contracts than they provide to most of the players on their squads. Some of the biggest names of that inaugural season included Carlos Valderrama, Jorge Campos, Alexi Lalas, and Tony Meola.

However, MLS did experience some significant growing pains. The league made rule changes that were thought to be more attractive to US-based sports fans. These included utilizing shootouts to break tie scores during regular-season matches and the use of a countdown clock.

But these were met with backlash from traditional soccer fans. And worse, the changes did little to attract non-soccer fans to the sport and to the league.

A significantly positive change that later occurred was the creation of soccer-specific stadiums. These are stadiums that were not only designed with this sport in mind as far as the pitch goes but also attendance-wise. These tended to be in the 20,000-30,000-seat range, which fit most clubs’ attendance figures much more closely. And they generally created better atmospheres than playing at NFL stadiums.

The first one, Crew Stadium, was built in Columbus, Ohio, and numerous clubs now play in them.

Current Structure

MLS’s 2022 membership consists of 28 clubs, which are split into 14-team Eastern and Western Conferences. Within their respective conferences, everybody plays everybody else twice, once at home and once away. Each team’s other eight games are played against eight of the teams in the other conference. That makes for a 34-match regular season.

Its regular-season calendar is similar to MLB‘s but extends a little longer on both sides. In 2022, that consisted of a start in late February and the campaign ending a week and a half into October.

The MLS Cup playoffs follow, ending a month later. Seven teams in each conference advance to postseason play with the first-place sides receiving first-round byes. All four playoff rounds consist of single matches, which can have extra time and a penalty shootout, if necessary.

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Other Competitions

Similar to the rest of the world, MLS clubs do not solely play in their league competition.

One added event to each team’s fixture list is a domestic cup, the US Open Cup for American-based sides, and the Canadian Championship for the three clubs that are based north of the border. Although the latter was played in 2021, the US Open Cup was not but is expected to return in 2022.

Additionally, the clubs attempt to qualify for continent-wide competitions, most notably the CONCACAF Champions League, this region’s version of the UEFA Champions League. Both domestic cup winners are assured of a spot as are the MLS Cup champions.

So are the teams that won the regular-season titles in both the Eastern and Western Conferences with one caveat. Canadian teams can only qualify through winning the Canadian Championship; the other aforementioned spots are solely for US-based sides.

Note that the CCL is being significantly revamped with its 2024 edition with many more US- and Canada-based clubs taking part, up to a maximum of 12 total from those two countries.

Meanwhile, the Leagues Cup is an international event involving MLS and Liga MX clubs, four apiece, although this is being revamped as well, starting with its 2023 edition.

The final continental competition is the Campeones Cup. This features the previous campaign’s MLS champion taking on the previous season’s top club from Mexico.

The FIFA Club World Cup could also feature one or more MLS clubs at some point in the future. Currently, the only way this can occur is if one claims the CONCACAF Champions League trophy. No MLS team has ever participated in the Club World Cup.

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Streaming MLS Matches

MLS matches can be watched through a variety of channels and streaming services.

National Broadcasts

A notable percentage of MLS matchups can be watched on national outlets. Several of them are even shown on network television, requiring just an antenna to view. At this point, they are limited to Fox channels.

ESPN, ESPN2, and TUDN had broadcast matches to national audiences through the 2022 season. But all that has changed and only the Fox contract remains — at least for a few years.

If MLS Season Pass is a success, matches may eventually be streaming only. If it isn’t a success, things may go back to how they were.

MLS Season Pass

If you are looking to watch a team play any or all of its matches, you should sign-up for MLS Season Pass. It costs just $14.99/mo or $99.00 for the whole season. This is not bad for serious MLS fans. But if you watch a lot of soccer leagues, MLS is making things very expensive.

There has been much talk of this being a partnership with Apple TV+. But from a subscriber’s standpoint, it really isn’t other than needing an Apple TV account. All it means is that if you are a subscriber to Apple TV+, you get a reduced rate: $12.99/month or $79.00 per season. That is a deal worth considering since it makes Apple TV+ just $4.99/mo.

This service provides access to every MLS match. So unlike last year with ESPN+, this is not an out-of-market plan. The downside is that it costs most than ESPN+ and doesn’t provide the amazing collection of sports. But for MLS fans, this is a great service at a reasonable price.

Eastern Conference
  • Atlanta United FC
  • CF Montreal
  • Charlotte FC
  • Chicago Fire FC
  • Columbus Crew
  • DC United
  • FC Cincinnati
  • Inter Miami CF
  • New England Revolution
  • New York City FC
  • New York Red Bulls
  • Orlando City SC
  • Philadelphia Union
  • Toronto FC
Western Conference
  • Austin FC
  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo FC
  • LA Galaxy
  • Los Angeles FC
  • Minnesota United FC
  • Nashville SC
  • Portland Timbers
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

In-Market Games

If you are a fan of your local MLS team, it doesn’t matter. With MLS Season Pass, there is no longer a distinction between in-market and out-of-market matches. So matches no longer run on local channels or RSNs like Bally Sports.

Watch MLS with FuboTV.

Streaming Services for MLS

Different live TV streaming services offer access to the matches that air through Fox Sports.

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Devices to Live Stream MLS Matches

FuboTV Soccer Games
FuboTV’s Android app featuring soccer matches.

All the streaming services support most popular devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android mobile devices
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • iOS mobile devices (iPhone, iPad)
  • Roku
  • Web browsers.

DIRECTV STREAM also offers its own device if you like. It, FuboTV, and others also support recent Samsung smart TVs.

All the services except for DIRECTV STREAM support Android TV devices.

Fubo, Hulu, Sling, and YouTube also support LG and VIZIO smart TVs as well as Xbox gaming consoles. Sling offers the Oculus. And Hulu and YouTube support the PlayStation.

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For the sake of privacy, security, and access, you should be using a VPN. They are low-cost and easy to use. We’ve been using them for years and our top pick is ExpressVPN. Other brands worth checking out include Hotspot Shield and CyberGhost.

i Our VPN Buyer’s Guide provides a complete introduction and all you need to know to choose the best VPN for your needs.

Wrapping Up

MLS matches are available through a variety of means. In numerous cases, fans can watch local broadcasts on over-the-air television while many nationally broadcast matches are available through those same means to all located in the US.

However, one significant benefit of note for a club utilizing a regional sports network for local broadcasts is its generally larger reach beyond its home metropolitan area.

Keep in mind that many of these teams provide free streams of locally produced matches while ESPN+ ($9.99/mo) is a tremendous resource as it offers online access to all out-of-market broadcasts.

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How do I watch the MLS Cup playoffs?

How to watch the MLS Cup playoffs depends on what streaming services you have access to. Much should be available through Fox Sports channels. Otherwise, all of the games will stream live on MLS Season Pass. At this time, these are your only options to watch the MLS Cup playoffs.

Can MLS teams win the Gold Cup?

No. MLS clubs represent cities or sometimes larger regions within the US. National teams, like the US Men’s National Team, compete for the Gold Cup (assuming they qualify). An MLS team playing for the Gold Cup would be like the Los Angeles Dodgers competing for the Olympic gold medal for baseball. You can read more about the CONCACAF Gold Cup in our viewers guide (and our watch it on Sling guide)

How do I watch other soccer leagues and events without cable?

These guides explain everything you need to know:

Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord

  1. Pick the right streaming service
  2. Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
  3. Supercharge your internet provider

That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!

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