What I find shocking is to have a game at 9AM, to me this is unheard of. Once you take into account time spent before the game to eat, rest and warm up, you're looking at players needing to wake up before sunrise for a game! While this might be normal for some other sports, it's something you never see for soccer. It must throw off the players bodies to play at a time they're not used to competing. And looking at the schedule of the tournament, there are more 9AM games to come, so this is not just a 1 off.
Most of the US wouldn't even be awake to watch the game considering the matches start 6AM on the west coast. It makes me wonder if MLS is targeting non local targets. So is MLS trying to please the Asian markets (where it would be evening or night time) with such weird schedule? Hard to believe other parts of the world would want to watch the MLS while only few hours later you could watch far higher quality European leagues.
None of the non-morning games are scheduled before 8PM, so this makes it even more confusing. At first I thought MLS is hosting tons of games per day and so games start at 9AM and go all the way to the night, but there are no games between 9AM to 8PM.
The only thing I can think of is to blame the heat and humidity in Orlando, and so not wanting to schedule games around noon or during the afternoon. Then why not have games at 7,9, and 11 PM? Even if a game starts at midnight, most Americans will be awake considering west coast is 3 hours behind the east.
Or even better yet, why not have games happening at the same time? That's what happens during a normal season anyway. Is MLS using only 1 field to play all their matches at the Disney World? It'll be hard to believe that they limited themselves to just one field for 20+ teams. What if the field suffers damages? Also don't you want to have games scheduled simultaneously for the last round of the group stage to preserve integrity and fair play? I have hard time believing MLS brought the league back to a location where there is only 1 field for all matches. And also have a hard time believing anyone would be interested to wake up for 9AM game on a Sunday.
So why is MLS having such bizarrely early game times?