All of the MLS schedules for the regular season came out yesterday, and DC United’s broke fairly favorably. Below is the breakdown of how many times United plays each team:
- 1 game: The entire Western Conference (Galaxy, Whitecaps, Sounders, Timbers, Chivas, Dallas, Rapids, Earthquakes, RSL)
- 2 games: Chicago Fire, Sporks
- 3 games: Revolution, Impact, Red Bulls, Dynamo, Toronto, Union, Crew
Out of five playoff teams from last year, United plays one of them home and away (Sporks), plays two home games against the Red Bulls and Crew, and plays two away games against the Dynamo and Union. Also, having three games against each of Toronto, Montreal, and New England is a boon for any playoff team. United have the dubious honor of being the first team to play the Dynamo in their new stadium, which will be rocking. The last five games of the season are not a cakewalk for United, but they are not impossible either, having to play Chivas, Timbers, Toronto, the Crew, and Chicago in their last five games. That is a fairly decent stretch run for the team, provided that they are in a position to make the playoffs. In fact, in the last two months of the season, United only plays three games against teams that went to the playoffs last year.
The first month of United’s season, however, features almost half of their matches against the Western Conference. After opening against the Sporks, they play the Galaxy, Whitecaps, Dallas, and the Sounders four weeks in a row, before coming back to the Eastern Conference to play New England. This early stretch will be a good test of the type of team United will be, especially if they can compete with the class of the West. The other five Western Conference teams are spread out across the season, ending with the Timbers at the end of September.
United also plays one game on an international date, 22 August, versus the Chicago Fire. As was announced along with the schedule, that means that both United and the Fire agreed to let the match be put on that date. Looking at Fifa’s international calendar, I understand why: 22 August is the only match day during that break, and the break is only for friendlies, not for World Cup qualifiers or other official action. United got a solid schedule on a team that hopes to make the playoffs next year; now, they need to get the players they need into the squad and start acting on that hope.
Other than the schedule, United continues to be quiet. All of that speculation about Emiliano Dudar has not manifested itself into anything yet, and I have heard nothing more about other international signings for United. Hopefully the front office can make some signings official before the SuperDraft next week so that they can focus on other areas of need. As always, I will bring you anything I hear about potential transfers, no matter how ridiculous the rumor.
Also, only 50 days until the first games of the Carolina Challenge Cup! Who says MLS has a long offseason?