Major League Soccer announced some teasers about the 2012 ‘First Kick’ fixtures on Tuesday.
We might not know yet who Vancouver Whitecaps will be playing, but we do know that in 100 days from today, the Caps will be running out at BC Place to kick off their second MLS season.
Saturday March 10th is the date for your diary.
The first games will be played over three days that weekend, Saturday to Monday.
Nine teams will be opening their new season at home, with DC United, Los Angeles Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Chivas USA, FC Dallas and Portland Timbers having that honour, along with the Caps.
With Western teams playing each other three times over the course of the season, it is perhaps surprising then that eight out of the nine of them will be kicking off at home, throwing the inter-Conference games into the mix from the off.
Some of that may have something to do with the weather in the east, but it’s still strange to us.
We would try and get the intra-conference games spread nice and evenly over the season and just fill in the dots with the inter ones.
So looking at our possible opponents, there are ten teams that the Whitecaps could face for next season’s home opener, and they really can be split into three distinctive groupings: exciting, moderate and who gives a fuck.
In the exciting options, we have….
Toronto – sure, it’s a repeat of last season’s home opener, but it’s always nice to beat the FC’s and it would be far enough removed from the Voyageurs Cup games to make it more interesting.
Montreal Impact – AFTN’s most hated team in the history of football. It would be a great chance to put the Frenchies in their place early on and make them spitting mad, again.
New York Red Bulls – The only team we could face with some “star” drawing ability really, assuming Thierry Henry wants to head out west this year. You would hope the home opener would be a sell-out anyway, without the need for Henry putting additional bums on seats. I would think that MLS would keep him and his New Jersey team-mates for someone like Chivas, Dallas or DC United, to give them the marketing boost for their home openers.
Then we have the teams that would moderately interest us…
Kansas City – The chance to abuse Traitor Teal in new surroundings and in front of a large, fervent crowd. Yes please! The big selling point would be the excitement of last season’s late late show. Let people see those last four minutes of stoppage time again and you have a ticket sale on the spot.
Real Salt Lake – Primarily because they are our Western Conference rivals. Get those points in the bag early, hopefully. RSL are the only chance to do that on day one.
Houston Dynamo – Houston, as beaten MLS Cup finalists, are somewhat of a draw. It would also see Adam Moffat line up against his old chum Martin Rennie, unless we’ve signed him ourselves by then of course!
After those six, you’re left with the four dregs that no-one really cares about seeing. They’re not ticket sellers, so maybe it would be better if the Caps got them as their opening opponents, when they know they’re going to probably have a full house anyway.
Those less than fab four are – Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew and New England Revolution.
If we had to have one, New England would be nice, as it’s the most likely three points in the bag if they’re anything like last season.
Part of me really wants Montreal. Part of me is sick of the sight of them. Also, our record against them in recent years ain’t the best. Maybe we don’t want to start the season off with a bad showing.
I think I would be happy for Montreal or Toronto though.
Major League Soccer has indicated that they are hoping to have the fixtures on a reversed basis, so the 2013 season schedule, will just be like the 2012 one but with the home teams being away.
There are obvious logistical problems with this, namely weather and stadium availability, but we love the concept of this, as it allows fans to properly plan their holidays and travel possibilities way in advance.
If this was the way for MLS to go, I’d be more than happy to open the 2013 MLS season against one of our Canadian rivals and make the trip out east.
So who will it be in Vancouver on 2012 day one?
We’ll hopefully find out soon. MLS have previously said that they plan to have the schedule, or at least the opening part of it, published this month or early January at the latest.
In the meantime, lay those bets below as to who you think we’ll be seeing at BC Place in 100 days time or tell us who you would really like to see and who you wouldn’t.
The countdown begins….