MLS unveils 2012 schedule

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The 2012 MLS regular season schedule has been unveiled, and it is the longest ever in the league's history.

MLS's 17th season begins on March 10 and ends with MLS Cup on December 1, the first time the championship game will be decided in the final month of the year.

The league's 19 teams will all play 34 games in 2012 for a total of 323 regular season matches. All matches will be televised live this year.

The complete season spans over 267 days while the regular season takes place over 232 days, both of which are the respective longest in league history.

Some of the more notable matches include the New York Red Bulls-Los Angeles Galaxy game at the Home Depot Center on May 5. Another is the lone rematch of last year's MLS Cup between the Galaxy and Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 26.

The Montreal Impact makes its MLS debut against Canadian rival, the Vancouver Whitecaps, on March 10. The Impact also take on Toronto FC on April 7 for their first encounter in MLS.

Some other notes from the 2012 schedule:

  • MLS originally did not schedule any games on FIFA fixture dates, but the league gave the option of moving a game, by mutual consent only, to one of those dates when other scheduling conflicts could not be resolved. As a result, a few games will occur on select FIFA fixture dates.
  • The first game broadcasted by NBC will be on March 11 when FC Dallas faces the New York Red Bulls.
  • Due to the unbalanced schedule, the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy will not play any games in the mid-Atlantic region, meaning no visits to the New England Revolution, D.C. United, Philadelphia Union or New York Red Bulls.
  • The Houston Dynamo will play their first seven games of the season on the road before opening their new home, BBVA Compass Stadium, versus D.C. United on May 12.
  • After drawing more than 40,000 fans for a game against the New York Red Bulls last season, the San Jose Earthquakes will again host a game at Stanford Stadium this year. The opponent this time will be rival Los Angeles Galaxy on June 30.
  • More than 83 percent of all MLS games will take place on weekends or holidays.

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What do you think of the schedule? Which matches are you most looking forward to? Which team do you think has the easiest/toughest schedule?

Share your thoughts below.

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54 Responses to MLS unveils 2012 schedule

  1. dan says:

    Ives.. is the unbalance schedule easier to create or is the MLS scheduling department that much better prepared to release the schedule earlier?

    Nice to have the schedule early!

  2. A wise man once says:

    Seriously?
    They killed the Texas Derby.

  3. Kasey says:

    9/15/2012 12:30pm PST

    Sounders FC at Timbers NBC

    Now we’re talkin

  4. blag says:

    Yea. Luckily, only for a couple years. No one seems to care about it unless you support one of the teams and it is one of the least advertised rivalries in the mls. Once Houston is in the same conference as Dallas again, they can continue to whip them several times a year :D.

  5. malkin says:

    I’m likin’ all the NYRB on espn and nbc!

  6. Kash says:

    Yeah they did

  7. fischy says:

    If you’re a fan of the team, and don’t have access to NY area television, that will be a real boon.

    Interesting that all 3 NYRB-DCU games will be nationally televised. I’m also thinking that DC got screwed. No home games in July and 4 home games in April May and August, when attendance is usually below average. At least, I’m pretty sure of that.

  8. chupacabra says:

    NYRB schedule sucks – no LA home match, only one of the three local “rivalry” (DC, Philly, New England) matches at home, 7PM start time on Wednesday nights and one 1PM Wednesday match (WTF?). Glad I didn’t renew my season tickets this year.

  9. chupacabra says:

    That should be one home/two away matches for each of the local rivalries. Sucks.

  10. BerlinTexas says:

    Outrageous. Dallas is literally the only team within driving distance of Houston and MLS takes it off our schedule. Are MLS schedule makers the most incompetent in any sport? Discuss.

  11. chupacabra says:

    Just looked up July 18 to see if it might be some unknown holiday. It is – National Caviar Day. Chris Heck must have scheduled that thanks to all the cash he stole from suckers who bought NYRB season tickets.

  12. Don says:

    I am deeply ashamed that my favorite sport is going down the road followed by NFl football, MLB, the NBA and the NHL. As a life-long fan of MLB I am ashamed of what Bud Selig and his minions have done to the integrity of that game. An unbalanced schedule is inherently unfair to teams, players and fans. Every team should play each other team the same number of times and home/away. Then, and only then, do you know who is the best team over a full season. My position on this has nothing to do with wishing to kowtow to other more established leagues in Europe and elsewhere. I could care less what they do. But I do care about fair competition head to head. An unbalanced schedule is like running a 100 meter dash with different starting points for each runner.True competition makes all contestants “run” the same course.

    I do not oppose the playoff system in principle, though I prefer to refer to the regular season winner as holding the League Championship, while the MLS Cuop Winner is just that -the CUP Winner. The only fair way to conduct the playoffs, however, is to use the top four or eight teams with the best records and to seed them according to their standing at the end of the season – period. This insures just as many teams, sometimes more, are in the race for the playoffs as any other way of doing it, but without the monstrosity of a team with a poorer record qualifing over a better team.

    I know I soud antiquarian in my commitment to fairness over manipulating schedules to create lower costs and the mirage of competition, but sports is an arena where the American principle of “To the swiftest goes the race,” should still apply.

  13. chupacabra says:

    MLS should just get rid of the obsolete Conference system once and for all and use single table, one home/one away, top eight (or ten with wild cards) enter the playoffs. Then it wouldn’t matter if there was an odd number of teams. This year’s supporters shield winner could be the strongest contender from the weakest conference, and that would be a joke.

  14. Rory says:

    Saturday afternoon in the heart of College Football season. Talk about trying to bury something on your TV Schedule.

    Would have been better off on a weeknight during the summer (pre or post Olympics after everything else is in reruns) or a Sunday afternoon before the NFL kicks off.

    All three NBC games to air on Saturday afternoons in the fall… ugh.

  15. bryan says:

    i’m confused by this, “The Montreal Impact makes its MLS debut against Canadian rival, the Vancouver Whitecaps, on March 10. The Impact also take on Toronto FC on April 7 for their first encounter in MLS.”

    is the Caps game not an MLS match? and if so, it’s not really an MLS debut, is it?

  16. Rory says:

    Something like 21 nationally televised games for the Red Bulls, while KC, which did better than them last year, get 6.

    Hope NY doesn’t stay in a rut all year like they started last season.

  17. bryan says:

    DC United’s schedule looks pretty good to me. although, they only have two games in all of July but then have 6 in August, four of which are on the 19th, 22nd, 25th and 29th. that’ll be a rough stretch!

  18. fischy says:

    So? You know it will flip around in 2013? They’ll have two home games against DC and against Philly.

  19. fischy says:

    I think they’re highlighting that the April 7 game will be the first time Toronto and Montreal play each other in the MLS context.

  20. JJ says:

    No NYRB or Montreal in Seattle … very weak.

  21. bryan says:

    ohhhh ok, yeah, i get the language now…

  22. JG13 says:

    Caps game is an MLS match and the Impact’s debut. They (MON) play TFC on 4/7 for their (MON/TFC) 1st MLS encounter (they’ve previously met in the Canadian Championship).

  23. Kasey says:

    #drunkintheafternoon

  24. KL says:

    No one cared.

  25. Amru says:

    so if you do not currently have versus you’re screwed and will miss all the nbc games?

  26. dan says:

    Don… you have some good points. However, one of the issues MLS discussed was the 60k miles certain teams traveled over the course of the season. Vancouver’s traveling schedule vs. KC. Very unbalanced.

    MLS allows for few chartered flights. Most travels done by commercial airlines.

  27. dan says:

    some gaps in schedule to allow for FIFA sponsored international fixtures

  28. Ceez says:

    That should be CRAZY!

  29. Rory says:

    all but 3 which are shown on Saturday afternoon on the real NBC.

  30. Ceez says:

    Started? I’m pretty sure NY started off HOT and then lack of depth got them midway through the season (see: Gold Cup).

  31. Ceez says:

    Wrong. The world ends this December. Obviously, there won’t be a 2013 season. Smh. Loser.

  32. bryan says:

    but if you didn’t have FSC (which if you dont have versus, im assuming you dont have FSC) then you would have been screwed anyway. right?

  33. ben in el cajon says:

    It’s a conspiracy to make sure the Red Bulls finish at the top of the table within 5 years! A 19-way first-place finish. I knew it!

  34. Gnarls says:

    Teams on the periphery of the continent are inherently at a disadvantage vis a vis travel expenses, but some college student wrote up a mock schedule that cut travel by at least 20% by SMARTLY grouping road trips. A balanced scheduled is not as crazy as Don Garber wants us to believe.

  35. 99 says:

    Not that any of the Canadian teams will be challenging, but it’ll be a cold day if any of them are the higher seed in the final.

  36. NE Matt says:

    Off topic, but I hear the George John is in England and close to signing with a team. Early indications has the mystery team as West Ham

  37. Gnarls says:

    Not sure about that. Toronto was looking pretty good around October in CCL. If they can pick up where they left off, they may have a genuinely successful season.

  38. ryan says:

    Yes but how many of those NBC games in Sept. will get a Notre Dame lead in? And if you’re like me, during CFB season I channel surf like crazy, esp during commercials. So if you’re looking at your TV’s guide going from an ABC game to a CBS game and OH LOOK, an MLS game on NBC. I think that will draw a ton of curious clicks, especially that first one with SEA @ POR. If NBC put games on in the summer, NO ONE would be watching. During CFB season, the MLS will get tons of promos on NBC. What’s not to like there?

  39. fan says:

    So, if i dont have a TV i wont be able to watch the games on TV?

  40. Cheekimonk says:

    Sooooo, now that the MLS schedule has officially stretched into Dec can we knock off the “competing with NFL” excuse, get FIFA off our backs, and hop on the same season window as all of the major European leagues?

  41. thedude says:

    No..Dec, Jan-Feb all suck in the northeast.

  42. A wise man once says:

    Actually at least four people care.

  43. ACS says:

    West Ham is sort on defenders, especially with all the injuries, the past few games the fullbacks have had to play CB.

  44. Don says:

    Take a league break like many other leagues do during the worst months. Moreover, schedulers could make games at the edges of winter more frequent in the least affected states/provinces. By my count, Van, Portl, Sea, LA, Chivas, Houston, Dallas,San Jose could all handle winter. Also, DC, NY, Phil, NE and KC would be at the margins. Only Tor, Mtl,

    Chi, Colb, Color, and Salt Lake are very dicey. Lets do it.

  45. G? says:

    Sweden, norway, russia, and numerous others haven’t… And it means that soccer is running year-round

  46. eddie says:

    Make a choice, real football(MLS) or gridiron(NFL/College). My choice is MLS before anything else.

  47. Robot says:

    And nice to keep the integrity of the conferences…one of the successes of American sports. One day an East/West All Star game will be a big event.

  48. Chi-Town says:

    eurosnobbish…..Conferences and Playoffs are good

  49. Simpson says:

    no, euro goon

  50. Hector says:

    Still too many Wednesday games that could be played on Friday Night.

    And still too many important late-season Sunday games during NFL season.

    Friday night is a slot that could become synonymous with soccer, but MLS is still failing to capitalize.

  51. TechGeek says:

    Use jumper cables to attach rabbit ears to your head and you can see all the games for free over the interwebs.

  52. CMac says:

    Maybe they should have hired that student instead of the supposedly full-time schedule guy they have now.

    My opinion is that the whole “travel mileage” argument is kind of overblown. I don’t really understand how a 6-7 hour flight is so much more taxing on a professional athlete than a 4-5 hour flight. A travel day is still a travel day, regardless of the number of miles flown. That said, more miles equals more layovers, and odd flight schedules, and other annoyances which might effect an athlete, but I still think this justification an unbalanced schedule defies logic.
    Maybe I don’t see this as much as a big deal as others because my team (RSL) doesn’t have it as bad as Van?

  53. eurosnob is thrown around here way too often says:

    Why do you people keep throwing out the blanket “eurosnob” insult whenever somebody suggests that an imbalanced schedule IS INHERENTLY FLAWED?! How do you not see that an imbalanced schedule will favor certain teams, which throws the integrity of the competition out the window? This has nothing to do with Europe, or the color blue, or the GDP of Australia, or the number of moons orbiting Jupiter in the same direction!

  54. CMac says:

    Throwing out “eurosnob” is a cop-out. Fair competition is hardly a European concept.