[MLS]When MLS Commissioner Don Garbermentioned a few weeks ago that the 2011 MLS season would start in mid-March, he was spot on. MLS kicks off its 16th season March 15 -- a Tuesday -- with Western Conference rivals Seattle and Los Angeles clashing at Qwest Field (9:30 p.m. ET). The game will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
The other 16 teams, including expansion entries Vancouver and Portland, get underway the following weekend. There are 10 games, because the Galaxy and Seattle are in action twice during the first week.
On March 19, Vancouver will host Canadian rival Toronto at Empire Field, a temporary stadium the Whitecaps will use until the completion of renovations at BC Place, which is being fitted with a retractable roof. On the same day the Timbers and their head coach, former Rapid John Spencer, get baptized against defending champion Colorado at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After the Tuesday opener, the Galaxy starts its home schedule Sunday, March 20, against New England.
All the teams that play away the first weekend will be at home the second, with two exceptions of teams whose stadiums won’t be ready.
Portland doesn’t play at home in PG&E Park, which is also being renovated, until April 14, when it hosts Chicago. Sporting Kansas City will spend nearly three months playing road games before its new facility is christened June 9 when Chicago comes to Kansas City, Kan.
The complete MLS schedule is expected to be released in early February. Each of the 18 teams will play each other twice, once at home and once away, in its 34-game schedule.
2011 MLS Home Openers:
Seattle vs. Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
Vancouver vs. Toronto FC, time TBD
D.C. United vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
New York vs. Seattle, 7:30 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Houston vs. Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m.
Colorado vs. Portland, 9 p.m.
Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m.
San Jose vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m.
Los Angeles vs. New England, 8 p.m.
Chicago vs. Sporting Kansas City, 4 p.m.
Columbus vs. New York, 4 p.m.
Philadelphia vs. Vancouver, 4 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Portland, time TBD
New England vs. D.C. United, time TBD
Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles, 9 p.m.
Portland vs. Chicago 11 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago, time TBD