MLS unveils balanced schedule
Major League Soccer has adopted a familiar feature to most global football leagues for the 2011 season with each club facing every foe once at home and once away in the schedule announced today.
The 18-team North American league, which welcomes the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers this year and will add a Montreal team in 2012, will have 17 home and away games per club. It had previously used an unbalanced schedule.
MLS has also avoided booking matches on FIFA international fixture dates in August, September and October.
England star David Beckham, in the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy, will play in the 15 March season opener when his club visits Seattle Sounders and in the last regular season match when the Galaxy visit Houston Dynamo on 23 October. Beckham's club, still seeking an MLS title with the former Manchester United star in the squad, play their first home match on 20 March against New England Revolution.
Vancouver will play host to Toronto FC on 19 March in the Whitecaps' MLS debut and the first clash of Canadian clubs in MLS history. The Portland Timbers will stage their first home match on 14 April against Chicago Fire. Re-named Sporting Kansas City will play its first home match in its new park on 9 June against Chicago after opening the season with 10 road matches.