MLS stretches longest season to December
Major League Soccer unveiled its 2012 schedule today, with 19 North American clubs kicking off the longest season in MLS history on 10 March and finishing with the play-off final (MLS Cup) on 1 December.
The 17th season will feature 323 matches and include the league's newest team, the Montreal Impact. Nine matches on 28 April will make that date the busiest in league history.
Five matches will be featured on opening night, including Real Salt Lake at defending champions LA Galaxy, which could see English midfielder David Beckham return after turning down an offer from Paris Saint-Germain.
Other 10 March games find Kansas City at DC United, New England at San Jose, Columbus at Colorado and Montreal making its MLS debut at Vancouver.
A regular season of 34 matches for each club will conclude 28 October with one of the play-off finalists hosting the MLS championship match on 1 December, a full 267 days after the openers.