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Posted at 3:45 PM ET, 12/20/2010

D.C. United will open 2011 MLS season vs. the Columbus Crew on March 19 at RFK Stadium

By Steve Goff

D.C. United will begin the 2011 MLS regular season March 19 against the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium, the league announced Monday. The Crew finished second in the Eastern Conference this year, one point behind the New York Red Bulls, and was upset by the eventual champion Colorado Rapids in the first round of the playoffs.

United, coming off the worst season in club history at 6-20-4, will play its second match March 26 against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The remainder of the schedule will be finalized by early February. Each of the 18 clubs will play one another home and away for a total of 34 games, an increase of four.

OTHER OPENERS
March 15
Los Angeles Galaxy at Seattle Sounders, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
March 19
Philadelphia Union at Houston Dynamo
Toronto FC at Vancouver Whitecaps
Chicago Fire at FC Dallas
Seattle Sounders at New York Red Bulls
Portland Timbers at Colorado Rapids
Sporting Kansas City at Chivas USA
Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes
March 20
New England Revolution at Los Angeles Galaxy

Of Note: Seattle, MLS's attendance champion the past two years, is hosting the season's debut match for the third straight year. ... Colorado begins defense of its first title against the expansion Portland Timbers, who will play their first two games on the road before debuting at home April 14 vs. the Chicago Fire. ... Sporting Kansas City, which rebranded last month by dropping the Wizards nickname, will open a new, 18,500-seat stadium June 9 against Chicago. Until then, the club will play its first eight to 10 matches away.

By Steve Goff  | December 20, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United, MLS  | Tags:  D.C. United, MLS  
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Next: Bob Bradley sets U.S. national team roster for January training camp at Home Depot Center

Comments

So Sporting KC will continue to play a couple of home matches at the Community America ballpark until June arrives?

I am surprised that neither Portland nor Vancouver won the prize of hosting the Opening Kick match. Seattle is a great visual, but let's spread the love, MLS ...

Posted by: jofij | December 20, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Just curious, how many days until March 19?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 20, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Agree on Portland or Vancouver not getting the opening match, one of them should have it. And a 9:30 eastern start time? Does MLS need a map to show them where most of the country lives?

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 20, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

LA Galaxy: The highest-profile team in MLS.
Seattle Sounders: The highest attended team in MLS.
ESPN: Not a charity.

You guy do the math and figure out why the season opener is the way it is.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 20, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@I-270
All true, but you can't start the game at 8:30 eastern? The NFL seems to manage west coast starts at that time, and I've heard their a pretty successful league.

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 20, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Beware the Ides of March.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 20, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Man City still can't score one for themselves...

Posted by: Reignking | December 20, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Good thing they're starting the game at 9:30 and not 8:30 =D

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | December 20, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Tim Howard is a BEAST! But, we knew that right?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 20, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"attendance champions"... Really Goff? Dude, you're far better than that. Such silliness should be reserved for the rafters at Verizon Center or perhaps Qwest, but you don't need to do yourself like that my man! ;)

Thanks for the ntoes on the start of what I hope is a better season for United. With four extra games to watch this coming season even!!! Yeaaah!
Vamos United and Hoppy Holidayz!

Posted by: DadRyan | December 20, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Does MLS need a map to show them where most of the country lives?"

Well, the 2000 Census had the mean population center near Rolla, Missouri, just north of the Ozarks.

5:00 PST starts for east coast games is a hassle. MLS's recent growth is in the Pacific Time Zone. I don't have a problem with this.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | December 20, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

@FulhamDC. I'll concede that showing the league opener on 9:30 EST on a Tuesday night isn't ideal.

Having LA play again on Sunday, and having Seattle play again on Saturday in NJ doesn't make sense either. I could understand if NY flew to Seattle (largest TV market vs largest attendance). I think MLS is setting up a straw-man schedule so that Garber could argue in favor of conferences and unbalanced schedules.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 20, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Columbus should be eliminated from the Concacaf Champions League by then (they are scheduled to finish their home-and-away quarterfinal w RSL on March 1). They've lost a lot of key players since the season ended but added Cunningham who may gather the forces of evil around him in an attempt to break Jaime Moreno's career scoring record.

DC United's newly revamped offense will be unstoppable as the 5-man midfield feeds new targetman Luca Toni.

Or, if WPS goes belly up, Abby Wambach.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 20, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

5:00-5:30 weekday starts on the West Coast are absolutely brutal. 6:30 is hard enough as it is.

Posted by: KnucklesX | December 20, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of being shunned, I don't think about MLS until March Madness is over.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 20, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Since you asked, I-270:

89 days until DC United's first league match of 2011!!

Posted by: Curious99 | December 20, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

5:00-5:30 weekday starts on the West Coast are absolutely brutal. 6:30 is hard enough as it is.

Posted by: KnucklesX |

But I thought you guys could sell out Qwest at 1 pm on a Wednesday afternoon for an Open Cup match... ;)

In all seriousness though, I do agree it would be a PITA to get that big crowd into the stadium for a 5:30 weekday start.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 20, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Since you asked, I-270:

89 days until DC United's first league match of 2011!!

Posted by: Curious99

Too bad we don't have a kickoff time. Then we could start counting the minutes.


Posted by: SoccerVA | December 20, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Soon enough.

Posted by: Curious99 | December 20, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@mastadon
Im sure where the mean population center is is somewhere in the middle of missouri. Thats fine. But 60 percent of the
US population lives within a 300 mile radius of Philadelphia, PA. Not Missouri and certainly not the Pacific NW. (i actually got the 60 percent figure from a MLB study, so if its complete junk, blame them!)

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 20, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

But how many days til Charleston?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 20, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Dave Kasper making excuses after the first two games = our version of March Madness

Let's hope not and that the extra two games will be worth watching!

Posted by: paulkp | December 20, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to say that Charleston will tell us nothing. Just like last year

Posted by: SexyOffender | December 20, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Oy vey. I've got to go to a bar mitzvah in Joisey that day. Maybe I can make it back.....I guess I'll be the guy all dressed up.

Posted by: fischy | December 20, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Good to know when the 2011 undefeated streak will end, but surprise me win the opener. The tradition begins as they once said.

Posted by: NICKYNUNYA | December 21, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

2011: The year of DC United. I know because the Soccer Gods blacked out the moon last night.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 21, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

TO and Vancouver getting it on to open the season makes complete sense.

I am admittedly as "soft" as they come but still-- March 19th is a little early for a United home match but hey--maybe since the US got the shaft for the WC, we can just stopp all of this crazy fall to spring schedule talk.

Posted by: yankiboy | December 21, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

But 60 percent of the US population lives within a 300 mile radius of Philadelphia, PA. Not Missouri and certainly not the Pacific NW. (i actually got the 60 percent figure from a MLB study, so if its complete junk, blame them!)

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 20, 2010 9:01 PM
_________________________________________

This is extremely dubious. Can you provide an online source?

Posted by: universityandpark | December 21, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

It is dubious, which is why I was quick to point out that I think it came from an MLB study. Now that I'm at work and have time to do the research, the actual figure is that 63 million people live within a 300 mile radius of Philly. They also claim that's a quarter of the US population, which we know isn't true. Still, that's a heck of a lot of people.

But all of this goes well beyond my original point, why can't they start the game at 8:30. I was never arguing to move it out of Seattle, or the west coast, I was never arguing where there is the greatest growth potential. All I was saying is that the NFL and MLB have realized that 9 and 9:30 start times are a little late, why doesn't MLS see that? I'd like to watch Donovan and Buddle and Beckham play before the biggest crowd in the league just as much as some guy in the Ozarks! I guess I'll just have to drink a lot of Seattle's famous $6.00 coffees that night...and the next day.

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 21, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"DC United's newly revamped offense will be unstoppable as the 5-man midfield feeds new targetman Luca Toni."

Mrs. fallschurch1 would buy a season ticket too in that case.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | December 21, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: lrg123123 | December 21, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

An 8:30 ET kickoff is 5:30 PT. Too early for the stadium to fill up with the green ooze on a Tuesday.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 21, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

""DC United's newly revamped offense will be unstoppable as the 5-man midfield feeds new targetman Luca Toni.""

In the real world a typical United Front Office error has them sign "Lucky Tony" a small time drug and 3 card monte dealer from the 8th district to a 4 year $800,000 no cut contract.

Posted by: NICKYNUNYA | December 21, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

68,000 showed up for a lousy Charger game at 5:30 on a Monday night just over a week ago. I'm sure the great fans of Seattle could be out in force for the season opener!

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 21, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

In the real world a typical United Front Office error has them sign "Lucky Tony" a small time drug and 3 card monte dealer from the 8th district to a 4 year $800,000 no cut contract.

Posted by: NICKYNUNYA | December 21, 2010 9:34 AM
========================

Well in.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 21, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The LA - Seattle opener on ESPN is where and when it is because ESPN is the Official Broadcast Outlet of the Los Angeles Galaxy and later in the evening has become the preferred time slot for this so-called MLS partner based on ratings considerations.

Let's not kid ourselves; To ESPN MLS is a niche product that they take as a loss leader to get the rights to the US MNT, the World Cup, and other big international games. To MLS, ESPN is vital to its purported profile as a "major league" sports business. MLS needs ESPN more than ESPN needs MLS and as such would play at 9:00 AM if ESPN demanded.

Posted by: lgm6986 | December 21, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Lucky Tony the goalkeeper in "Victory"?

Posted by: OWNTF | December 21, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Stuart Holden is the highest rated player by readers of The Guardian so far this season.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 21, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"Well, the 2000 Census had the mean population center near Rolla, Missouri, just north of the Ozarks."

Did the Census indicate where the NICE population center is?

Posted by: WorldCup | December 21, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@FulhamDC,

Can you also confirm that 90% of the Canadian population lives within 3 hockey rink lengths of the US border?

Posted by: benonthehill | December 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"But I thought you guys could sell out Qwest at 1 pm on a Wednesday afternoon for an Open Cup match... ;)

In all seriousness though, I do agree it would be a PITA to get that big crowd into the stadium for a 5:30 weekday start."

Honestly, I'm sure they could. Hell, if the freaking Mariners can sell out Safeco
for an afternoon game, the Sounders can sell 30k+ for a game that actually means something. Of course, I wouldn't be able to go. Also, DR, keep in mind that I live over in Kitsap County, so it's a helluva lot more work for me than for some.

Posted by: KnucklesX | December 21, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@FulhamDC:

... and can you confirm that 75 percent of Philadelphia Eagles fans live within 8 steps of a keg-a-rator?

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 21, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@FulhamDC:

... and can you confirm that 75 percent of Philadelphia Eagles fans live within 8 steps of a keg-a-rator?

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 21, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

People, people; please pay attention:

MLS starting times on ESPN are not about what works or doesn't work for those attending; it's about when ESPN wants the niche product that MLS is to them to be played. The fact is that reruns of the World Series of Poker get higher ratings than MLS on ESPN. That's what we'll see on at 8:00 PM ET, not MLS.

Posted by: lgm6986 | December 21, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

2011: The year of DC United. I know because the Soccer Gods blacked out the moon last night.

Posted by: I-270Exit1

-----

If this were truly the case, it would have been blacked out with a VW logo over it.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 21, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@benonthehill - No, that's not true. There are far more people living in Canada's Northern Territories than their government will admit. They're hiding them. No one knows why.

@Rand-al-Thor - No confirmation needed, anyone who has ever met an Eagles fan knows that's true.

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 21, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney did a ranking of MLS teams at their CURRENT strength as of the re-entry draft. The first 6 teams are from the West but DC is ranked way up at #11. Pretty good - if meaningless - after 2010.

Of course after the SuperDraft and DC's anticipated signing of Lucky Tony and Australian Rules Keg-o-rator champion Abby Wombat these ranks could get shaken up a bit further:

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/40805/mlss-strong-get-stronger-with-offseason-moves.html

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 21, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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