Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 MLS Road Trip

The MLS schedule was released yesterday, which means it is time for the full-season road trip post.  This year, the trip took me less than ten minutes to plan, because the league has scheduled a number of smart combinations, such as Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City in a five-day period, as well as Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver in a similar span. I started at Week 1 and it was amazing how many games slotted into the closest stadium for the following week.

There are 20 clubs again this season, and as I wrote last year, all but one of these teams is geographically proximate to at least one other without any area of the country dominating. Only Orlando is orphaned, all alone in Florida (but not for long as Miami is slated to join in 2018). What this fairly even distribution across the country means is that you can see two games on a weekend in one area and then spend the weekdays driving to the next area to see another game or two (or a midweek one). The following schedule starts in Week 2 and finishes 11 weeks later giving you 78 days on the road.

Sat, Mar 12  New York Red Bulls at Montreal Impact (Olympic Stadium)
Fri, Mar 18  Orlando City at New York City FC
Sat, Mar 19  Houston Dynamo at New York Red Bulls
Sun, Mar 20  New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union
Sat, Mar 26  FC Dallas at D.C. United
Sat, Apr  2  Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire
Sat, Apr  9  San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas
Sun, Apr 10  Seattle Sounders at Houston Dynamo
Wed, Apr 13  Colorado Rapids at Sporting Kansas City
Sat, Apr 16  Vancouver Whitecaps at Real Salt Lake
Sat, Apr 23  Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles Galaxy
Sun, Apr 24  Sporting Kansas City at San Jose Earthquakes
Wed, Apr 27  Sporting Kansas City at Vancouver Whitecaps
Sat, Apr 30  Columbus Crew at Seattle Sounders
Sun, May  1  Toronto FC at Portland Timbers
Sat, May  7  Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids
Sat, May 14  Colorado Rapids at Columbus Crew
Wed, May 18  New York City FC at Toronto FC
Sat, May 21  Montreal Impact at Orlando City
Sat, May 28  Seattle Sounders at New England Revolution
Sun, May 29  LA Galaxy at Montreal Impact (Stade Saputo)

Note that you start and finish with games in Montreal, but you would see both their home venues: Olympic Stadium when it is still cold, and Stade Saputo when it has warmed up a bit. This schedule would see you drive about 12,600 highway miles, a relatively short amount for this sort of cross-country journey (a trip with no backtracking would be about 9,500 miles). Another plus is that you would only miss three teams on the road (defending champion Portland, D.C. United, and Chicago) and you would not see any road team more than twice. There might be more efficient trips out there, but this one is quite compelling for the MLS fan with some time and money.



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