Major League Soccer has announced its slate of season opening matches and the Portland Timbers are front and center, hosting newcomers Minnesota United on Friday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m. PT. The match will be the first of the season for MLS, with the rest of the league kicking off over the following weekend.
The rest of the schedule is slated to come out in January, before the 2017 MLS Superdraft on the 11th.
Despite not yet knowing who the Timbers are schedule to go up against in week 2, we can narrow down the pool of potential opponents. Among the announced home openers in Week 2, the Columbus Crew, Vancouver Whitecaps, Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earthquakes, and LA Galaxy are not listed, forming our potential pool for the Timbers to play.
Looking at the rest of the league, there are several interesting match-ups to be had. On Saturday, March 4th, the Galaxy — a perennial contender now without Bruce Arena at the helm for the first time since 2008 — will host FC Dallas — 2016’s Supporters’ Shield winners. The following day will see Atlanta United in action for the first time as they host the New York Red Bulls.
Week 2 should have its fair share of sparks with a pair of interesting Eastern Conference matches on Sunday, March 12th. First New York City FC will host D.C. United, then we will get our annual clash of the expansion sides as the Loons host Atlanta and we will get to see how their two decidedly different approaches to team-building match up.
Of note, it seems that MLS will once again be aiming for consistent time slots on Sundays, with matches regularly occurring at 11:00 a.m. PT, 2:00 p.m. PT, 4:00 p.m. PT, and 6:30 p.m. PT.
The full list of season openers can be found here.