2012 MLS Schedule: Sounders Get First Week Bye, Will Visit Portland, Vancouver Twice

Let's start with the good news about the 2012 MLS schedule: Despite earlier announcements that Seattle Sounders FC would be playing on March 10, the league office has thought better of it and gave them the weekend off (full schedule after jump). In fact, the Sounders and Toronto FC will get the weekend off in order to focus on their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals matches on March 7 and 14. While the LA Galaxy start their title defense on opening Saturday against Real Salt Lake. Interesting that the League has pushed MLS Cup back into December while also starting earlier for the longest season ever.

If you sensed that some bad news was coming, too, you were right. How bad it is probably depends on your interest in making sure the Cascadia Cup is as fair as possible. The Sounders will host just two matches against Cascadia Cup opponents at home while playing four on the road. It will be up to the Supporters Groups involved to figure out whether to count all games or not (both ways were used in unbalanced USL years).

That piece of information will, unfortunately, be the piece of news most are talking about today. It's also the one that is likely to come under the most criticism. For all the lip service MLS has paid to rivalries in recent years, it defies commonsense to set up arguably the league's biggest in such an unbalanced way. Assuming these scheduled perpetuate, this potentially sets up a situation where the Sounders will either be an advantage or disadvantage in the three-way rivalry every year. There does not appear to be any obvious reason why the league would choose to schedule it this way.

The rest of the schedule is a bit more predictable. The Sounders will visit the Montreal Impact, D.C. United, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution and Chicago Fire, while hosting the other five Eastern Conference teams. The Sounders will play their first three league games at home before playing their first road game at D.C. United on April 7th.

They will play two games at home against the Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids. They will travel twice to the Cascadia teams FC Dallas and Chivas USA. This means that against the best of the West (LAG, RSL and FCD) the Sounders are home 5 games and away 4 games. Without bundling travel Seattle will travel nearly 10,000 miles less in 2012 than 2011 for league games - 41,200 miles v 50,582.

The schedule also has a soft start with travel as four of the first five are at home. If Seattle advances in the CCL knockout rounds the home games in MLS play should help. They play on six Wednesdays, one Friday and end the season with a run of Sunday games in the fall on national TV.

Seattle continues to be featured on national television with 1 appearance on NBC (against Portland), 5 on ESPN , 1 on ESPN2 and 5 on NBCSports. No Sounders games start the season on Galavision. With Seattle in the CCL and how seriously they take the US Open Cup they will also be on FoxSoccer channel numerous times.

Interestingly FIFA dates were originally to be recognized

MLS initially did not schedule any games on FIFA fixture dates, but the League afforded the option, only by mutual club consent, of moving a game to one of those dates when other scheduling conflicts could not be resolved. Thus, a small number of games do occur on select FIFA fixture dates.

For the Sounders' complete schedule check the jump.

2012 Seattle Sounders FC Schedule

Day Date Opponent Time (PT) TV

Sat. March 17 Toronto FC 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Fri. March 23 Houston Dynamo 7:00 p.m. NBCSN

Sat. March 31 San Jose Earthquakes 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. April 7 at D.C. United 4:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. April 14 Colorado Rapids 1:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. April 28 at Chicago Fire 5:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Wed. May 2 L.A. Galaxy 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. May 5 Philadelphia Union 1:00 p.m. NBCSN

Wed. May 9 at FC Dallas 5:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. May 12 Real Salt Lake 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. May 19 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Wed. May 23 Columbus Crew 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. May 26 at Chivas USA 7:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. June 16 at Montreal Impact 4:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Wed. June 20 Sporting Kansas City 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sun. June 24 at Portland Timbers 2:00 p.m. ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Sat. June 30 at New England Revolution 4:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Wed. July 4 at Real Salt Lake 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. July 7 Colorado Rapids 8:00 p.m. NBCSN

Sun. July 15 at New York Red Bulls 1:00 p.m. ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Wed. July 18 Real Salt Lake 8:00 p.m. NBCSN

Sat. July 28 at Colorado Rapids 6:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sun. Aug. 5 L.A. Galaxy 7:00 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN Deportes

Sat. Aug. 11 at San Jose Earthquakes 7:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. Aug. 18 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. Aug. 25 at Chivas USA 7:30 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sun. Sept. 2 at FC Dallas 4:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. Sept. 8 Chivas USA TBD KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. Sept. 15 at Portland Timbers 12:30 p.m. NBC

Sun. Sept. 23 San Jose Earthquakes 7:00 p.m. KING-5 or KONG-6/16

Sat. Sept. 29 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 6:00 p.m. NBCSN

Sun. October 7 Portland Timbers 6:00 p.m. ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Sun. October 21 FC Dallas 6:00 p.m. ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Sun. October 28 at L.A. Galaxy 6:00 p.m. ESPN/ESPN Deportes

As last year the All Competitions schedule will exist in the side bar.

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