As the Seattle Sounders sit and wait for their next CONCACAF Champions League match, 16 other teams play their first games of the 2012 Major League Soccer season. The league wants you to be more interested in the game in general rather than just your local team. To do that they have two games on national English TV in the United States, one on national Spanish in the USA and one in both English and French in Canada. Piled on top of all that live soccer goodness is the fact that Direct Kick (the cable/satellite package) and MLS Live (online/mobile streaming) are both free this weekend. If you want a day of perfect weather to sit back and enjoy footie you have one, or you can go the Steve Sarina Memorial and watch some at Temple. All times are Pacific, because well, it's who we are.
SBNation.com/soccer previewed every single team noting roster turnover, local hopes and local fears.
3 PM Saturday - Columbus Crew at Colorado Rapids - aka Massive Report v Burgundy Wave - This is on-demand only match watches the reinvented Rapids host a team that could use an easy-ish schedule to succeed in the East.
Why to watch: Colorado is reinventing itself as a 4-3-3 possession team.
3 PM Saturday - Montreal Impact at Vancouver Whitecaps - Mt Royal Soccer v 86 Forever - Nationally televised in Canada in both national languages the two former D2 rivals face off their only time in 2012 league play. As the Whitecaps look to improve on their expansion season they should be able to capitalize on a softer opponent to start:
Why to watch: Several former Sounders and Coach Rennie taking his philosophy up another level.
4:30 PM Saturday - Sporting Kansas City at D.C. United - The Daily Wiz v Black & Red United - Two very strong offensive sides face-off in an Eastern Conference match. The Sporks 4-3-3 will need to defend well to get the win.
Why to Watch: DeRo is simply amazing. He's as good an attacking player as any in the league.
7:30 PM Saturday - New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes - The Bent Musket v Quake, Rattle and Goal - Both sides need to improve on poor 2011 season, but there isn't much hope. First time coach Jay Heaps is as Rev as they get, but will be challenged to learn on the fly.
Why to Watch - Kelyn Rowe who could challenge for Rookie of the Year.
7:30 PM Saturday - Real Salt Lake at LA Galaxy - RSLSoapBox v LAG Confidential - An early season battle that could indicate who will claim the top of the table, but will really just be a reason for punditry to overreact. Sounders fans should hope for a draw.
Why to Watch - It's the best match of the day. Also, how good is the 2012 Galaxy D?
Noon Sunday - NBC SPorts Net - New York Red Bulls at FC Dallas - Once a Metro v BigDSoccer - Can Red Bull be less dysfunctional in 2012 a manage to meet their high expectations? A win on the road may be a sign of that. Or Rafa Marquez can continue to be the guy who is so much better than his teammates.
Why to Watch - Arlo White and NBC Sports tackle MLS.
4 PM Sunday - Galavision - Houston Dynamo at Chivas USA - Dynamo Theory v The Goat Parade - Houston made a surprise trip to the MLS Cup Final last year. With this season they won't be a surprise as they have an easy enough schedule and their star dead ball specialist will be back. The Goats are still trying to discover their new identity under second year coach Robin Fraser
Why to Watch - So you know if you get Galavision? Or to study dead ball lays.
6:30 Monday - ESPN2/Desportes - Philadelphia Union at Portland Timbers - Brotherly Game v Stumptown Footy - Each m reinvented themselves in the offseason. One did so they just miss the playoffs and hope to claim the title as third best expansion team ever. They other was a top team in 2011 that decided roster churn was a great way to get better. Both are probably wrong, but it will be a competitive match. ESPN is ramping up their coverage.
Why to Watch: The actual soccer, because that's the point of these things called games.
This is your open thread for the eight matches that kick off MLS 2012. To quote Sacha Kljestan "Are y even watching?"