Our man Tod Palmer has the key points of Sporting Kansas City's 2013 MLS schedule. Here are a few leftover thoughts.
The Kansas City Star
• Five of KC's first 10 games are on the road this year.
• Because of the unbalanced 34-game schedule, Kansas City won't play every team twice. It will play seven Eastern teams three times; two teams twice. KC will play every Western team just once.
• Columbus, D.C., Montreal and Philadelphia will travel to Livestrong twice this year; Chicago, Houston and Toronto will come just once.
• Kansas City will play New York and New England just twice.
• This year sees KC reverse its Western opponents from 2012. Portland (April 27), Chivas (May 5), Seattle (May 8), Vancouver (July 3) and Colorado (Aug. 31) will all travel to Livestrong Sporting Park; KC will visit Los Angeles (April 20), Dallas (June 22), Real Salt Lake (July 20) and San Jose (Aug. 18).
• There will be an abnormal number of afternoon kickoffs -- especially to start the season. The first four matches of the season will kickoff before 3 p.m. Also, four of the team's five matches in May will kickoff before 4 p.m.
• Another quirk: Kansas City won't play a single Saturday game in the month of May. Instead, four Sunday games and one on Wednesday.
• Best road-trip fodder? Besides the cadre of fans who will haul it to Philadelphia for the opener? Well, Chicago (twice: July 7 and Aug. 23) is the closest venue. However, those games aren't exactly travel friendly on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Dallas is the next closest venue with a friendly Saturday kickoff on June 22.
• Columbus (about 600 miles or so) isn't a bad trip for early October (10/5). While Houston (about 750 miles or so) is slightly longer, it might be worth it to see BBVA Compass Stadium in early May.
• The last I heard, Kansas City was in the running for the U.S.-Costa Rica World Cup qualifier on March 22. However, it doesn't seem that MLS is taking off every FIFA international date this year. On March 23, Kansas City is scheduled to visit New England.
• That likely means KC will be without Graham Zusi, who figures to be a U.S. national team regular.
• The schedule makers didn't do KC any favors. In April, there's a rough stretch with a Wednesday night game in New York (April 17) and a Saturday game in Los Angeles (April 20).
• Like last year, the schedule is loaded in the Fall with tricky match ups against Eastern foes. Seven of the last matches (and 10 of the last 12) come against the East. Two of those games figure to be rough road tests back-to-back in Columbus (Oct. 5) and Houston (Oct. 9).
• The 2013 regular season concludes Sunday, Oct. 27, with five games, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs. The 2013 MLS Cup (hosted by the club with the better regular-season record) will be on Dec. 7 or 8. (Dec. 8!?!)
• There's a nice soft spot in the schedule on Wednesday, July 31. An All-Star Game would certainly fit into that slot.
• Full season tickets start at $400 for 20-game packages, which will include all 17 MLS home regular season matches as well as both CONCACAF Champions League group stage home games and all home matches in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup through the quarterfinal round (up to three potential games). Visit SportingKC.com, email email@example.com or call 888-4KC-GOAL to reserve seats.
• Partial season ticket packages will be released on Jan. 15 and single-game tickets for the first nine home matches will go on sale to the general public on Feb. 7. Season Ticket Members will have access to a pre-sale starting on Jan. 31 for single-game tickets to all 17 MLS regular season home matches.
• Every Sporting Kansas City regular season MLS match will be shown live in 2013. KSMO-TV, the team's official broadcast partner, will again carry all non-nationally televised regular season matches and will provide a 30-minute pre-game show prior to each of its matches.