I hope Sporting Kansas City have invested in a decent frequent-flier plan, as they'll start the 2011 MLS campaign with 10 road games before opening their new stadium on June 9. The road trip starts with the First Kick on March 19 against Chivas USA in Los Angeles.
After that, they'll travel to Chicago (March 26), Vancouver (April 2), Columbus (April 16), New England (April 23), New York (April 30), Los Angeles (May 14), Seattle (May 21), Colorado (May 28) and Toronto (June 4).
The team will open their new stadium against the Chicago Fire in their only ESPN-televised game on June 9. The Thursday-night game will kickoff at the family-friendly time of 9 p.m. central.
To make up for the 10-game road start, Kansas City will have a remarkable 9-game home stand starting on July 23 against Toronto and stretching to Sept. 10 against Houston.
How's this for the month of August, all at home: Real Salt Lake (Aug. 3), Seattle Sounders (Aug. 6), Los Angeles Galaxy (Aug. 13), Portland Timbers (Aug. 17), DC United (Aug. 21) and FC Dallas (Aug. 27).
There will be five mid-week fixtures for the team, including the home opener. The others: July 6 against reigning MLS champs Colorado, Aug. 3 against Real Salt Lake, Aug. 17 against expansion Portland and Sept. 28 against Columbus. Except the Chicago game, all starting times are 7:30 p.m. central.
The other notable home games: Vancouver Whitecaps (June 25) and the New York Red Bulls (Oct. 15).
To see the full schedule, clickhere
The other notables:
• A make-or-break stretch for KC should be April 23 to May 28, as the team will play New England, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Colorado (on the road) in succession.
• The home field is called "Sporting Park" on their official site. My best guess? That's just a place holder for the real name.
• Perhaps because of a guy named Omar Bravo, Kansas City will be featured on Telefutura three times (at Chicago March 26, vs. Houston Sept. 10, vs. New York Oct. 15) and Galavision twice (vs. Chivas July 9 and vs. D.C. United Aug. 21).
• Except for the home opener, all KC games will be televised on either KSMO-TV or KCTV-5 in high definition.
• Former KC captain Jimmy Conrad and his new team, Chivas USA, will be in town on July 9.
• The final game of the season, Oct. 22, will be at D.C. United.
• The game against San Jose on June 18 will cap a great nine-day stretch of games in Kansas City that includes two MLS games and a Gold Cup double-header on June 14.
• There is only one Sunday home game, D.C. United on Aug. 21 (6 p.m.);• There are only two home afternoon games, Sept. 10 against Houston and Oct. 15 against New York Red Bulls.
• Kansas City will play five games during the 2011 Gold Cup (where they could be without Stephane Auvray, Craig Rocastle, Roger Espinoza and Teal Bunbury), including a game against Vancouver the night of the final (June 25).