Impact to kick off MLS era at Whitecaps
The Montreal Impact will make their Major League Soccer debut March 10 at B.C. Place in Vancouver.
Details for the league's four nationally televised games on the opening weekend of the MLS season — dubbed First Kick 2012 — were unveiled Tuesday. The game will start a new chapter in the 20-year rivalry between Montreal and Vancouver, who previously played each other at lower levels.
"We are looking forward to kicking off our season against Montreal Impact, as they play their first match in their inaugural MLS season in Vancouver," said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. "March 10 will be an exciting sports day for all fans in downtown Vancouver, as by coincidence, the Canucks will host the Montreal Canadiens."
The NHL teams will face off later that night at Rogers Arena.
The following day, the New York Red Bulls open at FC Dallas in the first game broadcast by NBC's networks under a three-year agreement. Also on March 11, the MLS Cup finalist Houston Dynamo open at Chivas USA.
Philadelphia opens at Portland on March 12.
The league previously announced dates for 2012 home openers. Additional schedule information is expected to be released this month.
The Impact will make their home debut at Olympic Stadium on March 17. Montreal will then shift its home games to the newly renovated Saputo Stadium, which is scheduled to open in June.
The league's other Canadian team — Toronto FC — will open its home schedule on March 24 at BMO Field.
Each of the 19 MLS clubs will play 34 games, 17 at home and 17 away. All clubs will play an equal schedule within their respective conference.