Ready for next season?
That's good. Because MLS announced last week the schedule of home openers for the 2011 season. And so we now know the first two teams that D.C. United will face.
They're both very familiar opponents. United will open the season at RFK Stadium on Mar. 19 against the Columbus Crew. The following week, the team will head north to face the New England Revolution on Mar. 26.
These two opening matchups create some interesting storylines. Like United, the Crew and Revolution are both in rebuilding mode. Columbus has already jettisoned Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk, Brian Carroll, and Jason Garey. They may struggle early on as they try to replace these regulars and find some chemistry.
Similarly, the Revolution will likely be active this offseason as they try to find some youth and talent that can return them to the playoffs after missing out last year. If anyone can do it, Steve Nicol can, as the coach always seems to find new players in the oddest of places.
And so with United facing two teams that will be expected to be among the weaker members of the Eastern Conference, D.C. actually has the opportunity to start the season on the right foot. It will just be a question of which team is rebuilding faster.