I love this time right before Christmas. MLS silly season is in full swing - what with home grown player rights being swapped along with conditional draft picks and the other myriad comings and goings (and rumors thereon) that let us pass the off-sesaon. But if that's not enough to tide you over till March, MLS has thrown you a bone today. You can now start salivating over D.C. United's 2013 schedule (as I'm sure Chest Rockwell already is), because today MLS announced the dates and opponents for each team's home opener. Luckily for us, United will be opening up two other teams' grounds for them next year, so we now have three games to drool over.
The Black-and-Red will open on the road next year, traveling on March 2 to the orange pit of hell that is the Houston Dynamo's BBVA Compass Stadium for a rematch of this year's Eastern Conference Final. We get our home opener the next Saturday, hosting a retooled Real Salt Lake at RFK Stadium on March 9.
Somehow, though, I think the third game on the slate is going to be the one that gets the most attention. We go north up I-95 to open up Red Bull Arena on March 16. Anybody remember what happened last time los Capitalinos took on the New York Red Bulls up in Harrison? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? DeLeon? Book your plane/train/bus tickets now, boys and girls.
Stepping back a bit, by opening with three playoff teams, two on the road, it looks to be a tough draw for United. We've never won in Houston (not even before they opened BBVALOLBBQ), and the Dynamo are two-time defending Eastern Conference (playoff) champs. RSL are making some roster changes, but they'll be keeping their core together and can't be counted out of the Western Conference race. Obviously the Metros can be tough when they're playing in Jersey (recent playoff results notwithstanding).
All that said, they can't hold us back. The 2013 season is officially one step closer to being here.