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D.C. United announces 2018 MLS home opener, venue still to be determined

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The Black-and-Red will start the season with a visit to Orlando City

D.C. United’s 2018 schedule is coming into focus, as MLS announced home openers for teams across the league. As expected, the Black-and-Red will start the season on the road, visiting Orlando City on March 3rd for a game kicking off at 7:30pm. United has also said they will visit Atlanta United on March 11th, with that game kicking off at 3:00pm. United’s opening home game of the 2018 season is set for March 17th against the Houston Dynamo, though the venue for that game has yet to be determined.

With Audi Field not set to open until the end of June, United’s possible alternate venues are still an open question. Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis and City Stadium in Richmond have both been mentioned as favorites to host a game before the Black-and-Red move into their new digs on Buzzard Point, but both venues are booked. Navy men’s lacrosse will host a home game against Loyola (MD) at 1:30pm in Annapolis, while the Washington Spirit have a preseason game against the North Carolina Courage in Richmond at 7:30pm.

Goff’s report says that the Maryland Soccerplex may be the front-runner to host the game against the Dynamo, but nothing is settled. Oriole Park at Camden Yards could still be in the running, while the region’s other larger venues (Nationals Park, Maryland Stadium, Fedex Field, and M&T Bank Stadium) have all been ruled out.

United has had varying fortunes against their first two opponents. Atlanta took MLS by storm for the most part, but D.C. won all three meetings in the Five Stripes’ inaugural season. Somehow, a team that scored 68 goals in their other 31 games could only score twice in 270 minutes against the second-worst team in MLS in 2017.

Orlando, however, has been something of a bogey team for the Black-and-Red. Last year, the Lions won just 4 of their final 27 games, but half of those wins came against United. While United has gone 3W-0D-4L against Orlando since the Florida club joined MLS, they have lost four of the last five meetings (and three straight away from home).

The remaining schedule will be announced in the coming weeks, with United most likely playing 15 of their 17 home games at Audi Field in what will be a fairly heavily back-loaded schedule. For now, though, we can add Orlando and Atlanta (and probably Houston) to a schedule that already includes preseason games against Sweden’s Malmö FF and USL expansion club Las Vegas Lights FC.