Due to record amounts of rainfall in 2004, FC Dallas fans will have to wait a little bit longer than expected to enjoy the Frisco Soccer & Entertainment Center. Hunt Sports Group chairman Lamar Hunt announced Monday that the opening date of the new stadium for FC Dallas is Aug. 6, and the team will play their first six games of the 2005 campaign at the Cotton Bowl.
Records from the National Weather service show that 2004 was one of the five wettest years in Dallas history. The inclement weather significantly delayed the construction of the new stadium, forcing the delay of the facility's grand opening.
"The original construction schedule had sufficient time built in as a contingency to account for an above-average amount of inclement weather," said Hunt. "Due to record-breaking amounts of rainfall since construction began, we will not be able to meet the intended stadium opening date of June 11."
FC Dallas originally faced the difficult task of opening the 2005 season with an 11-game road trip. What would have been an MLS record for consecutive games away from home has been avoided by moving their first six home games of the new season to the Cotton Bowl, the club's home for eight of the first nine MLS seasons. The new stadium will be available for use after the MLS All-Star break.
"While we will still play the majority of our matches on the road prior to the All-Star break, these changes will provide our squad with a much more equitable schedule than previously anticipated," said FC Dallas president and general manager Greg Elliott. "The team was prepared to face the challenge of what would have been more than a two-month road trip. For competitive reasons, we were not willing to play any additional road matches beyond this already formidable task. In light of the stadium delay, we have asked MLS to move forward and schedule six home matches prior to Aug. 6."
The new 21,193-seat soccer stadium and 117-acre facility will accommodate MLS Cup 2005, major concerts, international soccer matches and high school football. Adjacent to the stadium there will be 17 regulation-sized, tournament-grade soccer fields which will be utilized on a year-round basis.
FC Dallas will begin the 2005 season against the Chicago Fire on April 2. The complete MLS schedule will be announced in the near future.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.