NEW YORK — Fans, start making plans for the middle of March.
Major League Soccer revealed the schedule for "First Kick 2011" — the entire opening week of the 2011 season. In fact, all home openers have been set.
"First Kick 2011" will feature a week of action among an unprecedented 18 clubs as expansion franchises in Portland and Vancouver join the fold. This coming season, all clubs will play a 34-game balanced scheduled in which every team will face every other team twice, home and away. Ten teams will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Seattle Sounders will open the season for the third straight year when they host Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy on March 15. The match will be televised LIVE on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET.
The following Saturday, expansion side Portland Timbers open their MLS history book with a trip to champions Colorado Rapids, and fellow newcomers Vancouver Whitecaps get things heated up early with a Canadian derby match against Toronto.
Sporting Kansas City begin their landmark season on the road while they complete their soccer-specific stadium, which will stage its first MLS match on June 9 against the Fire.
Join the conversation on Twitter by using hashtag #firstkick2011, and check out the full slate below.
Home club listed first; All times Eastern (schedule subject to change)
Tuesday, March 15
Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Saturday, March 19
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Toronto FC, time TBD
D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30pm
Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 9 p.m.
Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 20
LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 26
Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City, 4 p.m.
Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 4 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers, time TBD
New England Revolution vs. D.C. United, time TBD
Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 9 p.m.
Thursday, April 14
Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire, 11 p.m.
Thursday, June 9
Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, time TBD