Understanding the round-by-round breakdown of each team's schedule during the MLS regular season can be the difference between an overwhelmed first-time fantasy owner and a successful one.
A lot of owners will select players based on their Round 1 matchup – and fair enough – but if you want to be successful in MLS Fantasy Manager, you need to plan for the future.
D.C. United, Columbus and the LA Galaxy all have a bye in Round 2. If you don't plan carefully to start the season, you could be in over your head before we even hit April.
The image above (view it full screen) is a complete schedule breakdown for all 19 teams with their fixtures for all 33 rounds. In other words, it's the ultimate guide to help you make the most-informed decisions over the next eight months and something you should be referring to on a weekly basis throughout the season.
Several things will stick out when you look at this chart for the first time, so here are some key points to get you started:
- There is a key at the bottom of the image that describes what the different colors and fonts represent. Familiarize yourself with this.
- The teams are in alphabetical order across the top of the image.
- The round and corresponding dates are located on the left.
- Match the round with the team and you're good to go.
Some people fault me for giving away too many secrets. What can I say, I'm just a nice guy. With that said, here are a few intriguing tidbits that stuck out right off the bat. Keep them in mind when setting up your team.
- The Portland Timbers are the only team without a bye week the entire season.
- FC Dallas have a very favorable home game schedule, along with two double-game weeks in the first 14 rounds.
- New York have just five home games in the first 14 rounds and three of their nine away games are on turf.
- For those new to MLS, Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave have been known to avoid playing on turf more often than not.
- Lastly, pay attention to home fixtures. There were 323 regular season games in 2013 – 241 wins and 82 ties. Of the 241 wins, 164 – nearly 70 percent – were by the home team.
Whether you're an expert or a novice, this chart should be a fantasy manager's best friend until October 22 (Round 33). Bookmark this article and use it as a reference point. Or if you're like me, you'll save the image and set it as the background on your computer.
Note: The fantasy schedule is subject to change. The image above shows all fixtures as of 2/26/14