After considerable anticipation, D.C. United have the date set to open their brand-new soccer-specific stadium.
Audi Field, located at Buzzard Point in Washington, D.C., will host its first competitive game for United on July 14, against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It will be the team's home venue moving forward, after playing in RFK Stadium from the team's founding in 1996 until the end of the 2017 season.
The debut of the newest venue in MLS will be the culmination of a challenging early schedule for D.C. United this season, as they will play 12 of their first 14 MLS regular season games on the road before the July 14 opener. The additional two games, which will be home matches for D.C. United, will be on March 17 against Houston Dynamo and April 14 against Columbus Crew SC, at alternate local venues to be announced at a later date.
D.C. United won't be the first team to have a long run of road games prior to opening a new or renovated stadium. In 2011, Sporting Kansas City played 10 straight road games to open their season, going 1-6-3 in those matches before opening Children's Mercy Park, and bouncing back with their rest of their campaign, as they finished first in the Eastern Conference that year.
The Dynamo had a seven-game road trip to kick off their 2012 season, playing to a 2-3-2 mark before opening BBVA Compass Stadium and eventually qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs, where they went to the MLS Cup final that year.
Toronto FC have also started the last two seasons on the road, as BMO Field underwent extensive renovations. In 2016, their seven-game road trip resulted in a 3-3-1 run, which eventually turned into a trip to the MLS Cup Playoffs and an appearance in the MLS Cup final.