We haven't crowned a 2013 champion yet, but for FC Dallas fans, today is the day that focus turns to next season as we unveil the full 2014 schedule. Here are a few highlights:
Spring into soccer
You're going to have a bunch of opportunities to see FCD at home early in the year. Five of the first seven games in 2014 are at home. In addition, the first two games away from Toyota Stadium are road-trippable affairs at Sporting Kansas City and Houston, so for die-hard FC Dallas fans, catching the first seven games of the year is a realistic proposition.
Saturday nights in Frisco
Whatever plans you have for Saturday nights from March through October, you might want to adjust them. 12 of the 17 home games in 2014 are Saturday night affairs including five of the first seven games. Also returning in 2014 are the popular 8:00PM kickoffs during the summer.
Friday night's alright for soccer
One interesting feature of the 2014 schedule is the appearance of two Friday night kickoffs. FCD has only played two Friday games in the history of Toyota Stadium with one of those coming on the traditional Fourth of July game. One of the two Friday night games this year will be the July 4 game against the Philadelphia Union while on Friday, August 22, Dallas will host Real Salt Lake.
Only twice this year will FCD have the much-maligned three match weeks and both of them fall in an incredibly busy month of May. Dallas will play seven games in all through the month of May with grueling three-match weeks on May 4-10 and May 17-24.
Western Conference showdown
In an effort to enhance the run in to the playoffs, MLS has backloaded the schedules with intra-conference matchups. 13 of the final 14 matches of the season will pit FCD against Western Conference foes including two matches against both Los Angeles and Vancouver in the final two months of the season.
World Cup break
As we did in 2010, Major League Soccer will be shutting down for two weeks during the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage. FC Dallas will not take the field between Wednesday, June 11's match at Portland and Saturday, June 28's match in Columbus. In addition, FCD will not hit the Toyota Stadium field in MLS action for almost a month between June 7 and July 4, though a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game or two could hit Frisco during that month.
So who's ready to kick off the season?