REAL SALT LAKE LEARNS 34-GAME SCHEDULE FOR 2012 MLS REGULAR SEASON
RSL Kicks Off Eighth Season of MLS Play March 10 with Western Conference Championship Rematch at LA Galaxy;
2012 Rio Tinto Stadium Slate Starts Week Later with Visit by New York Red Bulls
SANDY, Utah (Thursday, January 5, 2012) – With today’s announcement of the 2012 Major League Soccer regular season schedule, Real Salt Lake learned the 34-game slate that will mark its eighth season of MLS play. Real Salt Lake will begin the upcoming season on Saturday, March 10, where its last campaign ended – The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. – with a Western Conference Championship rematch against the defending MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy, with kickoff slated for 8:30 p.m. MT.
A week later on Saturday, March 17, RSL will host the first of its 17 regular season home contests at Rio Tinto Stadium with another marquee match-up, as international star Thierry Henry will lead the New York Red Bulls into Sandy for a 7:00 p.m. MT kickoff. Currently, the only ways for fans to guarantee their seats on opening night in Sandy is to Join the Pride by becoming an RSL Season Ticket Holder or purchase a 10-Game Flex Voucher Pack, both of which can be fulfilled by visiting the "TICKETS" section of www.RealSaltLake.com or calling 801-727-2700. Real Salt Lake will announce details for single-game ticket availability in the upcoming weeks.
The RSL-Galaxy showdown on March 10 will be part of that day’s five-game slate beginning First Kick 2012, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, which will continue with two Sunday games – including the first MLS game on NBC Sports Network (FC Dallas v. New York) – and concludes with a special Monday night contest on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (Portland v. Philadelphia).
All 323 regular season matches will be televised live – 89 by national U.S. network partners ESPN, NBC, and Univision (on Galavisión) in the United States. Real Salt Lake will be featured on four national broadcasts, all coming on NBC Sports Network during the second half of the season (July 18 @ Seattle, Aug. 24 @ Philadelphia, Sept. 22 v. Portland & Oct. 6 @ Los Angeles). All non-national TV games will be broadcast locally and/or via subscription to Direct Kick and MLSsoccer.com’s live streaming package; Real Salt Lake will announce details for its 2012 local broadcast schedule in the upcoming weeks.
The 2012 MLS Regular Season will conclude Sunday, Oct. 28 with three games, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and the championship game – MLS Cup 2012 – on Dec. 1, hosted by one of the two finalists. From First Kick to MLS Cup, the calendar footprint of the 2012 season is 267 days – the longest in League history (as is the regular season, at 232 days).
“RSL Nation” will have several chances to get an early glimpse at their Claret-and-Cobalt, as Real Salt Lake will follow its road opener in Los Angeles with four of its next five contests at home, including the lone contest of the season against the Red Bulls, a visit by former Assistant Coach Robin Fraser and his Chivas USA squad (Mar. 24), the first-ever meeting against expansion newcomer Montreal Impact and ex-RSL midfielder Collen Warner (Apr. 4) and the first of three 2012 Rocky Mountain Cup showdowns against the archrival Colorado Rapids (Apr. 7).
Real Salt Lake will then have to get used to the road during a grueling 29-day stretch that will see the Claret-and-Cobalt play five of seven games on the road, starting with a three-game run at Sporting Kansas City (Apr. 14), San Jose (Apr. 21) and FC Dallas (Apr. 25) and ending with a cross-country trip from Chicago (May 9) to Seattle (May 12). In between those road trips, RSL will play host to Eastern Conference sides Toronto FC and the New England Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Utah side will have ample time to recover from its travels, as a bye weekend and back-to-back FIFA fixture dates will result in only one regular season match – a May 26 meeting at home against FC Dallas – from mid-May to mid-June. While the league may be largely off duty during that time, its clubs may still be in action during the month-long layover, as an anticipated switch in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup calendar and competition format could result in USOC games being contested during the time frame.
RSL will get back to action with a week-long “California Crash Course” that opens with a June 16 contest at Chivas USA and ends in Sandy with matches against the Galaxy (June 20) and San Jose (June 23). The following weekend’s road contest at the Columbus Crew on June 30 will mark the Claret-and-Cobalt’s lone match against Eastern Conference opposition during a three-and-a-half month run that will see RSL play 14 of 15 contests against its fellow Western foes.
The next six weeks will be set aside largely for Cascadian clubs and Colorado, beginning with RSL’s annual July 4th affair that this year brings Seattle to the Wasatch Front for an 8:00 p.m. kickoff, which will be followed by a visit from the Portland Timbers three days later. After a quick road swing west to San Jose (July 14) and Seattle (July 18) – the latter of which will mark RSL’s 2012 national broadcast debut on NBC Sports Network – Real Salt Lake and the Rapids will settle their Rocky Mountain Cup series at its earliest point ever thanks to clashes two weeks apart in Sandy on July 21 and at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Aug. 4, the former marking RSL’s eighth annual “Pioneer Day Celebration” game (8:00 p.m. kickoff).
The Utah side will alternate the two rivalry showdowns against the Rapids with contests against Vancouver Whitecaps FC – first in Sandy on July 27, then at BC Place on Aug. 11 – before settling its season account with FC Dallas at home on Aug. 18. The Claret-and-Cobalt will then turn their attention to the Eastern Conference for the next three games, starting with a road trip to Philadelphia (Aug. 24), continuing with the Sept. 1 Sandy homecoming for Robbie Russell and the rest of D.C. United and concluding with RSL’s first trip to the Houston Dynamo’s new home of BBVA Compass Stadium (Sept. 6).
While another FIFA window and bye weekend follow that stretch, there will likely be no rest for Real Salt Lake, which anticipates its return to CONCACAF Champions League play to begin in late-July or early-August and continue through October. CONCACAF will announce the competition format and dates for the 2012/13 edition of the tournament in the upcoming months.
The anticipated CCL contests will help fill in the gaps of a fairly relaxed final stretch for RSL, which starts with three consecutive Saturday affairs, beginning in Sandy against Portland (Sept. 22) and finishing with back-to-back trips to The Home Depot Center to face Chivas USA (Sept. 29) and the Galaxy (Oct. 6). Following another FIFA international window and bye weekend, Real Salt Lake will finally conclude its regular season campaign on Saturday, Oct. 27 by playing host to Vancouver.
RSL/MLS 2012 Regular Season Schedule Notes
- Each of the League’s 19 clubs will play 34 matches, 17 at home and 17 away, during 34 weeks. Within each conference, each club will play the same number of in-conference and out-of-conference games, following the competition format announced on Nov. 20, 2011.
- MLS initially did not schedule any games on FIFA fixture dates (June 1-5, June 8-12, Aug. 15, Sept. 7-11 & Oct. 12-16), but the League afforded the option, only by mutual club consent, of moving a game to one of those dates when other scheduling conflicts could not be resolved. Thus a small number of games do occur on select FIFA fixture dates.
- Real Salt Lake has three bye weekends during the season – May 19, Sept. 15 & Oct. 20 (Saturday match-dates listed) – that do not coincide with the previously listed FIFA windows.
- The “Holiday Road” will lead to Rio Tinto Stadium, as RSL will host games on Memorial Day weekend (Sat., May 26 v. FC Dallas), Independence Day (Wed., July 4 v. Seattle), Pioneer Day weekend (Sat., July 21 v. Colorado Rapids) and Labor Day weekend (Sat., Sept. 1 v. D.C. United).
- In breaking with their tradition of pivotal, late-season showdowns, Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids will end their annual Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry by the middle of summer. The series, which returns to a three-game slate for the first time since 2009, includes games on April 7 and July 21 in Sandy and the finale on Aug. 4 in Commerce City.
- While Real Salt Lake will not play more than two consecutive league home games at any point during the campaign, the club will enjoy home stretches of 4-out-of-5 games during March/April and June/July. Real Salt Lake will get its longest road trip of the season out of the way early courtesy of a three-game away swing at Sporting Kansas City (Apr. 14), San Jose (Apr. 21) and FC Dallas (Apr. 25).
- Thanks to a bye week and a pair of FIFA international windows, Real Salt Lake will play only one league match (May 26 v. FC Dallas) in the five-week window between its May 12 @ Seattle and June 16 @ Chivas USA contests. The squad will also have a three-week break between its penultimate and final games of the regular season in October, playing at Los Angeles on Oct. 6 before wrapping up the campaign on Oct. 27 against Vancouver.
- While only six of RSL’s 34 regular season affairs fall in the final seven weeks of the season following Labor Day weekend, the Utah side’s schedule should be congested thanks to participation in the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage.
- Real Salt Lake can make its move against the rest of the West in the middle of the season, as the Utahns will play intra-conference opposition in 14 of 15 games during a stretch between May and August. The Columbus Crew will be the only Eastern Conference squad to break the pattern when they host RSL on June 30.
- Three players gone from the RSL roster since the end of the 2011 are slated to make an appearance at their old Rio Tinto Stadium stomping grounds in 2012 – MF Collen Warner (Apr. 4 v. Montreal), MF Jean Alexandre (June 23 v. San Jose) and DF Robbie Russell (Sept. 1 v. D.C. United).