VANCOUVER, BC – Mark your calendars: the 2018 MLS regular season schedule is here.
Click here for an in-depth breakdown of Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s 34-match slate, or read on below for three of my takeaways from today’s announcement.
BALANCE OF HOME AND AWAY MATCHES
One thing that stands out about this year’s schedule is the lack of extended home or road swings.
The ‘Caps will not play three consecutive MLS matches away from home in 2018. By comparison, they did so on three occasions last year, including one four-match trip. Mind you, Vancouver fared quite well in most of those matches, but that sort of constant travel can really take its toll on a team in the long run.
Similarly, the ‘Caps will only play three consecutive home matches once, hosting San Jose, Seattle, and Dallas in September. Last year, Vancouver made their climb up the Western Conference standings during a home swing in September, ultimately clinching a playoff spot at the end of the month. And they could very well have an opportunity to do so again in 2018.
Vancouver’s final five matches are against LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, Sporting Kansas City, LAFC, and Portland Timbers. And both LA fixtures, as well as the tilt with defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC, are on the road.
That’s a tough way to end the season, but it could also be a big opportunity.
If the ‘Caps can manage to put together a string of positive results in the run-in, unlike last year when they picked up just one point in their final three matches, it could serve them well heading into the MLS Cup Playoffs.
CHANGE IN FORMAT
With the addition of LAFC, there was a change in the balance of schedule for 2018.
The ‘Caps will again face each Eastern Conference side once either home or away, in reverse of the 2017 fixture. The difference this year is that Vancouver will now play each Western Conference opponent twice, except San Jose Earthquakes – the lone team they will face three times. That includes back-to-back matches against San Jose on August 25, as part of MLS Heineken Rivalry Week, and September 1.
The ‘Caps, of course, are coming off a 5-0 playoff win over San Jose – the club’s first-ever victory in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Fans can secure their tickets to every match in 2018 at whitecapsfc.com/tickets. Tickets for the season opener are now available as part of the 2018 Home Opener Pack, which includes two tickets and a scarf for only $70. Season ticket memberships are also available, starting at only $44 per month. Single match tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, February 9.