Whitecaps FC line-up
Bob Frid

At first glance: 'Caps legend Carl Valentine takes a closer look at the 2012 MLS schedule

I was really excited when I heard that the schedule was going to be released today. I always look forward to seeing how the games play out. When and where we get to lock horns with our Canadian rivals (Toronto FC and Montreal Impact), looking to see where all the Cascadia Cup matches (Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers) fall. When the big teams (New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy) come to town. The best part for me is the thought of a new season and to look at how our season may evolve in a most positive way.

Looking at this year’s schedule, I see the ‘Caps have a good chance to get out of the blocks fast. We have four of our first seven games at home, and out of the three away games, only one is a long trip back east (Philadelphia Union). The other two road games are much shorter trips to California to face Chivas USA and San Jose Earthquakes, so it does set up for us to have a nice run at the start of the season.

Another key part of the schedule could be in June, where we have three straight home games against Houston Dynamo, Colorado Rapids, and New York - three teams that will have to deal with travel and time change. Good results look like they will be important, as it is followed up by a string of five straight games on the road between June 23 and July 14.

It is interesting to see that after our five straight away games in June and July, it is followed by four straight road matches between August 18 and September 15. I believe this can work in our favour. I am sure a lot of planning will go into this period of the schedule with head coach Martin Rennie and his staff. This is where the medical staff can really earn their money planning when to leave for games (day before or two days before). Hydration during flights, sleeping, and eating habits will all go into giving the team the best possible opportunity to get good results on the road.

For me, the most exciting part of our schedule after our season opener against Montreal is the thought of having four of the last five regular season games at home. We have four home games on the trot, including Cascadia Cup derby clashes versus Seattle and Portland. I can only imagine what these games will be like at the end of the season, while we are chasing a playoff spot.

Last year, BC Place was rocking and we were playing with nothing on the line. I’m now excited to see what these home games will be like, with a playoff spot up for grabs.

I can’t wait!