COLUMBUS – Major League Soccer today unveiled its 2014 regular-season schedule, a campaign that sees each of its 19 clubs play a 34-match clip beginning on March 8 and concluding on October 26. For Major League Soccer and the Crew – one of the League’s Charter Members – 2014 is the 19th season of play dating back to the League’s inaugural campaign in 1996.
For the third consecutive season, each team is scheduled to play an unbalanced schedule that features a single match against each team in opposite conferences, and two or three intra-conference tilts in an effort to continue regional rivalries.
MLS also announced that it is holding a two-week break from June 12 to June 24 to align with the group phase of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The League adopted a similar practice in 2010 during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The last MLS matches before the break are on June 11, one day before the start of the World Cup.
Under new Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, the Black & Gold take to the road a third straight year to open the 2014 campaign, traveling to face Eastern Conference rival D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday, March 8 – a team the Crew swept in 2013 (2-0-0).
2014 is the Crew’s 16th season at first-of-its-kind Crew Stadium, the first topflight soccer-specific facility built in the United States. After a second week bye, the home schedule opens with a visit from the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 22. The Black & Gold enter the upcoming season unbeaten in their last nine Opening Matches (5-0-4) at Crew Stadium dating back to 2005. The club’s home – and regular-season – schedule also wraps-up against the Union on Sunday, October 26, completing its 17th home tilt after 17 road challenges.
Similar to 2013, the Crew faces seven Eastern Conference foes three times each this campaign: D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC. Of those teams, Montreal, Toronto and Philadelphia will make two trips to Columbus, while the Crew travels to face D.C., Houston, New England and New York twice each in 2014. Whereas the Crew faced Eastern Conference opponents D.C. and Philadelphia just twice each in 2013, the Crew is scheduled to play the Chicago Fire and Sporting KC twice each next season, with each club scheduled to host the Crew once and travel to Columbus a single time as well.
Nine other contests round-out the Crew’s schedule, including a matchup against each of the nine Western Conference clubs, reversing the home location of the 2013 contests. The Black & Gold play host to Chivas USA, FC Dallas, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC while logging West Coast mileage to square-off at the Colorado Rapids, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC.
Some of the highlights of the schedule include a visit from the reigning Supporters’ Shield victors, the New York Red Bulls on April 26; the lone home meeting against bitter rival Chicago Fire on May 24; Gregg Berhalter’s first match against his former coach and mentor Bruce Arena’s LA Galaxy at Crew Stadium on Saturday, August 16; a second-straight road Fourth of July match – and 11th overall Independence Day contest in club history – with a trip this year to Colorado; and three road matches in the final four weeks of the year, including a trip to New England on October 4 with a chance at payback after the Revs knocked the Crew out of 2013 postseason contention.
The Sunday, May 4 contest at Sporting KC is set to air nationally on the NBC Sports Network. Additional matches – including Wednesday, September 7 against Chivas USA and Sunday, October 19 at New York – are set to air nationally on UniMás. Additional regional broadcast details for radio and television will be announced at a later date.
2014 season tickets, group tickets, premier seating and 10-match plans are already on sale, along with a special Holiday Pack, while information for purchasing single-game tickets for all Crew regular-season home games will be released at later date. Tickets are available by calling 614-447-CREW and online via TheCrew.com.