The 2012 MLS schedule was released on Thursday, impressively enough almost exactly at the time the league let rumor out that it would be. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the Seattle Sounders were given a bye during Week 1 even though the league had previously announced they would be playing at home on March 10. It was also revealed that the 2012 MLS Cup would be played on Dec. 1, meaning the season will last a record 232 days.
That move was surely in response to a request from the Sounders to be given extra time to focus on their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Santos Laguna on March 7 and 14. Toronto FC, as previously revealed, was also given a bye that weekend. They will be playing the LA Galaxy in CCL play on March 7 and 14.
Curiously enough, though, the Galaxy were not afforded the same luxury. In fact, the Galaxy will play four matches between March 7 and 18. In addition to two CCL matches against TFC, they will open at home against Real Salt Lake on March 10 and follow that up with a home match against D.C. United on March 18. The good news for the Galaxy is that after opening CCL play at Toronto, they won't have to leave Home Depot Center again until April 7 when they play at Sporting Kansas City.
One other Galaxy-related surprise was their absence from NBC. The league's newest broadcast partner will have eight Galaxy games on their cable channel, NBC Sports, but will not have any of their games on NBC proper. Those three NBC games will instead go to Portland Timbers-Sounders on Sept. 15, New York Red Bulls-Chicago Fire on Oct. 6 and Philadelphia Union-Red Bulls on Oct. 27. In total, 38 regular-season games will be broadcast on NBC Sports.
For more on the 2012 MLS schedule, be sure to follow this StoryStream.