Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Schedule Released!

Always a good day when we get to see the 2018 schedule.  First things first, in order to give the Rapids more time to deal with the CCL the league agreed to reschedule our home opener on Mar. 3rd to June 13th.  Our opening game will now be the game in New England on Mar. 10th while our home opener will be against KC on Mar. 24th.

That bit of rescheduling aside, lets break down the schedule.  As expected we get every Western team home and away with an extra away game against FSL.  We host Philly, Toronto, Orlando, RBNY, Chicago, and our first look at Atlanta and we travel to New England, Columbus, Montreal, NYCFC and visit new Audi Field in DC.

At home we have one Sunday afternoon game (on ESPN) plus the final game of the season when all games are played on Sunday afternoon, a Friday night and a Saturday afternoon game, both on TSN in Canada, a Saturday afternoon game on UniMas, and the rescheduled Chicago game on a Wednesday night.  The 4th of July is a Wednesday as well, so that's technically a Wednesday night game.  Everything else at home is the traditional 7pm Saturday kickoff time.

The schedule sets up nicely with never more than 2 league games in a row at home or on the road.  We have two Wednesday games following weekend games, but the weekend after that is a bye for us.  The first week of July is Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday with us being home midweek for the 4th with trips to Canada on either side.  That's the only 3 league game week.  USOC and hopefully CCL will end up changing some of these numbers.

The midpoint of the season is between the 4th of July game and the following weekend but our 9th (middle) home game is June 23rd.  In other words our home schedule is front loaded and we'll be on the road more in the back half.  We play 13 games from the start of August on, 11 of them against Western Conference opponents.  That's when we need to be pushing into a playoff spot.

The good news is that all  Rocky Mountain Cup matches are on Saturdays, which means good travel opportunities.  The bad news is that both road matches in Salt Lake occur before our home match, so we need to at least pull a draw out of one of those to bring the opportunity to win the Cup home (or win them both an bring the Cup home that way).  Also we get our home game against Dallas as our final game, so maybe there will be some playoff circumstances around that game.

The only real oddity is the opening few weeks where we'll host Toronto in the CCL, go to Toronto in CCL, have a bye, got to New England, have a bye, then have our home opener against KC.  Kind of a start-stop beginning of the season, though it will give everyone time to get used to Hudson's new system and the new players to gel.

Overall this is probably the best schedule the team and fans could have gotten.  It could have been much worse, as we've seen in prior seasons.

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