Stadium renovations forces Toronto FC to deal with demanding MLS schedule

By Neil Davidson


TORONTO _ Temporarily homeless due to stadium renovations, Toronto FC will spend the first two months of the 2015 MLS season on the road but will finish off the 34-game campaign with 10 of its last 14 matches at a bigger, better BMO Field.

Toronto will play seven away games before its home opener May 10 against Houston.

The Vancouver Whitecaps, meanwhile, hit the road for a five-match trip from June 3 to July 4, with B.C. Place Stadium unavailable due to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It ties their longest road trip since joining MLS.

The league features 20 teams this year with the addition of Orlando City SC and New York City FC. The expansion teams have been placed in the 10-team Eastern Conference with the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City moving to the Western Conference.

The regular season runs March 6 through Oct. 25 with the MLS Cup slated for early December. The defending champion L.A. Galaxy kick off the campaign with a game against visiting Chicago. Two days later, Orlando hosts New York on March 8 at the Citrus Bowl.

The last day of the regular season will see Eastern Conference games kicking off at the same time, following by simultaneous Western Conference matches.

Twelve teams instead of 10 will qualify for the playoffs this year, with the sixth-place teams in each conference making the post-season. There will be four single elimination matches, setting up conference semifinals and championship matches which will be two-game aggregate-goal series.

Clubs will play each team in the opposing conference once, with five home and five away matches.

Each team will play their nine intra-conference opponents a minimum of two times, (one home, one away); with the six remaining matches also intra-conference _ three home and three away versus different opponents.

Toronto visits Vancouver on March 7 on the opening weekend. It marks the ninth straight year Toronto opens on the road and the sixth time on the West Coast.

Toronto will play 12 of its 17 home games on Saturdays, with three on Wednesdays and two on Sundays.

The Montreal Impact open March 7 at D.C. United before a second-week bye. After a visit to New England, Montreal opens at home March 28 at Olympic Stadium against Kaka and Orlando City.

The Impact’s remaining home games will be at Saputo Stadium.

Montreal will be in action before the start of the season, with the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final opening Feb. 24 in Mexico with the return leg set for March 3 at Olympic Stadium.

Vancouver will host the defending champion L.A. Galaxy and newly signed midfield star Steven Gerrard at B.C. Place on April 4. New York City FC comes to visit Sept. 26.

Toronto will miss out on the Galaxy at home, playing instead July 4 in Los Angeles. Montreal’s lone date with the Galaxy is also in L.A., on Sept. 12.

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