Whitecaps to host Toronto to open MLS season, Montreal visits D.C. United

By Neil Davidson


TORONTO _ After eight losing campaigns, Toronto FC will have to turn things around the hard way starting in 2015.

Toronto usually opens the season on the road because of the unpredictable weather come March. But the time away home will be far longer to start next year due to renovations to BMO Field in advance of the Pan American Games.

Major League Soccer confirmed Friday that Toronto’s home opener will be May 10 _ the 10th week of the schedule _ against the Houston Dynamo. That’s more than two months after its first game of the season March 7 in Vancouver against the Whitecaps.

It will mark the third time in five years that the Whitecaps have hosted Toronto to open the season. Vancouver won both previous openers, including a 4-2 win in its first MLS match in 2011 at Empire Field.

This season, Toronto kicked off March 15 in Seattle before hosting D.C. United on March 22.

On Thursday, Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko said he expected the team would have to play seven or eight games on the road before BMO Field was ready.

The MLS season will kick off March 6 when the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy host the Chicago Fire at the StubHub Center. The Montreal Impact visit D.C. United on March 7 to open their league schedule.

Prior to their regular season debut, the Impact will play Mexico’s Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final. The home-and-away aggregate goal series starts Feb. 24 in Mexico and finishes March 3 at Olympic Stadium.

Expansion teams Orlando City SC and New York City FC will open their MLS account by facing off against each other March 8 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.

Week 2 will see Vancouver visit Chicago and Toronto play at Columbus. Montreal will visit New England in Week 3 and host Orlando at Olympic Stadium in Week 4.

Each MLS team will play 34 regular-season matches in 2015, with 17 at home and 17 on the road. The complete 2015 schedule will be announced at a later date.

Notes: Orlando City has announced the signing of U.S. international winger Brek Shea from Stoke City. Prior to going to England, Shea spent five seasons with FC Dallas … Real Salt Lake has traded Colombian midfielder Sebastian Velasquez to New York City FC for allocation money.


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