This two-part series will serve as your crash course to the 21 other MLS teams. If you’re one of our valued regulars, this serves as an appreciation gift. You’ll find everything you need to know for our inaugural season in here or at least enough to keep you from sounding like a total newbie to the game. If you really are a total newbie to the game, thanks for joining us (really--there can never be too many soccer fans around here) and we’d like to welcome you with this complimentary guide that will help you learn the aspects of the complicated--but beautiful--game. Study accordingly.
Lesson 1 (you’re in it) covers all eleven teams of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. Minnesota United is in the Western Conference, meaning they’ll only face each of these teams once during the season (with the exception of Atlanta United, who they will face twice). The guide is organized in the following format:
Team Name (Final position in 2016 Eastern Conference)
Basic information about the team, such as kit color, stadium, trophies they’ve won, date of inception, and some interesting facts.
Games against Minnesota United: Date (Home/Away)
Atlanta United (N/A)
Minnesota United’s expansion companion, Atlanta United will begin their inaugural season playing out of Bobby Dodd Stadium on the campus of Georgia Tech University, which means they can’t play any home games in the month of April due to the Yellowjackets’ spring practices. Atlanta’s kit has been released (must be nice to have one) and they’ll wear maroon and black stripes. Games against Minnesota United: March 12 (Home), August 13 (Away)
Chicago Fire (10)
The Fire (named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871) are Minnesota’s MLS-appointed rival (meaning that we face them during “Heineken Rivalry Week”). They were one of the first expansions to MLS and have brought one MLS Cup (think Super Bowl but soccer) home to Toyota Park. They’re one of the many clubs to wear a red kit. Game against Minnesota United: August 26 (Away)
Columbus Crew (9)
The Crew are instantly recognizable in their yellow-and-black kits. One of Major League Soccer’s original ten teams, they play matches out of MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, the United States’ first soccer-specific stadium. They’ve won one MLS Cup. Game against Minnesota United: July 4 (Home)
D.C. United (4)
Another of the originals, D.C. United have brought success to our nation’s capital, winning four MLS Cups as well as being the only American side to win an international tournament, taking home silverware from the CONCACAF Champion’s Cup (A North American club tournament, now replaced by the CONCACAF Champion’s League) and the Intercontinental Cup (between a North American and South American team, now defunct). This will be their last season in black and red at the iconic Robert F. Kennedy Stadium (commonly known as the RFK). Game against Minnesota United: July 29 (Home)
Montreal Impact (5)
One of the three Canadian clubs in Major League Soccer, the team plays their games in Saputo Stadium in Montreal (Quebec). Brought into the league in 2012, the team brought their blue-and-black kit to the 2015 CONCACAF Champion’s League final, where they lost to Mexican powerhouse Club America. Game against Minnesota United: September 16 (Away)
New England Revolution (7)
They’ve had every single one of their league matches televised and, as one of the originals, that’s quite an accomplishment. They haven’t won an MLS Cup, but they’ve gotten to the final five times. They wear navy on their pitch at Gillette Stadium in Boston.
Game against Minnesota United: March 25 (Away)
New York City FC (NYCFC) (2)
An expansion in 2015, the Pigeons are the only club playing regular home games in a baseball stadium. Yankee Stadium brought the club remarkable success in their second season, but not enough once the playoffs came around. NYCFC are commonly disliked amongst Major League Soccer fans (we’ll let you form your own opinion) because of their relationship with City Football Group, investors who own Machester City (England), NYCFC, Melbourne City (Australia), and Yokohama F Marinos (Japan). They wear kits nearly identical to Manchester City’s. Games against Minnesota United: June 29 (Away)
New York Red Bulls (1)
Like their crosstown rivals, the Red Bulls have a big-name corporation behind them (take a guess--you’ll get it right). It wasn’t always that way, as the club was initially known as Empire Soccer Club (now the name of a supporters’ group) before a last-minute change to the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (everybody else hated it too, don’t worry). They play in Red Bull Arena (who woulda thought?) and wear white and red kits. Despite being one of the original members, they haven’t succeeded in winning an MLS Cup. Games against Minnesota United: July 22 (Home)
Orlando City (8)
Minnesota United Manager Adrian Heath’s former club began play in 2015. The Lions’ new stadium, creatively named Orlando City Stadium, will host the purple-kitted side. Games against Minnesota United: May 27 (Home)
Philadelphia Union (6)
The Union began in 2010 out of Talen Energy Stadium (a soccer-specific one). They wear navy and gold uniforms. Soccer in Philadelphia has a rich history (as does most of the northeast)--a soccer club called the Philadelphia Phillies played in 1884, five years before the baseball team took on the name. Games against Minnesota United: September 9 (Home)
Toronto FC (3)
The Reds went all the way to the MLS Cup final this year, losing in a penalty shootout to the Seattle Sounders (see Western Conference). The club in red plays at BMO Field in Toronto and have been run since their inception in 2007 by the group that owns the Toronto Raptors (NBA) and Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL). Games against Minnesota United: May 13 (Away)
This is only the first part—we've got the ten Western Conference clubs to look at too (we'll include a bit on the Loons as well). MNUFC will face each of those clubs multiple times, so keep an eye out for an even more important guide this weekend.
Which club are you looking forward to facing? Do you consider any of these clubs to be our rival? Our ears are open, let us know below!