Minnesota United (and every other Major League Soccer club) released their full 2018 schedule recently. The Loons’ matchups are:
And now I pick out my favorites from those lists:
It would be fantastic for somebody to make it to all five of these matches, but that somebody is not me—though hopefully it is one of you.
LAFC (Wed. May 9th)
A Wednesday isn’t the most conducive to travel, but this will be an interesting game. This will be the first time that the Loons will face expansion newbies Los Angeles Football Club, and since LAFC are poised to be playoff contenders in their inaugural season, this match could have implications down the road.
Columbus Crew (Sun. 10/28)
This could be an emotional match. The status of Columbus Crew SC’s time in Columbus is still up in the air, and since this match will be the season finale for both teams, this may well be Crew’s last game at MAPFRE Stadium.
SKC (Sun. 6/3, Sat. 8/25)
It seems to be pretty clear at this point: Sporting Kansas City are our rivals. The Loons will make two trips to SKC; both will be well worth the journey. There will be a lot of MNUFC supporters headed down for this one—keep an eye out for how to take the Dethloon Express.
Orlando City (Sat. 3/10)
The season opener will take place in what might be the prettiest stadium in MLS. Orlando City’s wall of supporters is intimidating, but a trip to Central Florida in early March is hard to say no to.
Toronto FC (Wed. 7/4)
MLS Champions Toronto FC will pay a visit this year on the 4th of July after hosting the Loons last season. Minnesota made the contest at BMO Field tighter than it probably should have been, so this game could be a chance for United to pull an upset—or at the least, fans can watch the ever-dazzling Sebastian Giovinco.
Los Angeles Galaxy (Sun. 10/21)
LA Galaxy and Minnesota ended up around similar levels last season, which was quite bad for LA. This year, the Galaxy will have the added motivation of new crosstown rivals. In the Loons’ last home game of the year, there may well be a Western Conference playoff berth at stake.
Portland Timbers (Sat. 9/22)
Minnesota was able to shock the Portland Timbers at home after falling flat on the road. This will be the first home game after more than 50 days on the road (Gopher football), meaning fans will be more than eager to support their team at home. Portland has lost Darlington Nagbe and will employ a new coach, perhaps making the Timbers one of the Western Conference’s biggest unknowns.
Atlanta United (Sun. 4/1)
Remember the Snowpener? Remember how Minnesota then won in Atlanta United’s brand-new stadium? This matchup of 2017 expansion teams is a fun one, and this game will certainly be no exception. It’s also on April Fool’s Day, when last year’s 4-2 win over Real Salt Lake became the first three-pointer in MLS for MNUFC.
Chicago Fire (Sat. 3/17)
Let’s stroll down memory lane once more: Remember when the Loons traveled to face the Chicago Fire in the Windy City and picked up their first road win? It was pretty great, but now the Fire will be looking for revenge. This will be Minnesota’s first home game, so hopefully a raucous crowd will be ready for the nearest team.
Which match are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments section below!