A year ago at this time, D.C. United was still searching for a head coach. Now, Hernan Losada is preparing for his second season in charge of the Black and Red, and he already has a schedule to review.
It is the earliest release of the MLS complete schedule in league history. United will open its 27th season at home Feb. 26 against expansion team Charlotte FC with a 6 p.m. kickoff at Audi Field.
The season opener is one of 12 home dates on Saturday nights. There are three home games on Sunday and two Wednesday night games.
“I love all the weekends on our schedule, with lots of Saturdays, lots of ways to plan for your family and activities to do from February till fall,” said D.C. United president Danita Johnson. “And excited to see where Hernan takes us in his sophomore season as coach.”
United will spend the first six weeks of the 34-game campaign alternating home and road matches, culminating with a game April 9 against MLS Cup champions New York City FC at Citi Field. Then on April 16, for the first time, United will welcome second-year team Austin FC, followed by Supporter’s Shield (the team with the best record in the league) winner New England Revolution on April 23.
The regular season last year extended into the first week of November. In 2022, the MLS regular season will wrap up in the first week of October. United will close the season at home Sunday, Oct. 9, against FC Cincinnati, which had the worst record in MLS last year.
“Obviously our supporters are number one because they create the environment by cheering on our team every single minute of the game,” Johnson said. “Last season we tried a couple different things including a concert pregame concert, behind the goal. We are just really trying to add a little bit more to the overall experience, giving you the ability to come early, be excited and get ready for the match.”
D.C. United displayed a go-for-goal attitude last season, but ultimately fell short of its goal to return to the playoffs for the first time in two years. United missed out on a postseason trip by only one point, but with 56 goals in 34 games, tied for the third-highest scoring team in the league with MLS Cup finalists New York City F.C. and Portland.
“Talking to the fans, I believe we are in a positive place,” said Johnson. “They see the differentiation in play. We were scoring goals in the first few minutes of most of our matches and that was exciting. It was like you want to be there so you don’t miss one. I think our fans are excited to see the development, and I think they’re also excited to see what new players we potentially bring in as well.”