SANDY -- Major League Soccer will have its longest season this year, with the final played Dec. 1.
The league announced in November that its 17th season will start March 10, five days earlier than in 2011. Last year's final was Nov. 20.
With the expansion Montreal Impact giving the league 19 teams, MLS is switching to an unbalanced schedule while keeping the regular season at 34 games per team.
Just seven games conflict with FIFA fixture dates, when many star players are away with national teams: Chicago at New England (June 1); Los Angeles at Columbus; Portland at Toronto and Houston at Vancouver (Aug. 15); Portland at Colorado (Sept. 5); Salt Lake at Houston (Sept. 6); and Chivas USA at Seattle (Sept. 8).
About 83 percent of games are on weekends and holidays, and all 323 games will be televised live.
A record nine games are scheduled for April 28.
Real Salt Lake learned the 34-game slate that will mark its eighth season of MLS play. Real Salt Lake will begin the upcoming season on March 10, where its last campaign ended - The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. - with a Western Conference Championship rematch against the defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy, with kickoff slated for 8:30 p.m.
A week later on Saturday, March 17, RSL will host the first of its 17 regular season home contests at Rio Tinto Stadium with another marquee match-up, as international star Thierry Henry will lead the New York Red Bulls into Sandy for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Currently, the only ways for fans to guarantee their seats on opening night in Sandy is to Join the Pride by becoming an RSL Season Ticket Holder or purchase a 10-Game Flex Voucher Pack, both of which can be fulfilled by visiting the "TICKETS" section of www.RealSaltLake.com or calling 801-727-2700.
Real Salt Lake will announce details for single-game ticket availability in the upcoming weeks.
The RSL-Galaxy showdown on March 10 will be part of that day's five-game slate beginning First Kick 2012, presented by Dick's Sporting Goods, which will continue with two Sunday games - including the first MLS game on NBC Sports Network (FC Dallas vs. New York) - and concludes with a special Monday night contest on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (Portland vs. Philadelphia).
Real Salt Lake will be featured on four national broadcasts, all coming on NBC Sports Network during the second half of the season (July 18 at Seattle, Aug. 24 at Philadelphia, Sept. 22 v. Portland & Oct. 6 at Los Angeles). RSL will announce details for its 2012 local broadcast schedule in the upcoming weeks.
The 2012 MLS Regular Season will conclude Oct. 28 with three games, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and the championship game - MLS Cup 2012 - on Dec. 1.
Real Salt Lake's 2012 regular season schedule
DAY DATE MATCHUP TIME (MT) TV NOTE:
Sat. March 10 @ Los Angeles Galaxy 8:30 RSL opens with taste for revenge at site of 2011 West Final loss
Sat. MARCH 17 NEW YORK RED BULLS 7:00 Home Opener features showdown against Henry & Co.
Sat. MARCH 24 CHIVAS USA 7:00 First of 3 "Class of 2005" games between expansion brethren
Sat. March 31 @ Portland Timbers 8:00 RSL's lone 2012 visit to crazed environment of JELD-WEN Field
WED. APRIL 4 MONTREAL IMPACT 7:00 Warner leads expansion Impact to Sandy for lone '12 meeting
SAT. APRIL 7 COLORADO RAPIDS 7:00 Five-time defending holders host Rocky Mtn. Cup opener
Sat. April 14 @ Sporting Kansas City 6:30 2011 MLS Cup Playoff Semifinalists square off at LIVEstrong
Sat. April 21 @ San Jose Earthquakes 8:30 RSL 3-1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium since SJ's MLS return in '08
Wed. April 25 @ FC Dallas 6:30 RSL claimed first point in Dallas in 10th trip last season
SAT. APRIL 28 TORONTO FC 7:00 RSL won last 4 overall meetings vs. "Reds" in Sandy
SAT. MAY 5 N.E. REVOLUTION 7:00 2 blowouts, wild comeback in 3 previous Rio Tinto affairs
Wed. May 9 @ Chicago Fire 6:30 Last 5 games at Toyota Park have yielded 2 combined goals
Sat. May 12 @ Seattle Sounders FC 8:00 RSL returns to site of '09 Cup glory, last year's playoff squeaker
Sat. MAY 19 BYE WEEK
SAT. MAY 26 FC DALLAS 7:00 FCD visit marks RSL's only MLS match during 6-week stretch
JUNE 1-5 FIFA INTERNATIONAL DATES
JUNE 8-12 FIFA INTERNATIONAL DATES
Sat. June 16 @ Chivas USA 8:30 Match vs. ex-assistant Fraser marks 2nd of 4 HDC trips in 2012
WED. JUNE 20 LOS ANGELES GALAXY 7:00 Lone Rio Tinto Stadium meeting between Western elite
SAT. JUNE 23 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 7:00 Alexandre makes Rio Tinto return as member of 'Quakes
Sat. June 30 @ Columbus Crew 6:00 Budding rival RSL's lone East opponent during 15-game stretch
WED. JULY 4 SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 8:00 Fireworks Extravaganza to end annual July 4th contest
SAT. JULY 7 PORTLAND TIMBERS 7:00 RSL remembers late lead lost in '11 regular season finale
Sat. July 14 @ San Jose Earthquakes 8:30 Kreis' side makes 2nd trip to Bay Area in three months' time
Wed. July 18 @ Seattle Sounders FC 9:00 NBCSN Return to CenturyLink marks RSL's national TV debut in 2012
SAT. JULY 21 COLORADO RAPIDS 8:00 Pioneer Day Celebration heightened by RMC rivalry tilt
FRI. JULY 27 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC 7:00 Rare Friday affair 1st of 3 games vs. Rennie-led 'Caps
Sat. Aug. 4 @ Colorado Rapids 7:00 Can RSL secure 6th straight RMC trophy hoist in Commerce City?
Sat. Aug. 11 @ Vancouver Whitecaps FC 5:00 Utahns make second-ever visit to gleaming BC Place
SAT. AUG. 18 FC DALLAS 7:00 RSL and "Hoops" to end season their series early in Sandy
Fri. Aug. 24 @ Philadelphia Union 5:30 NBCSN RSL has left PPL Park with draws in first two visits to Chester
SAT. SEPT. 1 D.C. UNITED 7:00 United winless in last six trips to Utah
Thurs. Sept. 6 @ Houston Dynamo 6:30 RSL's first visit to BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown H-Town
SEPT. 7-11 FIFA INTERNATIONAL DATES
Sat. SEPT. 15 BYE WEEK
SAT. SEPT. 22 PORTLAND TIMBERS 6:00 NBCSN Early kick is RTS' lone chance to shine on national TV in '12
Sat. Sept. 29 @ Chivas USA 8:30 Back-to-back HDC stays starts with game vs. Goats
Sat. Oct. 6 @ Los Angeles Galaxy 7:00 NBCSN Chance to head into 3-week league break on winning note
OCT. 12-16 FIFA INTERNATIONAL DATES
Sat. OCT. 20 BYE WEEK
SAT. OCT. 27 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC 7:00 RSL ends regular season at home for 3rd time in 4 years
Home games in BOLD CAPS; road games in italics