Major League Soccer released the 2022 schedule for all 28 teams on Wednesday. While every game in MLS is crucial, as we saw the fate of multiple teams determined on the last day of the 2021 season, some games can carry additional meaning. Here are some of the dates that you should have circled on your calendar for next season, if you haven’t started already.
Opening Day presented by PNC Bank:
This is an easy one. Houston Dynamo FC open the season on February 27 against this past season’s MLS Cup Playoffs Cinderella, Real Salt Lake. RSL recently promoted Pablo Mastroeni from interim manager, after the USMNT veteran took over the head job when Freddy Juarez left for an assistant coaching position midway through last season. Under Mastroeni, RSL qualified for the playoffs before making a run that included two upset wins over the Seattle Sounders and Sporting KC.
The Dynamo are 7-1-2 in home openers at PNC Stadium since the building opened in 2012. Hopefully, the team can carry some of that past success into this year’s match against RSL.
April 30 vs Austin FC
The Dynamo will take on their newest in-state rivals for the first time on April 30 at PNC Stadium. Last season, the two teams squared off against each other three times, with the Dynamo winning the only match at PNC stadium by a decisive 3-0 score that included a brace from forward* Fafa Picault*.
If the Dynamo are going to win the Copa Tejas in 2022, it will need to have success against both Austin FC and FC Dallas. This match, which comes just a week after Houston will travel to Frisco for the first installation of the Texas Derby, will go a long way toward determining who is crowned soccer kings of Texas next season.
July 3 vs Charlotte FC
Anytime a new team joins Major League Soccer, there is an added air of excitement when you get to play them. What’s their style of play? How are their DPs performing? How do the jerseys look? All of these are questions that Dynamo supporters will get to answer when Charlotte makes their first trip to Space City for a match on July 3.
The league’s newest team has certainly laid out ambitious plans for its inaugural season. Perhaps the Dynamo will help put a wrench in those plans.
September 13 vs New England Revolution
Major League Soccer is not like some other leagues, where each team plays each other each season. MLS teams will face eight non-conference opponents in 2022 and they can expect meaningful tests throughout the season. Perhaps there is no more meaningful test than going up against last season’s Supporter’s Shield winning New England Revolution. Although the Revs were bounced early in the playoffs, the team set a new MLS points record and saw midfielder Carles Gil win the 2021 Landon Donovan MLS MVP.
The Dynamo will get a chance to see how they stack up against last year’s best regular-season team when Bruce Arena’s squad travels to Houston for a match on September 13.