MLS 2012 Schedule released - Colorado Rapids will open against the Colombus Crew

COLUMBUS, OH - JUNE 26: Kosuke Kimura #27 of the Colorado Rapids and Bernardo Anor #7 of the Columbus Crew battle for control of the ball on June 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Colorado 4-1. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The MLS 2012 Schedule has been released on time (!) and it's a doozy. The first and most important thing to note is that Colorado will be hosting the Columbus Crew at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on March 10th.

This will be the 5th game in two years that the Crew and Rapids will play at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, with the Rapids an impressive 4-0 in those fixtures. That has included two playoff games, both of which ended 1-0. Past the Columbus game to start the season, it's not looking to be an incredibly easy season for the Rapids. Quick bullet hits about our new schedule after the jump!

* Rival club Real Salt Lake got the advantage in the Rocky Mountain Cup derbies with two home games. A more positive note is that all three games will be Saturday games this year so there hopefully both away sections will be filled to the brims this time around. The first game against Salt Lake will be April 7th, only the fifth game of the new season. The second match is in July and the third - Colorado's home game - is in August. The good news is that with three games again instead of two, there's a lot more sport to winning the Rocky Mountain Cup and Salt Lake can't just play for a tie and retain it anymore.

* Colorado got a bit of a tough away schedule when it came to the Eastern conference - under the new scheduling rules each team faces the teams from the other conference only once, half at home and half away - with tough and far away road matches against the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC, DC United and New England Revolution.

* Colorado won't be traveling to either of the shiny new stadiums, both the Houston Dynamo and Montreal Impact will be coming to see Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

* Colorado will do the twice hosting duties for the Portland Timbers, Chivas USA, Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. They will have to go and see the Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas twice.

* From July 21st to October 20th, the Rapids face nothing but Western Conference opposition. Needless to say, that will likely be the stretch that decides the Rapids playoff fate. That stretch includes two of the LA games and two of the RSL games.

* Fortunately, there aren't any months quite as packed as June/July were for us last year so late season fatigue from too many games probably won't come into play. The most games in a month is six in July, while June will feature only three games for us, likely due to a FIFA break I assume.

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Sat, March 10 COLUMBUS CREW 4:00 p.m.

Sun, March 18 at Philadelphia Union 2:00 p.m. NBC Sports

Sun, March 25 at New York Red Bulls 2:00 p.m. ESPN

Sun, April 1 CHICAGO FIRE 5:00 p.m. Galavision

Sat, April 7 at Real Salt Lake 7:00 p.m.

Sat, April 14 at Seattle Sounders FC 2:00 p.m.

Sat, April 21 LA GALAXY 7:00 p.m.

Sat, April 28 CHIVAS USA 7:00 p.m.

Wed, May 2 at New England Revolution 6:00 p.m.

Sun, May 6 at FC Dallas 5:00 p.m. Galavision

Wed, May 16 at D.C. United 5:30 p.m.

Sat, May 19 SPORTING KANSAS CITY 7:00 p.m.

Sat, May 26 MONTREAL IMPACT 7:00 p.m.

Sat, June 16 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 5:00 p.m.

Wed, June 20 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 7:30 p.m.

Sat, June 30 PORTLAND TIMBERS 7:00 p.m.

Wed, July 4 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC 7:30 p.m.

Sat, July 7 at Seattle Sounders FC 9:00 p.m. NBC Sports

Sat, July 14 FC DALLAS 7:00 p.m.

Wed, July 18 at Toronto FC 5:00 p.m.

Sat, July 21 at Real Salt Lake 8:00 p.m.

Sat, July 28 SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 7:00 p.m.

Sat, August 4 REAL SALT LAKE 7:00 p.m.

Sat, August 11 at FC Dallas 7:00 p.m.

Sat, August 18 CHIVAS USA 7:00 p.m.

Sat, August 25 at San Jose Earthquakes 8:30 p.m.

Fri, August 31 at Portland Timbers 8:30 p.m. NBC Sports

Wed, September 5 PORTLAND TIMBERS 7:00 p.m. NBC Sports

Sun, September 16 at LA Galaxy 5:00 p.m. Galavision

Sun, September 23 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 5:30 p.m.

Sun, September 30 LA GALAXY 5:00 p.m. Galavision

Sat, October 6 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 7:00 p.m.

Sat, October 20 at Chivas USA 8:30 p.m.

Sat, October 27 HOUSTON DYNAMO 7:00 p.m.

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So there's your schedule, Rapids fans. Thoughts? Comments? Rants?

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