Happy New Year, folks! The holidays may be behind us, but the best time of the year is just a couple months away. That’s right, the 2024 MLS season starts up in late February, and based on the schedule alone, it’s going to be great.
I know everyone is super excited that we’re playing that little Argentinean number 10 from the Eastern Conference, but I’ve got to highlight a few other games to give proper respect to MNUFC’s ENTIRE schedule. I used the same Thiago Almada joke a few times last year, so hopefully you still think it’s at least kind of funny. Gotcha!
I’ve spent countless hours staring at the schedule and watching this awesome video trying to divine the outcomes of every single match, and I think I’ve finally done it. I’ve peered into the future, and I know exactly which games you need to watch next year for maximum excitement. This advice isn’t for the faint of heart; knowing the future is a terrible burden to bear. Read on only if you think it’s worth the risk. Or because you think I’m full of it. Either way, you’re probably right.
Crossing Conference Lines
The Loons have seven Eastern Conference opponents on the docket, all of which are going to be extremely lively affairs. Especially the Charlotte game; you won’t believe what’s going to happen in that one.
The home lineup includes the whole state of Ohio, with Wilfried Nancy’s defending champs coming for the home opener on March 2 before Pat Noonan brings the Supporters’ Shield holders through in September. If the mid-summer matchup with D.C. United is anything like last time we played them, I know we’ll all enjoy it. These three are all worth watching; I wouldn’t miss them if I were you.
MNUFC’s Eastern adventure starts in Orlando during week three, offering a brief chance to thaw out before heading to Philly, where the sun supposedly always shines, two weeks later. Charlotte and Atlanta round out the list, and I’m already excited to poke lighthearted, league-approved fun at the whole bunch. We’ll push the boundaries whenever we can; don’t worry.
No, Inter Miami will not be coming to Minnesota this year. Mr. Beckham called and begged me to let his team come up here, but I knew that the good soccer fans of Minnesota wouldn’t want to see his little pink circus anywhere near Allianz Field. You’re welcome!
That last section was a lie. I called him, and he sent me to voicemail again. I’m actually as disappointed as you are, but I want to see if pretending I don’t care will make them reconsider.
Best of the West
We play these guys every year. Boring, right? WRONG! More exciting. Western Conference matches are our bread and butter. Every late goal the Loons score against one of those West Coast scrubs gets me pumped enough to run through a brick wall. I’m sure we all channel our inner Kirk Cousins whenever we stick it to one of our conference rivals. You like that? YOU LIKE THAT?!
2024’s conference lineup has more than a few notable games, but for the sake of time and because I’m ready for a holiday break from work, I’ll just focus on the biggest dates.
The February 24 season opener will be in Austin, where MNUFC will opt to chop down El Tree once again. Loons don’t nest in trees, Matthew. Our first clash with the defending conference champs is on March 16, when we’re going to celebrate their meteoric rise from the Highland Heights Youth Soccer League under Will Ferrell’s tutelage.
The late-season slate is equally exciting, with an August 24 showdown with the Sounders welcoming us back from our Leagues Cup victory. Oops, that’s a spoiler; we’re going to win Leagues Cup this year. The league said it was okay for everyone else to start trying now that Messi has already won it. Beyond that, the last two matches of the season are going to be huge, with Vancouver and St. Louis both offering stiff opposition during what could be a tight fight for postseason soccer.
But enough about the matchups I’m most excited about; how about you? What are you looking forward to? Write down your top three games on the schedule and give me a paragraph explaining why you picked each one. Then put it on Twitter—I mean X—and tag MNUFC. Admin will read through all of them, I promise. Go on, do it. Nobody likes homework, but I know you appreciate being included in these sorts of things. I think of all three of you readers often. Hey dad!
My honest advice? Watch every game. They’re all going to be exciting. Don’t believe me? Do I sound too much like a corporate puppet? What a cynical bunch! I guess you’ll either have to trust me or risk missing out on the best season in Minnesota United’s history. You’ve got two months to decide, but I’m telling you, I know what I’m talking about.