The 2017 MLS regular season schedule was released on Thursday, and the San Jose Earthquakes have a home heavy first and last part of the year. The Quakes will play 4 of 6 matches at home starting with the season opener on March 4 against the Montreal Impact, as well as 4 of 6 to close out the season finishing with the visit of expansion side Minnesota United to Avaya Stadium on October 22.
With 10 Western Conference opponents and 11 Eastern Conference opponents, the Earthquakes, like all teams in MLS, will play an unbalanced schedule of the course of the 34 game season. San Jose plays each of its Eastern foes once, six on the road and five at home. The Quakes face their 10 conference competitors at least twice — home and away — with a bonus third game against the LA Galaxy, the Portland Timbers, and the Houston Dynamo on tap.
With 21 opponents overall and 34 games to work with, the unbalanced schedule is a necessity. As MLS continues its growth from this year’s 22 teams, this lack of balance is expected to continue.
Of its Eastern Conference opponents, the Earthquakes play the top-four finishers in 2016 on the road this season, including MLS Cup runners up Toronto FC. The newly formed Atlanta United are also a road destination for San Jose, with the Quakes traveling eastward for a July 4 Independence Day showdown. Avaya Stadium will host the three lowest Eastern teams this season — three games in which the Quakes will expect full points.
Going against a stated plan announced in 2015 to play at Levi’s Stadium once per season, the Earthquakes will again in skip out on the home of the 49ers for a second straight year. However, the club will continue its tradition of playing the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium when it hosts its So Cal rivals on Saturday, July 1. The match will be broadcast nationally on Univision.
Notable home matches for the Earthquakes include a second California Clasico — this one at Avaya Stadium -- on May 27 and consecutive weeks hosting the 2016 MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders on April 8 and the 2016 Supporters Shield winners FC Dallas on April 14. The 4 of 6 end-of-season homes games come against teams that failed to make the playoffs last season., providing a possible boost in this year’s squad’s efforts to reverse a four-year postseason drought.
For fans looking for enticing road trips on the 2017 calendar, a nationally televised Friday night game against the Portland Timbers on June 2 provides a great excuse to visit the Rose City. Those looking for a Canadian adventure will see San Jose cross-country visit to Toronto on September 9 as a choice opportunity. And if two home Cal- Clasicos is not enough, the Earthquakes visit the Galaxy on August 27 for the third meeting between the two rivals in 2017.
The calendar will feature one significant break in play, timed to this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Similar to what MLS did for World Cup 2010 and 2014, as well as the 2016 Copa America Centenario, the 2017 schedule will include a break for the Gold Cup group stage from July 7 through July 17. Given the number of CONCACAF region players that have signed with the league this year, including Panamanian defender Harold Cummings by the Quakes, MLS needed to institute a pause in the action in order to keep its best product on the field.
Need a handy reminder of the Earthquakes 2017 regular season schedule. The club has you covered, providing the following printable calendar. Perfect timing, as the holiday decorations can come down off the walls and the MLS schedule can go up in their place.