Mike Magee and the L.A. Galaxy will face Houston on May 5 after defeating… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
The Galaxy will renew its Home Depot Center rivalry with the Houston Dynamo on May 5, highlighting a 34-game regular-season schedule released Wednesday.
The Galaxy, the two-time defending Major League Soccer champion, begins play March 3, playing host to the Chicago Fire. That's a week earlier than last spring's opener, making this season the longest in league history.
The regular-season finale for the Galaxy will be Oct. 27 in Seattle.
The Galaxy plays its first three games, and six of its first nine, at home with the final game in that stretch coming against Houston. The Galaxy beat the Dynamo in each of the last two MLS Cup finals, both of which were played at the Galaxy's home in Carson.
The 19-team MLS again will play an unbalanced schedule, meaning the Galaxy and Chivas USA, its roommate at the Home Depot Center, will play the 10 Eastern Conference teams once and will play the other eight Western Conference teams three times each.
The Galaxy will face two of the Eastern Conference's 2012 playoff teams — D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls — on the road. But two of the team's three games with San Jose, the league's best regular-season team last year, will be at home with both coming in the season's final eight weeks.
Fifteen of the team's 17 home games are weekend dates with the farthest trip taking the Galaxy to New York and Philadelphia as part of a season-long three-game tour in mid-May.
Half of the Galaxy's 34 regular-season games will be televised by one of the league's three national broadcast partners — ESPN, NBC or Univision.
Chivas USA, which closed last season with a 14-game winless streak, opens the season at home March 2, playing host to the Columbus Crew. Chivas also gets a home date with Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls on Aug. 25. But with the Galaxy at home against Houston on May 5, Chivas will be forced to play in Kansas City on Cinco de Mayo, typically one of the team's favorite home dates.
Chivas, which hasn't made the postseason since 2009, ends its season at home Oct. 26 against the Portland Timbers.