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New LA club spices 2018 MLS schedule

New York (AFP) – Major League Soccer unveiled the complete match schedule for its 23rd season on Thursday, kicking off the 2018 campaign on March 3 and ending with the MLS Cup playoff final on December 8.

The North American league will add Los Angeles FC as its 23rd club with the first of three derby matches against the five-time MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy set for March 31.

LAFC will open its inaugural season at Seattle on March 4. The new Southern California side will host Galaxy on July 26 and again visit its long-tenured LA rival on August 24.

Defending champions Toronto FC will open the season at home on March 3 against Columbus. The Canadian club will host Seattle on May 9 in a rematch of the past two MLS Cup finals.

DC United will open its new 20,000-seat home field on July 14 when the Washington club entertains the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The MLS All-Star Game, with an MLS elite squad playing typically against a top European side preparing for the start of its season, will be staged August 1 in Atlanta.

More than two dozen MLS players are set to take part in the World Cup in Russia, prompting the league to break for the event’s group stage. A nine-day hiatus will be taken from June 14-22.

Each club will play 34 regular-season matches.

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