The Los Angeles Blues' second season in the third-tier USL Pro league begins April 14 against the Rochester Rhinos and features a visit from reigning champion Orlando City FC, but if you want to see every team live, better hit the road.
Four clubs, including longtime powers Richmond Kickers, Charleston Battery and Charlotte Eagles, will not make a Western trek in 2012. A balanced schedule is unlikely as long as the Blues are the only team west of Dayton, Ohio, and the league features a club in Antigua & Barbuda.
The Blues did not play any games against Rochester or Orlando City last year, and five of the 12 teams never made it to L.A. Charlotte and Pittsburgh, which also won't visit this year, were among the five.
The Blues will open against the Rhinos and face them again six days later. The remainder of their home slate will be two-game series, with matches on Thursday and Saturday or Friday and Sunday. They will play road games against every other team in the league.
The league's 11 teams, down from a dozen last year after FC New York disbanded, will compete in a single table, with the top six advancing to the playoffs. The first- and second-place finishers will receive byes into the semifinals; the championship game will be played Sept. 7, 8 or 9. The season opens April 6.
The Blues, guided by Charlie Naimo, in 2011 went 8-7-9 and lost at Harrisburg in the National Division semifinals, a disappointing campaign in which they stumbled after a 5-1-2 start and won just once in their final nine games.
The Blues also will be competing in the U.S. Open Cup, joining an expanded 64-team field in the second round, on May 22.
Here is the Blues' 2012 schedule (all times Pacific; home games in boldface):
April 14 vs. Rochester, 7:30 p.m.
April 20 vs. Rochester, 7:30 p.m.
May 4 vs. Wilmington, 7:30 p.m.
May 6 vs. Wilmington, 5 p.m.
May 11 at Dayton, 4:30 p.m.
May 12 at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.
May 22 U.S. Open Cup second round TBA
May 24 at Orlando, 4:30 p.m.
May 26 at Charleston, 4:30 p.m.
June 15 vs. Dayton, 7:30 p.m.
June 17 vs. Dayton, 5 p.m.
June 28 at Charlotte, 4 p.m.
June 30 at Wilmington, 4:30 p.m.
July 3 at Richmond, 4 p.m.
July 6 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m.
July 8 vs. Orlando, 5 p.m.
July 12 at Antigua, 4 p.m.
July 14 at Antigua, 1:30 p.m.
July 27 at Rochester, 4:35 p.m.
July 28 at Harrisburg, 4 p.m.
July 31 at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.
Aug. 9 vs. Antigua, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 11 vs. Antigua, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 vs. Harrisburg, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 19 vs. Harrisburg, 5 p.m.