Let The Defense Begin: Real Salt Lake's 2010 Schedule Released

David MortimerContributor IIFebruary 5, 2010

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 22:  Nick Rimando #18 of Real Salt Lake poses with the Philip F. Anschutz MLS Cup trophy following their win in the MLS Cup final at Qwest Field on November 22, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images for MLS)
Harry How/Getty Images

Major League Soccer released its 2010 schedule Wednesday, pitting each of its 16 teams against each other twice between March and October.

Besides the expansion Philadelphia Union, the schedule that perhaps garners the most attention is that of defending MLS Cup Champions Real Salt Lake.

Here are a handful of the most exciting matchups that await RSL while defending the Cup.

March 27 at San Jose Earthquakes

RSL starts its Cup defense on the road. Will the Earthquakes be ready to unveil their No. 1 pick, Ike Opara? RSL will also travel to Houston before returning to Rio Tinto Stadium.

April 10 vs. Seattle Sounders

Of the 16 MLS teams, RSL will be the 15th to hold its home opener—ahead of only Toronto FC, which will host Philadelphia on April 15th.

April 17 at LA Galaxy

The Galaxy's first crack at revenge comes very early in the season when RSL visits The Home Depot Center. Will Becks be off loan by then?

May 8 vs. Philadelphia Union

RSL gets its first crack at the newest addition to MLS. Will the Union be as impressive as the Sounders were in their inaugural season last year?

July 8 at Chicago Fire

Like the Galaxy, the Fire will be eager to exact revenge on RSL after being beaten at home in the Eastern Conference Final. Will the Fire be the same team without Cuauhtemoc Blanco?

July 24 vs. Chivas USA

For the second consecutive year, RSL gets a home match for Pioneer Day. With a team like Chivas coming to town, expect fireworks during the game, not just afterwards.

Aug. 11 at Philadelphia Union

RSL will get its first look at MLS's newest venue: Union Field at Chester, which officially opens in June. Red Bull Arena, the other new MLS stadium, will host RSL on Oct. 9.

Sept. 9 at Seattle Sounders

RSL returns to the site of its Cup triumph. Where in the standings will they be by this point?

Oct. 23 at Colorado Rapids

Three of RSL's last four games are on the road, wrapping up with the second leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup. Will RSL need a win over the Rapids to clinch a playoff berth for the third straight year?

RSL's full schedule can be found here.