Defending champions LA Galaxy kick off the 2015 Major League Soccer season on Friday at the StubHub Center against Chicago Fire, the start of a new term which sees two new clubs enter the division.
Newcomers Orlando City and New York City FC face off against each other on Sunday for the start of their maiden MLS campaigns, with each side looking to make an early impact.
With 20 teams competing in 2015, MLS is bigger than ever, and there will be some appropriately world-class talent on show, with the likes of Kaka and David Villa set to participate from the word go.
Here is the full schedule for Matchday 1 of action in MLS 2015:
|MLS 2015: Matchday 1 Fixtures|
|Date||Time (ET/GMT)||Fixture||TV Info|
|March 6||10 p.m./3 a.m. (next day)||Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire||UniMas|
|March 7||3 p.m./8 p.m.||DC United vs. Montreal Impact||N/A|
|March 7||4 p.m./9 p.m.||Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids||N/A|
|March 7||6 p.m./10 p.m.||Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC||N/A|
|March 7||8:30 p.m./1:30 a.m, (next day)||FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes||N/A|
|March 7||8:30 p.m./1:30 a.m, (next day)||Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew||N/A|
|March 7||10:30 p.m./3:30 a.m. (next day)||Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake||N/A|
|March 8||5 p.m./9 p.m.||Orlando City vs. New York City FC||ESPN2, Sky Sports 3 (UK)|
|March 8||7 p.m./11 p.m.||Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls||Fox Sports 1, Sky Sports 3 (UK)|
|March 8||9:30 p.m./1:30 a.m. (next day)||Seattle Sounders vs. New England Revolution||Fox Sports 1|
A key absentee will be Landon Donovan, MLS' most successful ever player, and a US soccer legend per ESPN's Paul Carr, the 33-year-old having retired after his final Galaxy triumph last season:
Not only will he be missed by his LA teammates and coach Bruce Arena, but by the entire league in which he starred for so long.
However, Galaxy still have star forward Robbie Keane on their books—the Irishman netted 19 times last season per MLS—and will welcome Liverpool and England legend Steven Gerrard in July, with three months of the regular season remaining.
Another Premier League star, Frank Lampard, is also set to join up with New York City FC come the end of the English season, adding genuine world-class quality to the new outfit.
USMNT stars Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and DaMarcus Beasley will all be looking to make an impact in the coming season, and they are included in the list of designated players, per MLS:
|MLS 2015: Designated Players|
|David Accam||Chicago Fire|
|Kennedy Igboanaike||Chicago Fire|
|Shaun Maloney||Chicago Fire|
|Gabriel Torres||Colorado Rapids|
|Federico Higuaín||Columbus Crew|
|Eddie Johnson||DC United|
|Fabian Espindola||DC United|
|Fabian Castillo||FC Dallas|
|Mauro Diaz||FC Dallas|
|David Texeira||FC Dallas|
|DeMarcus Beasley||Houston Dynamo|
|Alexander Lopez||Houston Dynamo|
|Erick Torres||Houston Dynamo|
|Omar Gonzalez||LA Galaxy|
|Robbie Keane||LA Galaxy|
|Ignacio Piatti||Montreal Impact|
|Jerry Bengtson||New England Revolution|
|Jermaine Jones||New England Revolution|
|David Villa||New York City FC|
|Bradley Wright-Phillips||New York Red Bulls|
|Kaká||Orlando City SC|
|Bryan Róchez||Orlando City SC|
|Maurice Edu||Philadelphia Union|
|Cristian Maidana||Philadelphia Union|
|Fanendo Adi||Portland Timbers|
|Liam Ridgewell||Portland Timbers|
|Diego Valeri||Portland Timbers|
|Sebastian Jaime||Real Salt Lake|
|Javier Morales||Real Salt Lake|
|Joao Plata||Real Salt Lake|
|Alvaro Saborío||Real Salt Lake|
|Innocent Emeghara||San Jose Earthquakes|
|Matias Perez Garcia||San Jose Earthquakes|
|Chris Wondolowski||San Jose Earthquakes|
|Osvaldo Alonso||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Clint Dempsey||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Obafemi Martins||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Matt Besler||Sporting Kansas City|
|Graham Zusi||Sporting Kansas City|
|Jozy Altidore||Toronto FC|
|Michael Bradley||Toronto FC|
|Sebastian Giovinco||Toronto FC|
|Matias Laba||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
|Pedro Morales||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
|Octavio Rivero||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
LA Galaxy are the favourites to lift a sixth MLS Cup this term, and despite losing Donovan and Marcelo Sarvas, they are still a very strong outfit who will be a match for anyone in 2015.
Seattle Sounders are similarly fancied to certainly make it to the playoffs at the end of the year as they return as defending Supporters Shield winners.
Brazil star and former AC Milan and Real Madrid player Kaka will draw much attention as a key part of Orlando City's team, and the 32-year-old is clearly expecting a significant test in MLS, per CNN:
There's a lot of good players that could have another team in Europe but they chose to come here. I think it's a good moment to be in this league. In a few years, we will listen a lot about the MLS.
Last season's league top-scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, will be looking to match his contribution from last year when he bagged 27 goals as New York Red Bulls reached the conference final.
However, the New York outfit will be relying heavily on the 29-year-old Englishman, Thierry Henry having departed MLS last season, and it remains to be seen whether he can take up the mantle of being the go-to man.
There is set to be huge quality on show in this year's MLS, with a number of top-class players from abroad and at home in all 20 sides.
A quick start could be key for building momentum early in the season, and this weekend's matches are sure to be full of action and incident as play gets underway ahead of an exciting season.