2014 Schedule: Five dates to circle on the calendar

TheCrew.com's Cody Sharrett points out 2014's must-see matches

Federico Higuain

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

Major League Soccer announced its 2014 schedule on Monday, and while there are no real surprises or changes to the schedule aside from a two-week break for the Group Stage of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Crew's 2014 campaign offers up a number of fixtures that should have fans circling dates on their calendars. 

Here are five dates to look forward to in the 2014 season.

Saturday, March 8 at D.C. United

The Crew kicks off its 19th season in the Nation's Capital against its oldest rival, D.C. United. The Black & Gold topped United in both matchups last season, outscoring the Black-and-Red 5-1. Gregg Berhalter's hiring of Josh Wolff as an Assistant Coach will also add some zest to the match as the decorated striker closed out his career at United and spent the last two seasons on Ben Olsen's coaching staff. 

Saturday, April 26 vs. New York Red Bulls

The Black & Gold welcome the 2013 Supporters' Shield-winning Red Bulls to Crew Stadium just once in 2014. In 2013, the Crew went 1-1-1 against Mike Petke's squad, capping the season series off with a 2-0 victory in Columbus on August 10 behind a Federico Higuaín brace.

Sunday, May 4 at Sporting Kansas City

In the spotlight of NBC Sports Network, the Crew travels to Kansas City for a Sunday afternoon clash at Sporting Park with the Eastern Conference champions. After going 0-3-0 against Sporting in 2013, the Black & Gold will have payback on their mind performing on the big stage come May 4.

Saturday, August 16 vs. LA Galaxy

Gregg Berhalter will get his first shot at his former coach and mentor Bruce Arena when the Galaxy visits Crew Stadium in August. Berhalter played under Arena for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups before closing out his career with the Galaxy from 2009-11. In his final year with LA, Berhalter served as a Player-Coach on Arena's staff.  

Coaching connections aside, the bitter taste of the Crew's 2-1 defeat at the Stub Hub Center after two late penalties last season should have the Black & Gold hungry to top the Galaxy for the first time since 2009.

Sunday, October 26 vs. Philadelphia Union

Though both sides missed out on the postseason in 2012 and 2013, the Crew and Union were neck and neck in the standings last season. With both teams aiming for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2014, expect everything to be on the line on the final day of the 2014 campaign.