When and Where: The Major League Soccer open season opener kicks off from FC Dallas Stadium at 3 p.m. ET. The game is being shown on NBC Sports Network, while a live stream is available at MLS Live.
Preview: All eyes will be on FC Dallas Stadium for the first nationally televised game of the 2012 MLS Season. The contest is also a rematch of the 2011 wild-card match when the New York Red Bulls overcame FC Dallas.
Both sides have made changes to their rosters in the off-season, with some notable additions. For the Red Bulls, in has come Swedish international defender Markus Holgersson. Red Bulls coach Hans Backe will hope that the 26-year-old, along with fellow defensive recruit Wilman Conde, can add some steel to a defense that has lost United States international Tim Ream to Premier League Bolton.
The Red Bulls also strengthened their front line with the pick-up of Portland Timbers forward Kenny Cooper.
FC Dallas, meanwhile, have also boosted their attack with the signing of Blas Perez. The Panamanian international will be expected to put the finishing touches on the excellent creative work of David Ferreira, Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo.
Backe will know how important it is to get off to a good start in what could be a crucial season for the team, and himself.
The Red Bulls underperformed for much of last year, with designated player Rafael Marquez being outspoken at his disdain for his teammates' performances, despite not covering himself in glory with his own. Now moved up to the center of midfield, Marquez must be more of a leader this campaign.
Star-man Thierry Henry will also be pivotal to the Red Bulls' chances of success in 2012. After an off-season spent with a mostly successful loan spell with Arsenal, he should be raring to the go from the outset.
Team News: Creative midfielder David Ferreira is still recovering from an ankle injury that ruled him out for most of last season. Though he missed the final two pre-season contests, head coach Schellas Hyndman will hope that Ferreira can still make the starting lineup.
For the Red Bulls, Marquez will miss the season's first two matches with a suspension resulting from his indiscretions in last year's Western Conference semi-final first-leg against the Los Angeles Galaxy. New defensive recruit Wilman Conde will also likely miss the match through injury.
Prediction: Without Conde as well as Marquez, who could have filled in at the back, the Red Bulls may well struggle to cope early on with life after Tim Ream. Much of the outcome of this contest, though, could depend on the fitness of key playmaker David Perreira.
There should be goals, but I think both sides will get off the mark in their opening game.
FC Dallas 1-1 New York Red Bulls