Minnesota United’s first competitive match at Allianz Field will come against New York City FC when the Blues visit St. Paul on April 13, 2019. Scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. CT kickoff, the afternoon will offer many fans their first inside look at the Loons’ new home.
Construction on the soccer-specific stadium is said to be 95-percent complete, with MNUFC officials expecting the total cost to approach $250 million.
#MNUFC are doing interior testing of advertising boards as well as the @Daktronics scoreboard tonight at @allianzfield. The fog makes it all the more glowy. Is that a word?!?! pic.twitter.com/J4wcdaNU72
— Brian Quarstad (@IMSoccerNews) December 20, 2018
Allianz Field’s MLS debut will mark the third time in three MLS seasons an Eastern Conference opponent has come to Minnesota for the Loons’ home opener.
Last season, Minnesota defeated the Chicago Fire 2-1 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The year before, Atlanta United routed the Loons 5-1 as falling snow blanketed the pitch at TCF Bank.
A sequel to that “snowpener” is a faint possibility. On April 13th of this year, the Twin Cities saw the start of an unseasonably-large spring blizzard. The 14.9 inches of snow — as measured at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport — that fell over that weekend were an April record for the largest snowstorm to hit the Twin Cities.
MLS announced the 2019 home openers for all its clubs Thursday afternoon, and Minnesota also learned that its upcoming season will begin at BC place against the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 2. Depending on the impact of a FIFA international break this spring, the Loons may be looking at as many as a half-dozen road games ahead of christening Allianz Field.
Los Angeles Football Club went through just such a six-game road swing to begin its 2018 season while waiting for construction to finish on Banc of California Stadium. In the Loons’ case, starting the season on the road was expected by club officials, and an April home opener carries the additional benefit of avoiding outdoor games during a Minnesota March.
Only Portland — set to host LAFC at Providence Park on June 1 — has a later home opener than the Loons next season, with the Montreal Impact also making its 2019 home debut on April 13.