With the release of the full 2019 schedule for FC Dallas, the argument has once again come up about the sheer scale of the country and the subsequent travel demands put on the shoulders of teams in the western half of the United States.
Wanting to get a more specific picture of what those look like for the club, we put on our travel agent hats and dug up some information on the road ahead for the club’s 17 road games in 2019 (not including U.S. Open Cup action, of course).
Going the Distance
Arguably the biggest disadvantage that Western Conference teams face is simply how spread out they are. Outside of “El Trafico” between LAFC and the LA Galaxy, Seattle and Vancouver are the teams closest to each other in the west, with a still-hefty 140 miles between them. Houston is obviously FC Dallas’ closest opponent and — while we’re thankful that loathsome city is over 250 miles away — that’s a heck of a haul to face your in-state rival. The same goes for the Los Angeles and San Jose teams, who have to cover an even greater distance to traverse cities.
Because of this distance, it’s safe to assume FCD will fly for 16 of those 17 road games and driving to Houston, as they’ve done frequently in the past. With that being the case, take a look at the amount of ground (air, actually) the team will cover in 2019.
Total Miles: 36,816
- This accounts for the miles (through the air) for the 32 flights they’ll make — 16 there and 16 back — as well as the 540-mile roundtrip visit to Houston in early May.
- Half of the trips (8) will be over 1,000 miles long, the shortest of which being the 1,235-mile flight to Los Angeles.
- The trips to Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and Montreal are all longer than 1,500 miles with the 1,754-mile journey to play the Whitecaps being the longest FC Dallas will make in 2019.
Hours Spent Traveling: 119
- With around 94 of the 119 hours FCD will spend traveling dedicated to air travel, the average flight time will be around 5.5 hours, which is about how long it’ll take them to get to Salt Lake City for their March 30th date against Real Salt Lake. The remaining time is dedicated to the trip to Houston as well as the trip from Toyota Stadium to DFW — and back.
- The team’s shortest flight will be to Kansas City at just 1.5 hours, each way. That’s roughly like driving from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ to Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA.
- Over the course of the 2019 season, FC Dallas will spend approximately four days in the air, or about one percent of the entire year.
It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination
So, yes, being a team in MLS’ Western Conference certainly doesn’t make it easy on the Team Administrator — but hey, just think of it as taking 17 vacations in a span of 218 days.