The Baltimore Blast will begin the 2018-19 season against the Mississauga MetroStars at the SECU Arena in Towson, Md., Dec. 1, the Blast announced Sept. 25.
The MetroStars, based out of Ontario, Canada, are a new entry into the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), which now boasts 17 teams across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Baltimore has won the past three MASL championships. The Blast defeated the Monterrey Flash, 4-3, in Mexico in March for their most recent title.
"I'm excited about the schedule and looking forward to the challenges that it presents," Blast head coach Danny Kelly said in a release. "Every team wants to knock off the defending champions and we relish the opportunity to defend our championship."
The Blast will compete in the Eastern division of the MASL with the Harrisburg Heat, Utica City FC and Mississauga. Longtime Blast executive Kevin Healey
left his post to join the Heat
as president and minority owner. His son, former Blast defender Pat Healey, will be Harrisburg's head coach.
Every team in the MASL will play a 24-game schedule, including 12 home games. Baltimore will play its division opponents six times apiece.
"Last year was exciting from the opening day right to the championship game in Monterrey," MASL commissioner Joshua Schaub said. "This year's schedule could be even better. With teams being focused on their conference, each regular season game becomes a must-win."
Baltimore's full schedule can be seen
Photo Credit: David Rippeto/Baltimore Blast