The new MLS schedule has been released, meaning the Sounders FC 2011 schedule is now out. Here's the release from the Sounders.
I'll be back soon with a closer look at the Sounders schedule. But for now, here are highlights from the league:
Today Major League Soccer and its national broadcast partners announced the 2011 regular season schedule on www.MLSsoccer.com. Each of the League’s 18 clubs will play 34 matches, facing each of the other clubs once at home and once on the road. The 16th regular season in MLS history will consist of a total of 306 matches, all of which will be broadcast live. First Kick 2011, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, begins Tuesday, March 15 when Seattle Sounders FC host the LA Galaxy at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com. The regular season concludes 222 days later, on Sunday, Oct. 23, when the Houston Dynamo host the LA Galaxy at 7 p.m. ET on Galavisión. All 18 clubs will play their season openers during the week of First Kick, with eight games on Saturday, March 19 and one on Sunday, March 20, when the LA Galaxy host the New England Revolution at 8 p.m. ET on Galavisión.
ESPN continues its first-class live coverage of MLS with a total of 21 regular season games – 17 on ESPN2, four on ESPN, and all 21 on ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, and ESPN Deportes Radio. Nine of the games on ESPN platforms feature duels between regional rivals, including the last four broadcasts of the season, when the drama reaches its peak. Also among the ESPN and ESPN2 broadcasts are the expansion Portland Timbers’ first home game in renovated PGE Park (Apr. 14), the opening match in Sporting Kansas City’s magnificent new stadium (June 9), and a doubleheader on Independence Day (July 4th), when Real Salt Lake host the New England Revolution and the LA Galaxy host Seattle Sounders FC. The ESPN/ESPN2 MLS broadcast package will include eight additional broadcast windows to allow for the coverage of international matches involving MLS clubs during the summer. The Univision family of networks will broadcast 30 MLS regular season games live: 20 on Galavisión and 10 on TeleFutura. Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls, respectively featuring Mexican stars Omar Bravo and Rafa Márquez, will appear multiple times on Galavisión/TeleFutura broadcasts, as will Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo – two clubs with strong Hispanic fan bases. In response to fan preferences, MLS and Univision worked together to schedule more nationally-televised games on weekend nights. ESPN’s platforms and the Univision family of networks also will broadcast the 2011 MLS AT&T All-Star Game (July 27 at Red Bull Arena) and MLS Cup 2011; more details to be announced at a later date. The MLS Cup Playoff format and dates will be announced in the near future. MLS remains in discussions with other potential national broadcast partners in the United States and Canada and will release details soon.
Highlights of 2011 Regular Season Schedule: Ø All 306 games will be televised live:Fans can watch games live via the national broadcast partners, regional telecasts, the Direct Kick television package (available via select satellite and digital cable providers) and/or on www.MLSsoccer.com via Match Day Live. Regional broadcast schedules will be announced by the clubs as they are finalized. Ø Majority of games on weekends:About 82% of all MLS games will take place on weekends or holidays, with every day of the week having at least one scheduled match during the year. Ø Record day of action – March 26:A record nine MLS games are scheduled for Saturday, March 26 – the most on one day in League history, and the only time in 2011 that all 18 clubs are in action on the same day. Ø International fixture dates:MLS has not scheduled games on Aug. 10, Sept. 3-4, and Oct. 8-9, which are FIFA fixture dates. Ø Rivalry matches enhance atmosphere. Supporters groups are traveling to road matches with increasing frequency, especially to their nearest geographic rivals. Some of those heated matchups this year include: Home team listed first; all times Eastern (subject to change) I-95 CorridorSaturday, March 26 – New England Revolution vs. D.C. United, 4:30 p.m.Saturday, April 9 – Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com)Thursday, April 21 – D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com)Saturday, June 11 – New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.Saturday, July 9 – New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.Wednesday, July 20 – D.C. United vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.Saturday, Aug. 20 – New England Revolution vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.Sunday, Aug. 28 – Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution, 7 p.m. (Galavisión)Thursday, Sept. 29 – Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com)Thursday, Oct. 20 – New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union, 8 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com) SuperClásico Saturday, May 21 – Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy, 10 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com)Sunday, Oct. 16 – LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA, 9 p.m. (ESPN, Deportes, ESPN3.com) Rocky Mountain CupWednesday, April 13 – Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. ETFriday, Oct. 14 – Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com) Battle for El Capitán (Texas rivalry)Saturday, May 28 – Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.Saturday, Sept. 24 – FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo, 4 p.m. (TeleFutura) Cascadia Cup Saturday, May 14 – Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers, 11 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com)Saturday, June 11 – Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver, 10 p.m.Sunday, July 10 – Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 5 p.m. (ESPN, Deportes, ESPN3.com) Saturday, Aug. 20 – Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver, 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 – Vancouver vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m.Sunday, Oct. 2 – Vancouver vs. Portland Timbers, 4:30 p.m. Ø Other enticing matchups include: Tuesday, March 15 – Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN, Deportes, ESPN3.com)· First Kick presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods begins with MLS season opener Saturday, March 19 – Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Toronto FC, 6:30 p.m.· Inaugural MLS match for Vancouver and clash of Canadian rivals Saturday, April 9 – FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids, 8:30 p.m.· First rematch of MLS Cup 2010 Thursday, April 14 – Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire, 11 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com)· Timbers’ first home game in MLS; at renovated PGE Park Thursday, June 9 – Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3.com)· Inaugural MLS match at Sporting Kansas City’s new stadium Sunday, Oct. 23 – Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy, 7 p.m. ET (Galavisión)· Regular season finale