NEW YORK – Major League Soccer fans, put in your vacation time now.
The league released its official schedule for the 2011 regular season on Thursday, including all the details for national broadcasts on the ESPN family of networks and Spanish-language broadcasts on Galavisión and TeleFutura.
League officials stressed that certain matches are subject to change, due to other national television implications. MLS remains in discussions with other potential national broadcast partners in the United States and Canada and will release details soon which could affect certain dates on the schedule.
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.
ESPN will continue its 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. Among those is the first-ever MLS showdown between the Seattle Sounders and expansion Portland Timbers at Qwest Field in Seattle on May 14 on ESPN2 (11 pm ET). ESPN2 will also broadcast the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game from Red Bull Arena on July 27.
READ: COMPLETE ESPN SCHEDULE
ESPN’s coverage will also include key matches like the Timbers’ home opener at PGE Park against Chicago (April 19), the LA Galaxy hosting the New York Red Bulls (May 7), Sporting Kansas City’s first match in their new stadium (June 9), Portland hosting Seattle (July 10) and Colorado hosting Real Salt Lake in a late-season Rocky Mountain Cup matchup at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Oct. 14.
ESPN2 will also broadcast a July 4 doubleheader, when Real Salt Lake host the New England Revolution and the LA Galaxy host Seattle Sounders FC.
The Univisión 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 Rafael Marquez, will appear multiple times on Galavisión/TeleFutura broadcasts, as will Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo – two clubs with strong Hispanic fan bases.