We’re less than 48 hours away from the start of the 17th Major League Soccer season and if the pre-season offers any lessons, it should be an excellent season. The LA Galaxy, with their troika of Designated Players (pictured – Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and David Beckham) are defending Champions and favorites to repeat. I’ve personally added schedules for Sporting KC, NE Revolution (Roach), Columbus Crew (Heinemann), Houston Dynamo (Davis & Bruin), Colorado Rapids (Pickens) and Portland Timbers (Jewsbury) to my calendar and I’ve signed up for the MLS Live package ($60) so I can see any game I want. Including on my iPhone they tell me. How about you, any favorites?
There will be plenty of games available on national TV as well as MLS has a new TV package with NBC Sports (formerly Versus). The first year of a new three-year media rights partnership will include live coverage of 41 regular season matches, the most of any MLS broadcast partner, in addition to five MLS Cup playoff games. It includes the first national match of the season on Sunday when Dallas hosts NY Red Bull. Here’s the weekend lineup:
Sunday, March 11
Dallas vs. New York – 2 pm CT on NBC Sports
Chivas USA vs. Houston – 6 pm CT on Galavision
Monday, March 12
Portland vs. Philadelphia – 8:30 pm CT on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com
UPDATE: MLS Direct Kick returns on DirecTV and Dish Network. They are offering a Free Preview this weekend so you can catch any game you want!
MLS has a ticker running across the top of their website that offers a quick and easy way to see what the upcoming games are. Speaking of those games, here’s a nice rundown of four of the opening games. For a broader perspective, here’s a preview of the Eastern Conference race (Go Sporting KC!) and the Western Conference (Go Houston Dynamo!).
MLS is making extensive use of video in their marketing efforts. For the serious fan, you can check out a 4 part series leading up to Saturday’s First Kick. The topics include Key Additions, Roster Makeovers, Top Young Players and the final topic Power Players.
It’s going to be a busy season. If there are any budding writers out there with an interest in providing a weekly story on their favorite MLS team, feel free to reach out to me and we can chat. Let’s grow the game!