Major League Soccer has finally revealed its opening 2009 schedule. Major League Soccer’s 14th season begins with “First Kick,” the weekend of March 19-22, 2009, when 14 teams kickoff the 2009 MLS regular season. Highlights of First Kick include the inaugural game for 2009 expansion team Seattle Sounders FC. Seattle, the League’s 15th team hosts the New York Red Bulls, MLS Cup 2008 finalists, on Thursday, March 19 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. – Buy New York Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders FC Tickets
The 2008 MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew kick off their season in one of five games on Saturday, March 21 when they travel to face the Houston Dynamo at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol. Fox Soccer Channel’s opening weekend double header continues Saturday evening with Chivas USA hosting Western Conference foe the Colorado Rapids at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Also squaring off on Saturday, March 21 in First Kick action are Eastern Conference foes Toronto FC traveling to face the Kansas City Wizards at 8:30 p.m. ET, and the New England Revolution who travel to face the San Jose Earthquakes at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Real Salt Lake is the only club that is not in action during First Kick weekend. In its first MLS game since hosting the Western Conference Championship, Rio Tinto Stadium will open its doors to host the Columbus Crew in Week 3 in primetime on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes April 2 at 9 p.m. ET.
In addition to the previously First Kick lineup, there are plenty of intriguing matchups throughout the regular season schedule. The battle for the Trillium Cup begins in Week 2 with Toronto FC heading to Columbus to meet the defending MLS Cup champion Crew for a Saturday night matchup. The Red Bulls will open their home slate against their heated rival, the New England Revolution, the same night in a game broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.
The first leg of the SuperClasico will kick off in Week 4 with the Los Angeles Galaxy playing host to Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on April 11. The two teams meet again on July 11,this time with Chivas USA hosting, and then for a third time in a Galaxy home game on Aug. 29.
Revenge will be on the mind of the Houston Dynamo when they play host to the New York Red Bulls in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Semifinal Series upset on April 11.
Week 5 begins with an always-spirited meeting between the New England Revolution and D.C. United on April 17 at 7 p.m. at RFK Stadium while Real Salt Lake travels to Giants Stadium to face the New York Red Bulls in a rematch of last year’s memorable Western Conference Championship on April 18. The often-heated rivalry between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes will also reignite on April 18 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The New York Red Bulls and Los Angeles Galaxy have played some memorable shootouts in the last two seasons and those two teams meet for the first time on May 2 at The Home Depot Center with the return leg set for July 18 at Giants Stadium.
The Red Bulls and Columbus Crew meet for the first time since MLS Cup 2008 on June 27 at Crew Stadium.
If recent history is any indication, the final week of the regular season will be drama filled as teams vie for the final of eight playoff berths. The MLS regular season concludes on Oct. 25 with the Houston Dynamo facing Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center in a game broadcast on TeleFutura and the Columbus Crew hosting the New England Revolution.
The MLS Cup Playoffs begin on Oct. 29 and culminate in MLS Cup 2009 on the weekend of Nov. 21-22 at a site to be announced at a later date.
REGULAR SEASON – WEEK 1 (FIRST KICK)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
New York Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders FC, 9 p.m. (ESPN2/Deportes)
Buy New York Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders FC Tickets
Sunday, March 22, 2009
D.C. United at Los Angeles Galaxy