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Seattle rewarded for big crowds
by Ridge Mahoney, September 25th, 2009 7AM

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[MLS] Perhaps the new marketing slogan for MLS should be, "If you sell tickets, TV will come." Spectacular season-ticket sales in Seattle prompted MLS to open its season at Qwest Field last March on a Thursday night, and the league will return there next spring. Opening day of the 2010 season will set the Sounders -- who are averaging 30,739 this season -- against the expansion Philadelphia Union, whose own home opener on April 10 - and perhaps several other home games - will be played at Lincoln Financial Field while work is completed on its stadium in Chester, Pa.

All 16 teams will play in the first week of the season as per a schedule of each team's home openers released by the league on Thursday, with Toronto the only exception. As reported by Soccer America earlier this week, MLS has held off selecting a date for TFC as a proposal to install a grass field at BMO Field works its way through the political process. The league is awaiting notification from TFC as to when it will be able to host home games on the new surface if the project clears the necessary hurdles.

One new facility that will be ready in time is Red Bull Arena. It stages its first game March 27 for a visit of the Chicago Fire. Other teams playing at home on the first weekend of the season are Columbus, Kansas City, FC Dallas, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Chivas USA. For the second straight year, both the Galaxy and Chivas USA host games at Home Depot Center on opening weekend in nationally televised games

MLS has announced it will suspend play for the first two weeks (June 11-25) of the 2010 World Cup. Each team will play each league rival twice, once at home and once away, in a 30-game regular season, which will conclude Oct. 24. MLS Cup is scheduled for Nov. 21, 2010 at a venue to be announced.

Here's the list of home openers for each team. (Additional games will be added to the schedule for the second and third weeks of the season.) The full schedule will not be released for several months.

Week 1
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Philadelphia at Seattle, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2/Deportes)

Saturday, March 27
Toronto at Columbus, 4 p.m.
Chicago at New York, 7 p.m. (ESPN2/Deportes)
D.C. United at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
Houston at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Real Salt Lake at San Jose, 9 p.m.
New England at Los Angeles, 11 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Español)

Sunday, March 28
Colorado at Chivas USA, Time TBD (TeleFutura)

Week 2
Saturday, April 3
Chicago at Colorado, Time TBD
New England at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
Kansas City at Houston, 8:30 p.m.

Week 3
Saturday, April 10

D.C. United at Philadelphia, 3 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Español)
Toronto at New England, 7:30 p.m.
San Jose at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Seattle at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m

All times Eastern.



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