[MLS]Major League Soccer unveiled its expanded schedule for the 2011 season. Significantly, it will be off on two weekends late in the regular season, both international fixture dates when national teams will be in action.
MLS has not scheduled games on Wednesday Aug. 10, Saturday-Sunday Sept. 3-4, and Saturday-Sunday Oct. 8-9, which are FIFA fixture dates.
The schedule includes television dates for ESPN (21 games) and Univision networks (30 games, including 20 night games on Galavision) but no dates for Fox Soccer Channel, with which MLS remains in discussions. The league also has been talking with other potential national broadcast partners in the United States and Canada and will release details soon.
The regular season opens on March 15 when the Seattle Sounders host the Los Angeles Galaxy (9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com).
The regular season concludes on Oct. 23, when the Houston Dynamo hosts the Galaxy (7 p.m. ET on Galavision).
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.