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Marquee matches go head-to-head
by Ridge Mahoney, March 14th, 2011 8:33PM
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[TELEVISION WATCH] MLS has juggled World Cup qualifying dates, international club competitions, glamorous friendlies, its own manufactured SuperLiga tournament (not yet confirmed dead but believed to be on life support), and the biannual Concacaf Gold Cup throughout its existence, but it trods new ground Tuesday when the Seattle Sounders-Los Angeles Galaxy First Kickoff (actual game time is 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on ESPN) clashes precisely with the first leg of the Real Salt Lake-Saprissa Concacaf Champions League semifinal series (10 p.m. ET/8 p.m. MT on Fox Soccer Channel). General manager Garth Lagerwey says RSL pondered different kickoff times, but is greatly limited to its options on a weekday.

“Because it’s a work day and a school day, we can’t really go any later than eight [o’clock], and we run into all sorts of problems – traffic, people working and getting their kids – if we try to go earlier,” he says. “We’ll put the score of the other game up on the scoreboard so people can follow it.”

When Concacaf mapped out its knockout phase schedule months ago, it spread the semifinals across two dates (Monterrey and Cruz Azul play their first match Wednesday). Thursday isn’t a viable option, as RSL opens its league schedule Saturday. (Saprissa rescheduled its league game last weekend to give it extra time for preparation and rest.)

As for a Tuesday First Kick, well what ESPN wants, ESPN gets.



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