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MLS Unveils First Kick 2011

NEW YORK (Monday, Nov. 20, 2010) – Major League Soccer’s 16th season will kick off on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 when Seattle Sounders FC host the LA Galaxy live on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Merely 128 days after the Galaxy eliminated Seattle from the MLS Cup Playoffs, Fredy Montero, Kasey Keller, and the rest of the Sounders hope to deliver a cathartic win to another sellout crowd at Qwest Field. But LA’s star-studded roster – led by Landon Donovan and David Beckham – aims to start off right as it defends its 2010 Supporters’ Shield and looks to advance to a record seventh MLS Cup final. 

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All 18 clubs will take the field during the opening “First Kick” week as they embark on a 34-game, balanced regular season in which every club will face each other twice – once at home, once on the road.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC begin their first MLS season against Canadian rivals Toronto FC on March 19 in one of the marquee matches of the opening weekend.

By the end of Week 2 of the 2011 season, 16 clubs will have played in front of their home fans. The Portland Timbers begin their inaugural MLS campaign at the MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids on March 19, and celebrate the opening of the fully-renovated PGE Park on April 14 against the Chicago Fire. Sporting Kansas City begins its landmark season on the road while the finishing touches are made to KC Soccer Stadium, a stunning new venue that will stage its first MLS match on June 9, also against the Fire.

The schedule for the 18 home openers is below. The entire 2011 MLS regular season will be released by early February. Although MLS will schedule games on FIFA friendly dates, no games will be scheduled on FIFA World Cup Qualifying dates.

Home club listed first, in bold; All times Eastern
Schedule subject to change:

Tuesday, March 15
Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, March 19
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Toronto FC, time TBD
D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. 
New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30pm
Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 9 p.m.
Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. 

Sunday, March 20

LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution, 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 26
Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City, 4 p.m. 
Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 4 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers, time TBD
New England Revolution vs. D.C. United, time TBD 
Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 9 p.m.
Thursday, April 14
Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire, 11 p.m. 
Thursday, June 9
Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, time TBD