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Originally published Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 8:53 PM

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Sounders FC will play four times on ESPN networks

Seattle Sounders FC's inaugural 30-game Major League Soccer regular-season schedule was announced Wednesday, and it features four matches...

Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — Seattle Sounders FC's inaugural 30-game Major League Soccer regular-season schedule was announced Wednesday, and it features four matches slated for national television on ESPN and ESPN2.

The first of those four is the opener, March 19 against the New York Red Bulls at Qwest Field at 6 p.m. Seattle plays four of its first six matches at home and four of its final six on the road.

"It's obviously a little front-loaded," Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer said. "Couple of tough road trips toward the end of the season, but it is what it is. We can't worry too much about the schedule, we just need to go take care of business."

Additionally, three games will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel, including the first of two meetings with the Columbus Crew — the team coach Sigi Schmid led to the MLS Cup last season — slated for May 30 at Qwest Field.

"They [the Crew] might circle that one more than me," Schmid said. "For me it's three points whether we beat Columbus or three points whether we beat Chivas [USA]. And the three points against Chivas are probably more important because they're inside of conference and those become six-point games."

Seattle plays every MLS Eastern Conference team twice, home and away, and every Western Conference team twice, home and away. The exceptions are Western foes Chivas USA and the San Jose Earthquakes. The Sounders will meet each of those clubs three times.

Sounders FC's first road contest is April 4 at Toronto FC. It's a 1 p.m. start on Fox Soccer Channel after back-to-back home games to open the season. Twenty-three games are on Saturday, four on Sunday, two on Thursday, including the opener, and one on Wednesday.

The season finale is Oct. 24 against FC Dallas at home, and from the opener to the finale there are four weeks in which no game is scheduled. One of those open dates, the week of July 18, is presumed to be filled by a friendly against Chelsea of the English Premier League at Qwest Field.

"There are FIFA international windows that have been left open," Hanauer said, referring to the weekend of Oct. 10, when the U.S. men's national team has a World Cup qualifying game and MLS has a limited schedule. The CONCACAF Gold Cup is being played this year as well, and Sounders FC likely has a bye for at least one other open date.

The MLS All-Star Game is July 29 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah — home of Real Salt Lake.

Sounders FC will also play U.S. Open Cup matches throughout the season, those typically being midweek games. All games not shown on the ESPN networks or Fox Soccer Channel can be seen locally on KING-TV or KONG-TV.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

2009 Seattle Sounders FC Schedule
Date Opponent Time TV
Mar. 19 New York Red Bulls 6 p.m. ESPN2
Mar. 28 Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 4 at Toronto FC 1 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel
Apr. 11 Kansas City Wizards 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 18 at Chivas USA 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 25 San Jose Earthquakes 7:30 p.m.
May 2 at Chicago Fire 5:30 p.m.
May 10 L.A. Galaxy noon
May 16 at FC Dallas 5:30 p.m.
May 23 at Colorado Rapids 6:30 p.m.
May 30 Columbus Crew 7:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel
June 6 at Chivas USA 7:30 p.m.
June 13 San Jose Earthquakes 7:30 p.m.
June 17 D.C. United 8 p.m. ESPN2
June 20 at New York Red Bulls 4:30 p.m.
June 28 Colorado Rapids 1 p.m.
July 11 Houston Dynamo 1 p.m.
July 25 Chicago Fire noon ESPN
Aug. 2 at San Jose Earthquakes noon
Aug. 8 at Real Salt Lake 6 p.m.
Aug. 15 at L.A. Galaxy 8 p.m.
Aug. 20 New England Revolution 7 p.m. ESPN2
Aug. 23 at Houston Dynamo 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 29 Toronto FC 1 p.m.
Sept. 12 at D.C. United 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 Chivas USA 2 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel
Sept. 26 at New England Revolution 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Columbus Crew 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Kansas City Wizards 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 FC Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Note: All ESPN and ESPN2 games are also on ESPN Deportes; All games not aired nationally will be carried live by KING 5 or KONG 6.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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