·ESPN to feature rematch of 2015 MLS Cup between Portland and Columbus
·FS1 to present Dempsey-led Seattle vs Feilhaber-led Sporting KC
·UniMas closes out the day with five-time champion LA vs. four-time champion D.C.
·TSN / RDS to showcase Canadian rivalry match between Vancouver and Montreal
Coming off a season that featured record numbers in attendance and total television viewership, MLS’ 21st season will kick off with four marquee matches broadcast live by the League’s national television partners. First is a rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup as the defending champions Portland Timbers welcome Kei Kamara and Columbus Crew SC on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 4:30 p.m. ET.
FS1 and FOX Deportes will showcase Clint Dempsey-led Seattle Sounders FC versus Benny Feilhaber’s Sporting Kansas City at 7 p.m. ET; TSN and RDS will air Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s home opener versus the Montreal Impact in Canada; and UniMas rounds out the night by featuring a match between five-time MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy and four-time champions D.C. United at 10 p.m. ET. The match will also be simulcast on the Univision Deportes Network, and will once again feature an English-language SAP option.
The defending MLS Supporters Shield winners New York Red Bulls kick off the first game of season at home against reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco and Toronto FC at 1:30 p.m. ET (TSN in Canada). The first six matches of the day, which kick off at staggered times, will be supplemented with a unique and exclusive experience on MLS digital platforms, in addition to being aired locally and available by subscription on Direct Kick and MLS Live through MLSsoccer.com.
The complete list of 2016 MLS home openers follows:
Sunday, March 6, 2016 (home team listed first):
1:30 p.m. ET – New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC (Red Bull Arena) – TSN
2 p.m. ET – Orlando City SC vs. Real Salt Lake (Orlando Citrus Bowl)
2 p.m. ET – Chicago Fire vs. New York City FC (Toyota Park)
3 p.m. ET – FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union (Toyota Stadium)
3 p.m. ET – Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution (BBVA Compass Stadium)
3 p.m. ET – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids (Avaya Stadium)
*4:30 p.m. ET – Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC (Providence Park) – ESPN / ESPN Deportes
5:30 p.m. ET – Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Montreal Impact (BC Place) – TSN and RDS
*7 p.m. ET – Seattle Sounders FC vs. Sporting Kansas City (CenturyLink Field)– FS1 / FOX Deportes
10 p.m. ET – LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United (StubHub Center) – UniMas/ UDN
* = 2.5 hour windows start at this time.
Saturday, March 12
New England Revolution vs. D.C. United (Gillette Stadium)
Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union (MAPFRE Stadium)
Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park)
Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Children’s Mercy Park)
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC (Rio Tinto Stadium)
Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls (Olympic Stadium)
Sunday, March 13
New York City FC vs. Toronto FC (Yankee Stadium)
Saturday, March 19
D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids (RFK Stadium)
Sunday, March 20
Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution (Talen Energy Stadium)
Saturday, May 7
Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas (BMO Field)
·MLS Week 1 will mark only the second time that 10 MLS matches will played on one day. The only other time was on the final day of the 2015 regular season, October 25, 2015, when all 20 teams were part of Decision Day.
·March 6, 2016 will be only the fifth time that every MLS team will be in action on opening day and the first time since 2005, when the league was made up of 12 teams. The previous three years were in 2002 and 2004 (10 teams), and 2001 (12 teams).
· Nineteen of the 20 teams will play their 2016 home openers within the first three weeks of the season. Toronto FC will play at BMO Field for the first time on May 7 after the stadium completes its renovations.
·The full 2016 Regular Season schedule will be announced on Thursday, January 7. The timing of the development and release of the full schedule is driven in part by the factors below. In order to enhance the quality of the League competition, MLS must take into consideration the CONCACAF Champions League schedule for the five teams that will participate in the group stage of the 2016-2017 edition starting in late summer. The 2016-2017 participants were not finalized until the Portland Timbers secured the final berth in the 2016-2017 CCL on December 6 by winning the 2015 MLS Cup. Another factor that the League will take into account is avoiding scheduling conflicts in the nine MLS markets that will host matches in the 2016 Copa America Centenario, which announced its schedule last week.