CREW UNVEILS 2009 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE, WHICH FEATURES 11 SATURDAY HOME GAMES
In conjunction with Major League Soccer, the MLS Cup-champion Columbus Crew today announced its schedule for the 2009 Major League Soccer regular season, which it opens on the road at Houston March 21, before hosting its home opener on March 28 vs. Toronto FC.
The Crew’s home schedule features a total of 11 Saturday games, three Sunday matches and one Wednesday match. The Wednesday game, along with two more to be announced, will be the popular “Bob Evans Buck-A-Brat Nights” at Crew Stadium.
Details on when single-game tickets will go on sale will be released in the near future. In the meantime, Crew Soccer Nation Gold and Black memberships, along with 10th Anniversary 10 Pack and Opening Day 5 Pack ticket plans are currently available by calling 614-447-CREW (2739) and at TheCrew.com.
Each of the 15 teams in MLS will play 30 regular-season games, with each facing the other 14 twice apiece for a base of 28 games per team. The two remaining games for each team will be against intra-conference opponents, with a priority on rivalry matchups. The Crew’s additional intra-conference games will be against Toronto at home and at Chicago.
This year, 90 percent of MLS games will be played on weekends (Friday, Saturday or Sunday), compared to about 84 percent in 2008 and 80 percent in 2007. MLS reduced the volume of games on or around Aug. 12, Sept. 5 and Oct. 10 – all World Cup Qualifying dates. Teams will have occasional bye weeks because of the odd number of teams in MLS this season. An effort was made to schedule byes during international competitions for the teams competing in CONCACAF Champions League (Crew, D.C. United, New York and Houston) and SuperLiga (Chicago, New England, Kansas City and Chivas USA).
MLS and its national television partners, ABC/ESPN, Univision and Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Español, also unveiled the national TV schedule today. The Crew is currently scheduled to appear on national television 12 times, three times on ESPN2/ESPN Deportes, six times on FSC/FSE and three times on Univision’s TeleFutura. The Crew’s regional TV information will be released at a later date.
The 2009 MLS All-Star Game is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, at 9:30 p.m., on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and TeleFutura, when the MLS stars will play host to an international opponent, to be announced. Eight teams will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, which begin Oct. 29 and culminate in MLS Cup 2009 on the weekend of Nov. 21-22 at a site to be announced at a later date.
Most games on ESPN2 will be offered in high definition with the polished play-by-play of JP Dellacamera and expert insight of U.S. national team great John Harkes. All MLS games on ESPN2 will be simulcast on ESPN360 and ESPN Deportes. In this, the third year of an eight-year agreement, MLS and ESPN have mutually agreed to schedule select matches outside the Thursday night window. Thirteen of the 27 games on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air on weekends (Friday, Saturday or Sunday).
Fox Soccer Channel is again scheduled to broadcast its complete slate of 33 regular-season games with on-site 30-minute pre- and post-game shows for a live three-hour programming window called “MLS Saturday on FSC,” featuring Max Bretos (play-by-play), Christopher Sullivan (color analyst) and Todd Grisham (host) along with sideline reporters including Mark Rogondino, Christian Miles, Brian Dunseth and Steve Bell for thorough, fan-friendly coverage. Most Fox Soccer Channel MLS games are also scheduled to air live in Spanish in two-hour programming windows on sister network Fox Sports en Español, with some airing on a tape-delayed basis.
TeleFutura’s MLS broadcasts return to their Sunday afternoon time slot, usually between games from Mexico’s Primera Division, the most successful sports programming on Univision’s family of networks. TeleFutura’s knowledgeable tandem of Jorge Perez Navarro and Diego Balado will add information, analysis and excitement to the Spanish-language network’s 24 regular season games.
MLS is in discussions with HDNet to continue broadcasting games on the first all-high definition national television network. HDNet has partnered with MLS since 2003.
The complete 2009 Crew regular-season schedule follows, with all national broadcasts noted:
2009 Columbus Crew Schedule
Date Day Opponent Time (ET)
3/21 Sat. at Houston Dynamo 8 p.m.
3/28 Sat. TORONTO FC* 4 p.m.
4/2 Thurs. at Real Salt Lake 9 p.m.
4/5 Sun. at CD Chivas USA 8 p.m.
4/11 Sat. COLORADO RAPIDS 7:30 p.m.
4/25 Sat. CHICAGO FIRE* 7 p.m.
5/2 Sat. at Toronto FC* 4 p.m.
5/9 Sat. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS* 7 p.m.
5/17 Sun. at Los Angeles Galaxy 3 p.m.
5/27 Wed. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 7:30 p.m.
5/30 Sat. at Seattle Sounders FC 10:30 p.m.
6/6 Sat. at Kansas City Wizards* 8:30 p.m.
6/14 Sun. CD CHIVAS USA 3 p.m.
6/20 Sat. at FC Dallas 8:30 p.m.
6/27 Sat. NEW YORK RED BULLS* 7:30 p.m.
7/4 Sat. D.C. UNITED* 7 p.m.
7/11 Sat. at Chicago Fire* 8 p.m.
7/18 Sat. REAL SALT LAKE 8 p.m.
7/25 Sat. TORONTO FC* 7:30 p.m.
8/1 Sat. at Colorado Rapids 9:30 p.m.
8/8 Sat. at San Jose Earthquakes 10:30 p.m.
8/15 Sat. FC DALLAS 7 p.m.
8/30 Sun. at New York Red Bulls* 6 p.m.
9/13 Sun. HOUSTON DYNAMO 5 p.m.
9/20 Sun. at Chicago Fire* 3 p.m.
9/26 Sat. LOS ANGELES GALAXY 7:30 p.m.
10/3 Sat. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 7:30 p.m.
10/10 Sat. at New England Revolution* 7:30 p.m.
10/17 Sat. at D.C. United* 8 p.m.
10/25 Sun. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION* 5 p.m.
HOME GAMES IN CAPS
* Eastern Conference Opponent
— Eastern Times listed, Schedule is Subject to Change —