I don’t know what your plans were for Saturday, March 15th around 4:30 PM Eastern, but you might want to make some changes. American soccer star Michael Bradley will make his MLS debut with Toronto FC during a match that will now become a national broadcast on NBCSN. Prepare to watch Jermain Defoe and Bradley take on the Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders with a nationwide audience.
The Week 2 game wasn’t originally anything special. At the time of it’s initial scheduling, Toronto was the old Toronto, third-worst in the MLS, a 2013-14 rebuilding team, but one bloody big deal later and their the new Toronto full of superstars, intrigue, and a chance to make the playoffs. Now their something new, something bigger — so big in fact that they’re now knocking other teams out of national broadcasts.
The time slot belonged to the fixture between the New York Red Bulls and the Colorado Rapids. That game will now be moved into the MLS Live lineup, and Toronto v. Seattle grabs the spotlight.
Last season, Clint Dempsey came to the MLS pitch in August in a game against the old Toronto. Although many people made a fuss about not being able to watch it, the game did not get moved to center stage. So why does this one? These are not the same two teams. This is Seattle, the league’s cash cow, against the biggest combined signing in league history. Unless you live in the New York/New Jersey or Colorado area, the Toronto-Seattle match is more appealing for a one-time viewer ship.
This will be the only time this season when Bradley and Dempsey will meet on opposite sides of the pitch, but hopefully we’ll see them together more often when they go to Brazil for the World Cup.
Toronto FC is one of three teams that gets a first week bye in MLS. For Seattle, it will be their second consecutive national broadcast as their Week 1 match pits them against the MLC Champs, Sporting Kansas City.
In other MLS/TV news, Canadian national TV networks TSN and RDS have released their 2014 schedule. They will broadcast 90 different matches, with 65 of those game featuring at least one Canadian team. That’s nearly three soccer games a week for people who get TSN and RDS. Lucky Canadian.