Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday... Err... Wednesday 10: Real Madrid's Amusement Park

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By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents 
When Villarreal gets relegated, they'll
operate submarine service to the island.
 
The apocalypse is nigh for Jose Mourinho and his band of merry men. Just a few short weeks after amassing a double-digit lead in La Liga, Madrid have seen their lead reduced to just six points – with a clasico left to play in the Nou Camp. Mou is no doubt sweating bullets and wondering whether Perez will give him the axe – perhaps literally – if he doesn’t produce more than bus-dented silverware this term. So like any forward-thinking mad genius, the Madrid boss has built a fortress of evil on an island somewhere in the ocean. When the media caught wind of his plans, Mourinho covered his tracks. “Heh. Heh heh. Evil fortress? No. This? No no. This is magnificent resort. I think this is most special resort in sea.” With that, he cancelled his press conferences and jetted off to hide his true intentions. What’s left is, ostensibly, a Blancos-themed amusement park. We preview several of the attractions in this week’s Tuesday 10.

The Florentino Freefall – Not for the acrophobic! Strap into a special bucket seat, withdraw millions from your personal account, and our special bungee contraption will slowly carry you 300 feet in the air for a gorgeous view of the resort. Then, experience the thrill of defying death as your seat is released in freefall – gravity does the rest! Your cash will fly all over the island, indiscriminately, but not without giving you the rush you crave. No pacemakers.
The Bearded Lady – Don’t forget to visit our Tent of Wonders, where the star of the show is Iker Casillas, the Bearded Lady. He’ll dazzle you with facial hair so unkempt that only a Portland-based indie frontman could challenge him for most brooding face on earth.
The Ricky Kaka Experience – One of our most popular rollercoasters, although it only reaches one peak! Encounter bone-chilling heights in the Ricky Kaka Experience. As you slowly climb to the top, you’ll see Madrid Island ahead of you. Enjoy the breathtaking view! From there, it’s all downhill. What a wild ride!
Pepe’s Stomp Stomp Revolution – Come by and win prizes in the arcade room. Get there early if you don’t want to wait in line for Stomp Stomp Revolution, our take on Dance Dance Revolution, the gaming phenomenon in which kids shuffle their feet to arrows flowing across the screen. In our take, you’re stepping on Barcelona body parts! Try the hot new track Copa del Rey, but be careful, some of the combinations are tricky (practice the Messi foot/Pique arm/Messi foot at home). If you get a red card, the game ends, but you can still win bonus points yelling at the ref.
Poke-a-Tito – You’ve heard of Whack-a-Mole, but we think that cushioned mallet is a little too forgiving. In Poke-a-Tito, you have no equipment but your own index fingers. Test your reflexes as the Barcelona assistant dodges your attacks, and get the vindications you deserve for the role he played in embarrassing your team again!
The Altintop Locker Room – Need somewhere to store your bag? We provide complimentary lockers so you can enjoy the park with that peace of mind. Anything you don’t think you’ll need to use – however expensive – will fit, guaranteed!
The Petting Zoo – Something for young children. Our experts have scoured the globe for animals that embody the Madrid spirit. Pet the scaly, bug-eyed Ozil Chameleon and the hairy, buck-toothed Khedira llama, but if you only have time for one thing, make it the Sergio Ramos pony ride!
Galactico Ring Toss – Think about it: Do you really feel that adept tossing rings onto bottles? We’ve upped the challenge level and improved the reward at the same time. In the Galactico Ring Toss, we’ve set up rows of high-profile transfer targets. Stand behind the line, toss a ring, and if it lands around a player’s neck, you take him home!
Xabi Alonso Strength Test Game – If you want to win your girlie a prize, what better way to do it than grabbing a mallet and hitting the target? In the Xabi Alonso Strength Test Game, the goal is to swing as hard as you can. Don’t worry so much about accuracy or finesse. The harder you swing, the better you are!
Hall of Legends – Eye poking. Press conference boycotts. Leg stomps. Conspiracy theories. This is the Madrid we know and love, and it wouldn’t be what it is without a club of rich and notable history. Visit the Hall of Legends, where we tell the stories of the dignified and respectable players and managers of old. Closed for renovations.



What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:
The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruyff

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Best of Both Worlds - Kansas City's Supporters Groups Built a Beer-Rainbow for a St. Patrick's Day Parade

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When soccer and beer collide... that's the best of both worlds. This space reserved for any intersection of the suds and the sport whether business, beer and soccer events, or random humor. 

Saint Patrick's Day is always a bit of a haul for Americans as we over-indulge on unnecessary things like green beer and Jameson when we'd never think of doing such regularly. For several Major League Soccer teams it was their 2012 home opener as well.

Normally you'd think that this was a all-hands-on-deck sort of situation for the folks in Kansas City and their  supporters group "the Caudron"; getting TIFO, tailgates, and tickets all straightened out. But throw in a St. Patrick's Day parade and that's when a few flags and the like will do.

Or you could build a float that resembles a beer-rainbow. We're sure there's plenty of time for that...

Oh wait there is?



Makes us thirsty just looking at it.

Mmmmmm.... beer....

Local TV coverage of the float and KC's supporters:





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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Your American Soccer Weekend (March 23-25)

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Get your American soccer fix this weekend! All the satellite, online, local, and national TV listings so you can spread the free beer love.

FRIDAY

Home Away Time (CT) TV
    9:00 NBC Sports Network

SATURDAY

Home Away Time (CT) TV
12pm  TSN/RDS/Comcast (SJ) /MLS Live
3pm Direct Kick/Comcast Sportsnet (NE)/ROOT Sports (POR)
/ MLS LIVE
7:30pm Direck Kick/Fox Sports Ohio (Columbus)/ TVA Sports (Montreal) / MLS LIVE
7:30pm Direct Kick/ Comcast Sportsnet (Chicago)/ The Comcast Network (Philly)/ MLS LIVE
8pm Direct Kick/ Prime Ticket (LA)/ KUCW-30 (Salt Lake City)/ MLS Live
9pm Direct Kick/Comcast Sportsnet (DC)/ SNET Pacific (Vancouver)/ MLS LIVE

SUNDAY

Home Away Time (CT) TV
3pm ESPN
6pm Galavision/ MSMO (KC) / Fox Sports Southwest (Dallas)

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Local Beer, Local Soccer - Three Days in Montreal

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By Ludovick Martin / Montreal

What would life be without passion? 

There are many things that I'm really passionate about, writing, playing Legos with my son, good beer, riding my bike for 100km on a sunny morning and watching my favorite soccer team, the Montreal Impact. I'm pretty sure that early morning beer drinking and cycling is a bad idea, and I'm not too keen on beer drinking and Legos, but writing? About beer? And soccer? That's probably the most stimulating thing I've had to do in a while. 

What I'm going to do is simple, I'll take you through three days in beautiful Montreal; from the moment you check into your hotel Friday afternoon to the moment you leave on Sunday.

Before we start, let me tell you something about beer and Montreal: the first thing that should come to your mind now is Molson. Let me say you're far from wrong. The Molson brewing company was founded here in 1781. That beer is still brewed here. The name Molson is visible at many points in this city. The local football team plays at Molson Stadium, the Montreal Canadiens hockey team is owned by the Molson family, there's rue (street) Molson and the John Molson school of business at Concordia University. All that is nice, but it's not a reason not to try to drink something else.

Friday 4pm: You just checked into your hotel, probably downtown or in the old port. The first thing to do is to get out of there and explore your surroundings a little, maybe you could find a place to buy a gift for your girlfriend who stayed at home, or maybe you could find a nice place to have the late breakfast you're probably going to need at some point.

Friday 5pm: It's now time to make yourself familiar with the Metro system. It's made up of four lines, identified by colors. For the little trip I'm planning you should ask for 6 tickets, it's cheaper to buy them that way and that should be enough. The only thing you have to remember is to validate your tickets when you enter the station, keep it with you for the duration of your ride. You should also be ready to walk a little, it's the best way to really discover the city, or any city for that matter.

Friday 6pm: Time to eat! You'll start your week end at one of the most classic place in Montreal, Schwartz. This old deli is a must for everyone who comes here and despite the fact that lots of tourist come to this place it still is a favorite of the locals. To get there take the Metro and stop at Sherbrooke station on the orange line. Get out on rue St-Denis, go through the park in front of you (Carré St-Louis) and find rue Prince Arthur on the other side of the park. Walk away from the park until you get to boulevard St-Laurent then turn right. After that keep walking until you get to number 3895. It's on the right side if you're facing north. If you weren't hungry at the beginning of your trek you should be now because it's a good 20 minutes walk you just did. Now that you're here just do like everyone does, order a smoked meat sandwich, "Bon appétit".

Friday 7pm: Hail a cab (or walk for 20 min) and go to Dieu du Ciel (29 rue Laurier Ouest). This place is definitely away from most tourist spot, but it's the best microbrewery in Montreal. The tricky thing now is to find yourself a place because this pub is small and extremely popular. If you're lucky enough to find a table hang on to it, it's worth it. Most of the beer is brewed here, but they also have another brewery north of Montreal. They always have close to 20 different beer on tap and they update their menu daily. Péché Mortel is my favorite. It's an imperial stout with a coffee taste and high alcohol percentage. Just be careful with it, as I like to say in French "ca fesse fort".

Friday 10pm: By now your alcohol level is probably a bit high, maybe you should go for a walk. Follow rue Laurier towards the east until you get to St-Laurent then head north until you get to Vices et Versa (6631 boulevard St-Laurent) it's a 2km trek (a little bit over a mile). This is the place to taste the best beers that are made in "la belle province". Many different microbreweries sell their product here and the menu changes regularly. Just ask the staff what they recommend. If you're hungry they also serve some snacks.

Saturday 1am: The metro is closed, take a cab back to your hotel and get some sleep.

Saturday 8am: Come on, it's time to wake up. I know it's early morning and you were out late last night, but it's soccer time. If you're here during the European season you need to find a place to watch the games. I suggest Burgundy Lion Pub (2496 Rue Notre-Dame, Métro Lionel Groulx green/orange line) close to canal Lachine. They open at 9am and show the premiership every week end. If you're here during the summer you might want to catch some of the action at the Euro. If Italy plays I suggest you go to one of the cafes in the little Italy. Just take the metro to De Castelnau station (blue line) and head south on St-Laurent. If you're lucky Italy will win and you'll see the celebration that usually takes place afterwards.

Saturday noon: You're probably tired a little bit now and hungry too. If you were in little Italy you should go to Jean Talon market and buy some snack for a picnic. Then, take the metro again and go to Mont-Royal station (orange line). Once outside take bus #11. It will take you to the top of the mountain where you can finally eat that snack and take a little nap in the grass (if you're here in March or April it would probably be a better idea to take that nap in your hotel room).

Saturday 3pm: You're now "frais comme une rose" so it's time to move on. The best way to really wake up is simply to walk down the mountain. Try to head south so you arrive close to downtown. If you haven't done it already it's probably time to buy that souvenir for your girlfriend. Rue Ste-Catherine is quite good for shopping.

Saturday 4:30pm: Still on Ste-Catherine? find a place called Les 3 Brasseurs. There is one close to rue Crescent (1356 Ste-Catherine Ouest) and another one close to rue Université (732 Ste-Catherine Ouest). This place is a restaurant chain from France and they make decent beer. To go with that they also make decent food. Perfect for a pre game snack.

Saturday 5:30pm: Finally, it's close to game time! Take the metro again and head for Pie IX station (green line). The first thing you have to figure out is where the game is played. If it's at Stade Olympique just follow the crowd in the tunnel that leads to the main entrance. If it's at Stade Saputo you will have to go outside and walk around the Big O. Stade Saputo is just at the top of the little hill close to the tower.


It's now time to talk about the Montreal Impact. Expansion team they might be, but just like the Seattle Sounders, the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps, they are far from being new. They played their first game in 1993 in the APSL. The next year they won their first championship. They won championships in 2004 and 2009 too, but this time in the USL first division. The team was also able to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. In February 2009 a crowd of over 55000 people packed the Big O to see the Impact win 2-0 against Mexican opponent Santos Laguna.

At the beginning the team was owned by the Saputo family, around 2000 it was sold, but the new owner went bankrupt and the team nearly folded. The Saputo decided to get involved again and the Impact became a non-profit organization with Joey Saputo as president. From that moment everything started to fall in place for Montreal, attendance went up and soon Centre Claude Robillard where the team was playing became too small. The family decided to build their own Stadium with a bid for MLS expansion in mind. Last year that dream finally came true and once the expansion of Saputo Stadium is done the Montreal Impact will be able to say "mission accomplie"

Throughout its history local players were always a big part of the identity of the team. Players like Mauro Biello (assistant coach in 2012), Nick DeSantis (technical director in 2012), Gabriel Gervais, Rudy Doliscat, Patrick Diotte and Nevio Pizzolitto were the backbone of the team. Many members of the Canadian National team also were a part of the Impact during their career, most notably Jason DeVos, Sandro Grande and Ali Gerba. Today it's up to Brossard native Patrice Bernier to carry the torch. He first played with the Impact in 2000 before moving to Europe where he played until last year.

Saturday 7:30pm: I'm really sorry for the crappy beer inside the stadium.

Saturday 9:30pm: Game over, sorry your team lost. You'll probably need to drown your sorrows in a good beer. Hop back on the metro and get out at Berry-UQAM station (green, orange and yellow line). Exit on rue St-Denis and walk north for 3 minutes. Stop at St-Bock (1749 rue St-Denis) where you will be able to eat some good pub fare while drinking one of their excellent beers. If you want they also serve some beers from other microbreweries and have a huge selection of imported bottles.

Saturday 11pm: Maybe a change of scenery would be good. Get out and walk one little minute north to l'Amère à Boire (2049 rue St-Denis). This is your chance to travel a little bit by tasting their brew inspired by Czech beer, the Cerna Hora. If that's not your style you can try l'Amère à Boire, it's a bitter that is usually served from a cask. Personally my favorite here is a German inspired beer, the Vollbier.

Sunday 1am: If you can still walk you still have the time to visit one last place tonight, go north on St-Denis and turn left on rue Sherbrooke, then walk for about 5 minutes and you will arrive at Benelux (245 rue Sherbrooke Ouest). I'd love to tell you this place has great beer, but I can't. What I remember from my last visit here is a little bit blurry, too much to drink. I guess it means it was good.

Sunday 3am: Last call was 10 minutes ago, time to go to sleep again.

Sunday 10am: Remember that advice about late breakfast I told you about? Now is the time to go there!

Sunday noon: Time to check out of your hotel room before going back home, but maybe you want to bring a souvenir for you too? May I suggest beer? If you want the best of what the Quebec microbreweries have to offer you have to go to Dépanneur Peluso (2500 Rue Rachel est, Métro Mont-Royal). They have a huge selection of bottles from all over the province. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

That's it for your soccer/beer oriented week end in beautiful Montreal. This city is definitely something special and it has a really good vibe. The people are great and there is lots of stuff to do apart from drinking great beer. You can see free shows outside pretty much every weekend in summertime and there's also a great fireworks festival, Fantasia film festival, Formula 1 and NASCAR races, World Tour cycling Grand Prix and many other interesting event. 

Don't be shy, come and visit us!

Picture by Amir Lowery, midfielder for the Carolina Railhawks
About Ludovick Martin

You can practice your French and keep up with the Impact on my blog (I sometimes write in English too) www.optimum-soccer.com

You can also follow me on Twitter @LeKurosawa

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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Tuesday 10: Harkes on History, Part Deux

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By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents  

You didn’t think it’d be that simple, did you? That we’d be rid of him so easily, that the break would be so complete, that he wouldn’t return in a new, improved, ultimate form to wreak havoc once again, at least across the Washington D.C. metro area. This spring, John Harkes made good on the words of another famous Terminator, and he is indeed back, calling D.C.United games for Comcast along with Dave Johnson.
That’s good news for us, because it gives us a chance to revisit one of our favorite Tuesday Ten ideas. This is Harkes on History, Part Deux.
2,345 B.C.: Noah’s Ark launches
I don’t understand it, Dave. You’ve got limited space in the Ark, why do you go with two of everything? Two zebras, two lions, two giraffes...The key to success is versatility, Dave, and Noah just doesn’t have that. Sometimes late in the game it’s a good idea to bring on a Tyrannosaurus Rex, you know what I mean?
"These Spartans have a rock-hard backline, Dave."
480 B.C.: Battle of Thermopylae
I mean, you’re right, Dave, the Spartans have done well at keeping their shape. But at a certain point, you’ve got to throw caution to the wind and try to get some forward push. You can’t park the bus for two days and expect for an army as talented as the Persians not to break through.
1066 A.D.: Battle of Hastings.
Well Dave, you can’t take over a country by force without winning at least one battle, and to do that you've got to kill more than the other guy. If William keeps this performance up, someone's going to come up with a really great nickname for him.
1492 A.D.: Columbus lands in America.
Wow, what an achievement, Dave. The first man ever to set foot on this whole new continent. The leadership he displayed in getting his men here, and the diplomacy in dealing with this whole new population, I just can’t say enough about him. Where would MLS be without Christopher Columbus?
"I bet Jesus was more of a meat and potatoes guy, Dave."
1498 A.D.: Leonardo da Vinci finishes the Last Supper.
I don’t really agree with what da Vinci’s done here, Dave. Jesus Christ, one of the big names in all of history, is having his final meal with twelve of his closest friends here. Does Leo really think all they had there was some bread and some wine? He should paint some burgers in there. I’d bet they had burgers.
1588 A.D.: Defeat of the Spanish Armada.
It’s a tough loss to swallow, but they’ll be back, Dave. The Spanish are too resilient not to get over this one. Soon we’ll all be able to say that the sun never sets on the Spanish empire.
1777 A.D.: Drafting of the Articles of Confederation.
I’ve got to say, Dave, the Founders have outdone themselves here. They know the American people don’t want to live under a strong central authority, and they’ve drafted a magnificent document that’s going to allow the individuality of the states to shine through.
July 3, 1863: Battle of Gettysburg.
This is more like it from Lee, Dave. He must have seen the Battle of Thermopylae earlier this season. He knows he can’t hold up against the Union forever, so he’s taking the initiative and ordering General Pickett to counterattack down the center. A great strategic move.
"I believe he got the idea after flying a kite in a thunderstorm, Dave."
Oct. 22, 1879: First successful test of Edison’s electric light bulb.
I love this Dave. The light bulb is going to be huge. It’s a brilliant idea, just absolutely brilliant, you know, like a light bulb should be. This little light of Edison’s? I’m going to let it shine.
August 29, 1997: Skynet becomes self-aware.
I don’t understand what all the fuss is about, Dave. When I was playing, we didn’t need an artificial intelligence system in charge of our stealth bombers and nuclear arsenal. I’m sure they’ll just pull the plug on it and that will be that.

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:
The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruyff
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Snorting The Endline - Kei Kamara's Irish Jig

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A long, long time ago we tried to start a soccer website; thought we were writers or something....

It was called "Snorting the Endline" named after Robbie Fowler's infamous goal celebration and one of our favorites of all-time. That site failed miserably. I mean who would want to read our ramblings!?!?!

The name, however, will live on in a new feature we're bringing to the Free Beer Movement. American soccer culture is just as much about what happens on the field and some of the greatest contributions to this culture are the creative celebrations that occur during the aftermath of scoring a goal. Some are premeditated while others are spur-of-the-moment.

We want to capture all of them in recognition of their contribution to American soccer culture. Welcome to "Snorting the Endline."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sporting KC made easy work of the New England Revolution, winning 3-0, but it was the second goal of the match that celebrated in the St. Patrick's Day spirit by Kei Kamara.

Kamara is no stranger to silliness and his rebound goal off his own shot proved to be the perfect opportunity to dance away the Irish holiday.

Kamara slid to the turf, but then popped up and ran to the signboards in front of the "Caudron" supporters section where forward C.J. Sapong joined him. Two "Irish" hats were tossed from the crowd and the pair danced a little jig.

Surprisingly, no cards were issued by the ref!




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Sunday, March 18, 2012

VIDEO - The upside of those silly sideline coaches' interviews

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American sports TV producers think fans love to hear coaches talk about what's going right and what's going wrong. And while there's nothing objectionable about these types of interviews, they usually result in empty cliches and lack any real insight into a coach's or team's mindset.

In most sports these interviews take place as the football or basketball coach is heading into the locker room or return from it on either side of halftime, but since soccer's action is continuous and there's a need to air commercials and halftime highlights and plugs the sideline interview takes place in-game.

Usually they're just as mundane as their other sporting counterparts, but this time Portland Timbers' head coach John Spencer provided the small upside when Darlington Nagbe picked up the equalizer against FC Dallas last night's 1-1 game in the middle of one of these in-game chit chats

Loads of euphoria.

American soccer is pretty cool.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Your American Soccer Weekend (March 17-18)

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Get your American soccer fix this weekend! All the satellite, online, local, and national TV listings so you can spread the free beer love.

SATURDAY

Home Away Time (CT) TV
1pm  TSN/Comcast (CHI) /MLS Live
4pm Direct Kick/Comcast (SJ)/Fox Sports Houston Plus
/ Multimedios (HOU)/ MLS LIVE
7:30pm Direck Kick/ MSMO (KC)/Comcast Sportsnet Plus (NE)/ MLS LIVE
7:30pm Direct Kick/ Fox Sports SW (Dallas)/ ROOT Sports (Portland)/ MLS LIVE
9pm Direct Kick/ KTVX-ABC 4 (SLC)/ MSG Plus (NY)/ MLS Live
9pm Direct Kick/ KONG (Seattle)/ Sports Net One (Toronto)/ MLS LIVE
9:30pm Direct Kick/ KDOC (LA)/ Sports Net Pacific (Van.)/ MLS LIVE

SUNDAY

Home Away Time (CT) TV
3pm NBC Sports Network
6pm Galavision/ KDOC (LA)