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MLS announces 2014 season schedule, will take two-week break during World Cup

Official release from Major League Soccer

Today Major League Soccer and its national broadcast partners announced the 2014 regular season schedule via and the club web sites.

The season will kick off on Saturday, March 8 at CenturyLink Field with the March to Soccer Opening Match on NBCSN when Seattle Sounders FC host Sporting Kansas City (3:00 p.m. ET), followed by seven matches that evening and one on Sunday, March 9. The 2014 regular season concludes Sunday, October 26, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Similar to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, MLS will take a two-week break during the group phase of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The last matches before the break are on June 11, one day before the start of the World Cup.

Two weekends stand out for their rivalry matches. Early in the season, April 5-6 will feature Portland Timbers vs. Seattle (NBCSN), Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas, a rematch of the upcoming MLS Cup 2013 between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake, the SuperClasico, LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA (UniMas), and Columbus Crew hosting Toronto FC.

Following the World Cup, the August 2 slate of matches includes Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, Montreal Impact vs. Toronto, as well as LA vs. Portland (NBC) and the first-ever event at the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., when the San Jose Earthquakes host the Sounders (NBCSN).

Other select highlights:

Competition - The schedule breakdown follows:

- Each team plays a 34-match schedule, 17 games at home and 17 on the road. - The 9 Western Conference teams will face each of the other clubs in the conference three times (home teams reversed from 2013) during 2014. - The 10 Eastern Conference teams will play seven (7) intra-conference opponents three (3) times each (home teams reversed from 2013) and two (2) conference opponents twice each. - Eastern and Western Conference teams will play each other once in 2014, with the home team reversed from the 2013 schedule. - Of the two clubs that reach MLS Cup, the one with a better regular season record will again host the championship game. - October is Intra-Conference month - All October matches except the Oct. 4 LA Galaxy vs. Toronto game - a total of 40 matches in a span of three weeks - will be intra-conference match-ups, which contributed to the thrilling finish to the 2013 season. - AT&T MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup 2014. - The ESPN and Univision family of networks have the exclusive coverage of the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup. Both dates and specific networks will be announced at a later date. - 323 total regular season matches. All matches will be televised. - Majority of games on weekends: Nearly 90% of all games will take place on weekends.

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