Major League Soccer announced a 34-game 2012 schedule for Seattle Sounders FC Thursday, including 12 matches that will be televised nationally on either ESPN or NBC Sports Network.
Sounders FC will play its first three matches at CenturyLink Field, beginning Saturday, March 17 against Toronto FC — the fourth consecutive year Seattle has opened at home.
Seattle, Toronto and the Los Angeles Galaxy received byes from MLS on the opening weekend of March 10-12 because all are involved in the quarterfinal round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Sounders FC will host Mexico’s Santos Laguna in the first leg of its Champions League series March 7 on the Xbox Pitch. The second leg is March 14 in Torreon, Mexico.
All three Seattle encounters with the Portland Timbers will be telecast nationally, including the sole home date Oct. 7 and a Sept. 15 matchup on NBC.
The first of six matches on the NBC Sports Network, the former Versus Network, will be March 23 against the Houston Dynamo with the former voice of Sounders FC, Arlo White, on the call.
As MLS previously announced, Seattle will face fellow Western Conference teams three times and Eastern Conference clubs once. Sounders FC will travel twice to Portland and Vancouver. The Whitecaps FC travel to Seattle Aug. 18.
Fourteen of Seattle’s 17 home matches are at night. Eight home dates are on Saturdays, four on Sundays and Wednesdays and one on Friday. The final home game is Oct. 21 against FC Dallas. The regular season concludes Oct. 28 at L.A.
After hosting the Houston Dynamo March 23 and the San Jose Earthquakes March 31, Sounders FC makes its first road trip, to D.C. United, April 7. The Sounders play three consecutive road matches in late June and early July. Three of the four flights to the Eastern Time Zone occur within a four-week span of early summer.
The unbalanced schedule will bring the MLS Cup champion Galaxy to CenturyLink twice, along with San Jose, Real Salt Lake and Colorado. In addition to Portland and Vancouver, Sounders FC will play twice at FC Dallas and Chivas USA.
Seattle’s travel distance in 2012 will be reduced by an estimated 18.5 percent from last season, when Sounders FC logged an estimated 50,582 miles by air and land in 2011 This year will be 41,220.
All league matches not aired nationally will be carried live in high definition on KING5 or KONG6/16. All locally broadcast matches will also be aired either live outside of Seattle or on a delayed basis throughout the Northwest on ROOT Sports (Comcast Ch. 30).
Each match will also be aired live on the radio home of Sounders FC, News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM. The Champions League quarterfinal winners advance to the two-leg semifinal round, which will begin March 27-29 and conclude April 3-5. The final begins April 17-19 and concludes April 24-26.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 MLS Schedule
|4/7||at DC United||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|5/9||at FC Dallas||5:30||KING||—||—||—|
|6/30||vs. New England||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|7/15||at New York||1:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|8/11||at San Jose||7:30||KING||—||—||—|
|9/2||at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||—||—||—|
|10/28||at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|