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ESPN2 to Kick Off MLS Slate April 9

2/24/2005 8:36 AM Eastern

ESPN2 will air 26 live regular-season Major League Soccer games this season, as well as three MLS Cup Playoff games, the league announced Thursday.

The network’s MLS schedule kicks off April 9 when expansion team Club Deportivo Chivas USA visits the San Jose Earthquakes at 4 p.m. (EST).

Five of ESPN2’s games will air during primetime, beginning with back-to-back Friday games in April featuring Freddy Adu and defending MLS Cup champions D.C. United visiting the Columbus Crew (April 15) and the Chicago Fire taking on the MetroStars (April 22).

The network will also carry MLS Cup Playoff games on two consecutive weekends in October, as well as a Conference Championship game Nov. 6.

Broadcast network ABC will air the league’s season opener, “First Kick 2005,” with D.C. United visiting Chivas USA in the latter’s MLS debut Saturday, April 2 at 3 p.m.

ABC will also air the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game in July and MLS Cup 2005 Sunday, Nov. 13.

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