NEW YORK (September 16, 2009) - Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced today that for the first time in its history, MLS will not play League games during the group phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The group phase includes the first 48 games of the 64-game tournament that begins on June 11, 2010 in South Africa. The last MLS game prior to the World Cup will be played on June 10 and MLS will not schedule any additional League games until after the group phase concludes on June 25. MLS does not plan to schedule games on the days of either World Cup Semifinal nor the World Cup Final.
"The decision to stop League play during the group phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup is part of MLS' commitment to deepen its connection with the millions of soccer fans in the United States and Canada," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "The World Cup will be a focal point for all MLS fans and several MLS players will compete with their national teams at the tournament."
The 2010 MLS Regular Season will again see each team play a 30-game regular season, followed by playoffs among eight qualifying teams. The 2010 season will begin with a single game March 25 and will conclude Oct. 24. The MLS Cup Playoffs will culminate in the championship match, MLS Cup 2010, on Nov. 21.
MLS plans to announce each club's 2010 home opener in the near future. The complete 2010 MLS schedule will be announced early next year.
Philadelphia Union will play their inaugural season in 2010 as the 16th team in Major League Soccer, joining the Eastern Conference. The two eight-team conferences allow, for the first time in MLS history, clubs to play a balanced schedule - facing each of the other 15 teams twice, once at home, once away. As in previous years, the club with the best record at the end of the regular season will win the Supporters' Shield, and the MLS Cup playoffs will determine the League's champion.
ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. MLS kicked off its 14th season on March 19, and will feature 15 teams each playing 30 regular season matches. They include Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto FC and, in its inaugural season, Seattle Sounders FC. The Philadelphia Union will debut in 2010, while expansion teams in Vancouver and Portland will debut in 2011. For more information about MLS, log on to the League's official website at www.MLSnet.com.