Tomorrow, the meat of the MLS Cup Playoffs begin, and we can look forward to seeing all of the matches televised. Some of us, that is.
ESPN publicized their plans for the Quarterfinals today. ESPN2 will be airing both legs of the Titanic Budget Derby, also known as the Los Angeles Galaxy versus the New York Red Bulls. For the return leg of that quarterfinal ESPN will enlist the services their lead play-by-play voice, Ian Darke. The Worldwide Leader will also broadcast both legs of the Houston Dynamo/Philadelphia Union quarterfinal, plus the return leg of Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake.
That leaves FOX Soccer with three out of the eight Quarterfinal matches. They will air both legs of Sporting Kansas City/Colorado Rapids quarterfinal, as well as the first leg of Seattle/Real Salt Lake. I presume that their lead broadcast team of J.P. Dellacamera and Kyle Martino will handle the duties.
Count DirecTV subscribers among those who will be relieved that ESPN2 is carrying the bulk of these matches, including three of the four return legs. The satellite carrier is currently in a major fee battle with FOX. There is a fair possibility that DirecTV customers will lose FOX Soccer (as well as other FOX cable networks) on November 1st until an agreement is reached. As a subscriber myself, I am left to hope that the two companies can iron out the differences this weekend, otherwise this stalemate could be a major blow for many soccer fans across the country.
Here is a synopsis of when and where to watch the MLS Cup Quarterfinals over the next week (all times Eastern Daylight Time):
Saturday, Oct. 29
Real Salt Lake v. Seattle Sounders – 10 PM, FOX Soccer, J.P. Dellacamera/Kyle Martino
Sunday, Oct. 30:
Red Bull New York v. Los Angeles Galaxy – 3 PM, ESPN2, Adrian Healey/John Harkes
Philadelphia Union v. Houston Dynamo – 5 PM, ESPN2, Rob Stone/Taylor Twellman
Colorado Rapids v. Sporting Kansas City – 7 PM , FOX Soccer, Dellacamera/Martino
Wednesday, Nov. 2:
Sporting Kansas City v. Colorado Rapids – 8 PM, FOX Soccer, Dellacamera/Martino
Seattle Sounders v. Real Salt Lake – 10 PM, ESPN2, Healey/Harkes
Thursday, Nov. 3:
Houston Dynamo v. Philadelphia Union – 8 PM, ESPN2, Healey/Twellman
Los Angeles Galaxy v. Red Bull New York – 10 PM, ESPN2, Ian Darke/Harkes