A day after the 2013 MLS Cup Finalists were set, MLS released the schedule for the 2014 season. Nineteen MLS teams will compete in 2014, kicking off on Saturday, March 8th and finishing on Sunday, October 26th. The 2014 season is slated to have a total of thirty-nine mid-week matches with thirty-five of them scheduled for Wednesday, three scheduled for Thursday, and one scheduled for Tuesday. In 2013, thirty-four games were played in the middle of the week, thirty of them played on a Wednesday. 2014 will see a dramatic increase in matches played on Friday as twenty-five will be played on Friday nights, an increase from the eleven Friday matches in 2013.
The increase in the number of mid-week and Friday night matches to be played in 2014 is most likely due to the break in the schedule from June 12th through June 24th. This break in the schedule is intended to assist teams with absences they may face when players begin the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Thursday, June 12th. This allows MLS to break for sixty-six of the seventy-two group stage games to be played in Brazil. Once half of the field is eliminated in Brazil, players will likely return to their clubs before the Round of 16 begins on Saturday, June 28th. MLS play will resume on Wednesday, June 25th when Vancouver takes on Montreal with more games scheduled for Friday, June 27th through the rest of the weekend. MLS hopes to have minimal absences when play resumes on the 25th since Canada failed to qualify for the World Cup and Vancouver and Montreal rosters will feature more Canadian players than any other nationality.
According to MLS’ official website, ESPN will broadcast twenty regular season games. NBC Sports continues their push toward dominance in soccer broadcasting as they will broadcast forty-one games, three on NBC. Six of the games will feature back-to-back with NBC Sports’ coverage of the EPL on Saturdays. New York and Los Angeles will both play nineteen games which will be broadcast nationally in 2014, Seattle and Portland will both have fourteen nationally broadcasted games, and Houston will have fifth most with thirteen.