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MLS to pause during Group Play of World Cup 2010

Here's the release. Note that the balanced schedule is for 2010 only. More thoughts later, but I think this is huge.

MLS to Break During Group Play of 2010 FIFA World Cup™
MLS clubs to play each opponent twice in balanced 2010 regular season

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 June 10 and MLS will not schedule any additional League games until after the group phase concludes June 25. MLS does not plan to schedule games on the days of either World Cup Semifinal or 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 October 24. The MLS Cup Playoffs will culminate in the championship match, MLS Cup 2010, on November 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

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