U.S. national team stars Clint Dempsey, left, and Michael Bradley will clash as MLS opponents on March 15. (Reed Hoffmann/AP)
Fear not, MLS and U.S. men's national team fans. Michael Bradley's first regular season match with Toronto FC -- against Clint Dempsey's Seattle Sounders -- will be broadcast nationally.
Originally, the March 15 Seattle-Toronto clash at CenturyLink Field was slated to be aired on TSN and RDS2 in Canada but only on the web-based MLS Live platform in the United States. According to a press release issued by Toronto FC on Monday, NBC Sports Network has picked up the broadcast. The network was supposed to air the New York Red Bulls-Colorado Rapids match in the same time slot, but that is no longer going to be the case, according to a league source.
Instead, Bradley and Jermain Defoe will have their TFC debuts available for all to see on TV, while Dempsey and the Sounders enjoy consecutive games on national TV following their season opener against reigning MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City on March 8. TFC is one of three teams on bye during the league's opening weekend.
It remains to be seen whether MLS U.S. TV partners NBC Sports Network and ESPN pick up more Toronto FC games as the season progresses. Currently, the game at Seattle is the only TFC match slated to appear on national TV in the States. Given TFC's history and the early release of the MLS schedule, it is no surprise that the league steered in another direction when doling out its nationally televised games in the U.S. Bradley's signing and the other steps the club has taken to be a contender -- on paper thus far -- is a game-changer in that regard, though, as TFC has certainly become more marketable during the offseason.
One TFC match that would figure to be a perfect fit for the national stage would be Bradley's first game against his former club and hometown team, the Red Bulls, on May 17 in Toronto. It could be Bradley's last match before departing for U.S. national team pre-World Cup training camp.