The NBC Sports Group begins its second season of MLS coverage with a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship when D.C. United faces off against Houston Dynamo this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. D.C. United will travel to BBVA Compass Stadium to square off against the Dynamo who is currently riding a 25-game regular-season home unbeaten streak.
Additionally, D.C. captain Dwayne De Rosario will return to Houston after missing United's 3-1 Conference Final (first leg) loss due to injury last season. A two time MLS Cup champion with Houston (2006, 2007), De Rosario and D.C. hope to stop Houston's dynamic attack led by veteran Brad Davis.
COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group's broadcast team of Arlo White (@arlowhite, play-by-play), and Kyle Martino (@kylemartino, "Between the Benches" analyst) will call the game from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. Russ Thaler (@RussThaler) will host the pre-game, halftime and post-game segments live from the game site, with contributions from White and Martino.
WHITE ON THE SEASON OPENER: "We kick off 2013 on NBC Sports Network with the same exciting match-up that ended our 2012 coverage in the Eastern Conference Final. In November, Houston's quality and experience was too much in for an exciting but tiring D.C. United. Ben Olsen's team is brimming with youthful attacking talent like Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon, but can also call upon the experience and quality of Dwayne De Rosario and new signing Carlos Ruiz. Will Bruin has taken over the goal scoring mantle from Houston club legend Brian Ching, and in Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia and Ricardo Clark they have a hard working and very creative midfield."
RIVALRY WEEKEND: NBC and NBC Sports Network will present unprecedented wall-to-wall coverage on during "Rivalry Weekend" on Saturday, March 16, during which the networks will cover all MLS games that day.
NBC begins the day with the New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United at 12:30 p.m. ET, from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. NBC Sports Network will air two more games that day, beginning with Sporting KC vs. Chicago Fire at 3 p.m. ET, and the Seattle Sounders host the Portland Timbers later that night.
After calling the New York Red Bulls-D.C. United match, NBC Sports Group's MLS announce team of White (play-by-play) and Martino("Between-the-Benches" analyst) and Thaler (host), will travel to the new NBC Sports Group studios in Stamford, Conn., to host a studio "whip around" showcasing coverage of the rest of that day's MLS games.
NBC SPORTS GROUP'S 2013 MLS SCHEDULE:
Date Away Home Times ET Network
Sat. Mar. 2 D.C. United Houston 8 PM NBCSN
Sun. Mar. 9 New England Chicago 7:30 PM NBCSN
Sat. Mar. 16 D.C. United New York 12:30 PM NBC
Sat. Mar. 16 Chicago Kansas City 3 PM NBCSN
Sat. Mar. 16 Portland Seattle TBD NBCSN
Sat. Mar. 23 Columbus D.C. United 3:30 PM NBCSN
Sat. Mar. 30 Philadelphia New York 3:30 PM NBCSN
Sat. Apr. 6 Real Salt Lake Colorado 3:30 PM NBCSN