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Major League Soccer releases 2013 season schedule

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Major League Soccer announced its regular season schedule on Wednesday with rivalry week as one of its new highlights. The season kicks off on March 2.

Taking place during the weekend of March 16, the third week of the season, eight of nine matches will feature regional foes. In its season schedule annoucement, the league stated that it hopes rivalry week will "stir passions and entice traveling supporters."

Another highlight is that more than 90 percent of this year's regular season games are on weekends or holidays, and none will overlap directly with FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches.

All 323 MLS matches will be televised live – 87 via national network partners ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Univision and UniMás in the United States. Nationally in Canada, at least 30 games featuring Canadian clubs will air on TSN/TSN2 in English and RDS/RDS2 in French.

The 2013 MLS regular season concludes Sunday, Oct. 27 with five games, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs. Only two clubs will reach MLS Cup 2013, and the one with a better regular season record will host the championship game on Dec. 7 or 8, with details to be confirmed at a later date.

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