via press release:
Eastern Conference Match begins at 3:30 p.m. ET
“It's April, and already Toronto FC are playing for their playoff lives” – Arlo White
“They will have to show up this weekend ready to handle the fastest attack in the league in Chicago if they want to notch their first win.” – Kyle Martino on Chicago
NEW YORK – April 18, 2012 – NBC Sports Network’s coverage of Major League Soccer continues this week on Saturday with an Eastern Conference match when Toronto FC hosts the Chicago Fire at 3:30 p.m. ET.
COMMENTATORS: The NBC Sports Group MLS announce team of Arlo White (@arlowhite, play-by-play), and Kyle Martino (@kylemartino, “Between the Benches” analyst) will call the game. NBC SportsTalk host Russ Thaler (@RussThaler) will host the pre-game, halftime and post-game segments live from BMO Field in Toronto, Canada.
RATINGS: After 6 regular season games, the MLS on NBC Sports Network is up 56% in average viewership compared to the 2011 regular season average on Fox Soccer (106,000 vs. 68,000).
WHITE AND MARTINO BREAK DOWN THE MATCHUP:
WHITE ON TORONTO: “It's April, and already Toronto FC are playing for their playoff lives. They've started 0-5, but there is hope. Veteran Germany World Cup star Torsten Frings is due back from injury. He is such a vital player for them. If he can solidify the Toronto back-line, then talented forwards Danny Koevermans and Joao Plata could cause Chicago real problems in attack.”
WHITE ON THE FIRE: “The Fire has speed to burn. Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko can out-pace any defense in the league, and with Sebastian Grazzini and Pavel Pardo providing support from central midfield, Chicago are genuine contenders for a top-3 spot in the Eastern Conference."
MARTINO ON TORONTO: “And then there was one. Toronto has become the last team in MLS to record a win. They will have to show up this weekend ready to handle the fastest attack in the league in Chicago if they want to notch their first win.”
UPCOMING MLS GAMES ON NBC SPORTS NETWORK: (All Times ET, Home Team Listed First)
Sat., April 28, New York vs. New England, 3:30 p.m.
Sat., May 5, Seattle vs. Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m.
Sat., May 12, Houston vs. D.C., 4:30 p.m.
For the full NBC Sports Group 2012 MLS Schedule visit www.NBCSports.com.
ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com: Steve Davis (@SteveDavis90), a respected soccer journalist for more than two decades, is the featured writer for ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com. Davis, who has covered Major League Soccer, since its inception in 1996 contributes regular posts and will provide video reports to NBCSports.com, and is expected to be an occasional guest on NBC SportsTalk, the daily hour-long news and information show the new NBC Sports Network.