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NBC Sports with six hours of MLS coverage this weekend

NBC Sports goes all in with soccer coverage this weekend, with MLS in the evenings and EPL at the breakfast table. Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake tonight is the big matchup.


With all the attention given to EPL on NBC, it's easy to feel like their MLS coverage has been overshadowed. This weekend NBC Sports is going big on MLS, with six hours of coverage starting at 4:30 with MLS Insider (all times Pacific).

MLS Insider has been a great addition to NBC Sports' MLS coverage, though outside of Robbie Rogers it hasn't shown the spotlight on LA too much. This week the main feature is New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis and his family's experience during the Boston Marathon bombings.

Then at 7:00 pm Portland Timbers - Real Salt Lake kicks off in a match that will have a big effect on LA's playoff position going forward. An RSL win would give the Galaxy a chance to put some points between them and Portland with LA currently one point ahead, while a draw would give LA a chance to pull within three points of the Supporter's Shield.

Saturday is essentially all soccer with Manchester City vs. Hull City at 4:45 am, then Cardiff City vs. Everton, then Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland on NBC proper. Soccer comes back Saturday evening with an MLS 36 on Dax McCarty, that leads into DC United - New York at 5:00 pm.

NBC Sports is going to play up DC - NY as a rivalry, and while it certainly has that history, the only relevance of this match is NY keeping pace with Montreal. They are sending the A-broadcast team to NY, but that's probably more logistics than anything.

A final note on the EPL coverage, for the second straight week NBC Sports has switched around their schedule to prioritise showing Americans playing in the UK. Jozy Altidore's Sunderland was pushed forward last week, and this week Tim Howard's Everton got bumped up. This is a change from Fox Soccer's coverage which often felt like it was for ex-pats first and Americans second.

Seeing what NBC Sports is able to do with access to the entire EPL slate is inspiring for what MLS could do in the next TV contract negotiation. Giving NBC three matches to chose from during an exclusive window, instead of saddling them with the burden of selling DC United on national TV, would make the national TV matches appointment television. Whereas right now, they feel a bit like homework.