We sometimes give MLS a hard time for being one of the few American sports leagues that doesn’t feature the best of their particular sport playing in it. However, the league has made great strides in the past decade, and is a legitimate draw in many cities. MLS won’t pick up wide swaths of viewers out of the hugely successful (on American TV, at least) World Cup, but they will have the chance to be sampled, thanks to ESPN.
Sunday night, ESPN2 will broadcast the network’s final episode of World Cup Tonight until at least 2026 at 6 p.m. ET, followed by a special two-and-a-half hour edition of ESPN FC at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following that show, the Cascadia Cup will take center stage, as Portland and Seattle will battle for the second time in a week (the rivals played a wildly entertaining U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday) in front of 50,000+ at CenturyLink Field at 10 p.m. ET.
Wednesday, July 16th is known as the bane of the sports fan’s existence, as it is the day following the MLB All-Star Game, and also the day of the ESPYs, which is like rubbing salt in a wound. ESPN2 is going to air an MLS match that night between Philadelphia and New York at 7 p.m. ET. Watch because you might enjoy it, watch because, hey, it’s not the ESPYs!
Sporting KC and Los Angeles Galaxy battle on Saturday, July 19th at 6 p.m. ET, and will be preceded by by the first of five MLS/EPL friendlies, as the great teams of England and the rest of Europe pour over here to begin their pre-seasons. At 4 p.m. ET, ESPN President John Skipper’s beloved Tottenham Hotspur take on Seattle.
ESPN2 will follow that up with MLS/EPL doubleheaders on Wednesday, July 23rd — Spurs/Toronto FC followed by SKC taking defending champions Manchester City — and Saturday, July 26th — New York hosting Arsenal while the Chicago Fire take on Spurs — while Fox Sports 1 begins their summer soccer series with Manchester United taking on the Galaxy at 10:30 p.m. ET on the 23rd. ESPN has made a point that five of their eight games feature U.S. men’s national team reps from the World Cup, while two more feature Roy Miller of New York, who played on the surprise Costa Rica team.
The point is, there’s plenty of soccer to get you from Sunday night up until the beginning of the Premier League season in August, so stick with it, budding casual soccer fan.