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ESPN All-HD Soccer Coverage Kicks Off April 7

ESPN announced that its schedule of Major League Soccer matches--all of which will air in HD--will launch on Saturday, April 7, with the season opener pitting D.C. United versus the Colorado Rapids on ABC at 3:30 p.m. EDT. ESPN secured the rights to MLS last summer in a deal that will last until at least 2014.

This will mark the first season that ESPN will provide total 720p coverage of all the matches it covers. (In early 2007, the sports cable firm announced its networks would air all seven sports in HD for which it is a rights-holder, not just pro soccer.)

ESPN2's soccer coverage of the season (which begins in primetime in most North American time zones) begins on Thursday, April 12, at 10 p.m. EDT, featuring FC Dallas at the Los Angeles Galaxy. Soccer superstar David Beckham, who will play for the Galaxy this season, is not expected to make his first MLS appearance until July.

MLS had a three-year deal with Mark Cuban's HDNet channel. That ended two years ago.