*MLS is also taking a hard look at how early to start the season in future years. The March 2 launch this season was the earliest in league history, and aside from weather issues in several cities, the early start presented marketing and ticketing challenges. Pushing back the start with the same number of league matches, however, would require additional mid-week matches — and as we well know, few clubs draw during the week. (Wait until you see the turnout for D.C. United’s match next Wednesday.) The World Cup — and whether to take a substantial break or thin the schedule — will complicate next year’s calendar. Prior to this year, United’s season openers since 2005 ranged from March 10 to April 7.
*Despite a 2-0 loss at Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund booked a spot in the UEFA Champions League final for the second time on 4-3 aggregate. Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich can secure passage today when it carries a 4-0 lead into the second leg at Barcelona. FX and foxsoccer2go.com will provide live coverage, starting at 2:45 p.m. ET. A taped version will appear on Fox Soccer at 5 p.m.
*Robert Lewandowski, a four-goal scorer in the first leg vs. Real Madrid, has agreed to play in Lionel Messi’s all-star charity match July 6 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
MF Joe Corona and D Edgar Castillo played 90 minutes apiece in Tijuana’s 0-0 draw at home against Palmeiras in the first leg of a Copa Libertadores round-of-16 pairing. U.S. national team coach Juergen Klinsmann attended in Tijuana. The second leg is in Brazil on May 14.
F Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna are at Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals (10 p.m., Fox Soccer). The first match ended in a scoreless draw.
MF-F Freddy Adu and Bahia vs. Juazeiro
MF Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg at Stindheim in Norwegian Cup
GK Steve Clark and Honefoss at Berkebeineren in Norwegian Cup
*The National Women’s Soccer League hosts its first midweek match tonight as Abby Wambach makes her home debut for the Western New York Flash against undefeated Sky Blue FC. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on youtube.com/nwslsoccer.
Meantime, ticket sales for the Washington Spirit’s home match Saturday night against Alex Morgan and the Portland Thorns have surpassed 4,000, club officials said. Capacity is around 4,500 at Maryland SoccerPlex.