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By ESPN Staff

MLS ignores international fixture dates

NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer again is likely to be missing stars for matches that conflict with the sport's international schedule.

The league released its 2008 schedule Thursday and will be playing during times set aside for national team games by FIFA, soccer's governing body.

The Los Angeles Galaxy, whose top stars are David Beckham and Landon Donovan, host the Chicago Fire on Aug. 21, the day after the United States is likely to play its opening semifinal-round qualifier, likely at Guatemala. England probably will have an exhibition.

Also on Aug. 20, D.C. United is at New England at Chivas USA is at Houston.

MLS has a full schedule of games on Sept. 6-7, when England is an Andorra and the United States likely will be at Cuba, and Oct. 11-12, when England hosts Kazakhstan and the United States probably will host Cuba.

FC Dallas and the expansion San Jose Earthquakes will get two chances to see Beckham and the Galaxy this season, while the other 11 teams will have to settle for one.

Both of the Galaxy's games against the Earthquakes, June 14 and Aug. 3, will be moved from San Jose's temporary home at 11,500-seat Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University, to the Oakland Athletics' McAfee Coliseum.

Dallas will host the Galaxy on May 18, and again on July 27.

Each team plays the other 13 clubs once home and away accounting for 26 games, while the remaining four will be played against intraconference opponents, two home and two away.

This year's schedule gives the Galaxy a break, considering the league tried to capitalize on Beckham's late arrival last season by scheduling Los Angeles to travel at least once to every city in the final three months after his August arrival.

But due to injuries, he was only able to play in five games, including three on the road where he played before near capacity to overflow crowds at the New York Red Bulls, D.C. United and Chicago.

Twenty of the Galaxy's 30 games will be broadcast by one of MLS' national television outlets, ABC-ESPN2, Fox Soccer Channel, TeleFutura and HDNet. The others will be broadcast regionally and through the league's subscription package.

The Galaxy's games will account for about 18 percent of the league's 113 nationally televised games. The Galaxy will begin on the road at the Colorado Rapids on March 29.

Los Angeles was dropped from the SuperLiga, which includes D.C., Chivas USA, MLS champion Houston, New England and four Mexican clubs.