The Eastern Conference champion Houston Dynamo are among the eight teams competing at the 2012 Disney Pro Soccer Classic, to be held in February at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Houston joins host Orlando City, MLS clubs Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, and FC Dallas; and Swedish club BK Hacken in the eight-team field - twice as many as a year ago.
“This is unquestionably the best Disney Pro Soccer Classic field we’ve had so far,’’ said Disney Sports manager Patrick Dicks. “This will be a rare opportunity for fans to see so many marquee pro soccer teams in one place and experience the game in an intimate, family-friendly atmosphere.’’
The Houston Dynamo have played in three MLS Cup title games in the last six years and ran off a nine-game unbeaten streak to reach this year's final. The Dynamo return to Disney for the third straight year and will open the tournament on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. ET against Sporting Kansas City in a rematch of this year's Eastern Conference final. The other match on the opening night sees Canadian rivals Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps squaring off at 8 p.m.
Orlando City Soccer is the reigning USL Pro champion but will have stiff competition from the MLS teams. Defending Disney Pro Soccer Classic Champion FC Dallas, led by star Brek Shea, is back at Disney after reaching the MLS playoffs this season. Toronto FC will be playing for the third straight year at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Vancouver Whitecaps and Sweden’s B.K. Hacken will be making their Disney Pro Soccer Classic debuts.
The Classic begins with a week of pool play Feb. 24-March 1, followed by the championship game March 3. Single session tickets for the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, which include entry into two games, go on sale for $15.50 Dec. 1 through Ticketmaster (800/745-3000 and ticketmaster.com) and at the sports complex box office. All-tournament passes are $69.
Travel packages are available now for domestic MLS fans through AnthonyTravel.com and for Canadian MLS fans through Merit Travel. The packages may include accommodations near Walt Disney World Resort and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, game tickets, ground transportation, discounted Disney theme park tickets, VIP access to player and coach meet-and-greets, etc.
SCHEDULE (all times ET)
Group 1 Pool Play
Games 1 & 2 - February 24, 2012 at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Games 3 & 4 - February 26, 2012 at 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Games 5 & 6 - February 29, 2012 at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Group 2 Pool Play
Games 1 & 2 - February 25, 2012 at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Games 3 & 4 - February 28, 2012 at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Games 5 & 6 - March 1, 2012 at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Consolation Game - March 3, 2012 at 6 p.m.
Championship - March 3, 2012 at 8 p.m.