via press release:
Two U.S. Men’s National Team FIFA World Cup Qualifying Matches on ESPN
Comprehensive Coverage of USA-Costa Rica (March 22) and Mexico-USA in Mexico City (March 26)
ESPN multimedia platforms will provide comprehensive coverage of two upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying series beginning Friday, March 22, with USA vs. Costa Rica at 10 p.m. ET outside Denver, and concluding Tuesday, March 26, in Mexico City, with Mexico vs. USA at 9:30 p.m. Both matches will be aired live on ESPN and WatchESPN.
ESPN’s Mexico-USA telecast, the most-anticipated matchup in the U.S. team’s quadrennial FIFA World Cup qualification process, will feature a one-hour pre-game show originating live from Mexico City. It marks the first time ESPN is airing a one-hour pre-game preceding a World Cup qualifying match. Highlights:
SportsCenter and Other Additional Coverage:
ESPN news and information programs will provide daily reports, interviews, previews, post-game analysis, and more beginning Thursday, March 21, through the completion of the Mexico-USA match on Tuesday, March 26. From Sunday, March 24, onward, SportsCenter segments previewing the Mexico-USA match will include Mexican National Team reports by ESPN’s Mexico City-based reporter John Sutcliffe.
- 10 on-air commentators will be featured over six days across match telecasts and studio programming: Bob Ley (studio host); Ian Darke (play-by-play); Kasey Keller, Alexi Lalas, Alejandro Moreno, Jorge Ramos and Taylor Twellman (analysts); and Mónica González, Jeremy Schaap and John Sutcliffe (reporters);
- U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann will sit down for a one-on-one interview with award-winning journalist and host Ley;
- Live interviews with Ley, Lalas, Keller, Twellman, et al, on the daytime editions of SportsCenter on the two match days (March 22 and 26);
- ESPN Audio’s “Big Head, Red Head” Podcast with Lalas and Twellman will preview both qualifying matches.
Friday, March 22: USA vs. Costa Rica (ESPN at 10 p.m.)
The U.S. team’s second of 10 home-and-away matches in the final round (Hexagonal) of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification process for the Confederations of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). The match will be played at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
- Commentators: Darke, Twellman and sideline reporter González;
- Studio team: Host Ley, analysts Keller and Lalas;
- SportsCenter will preview the match throughout the day and post-game segments will air on the overnight SportsCenter at 1 a.m. ET (10 p.m. PT);
- Additional post-game content – ESPN FC Boot Room Extra – will be streamed live on ESPN3 and ESPN FC.
ESPN FC, the company’s global soccer brand, will provide in-depth coverage leading up to and through the match.
- Reporter Roger Bennett will headline the site’s coverage with video reports, previews and match reports;
- He will also explore the U.S. team chemistry in “Is U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann getting things right?”;
- Live, interactive ESPN FC Boot Room chat during the match.
Tuesday, March 26: Mexico vs. USA (ESPN, beginning at 9:30 p.m.)
The regional rivals have finished in the top two spots in three of the last four CONCACAF final World Cup qualifying rounds. The U.S. Men’s National Team will take a 0-10-1 record in World Cup qualifying matches to famed Estadio Azteca to face the Mexican National Team.
- Commentators: Darke, Twellman and “El Tri on ESPN” analyst Moreno;
- Sideline reporters: Gonzalez (USA) and Sutcliffe (Mexico);
- Studio: Ley, Keller, Lalas and ESPN Deportes’ Ramos;
- One-hour, live pre-match from Mexico City will include interviews with players from both teams by Gonzalez (USA) and Sutcliffe (Mexico);
- Emmy Award-winning journalist Schaap reports a feature on Mexican-Americans who choose to play for either country and the personal and professional impact of their choice;
- Two legends from both national teams – Jared Borgetti (Mexico) and Lalas (USA) – will voice an essay that captures the depth and intensity of the Mexico-USA soccer rivalry.
ESPN FC’s coverage will feature reporters who regularly write for the site’s U.S. English-language platform as well as content from ESPN Deportes and ESPN Mexico staff:
- Reporter Jeff Carlisle will be in Mexico City for pre- and post-game reporting;
- Key stories: A retrospective on the 1997 match – USA’s only tie (0-0) in a World Cup qualifier in Mexico; Top 10 moments of USA vs. Mexico matches; ESPNDeportes.com Rafa Ramos’ columns on the Mexican National Team; an in-depth look at Mexico’s recent struggles at Estadio Azteca; Bennett on “What it feels like to play at the Azteca”; and more;
- Live, interactive ESPN FC Boot Room chat during the match;
- Boot Room Extra – Post-match analysis streamed live on ESPN FC and ESPN3 with TV commentators. The segments include responses to fan questions via the “Boot Room” and Twitter, using #FCBootRoom.