Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday, 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Midfielder Darlington Nagbe and Timbers’ First MLS Cup Appearance
ESPN will televise its 20th straight Major League Soccer championship with the live presentation of 2015 MLS Cup on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. ET, when the Columbus Crew SC hosts midfielder Darlington Nagbe and the Portland Timbers at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
Commentator Adrian Healey, analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Mónica Gónzalez will call the match with host Max Bretos, Kasey Keller and Alejandro Moreno, providing pregame, halftime and post-game studio coverage from site. MLS commissioner Don Garber will be interviewed on the ESPN set at halftime. Additionally, the match will be streamed live on WatchESPN.
2015 MLS Cup storylines:
- Sunday marks Columbus Crew SC’s second MLS Cup appearance, first since winning the title in 2008; with a victory Sunday Columbus can become the sixth franchise to win MLS Cup twice;
- Columbus Crew forward and league MVP finalist Kei Kamara shared the league lead with 22 goals in the regular season. Kamara’s 11 goals were headers reflecting his dominance in the air, the subject of an ESPN Sport Science No other player in the league scored more than four headed goals;
- Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe made his U.S. debut in November, playing in both 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers – vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and at Trinidad and Tobago. The 25-year-old was born in Liberia, moved to the U.S. at age 11, and gained U.S. citizenship in September;
- In its fifth MLS season, Portland is making its first MLS Cup appearance, the first Cascadia club to reach the MLS Cup and the third expansion franchise to play in a MLS Cup match – joining Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake;
- Portland’s Caleb Porter won an NCAA title as Akron head coach in 2010. He can be the fourth head coach to win a NCAA Division I title and an MLS title, joining current coaches Bruce Arena (Los Angeles), Sigi Schmid (Seattle), and former coach Steve Sampson (Los Angeles);
- A Columbus Crew victory Sunday will make Gregg Berhalter the third coach to win MLS Cup as a player and head coach, joining Peter Vermes and Peter Nowak;
- ESPN analyst Alejandro Moreno won 2008 MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew, scoring the first goal in the Crew’s 3-1 win over the Red Bulls.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus on Wednesday, Dec. 2, where he appeared on multiple programs throughout the day to discuss 2015 MLS Cup and the current state of soccer (Mike and Mike, multiple editions of SportsCenter and His & Hers, among others). Click here for ESPN Images from the commissioner’s visit.
ESPN FC – 2015 MLS Cup Special on ESPN2:
On Friday, Dec. 4, ESPN FC on TV, the daily soccer news highlights, analysis and information program, will dedicate the entire program to 2015 MLS Cup. The 30-minute edition on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (re-air on ESPNEWS at 6 p.m.) will originate from the MAPFRE Stadium with Healey (host) and analysts Twellman, Keller, and ESPN soccer analyst Moreno and Brian McBride, both former Columbus Crew players. The program will include appearances by players on the MLS Cup teams.
- Thursday, Dec. 3 (6 p.m., ESPNEWS) – Thomas, Steve Nicol, Hislop, and Burley preview 2015 MLS Cup. Guest analyst Stuart Holden, a former Major League Soccer standout, will help provide Xs and Os preview of the matchups.
- Sunday, Dec. 6 (12 a.m. overnight, ESPN2) – One-hour program with Thomas, Nicol and Hislop in Bristol, and host Max Bretos, Twellman, Moreno and Keller, from Columbus featuring extensive 2015 MLS Cup post-game segments.
Beginning Friday, Dec. 4, through kickoff on Sunday, Dec. 6, editions of ESPN’s flagship news program SportsCenter (ESPN and ESPNEWS) will preview 2015 MLS Cup including reports, analysis and talkback interviews from MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.
ESPN Deportes Studio:
ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language network will provide surround studio coverage of 2015 MLS Cup. Highlights:
- ESPN Deportes SportsCenter: The flagship news, highlights and information program will present pre-game analysis of 2015 MLS Cup.
- ESPN Fútbol Center: Special post-game analysis presenting in-depth “game around the game” reports, highlights and recaps.
- Fuera de Juego: Pre-game analysis on Friday with MLS expert Richard Mendez accompanied by Tato Noriega, Barak Fever and Roger Valdiviezo.
Jeff Carlisle and Doug McIntyre will lead ESPNFC.com’s weeklong coverage of 2015 MLS Cup, reporting daily from Columbus, Ohio from Thursday through Sunday. On match day, ESPNFC.com will post preview content, host a live Boot Room chat beginning at 4 p.m. ET, and fan reactions on the league’s biggest game. Further ESPNFC.com content:
- Jeff Carlisle – Recaps the Portland Timbers’ Western Conference championship against FC Dallas; offers analyses how the American tradition of the playoffs fit into Major League Soccer’s increasingly global profile; and presents a scene-setter on Sunday’s title game after a complete week of preparation by both teams;
- Doug McIntyre – Recaps of Columbus Crew SC’s Eastern Conference championship vs. New York Red Bulls; projects the five players who will decide the 2015 MLS Cup; and pens the definitive final preview;
- Jason Davis – On how Columbus Crew SC and Portland Timbers arrived at the title game; and the 10 greatest moments in MLS Cup history;
- Graham Parker – Assess how the league’s two best teams in the regular season (New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas) fell short of the title game; the tactical matchups that will unfold in the 2015 MLS Cup; and present result of a readers poll on Who will win MLS Cup?;
- Chris Wondoloski – ESPN multiplatform producer will capture behind-the-scenes video from Columbus, Ohio, including team training, interviews with players and coaches for ESPN digital and social media platforms.
ESPN International will televise 2015 MLS Cup on ESPN networks in 59 countries and territories covering more than 56 million television homes, including coverage in Australia, Brazil, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, New Zealand and South America.
Richard Mendez and Giovanni Savarese will call the game for ESPN International networks in Spanish. The ESPN International telecast will include a special interview with MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
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