ESPN Presents MLS Soccer Sunday Kickoff Week – Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC

MLSSoccer

ESPN Presents MLS Soccer Sunday Kickoff Week – Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC

Photos via ESPN Images

Regular Season Debut of ESPN’s “Goal Post Cam”; Coaches Wired for In-game Audio

ESPN will kick off its 21st straight season of Major League Soccer coverage on Sunday, March 6, at 4:30 p.m. with the live presentation of Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC – a rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup won by Portland. The match will be the first of 17 MLS telecasts in 2016 featuring expanded programming windows for pre-game, halftime and post-game segments. ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to carry 33 MLS regular-season matches live in 2016. The matches will air in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, streamed on WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+ (Spanish).

The MLS Soccer Sunday opening weekend telecast marks the regular season debut of ESPN’s “Goal Post Cam” – the production innovation whereby cameras are embedded on each post to enhance views of action on the goal-line. The technology, exclusive to ESPN, has been in development since February 2014. It was tested at the 2014 MLS All-Star Game in Portland, and used, for the first time, in a league match at the 2015 MLS Cup.

Coaches Wired – coaches Caleb Porter (Portland) and Gregg Berhalter (Columbus) will each wear a live microphone on the sidelines for in-game audio during the telecast.

Portland vs. Columbus Commentators:

SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos will host the studio segments around the match beginning with a live pre-game show (4:30 p.m.) from Portland’s Providence Park, the home of the Timbers. Adrian Healey (play-by-play), analyst Taylor Twellman and sideline reporter Mónica González will call the match in English, while Richard Méndez and Giovanni Savarese will provide commentary on ESPN Deportes.

Pre-game Features on ESPN:

  • Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe Conversation: Twellman will conduct a conversation with Portland Timbers midfielders Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe from the “Heineken Boot Room” – a bus on-site at Providence Park in Portland
  • “MLS Insider”: An all-access feature looking back at the 2015 MLS Cup Final – Portland’s 2-1 victory over Columbus for the franchise’s first MLS title, by award-winning documentary producer Jonathan Hock
  • Championship Banner Ceremony: The unveiling of Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS Cup championship banner
  • National Anthem: Live telecast of the Timbers Army – the team’s supporters group – leading fans in singing of the National Anthem
  • The Timbers Army Tifo: The unfurling of the new Timbers Army tifo, a symbolic flag or artistic display created by ardent soccer fans to represent the group’s affinity to their team.

Halftime/Postgame:

  • Twellman’s list of “MLS Players to Watch” in 2016
  • ESPN FC Boot Room Extra on ESPN3 – Digital postgame show from Providence Park immediately following the conclusion of the match.

Pre-game/Halftime on ESPN Deportes:

  • Interviews with Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara and Columbus Crew forward Federico Higuain
  • Presentation of Portland’s championship banner celebration and fans singing the National Anthem
  • Subtitled version of the “MLS Insider” recapping the 2015 MLS Cup
  • An inside look at Orlando City SC and its star player Kaká, a member of Brazil’s national soccer team and the 2007 FIFA Player of the Year.

Sunday Morning SportsCenter:

  • Nat Borchers Feature: SportsCenter anchor Matt Barrie travelled to Portland and spent time with 34-year-old Timbers defender and team leader Nat Borchers, who discussed his connection to Portland, the club, and its supporters
  • Match Preview: Healey and Twellman preview the Portland-Columbus matchup
  • Valeri-Nagbe Interview: Twellman’s chat with Portland’s Valeri and Nagbe

2016 MLS Season on ESPNFC.com:

ESPNFC.com, a leading global soccer news and information hub, offers extensive coverage of Major League Soccer’s 21th season with a series of features and other content previewing the season. Highlights:

  • Pre-season Power Rankings
  • Portland’s chances of repeating as MLS Cup champions by reporter Doug McIntyre
  • MLS 2016 season predictions by an expert panel including ESPN FC TV analysts, ESPNFC.com writers, and ESPN Deportes contributors
  • The Big Questions: Blog infographic on the “big questions” facing each of the league’s 20 clubs
  • What You Need to Know about Major League Soccer in 2016
  • Jeff Carlisle on New York City FC and Orlando City SC’s second seasons in the league
  • MLS Cup favorites, according to the ESPN FC experts
  • Guest column by Columbus Crew SC defender Michael Parkhurst
  • Opening Weekend preview – Portland vs. Columbus preview by McIntyre
  • Carlisle on why Columbus Crew SC, a finalist for the 2015 MLS Cup, will be a force in 2016

MLS Soccer Sunday on ESPN Through April:

(Schedule Subject to Change)

Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Sun, March 6 4:30 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 13 5 p.m. New York City FC vs. Toronto FC ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 20 5 p.m. D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 10 4 p.m. Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 17 3:30 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 24 3:30 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City ESPN, ESPN Deportes

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Mac Nwulu

I joined ESPN in 1998 and since then, it's been a great experience managing PR and communications for a range of ESPN initiatives and properties over the years. I am currently focused on soccer and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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