Whip-Around Programming; Cross-Platform Coverage of Major League Soccer’s Season-Ending Weekend
ESPN will present MLS Decision Day presented by AT&T – the final day of the 2017 Major League Soccer regular season – on Sunday, Oct. 22, with a live two-hour whip-around show with highlights and look-ins to all 11 league matches being played simultaneously. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Adrian Healey will host with analysts Taylor Twellman, Alejandro Moreno and former New England Revolution manager Jay Heaps. Reporter Julie Stewart-Binks will report from the San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota United match.
MLS Decision Day storylines:
- San Jose (43 points, vs. Minnesota United), FC Dallas (43, vs. LA Galaxy) and Real Salt Lake (42, vs. Sporting Kansas City) are playing for the last MLS Cup Playoff spot in the Western Conference.
- With 68 points this season, Toronto FC needs a win or draw to break the MLS single-season point record, set by the 1998 LA Galaxy.
- Three of the four MLS Cup Playoffs first-round byes are still up for grabs. Four Eastern Conference teams are chasing the No. 2 seed behind Toronto. The two byes in the West will be decided by four teams, including all three Cascadia clubs – Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.
- With 24 goals this season, Chicago Fire’s Nemanja Nikolic has a comfortable three-goal lead for Golden Boot honors as MLS’s top goal-scorer. Nikolic could be challenged for the boot on MLS Decision Day, or a second straight hat trick could help him tie the single-season scoring record.
- Last chance for players to state their MVP case: Portland’s Diego Valeri, Chicago’s Nikolic, Atlanta’s Josef Martinez and reigning MVP David Villa are among the favorites.
- C. United will host the New York Red Bulls in the final MLS game at RFK Stadium – a D.C. sports landmark and one of MLS’s original stadiums. D.C. will move into a new stadium next season.
- The panel will also discuss the top MLS/U.S. soccer topics of the day – reports of Columbus Crew SC’s potential relocation, MLS expansion, U.S. Men’s National Team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and more.
ESPN Deportes will televise the Houston Dynamo (Western Conference) vs. Chicago Fire (Eastern Conference) live Sunday, Oct. 22, at 4 p.m. as both teams hope to improve their playoff positions. The Fire feature 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger and MLS’s leading goal-scorer Nikolic. Richard Mendez and Robert Sierra will provide Spanish-language commentary.
Sunday at 1 a.m. ET overnight (10 p.m. PT) on ESPN2, Dan Thomas, Herculez Gomez and Moreno will discuss MLS Decision Day games on ESPN FC presented by Heineken, the daily soccer news, highlights and analysis program. The program will also preview the matchups on Friday (ESPNEWS at 6 p.m.).
Leading up to MLS Decision Day, www.ESPNFC.com provides comprehensive coverage of the Major League Soccer’s season-ending weekend. Highlights:
- Reporter Jeff Carlisle will anchor the site’s coverage with pieces preceding the weekend as well as a wrap-up with Decision Day winners and losers.
- Graham Parker on Real Salt Lake’s manager Mike Petke, a candidate for MLS Coach of the Year.
- Matt Pentz on two MLS Western Conference teams – Vancouver Whitecaps and Sporting Kansas City – facing nervous Decision Day
- Additional coverage surrounding the day will include rapid-fire MLS Cup Playoffs predictions.
MLS Decision Day Matches – all starting at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday:
- Atlanta United (54 points) vs. Toronto (68 points)
- Portland Timbers (50) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (52)
- New York City FC (56) vs. Columbus Crew SC (53)
- Houston Dynamo (47) vs. Chicago Fire (55)
- Seattle Sounders (50) vs. Colorado Rapids (33)
- Real Salt Lake (42) vs. Sporting Kansas City (49)
- San Jose Earthquakes (43) vs. Minnesota United (36)
- FC Dallas (43) vs. LA Galaxy (32)
- DC United (32) vs. New York Red Bulls (47)
- Montreal Impact (39) vs. New England Revolution (42)
- Philadelphia Union (39) vs. Orlando City SC (39)