ESPN Kicks off Extensive Coverage of 2019 Major League Soccer Season

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ESPN Kicks off Extensive Coverage of 2019 Major League Soccer Season

  • Sunday Doubleheader: D.C. United vs. Atlanta United FC and Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City
  • Jon Champion debuts as new MLS play-by-play voice with lead analyst Taylor Twellman
  • ESPN Deportes will televise both matches live

ESPN will kick off its 24th straight season of Major League Soccer on Sunday, March 3, with a doubleheader: D.C. United vs. 2018 MLS Cup champion Atlanta United FC at 6 p.m., and Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City at 8:30 p.m. Both matches will be streamed live on the ESPN App. Spanish-language telecasts will also be available on ESPN Deportes.

Date Time (ET) Event Platforms
Sun, Mar 3 6 p.m. Pregame – D.C. United vs. Atlanta United FC

Host: Sebastian Salazar

ESPN / ESPN Deportes
6:30 p.m. D.C. United vs. Atlanta United FC

Jon Champion, Taylor Twellman and John Sutcliffe

Robert Sierra and Tato Noriega

ESPN / ESPN Deportes
8:30 p.m. Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City

Adrian Healey and Alejandro Moreno

Richard Méndez and Hérculez Gómez

ESPN / ESPN Deportes

The season-opening doubleheader is between 2018 MLS Cup Playoff teams.

  • Atlanta United FC, the reigning MLS champions, feature a nucleus of young and dynamic players, Josef Martínez, the reigning league MVP and record-holder for goals in a season; Argentina National Team players Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez and Ezequiel Omar Barco; and US Men’s National Team midfielder Darlington Nagbe. Additionally, Atlanta United FC’s season opener will be the MLS debut for new coach Frank de Boer, a former AFC Ajax and Barcelona player, who joined the team in the offseason after Tata Martino’s departure to helm the Mexican National Team.
  • C. United, led by Wayne Rooney, one of England’s most accomplished players, also has Argentinian midfielder Luciano Acosta and U.S. Men’s National winger Paul Arriola on its roster.
  • Los Angeles FC’s captain and Mexican National Team forward Carlos Vela is one of the most dynamic players in international football. Forward Diego Rossi from Uruguay is another team leader.
  • Sporting Kansas City features a pair of U.S. Men’s National Team defenders, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, as well as Honduras National Team midfielder Roger Espinoza.

Highlights of ESPN’s 2019 MLS Season:

  • 31 regular-season games – 25 on ESPN / six on ESPN2
  • All 31 matches on ESPN Deportes
  • All ESPN matches involve at least one 2018 MLS Cup Playoff team or FC Cincinnati, MLS’s newest club
  • 2018 MLS Cup champion Atlanta United FC leads the league with eight appearances, followed by Portland Timbers and Los Angeles FC with six

ESPN has been Major League Soccer’s national media rights-holder longer than any other network – since the league debuted in 1996. The 2019 MLS on ESPN schedule.

 Commentators:

  • ESPN New play-by-play voice Jon Champion joins lead analyst Taylor Twellman in the booth, with reporter Sebastian Salazar on the sidelines. A fixture in the English Premier League for three decades, Champion has moved to the United States to be ESPN’s new lead match-caller for MLS.
  • ESPN DeportesRichard Méndez (Spanish-language play-by-play) and former U.S. National Team player and three-time MLS champion Hérculez Gómez, making his debut this season as match analyst.
  • ESPN Studio – Salazar, Alejandro Moreno, Kasey Keller, Twellman and Gomez.

ESPN FC:

ESPN FC, the daily soccer news and information, highlights and analysis program exclusively on ESPN+, will feature MLS content throughout the season, including match previews; highlights and recaps; analysis of key storylines; interviews with players, coaches and newsmakers; as well as Heineken Boot Room-branded interviews. The critically acclaimed show features Dan Thomas as host and a rotating roster of pundits. Additionally, ESPN FC will originate from the 2019 MLS All Star Game in Orlando and 2019 MLS Cup.

SportsCenter:

Throughout the season, editions of ESPN’s flagship news program, SportsCenter, will include MLS highlights, interviews, analysis, features and more.

ESPNFC.com:

Writer Jeff Carlisle leads ESPNFC.com’s expansive coverage of Major League Soccer in 2019. Other contributing writers include Arch Bell, Noah Davis, Tom Marshall and more. Highlights:

  • Season-opening weekend – Davis will cover D.C. United vs. Atlanta United, and Carlisle will provide coverage of the Los Angeles FC-Sporting Kansas City game.
  • Expanded coverage of key events – Opening Weekend, 2019 MLS All-Star Game, the El Tráfico derby, Heineken Rivalry Week, MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.
  • Predictions – ESPN soccer experts (Ale Moreno, Jeff Carlisle and others) share their predictions for the 2019 MLS season.
  • During the season, ESPNFC.com will conduct and release the results of a confidential player poll across MLS’s 24 teams.
  • Oral history of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s MLS debut – the smashing two-goal performance in his first game against cross-town rivals LAFC.

So far this preseason, ESPNFC.com has published the following MLS stories of note:

ESPN Social:

ESPN Social will create season-long social content featuring Major League Soccer action on @ESPNFC, @ESPN, and @SportsCenter across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Highlights include live in-game coverage of top moments, on-site coverage from key matchups and a monthly staple on Instagram TV profiling the top goals of the month.

MLS on ESPN+

MLS Live on ESPN+ delivers all MLS out-of-market games, as well as the Chicago Fire’s local-market games, to fans in the U.S. exclusively on ESPN+, the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. ESPN+ is also the exclusive home of ESPN FC Daily. In addition, We Are LAFC, a new all-access documentary series chronicling the creation of the LAFC franchise and its inaugural season, is available now exclusively on ESPN+. A Spanish-language version – SOMOS LAFC – is also available.

ESPN+ MLS Live Games – Week I:

Date Time (ET) Event
Sat, Mar 2 1 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC
  4:30 p.m. FC Dallas vs. New England Revolution
  4:30 p.m. Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls
  6 p.m. Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Minnesota United FC
  6 p.m. Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake
  6 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers
  10 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Montreal Impact

ESPN Deportes Radio:

ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPN’s Spanish-language 24/7 sports radio network, will provide coverage throughout the season with play-by-play commentator Kenneth Garay and analyst Diego Cora.

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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, including soccer, NFL and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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