ESPN Goes to Portland for 2021 MLS Cup Presented by Audi 


ESPN Goes to Portland for 2021 MLS Cup Presented by Audi 

  • Portland Timbers vs. NYC FC – Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Coverage Across ESPN Platforms and Shows – SportsCenter, ESPN FC, Digital Pregame Show, and more
  • Colorado Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser to Appear as Studio Guest; Former FIFA Referee Mark Clattenburg Joins the Commentary Team as Rules Analyst

ABC will broadcast the 2021 MLS Cup Presented by Audi on Saturday, Dec. 11, when Portland Timbers host New York City FC at Portland’s Providence Park on ABC. Coverage will begin at 3 p.m. ET with a pregame show (kick at 3:23 p.m.). The match will stream live on the ESPN and ABC apps.

Play-by-play commentator Jon Champion and analyst Taylor Twellman will provide match commentary on ABC and ESPN International’s English-language networks. This weekend, global sports correspondent Sam Borden – following his critically acclaimed EURO 2020 and U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup qualifying assignments – makes his MLS Cup debut as a sideline reporter. Rules analyst Mark Clattenburg will make his MLS Cup debut in the booth with Champion and Twellman.

Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser will join host Sebastian Salazar and analyst Alejandro Moreno, a three-time MLS Cup champion, on ESPN and ABC studio programming originating from Portland’s Providence Park. This year, Fraser led Colorado Rapids to the best regular-season record in MLS Western Conference – a finalist for 2021 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year Award. A former U.S. Men’s National Team player and MLS standout, Fraser is one of the country’s best minds in the sport.

2021 MLS Cup Countdown Live

Salazar, Moreno, and Fraser, will host the 45-minute MLS Cup pregame show from Providence Park beginning at 2:15 p.m. The Xs and Os program, available on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and the ESPN App, will lead into ABC’s broadcast at 3 p.m.

2021 MLS Cup Weekend Schedule:

Date Time (ET)  Event Platform
Fri, Dec 10 6 p.m. SportsCenter

Taylor Twellman from Providence Park

  2:15 p.m. 2021 MLS Cup Countdown

Sebastian Salazar, Alejandro Moreno and Robin Fraser

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, ESPN App
Sat, Dec 11 3 p.m. 2021 MLS Cup Pregame Show

Salazar, Moreno and Fraser

ABC, ABC and ESPN Apps
3:23 p.m. 2021 MLS Cup Presented by Audi – Portland Timbers vs. NYC FC

Jon Champion, Taylor Twellman, reporter Sam Borden and rules analyst Mark Clattenberg

ABC, ABC and ESPN Apps

The Match

On Saturday, Portland won the Western Conference Championship in a 2-0 home victory over Real Salt Lake. New York City FC defeated Philadelphia Union 2-1 last Sunday and booked a ticket to its first appearance in an MLS Cup match. Portland will compete in its third MLS Cup game in seven years and the team’s first at home. Both teams have solid rosters of top league players. Portland: Felipe Mora (Chile), the Chará brothers Diego and Yimmi (Colombia), Sebastián Blanco and Diego Valerie (Argentina), and Christhian Paredes (Paraguay). New York City FC features Valentin Castellanos and Maximiliano Moralez (Argentina), Alexander Callens (Peru), and Santiago Rodríguez (Uruguay).

ESPN Studio Programming

  • SportsCenter: Beginning Friday with Taylor Twellman’s appearance on the 6 p.m. edition of the ESPN flagship news program, SportsCenter will include segments previewing the match, and match highlights and analysis post game
  • ESPN FC: The daily soccer news, highlights and analysis program, exclusively on ESPN+, will include 2021 MLS Cup segments from Providence Park beginning Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

Writers Jeff Carlisle, Kyle Bonagura and editor Austin Lindberg will be on site in Portland providing 2021 MLS Cup coverage for the industry-leading soccer news and information digital platform. Some highlights:

  • Carlise looks back at Carles Gil’s impressive season with New England Revolution winning the Comeback Player of the Year and the league’s MVP in 2021
  • The 2021 MLS Cup marks the seventh straight time Portland or Seattle will represent the Western Conference in the league’s showpiece event. How have these two Cascadia rivals pushed each other to be the class of the conference? Dan Hajducky reports
  • 2021 MLS Cup preview and predictions (Carlisle, Boagura, Lindberg, Hajducky, Caitlin Murray)
  • Carlisle sets the scene from Portland as the Timbers’ host their first MLS Cup by Carlisle
  • MLS Cup reactions from Carlisle and Bonagura, focusing on the match from the perspective of each team.

ESPN Social

ESPN’s industry-leading social media team will be all over MLS cup 2021 coverage with top-notch highlights, insightful live shows, entertaining off-field moments, fan-generated content, custom edits, and more across Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

ESPN International

The 2021 MLS Cup will be available in more than 50 million homes via ESPN International networks across including live on ESPN 1 in Mexico and Central America, ESPN 2 in South America, ESPN EXTRA Argentina, ESPN 1 in Brazil, ESPN 1 in the Caribbean and ESPN 1 in Oceania. Game-around-the-game coverage of 2021 MLS Cup will be available via SportsCenter and ESPN FC editions throughout the regions.

Champion, Twellman and Borden’s commentary will air in the English-language regions.

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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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