On Sunday, ESPN will air the MLS Cup opposite Sunday Night Football on NBC. It doesn’t mean that ESPN is going to skimp on airing the MLS Championship Game between the LA Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. ESPN’s signature soccer voice Ian Darke will call the game with John Harkes. Monica Gonzalez and Rob Stone will be sideline reporters. Max Bretos will be the host and be joined by the abrasive Alexi Lalas, Taylor Twellman and Alejandro Moreno of Chivas USA.
The game will be aired on ESPN this Sunday night at 9 East from the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. We have ESPN’s coverage plans below.
David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo Sunday at 9 p.m. ET
ESPN will conclude its coverage of Major League Soccer’s 16th season with MLS Cup 2011 featuring David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo, led by striker Brian Ching, on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 9 p.m. ET, live from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The match will also be available on ESPN3 and ESPN Mobile TV.MLS Cup 2011 Storylines:
- Sunday’s MLS Cup 2011 winner will be the second franchise to win three MLS titles. The other club is DC United which has won four MLS Cup trophies (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004);
- Beckham’s last stand – With an MLS Cup victory in the fifth and final year of his MLS contract, soccer icon David Beckham, 36, would win a league title in his last seasons with the three clubs he has played for – Manchester United (2001) and Real Madrid (2007);
- ESPN’s lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas was Los Angeles Galaxy’s president and GM when David Beckham arrived at the club from Real Madrid in 2007 – the first move by AEG (Galaxy’s parent company) to turn the Galaxy into what Lalas calls the “Super Club;”
- Los Angeles Galaxy dominated the league’s 2011 end-of-season awards: MLS Coach of the Year (Bruce Arena); four players in the league’s Best XI; MLS Comeback Player of the Year (Beckham); and MLS Defender of the Year (Omar Gonzalez);
- The MLS Cup 2011-winning coach – Arena (Galaxy) or Dominic Kinnear (Dynamo) – will be the first to win three MLS titles. Arena, former U.S. Men’s National Team manager, would be the second coach to win a title with two different MLS franchises after his first two (1996 and 1997) with DC United.Commentators:
- In the booth: Ian Darke (play-by-play) and John Harkes (analyst);
- Studio (from site): Host Max Bretos with analysts Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman, joined by Chivas USA striker Alejandro Moreno;
- Sideline reporters: Monica Gonzalez (Galaxy) and Rob Stone (Dynamo).MLS Cup 2011 TV highlights:
- 21 cameras, including two super slo-mo cameras, two robotic cameras, a steadicam, two Jib cams, and two POV cameras;
- Offside Line, which displays a virtual line affixed to the last defender on replays to show viewers whether the referee’s offside decision is accurate;
- MLS commissioner Don Garber will be interviewed live during halftime.ESPN Deportes RadioESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast the match live from the Home Depot Center. Jorge Ramos and Hernan Pereyra will provide commentary with sideline reporting by Elmer Polanco and Noe Vazquez.Additional coverage:
- SportsCenter – ESPN’s flagship news and information program will feature MLS Cup 2011 preview segments;
- ESPNEWS – Interview with 2011 MLS MVP on Friday, Nov. 18, between 3:30 and 6 p.m. (immediately after the announcement);
- ESPN Deportes’ NACION ESPN, Spanish-language specific version of SportsNation, will feature an interview with Oscar de la Hoya, boxer and co-owner of Houston Dynamo, on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 10 p.m. Friday’s program will feature Real Salt Lake defender Jámison Olave and Seattle Sounders midfielder Mauro Rosales;
- ESPN Radio’s Jorge Ramos y su Banda, simulcast live on ESPN Deportes, will orginate live from ESPNZone at LA Live with MLS Cup 2011 themed shows on Thursday, Nov. 17 (Oscar de la Hoya and Mauro Rosales), and Friday, Nov. 18 (MLS player exec Alfonso Mondelo and Jámison Olave).ESPN Digital Media
- ESPNSoccernet.com soccer writers Leander Schaerlaeckens and Jeff Carlisle will anchor the site’s coverage featuring daily MLS Cup 2011 stories, including player profiles, matchup analysis, match previews, “Cover it Live” and predictions. Highlights include: interviews with Houston Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear, Los Angeles Galaxy captain Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
- ESPNLosAngeles.com, featuring daily reporting, features and blogging by Scott French, will provide extensive coverage of Los Angeles Galaxy’s first MLS Cup match on the team’s home turf – the Home Depot Center. Additional coverage includes MLS Cup 2011 columns by Ramona Shelburne (Thursday) and Arash Markazi (Sunday).
- ESPNdeportesLA.com will feature a one-on-one interview with MLS Commissioner Don Garber (Thursday), “Countdown to the MLS Cup” previews, “Hot Button” on David Beckham’s future with the Los Angeles Galaxy, “Cover it Live,” Post-game reactions from the locker rooms, and video-based “Voice of the MLS Fan” segments.ESPN InternationalESPN International will televise MLS Cup 2011 in 129 countries and territories covering more than 56 million television homes including Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Israel, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
That will do it.