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MLS Soccer Sunday on ESPN Returns

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ESPN Season-Opener: Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC

ESPN FC Presents 30-minute MLS Preview Show Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2

ESPN’s 22nd straight season of Major League Soccer will kick off Sunday, March 5, at 5 p.m. ET with Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC – the 2017 MLS season- opener for both teams and the first match at Orlando City SC’s new downtown stadium. The game features some of the league’s top international stars, such as Brazil’s Kaká and Italy’s Antonio Nocerino (Orlando), and Spain’s David Villa and Italy’s Andrea Pirlo (NYC FC).

The telecast includes pre-game, halftime and post-game programs.  Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC is the first of 31 regular-season MLS matches on ESPN and ESPN2 in 2017. The matches will air in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, and streamed on WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+ (Spanish).

MLS on ESPN – New in 2017:

  • Julie Stewart-Binks: Stewart-Binks, who joined ESPN in December, makes her debut Sunday. She will report from the sidelines at every MLS on ESPN telecast in 2017;
  • Goalpost Cam: ESPN will again use embedded cameras on each goalpost for enhanced views of action on the goal-line and inside the six-yard box during nearly every MLS on ESPN telecast (except select stadiums with technical constraints);
  • New studio host and analyst: Host Sebastian Salazar and analyst Herculez Gomez joined ESPN’s soccer studio team in the offseason. Salazar and the former U.S. Men’s National Team player and 17-year professional footballer will primarily work on Major League Soccer games.

Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC Commentators:

English: Adrian Healey (play-by-play), analyst Taylor Twellman and sideline reporter Julie Stewart-Binks.

Spanish: Richard Méndez (play-by-play) and analyst Robert Sierra (ESPN Deportes).

Studio (pre, half and post-game): Sebastian Salazar (host) and Alejandro Moreno and Herculez Gomez (analysts) live from Orlando City Stadium.

Coverage Highlights:

  • Opening match celebration at Orlando City Stadium, as well as MLS opening weekend festivities;
  • Twellman conversation with Orlando striker Cyle Larin from the “Heineken Boot Room”;
  • Pre-game interviews with NYC FC head coach Patrick Vieira and Orlando City SC captain Kaká ;
  • ESPN Deportes interviews with NYC FC’s latest designated player acquisition, Argentine midfielder Maximiliano Nicolás “Maxi” Moralez, and Kaká, conducted by Richard Mendez.

SportsCenter on MLS Opening Weekend:

Before MLS Opening Weekend, Commissioner Don Garber will be interviewed on ESPN’s SportsCenter Face to Face with Hannah Storm on Thursday, March 2, at 10:45 a.m. Also:

  • Saturday at 11 a.m. – Twellman will discuss Friday’s opening night matches and preview Saturday’s schedule with anchors Matt Barrie and Elle Duncan on SportsCenter;
  • Sunday at 10 a.m. – Gomez will join SportsCenter with Michael Eaves and Duncan from Orlando’s new downtown stadium. Twellman will also appear on the program in the 12 p.m. hour.

ESPN FC – 2017 MLS Season Preview on ESPN2:

On Friday, March 3, ESPN FC on TV, the daily soccer news highlights, analysis and information program, will dedicate the entire 30-minute program to preview the 2017 Major League Soccer season at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2 and WatchESPN (re-air on ESPNEWS at 6 p.m.). Salazar, Gomez and Moreno, the studio team for Sunday’s Orlando -NYC FC telecast, will host the MLS Preseason Special, joined from Orlando by Healey and Twellman.

ESPNFC.com:

ESPNFC.com, ESPN’s global soccer news and information hub, features a variety of 2017 MLS preview content. Reporters Jeff Carlisle and Doug McIntyre again lead ESPNFC.com’s year-round coverage of the league. This weekend, Carlisle covers LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas on Saturday, while McIntyre attends Atlanta United’s first MLS game vs. New York Red Bulls on Sunday.

Highlights of MLS season-opening week:

  • Pre-season Power Rankings by Jason Davis;
  • McIntyre on whether MLS can be one of the world’s top professional soccer leagues by 2022;
  • 2017 season predictions by ESPN FC pundits, ESPNFC.com writers, and ESPN Deportes contributors;
  • Davis on need-to-know information and analysis about MLS expansion franchises Atlanta United and Minnesota United;
  • Going Young – McIntyre on Major League Soccer’s move to acquire younger “Designated Players,” jettisoning the wrong perception by some fans that it is a retirement league for aging international soccer stars;
  • Writer Arch Bell on the big question facing each of the league’s 22 clubs entering the season;
  • Carlisle explores the once-glamorous LA Galaxy, now without Bruce Arena, Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane.

ESPN Social (@ESPNFC):

Throughout the week, ESPN Social’s soccer handles – @ESPNFC and ESPNFC Instagram — will feature extensive MLS content culminating Sunday with live streams by digital director Chris Wondoloski from Orlando City’s new stadium. Highlights include images from the stadium, fans and fan tributes, clips of players arriving, short interviews with key players, post-match reactions, and more.

MLS Soccer Sunday on ESPN Through April:

(Schedule Subject to Change)

Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Sun, March 5 5 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 12 5 p.m. Minnesota United FC vs. Atlanta United FC ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 2 9 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 9 4 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Fri, April 14 7 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 23 4 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC ESPN, ESPN Deportes

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