Updated March 26, 2013, 2:36pm CT
Two U.S. Men’s National Team matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying series will air on ESPN, starting Friday, March 22, at 9:45pm ET outside Denver, with USA vs Costa Rica. The second match will be Mexico vs USA in Mexico City, airing Tuesday, March 26, at 9:30pm ET. Both matches will air live on ESPN and WatchESPN.
USA vs Costa Rica — ESPN, March 22 Live at 9:45pm ET
USA vs Costa Rica is the U.S. team’s second of 10 home-and-away matches in the final round (Hexagonal) of the World Cup qualification process for the Confederations of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). The match will be played at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. Ian Darke has the play-by-play call, with Taylor Twellman offering analysis, and Mónica González reporting on the sidelines. The studio team includes host Bob Ley, and analysts Kasey Keller and Alexi Lalas.
ESPN’s SportsCenter will preview the USA vs Costa Rica match throughout the day, and postgame segments will air on the overnight SportsCenter at 1am ET (10pm PT).
Additional postgame content for USA vs Costa Rica, called ESPN FC Boot Room Extra, will be streamed live on ESPN3 and ESPN FC. ESPN FC also has in-depth coverage leading up to and through the match.
Mexico vs USA — ESPN, March 26 Live at 9:30pm ET
Mexico vs USA is the most anticipated matchup in the U.S. team’s World Cup qualification process. The regional rivals have finished in the top two spots in three of the last four CONCACAF final World Cup qualifying rounds. The U.S. Men’s National Team takes a 0-10-1 record in World Cup qualifying matches to famed Estadio Azteca to face the Mexican National Team. Ian Darke will have the play-by-play, with analysis by Taylor Twellman and “El Tri on ESPN” analyst Alejandro Moreno. Mónica González will report on the USA sideline, and John Sutcliffe, ESPN’s Mexico City-based reporter, will report on the Mexico sideline.
ESPN’s coverage will feature a one-hour pre-game show originating live from Mexico City. This marks the first time ESPN is airing a one-hour pre-game preceding a World Cup qualifying match, and will include interviews with players from both USA and Mexico by Mónica González and John Sutcliffe.
From Sunday, March 24, onward, SportsCenter segments previewing the Mexico vs USA match will include Mexican National Team reports by John Sutcliffe. Jeremy Schaap reports an E:60 feature on Mexican-Americans who choose to play for either country, and the personal and professional impact of their choice. Additionally, two legends from both national teams — Jared Borgetti (Mexico) and Alexi Lalas (USA) — will voice an essay that captures the depth and intensity of the Mexico vs USA rivalry.
ESPN FC’s coverage includes reporters who regularly write for the site’s U.S. English-language platform as well as content from ESPN Deportes and ESPN Mexico staff. Jeff Carlisle will be in Mexico City for pre- and post-game reporting. There will be a retrospective on the 1997 Mexico vs USA match — USA’s only tie (0-0) in a World Cup qualifier in Mexico; Top 10 moments of Mexico vs USA matches; ESPNDeportes.com Rafa Ramos’ columns on the Mexican National Team; a look at Mexico’s recent struggles at Estadio Azteca; and more. There will also be live, interactive ESPN FC Boot Room chat during the match, and Boot Room Extra after the match, with analysis streamed live on ESPN FC and ESPN3 with TV commentators.
ESPN Deportes multimedia platforms will provide pre- and post-match coverage of Mexico vs USA live from Estadio Azteca on March 26. The coverage will feature José Ramón Fernández, Heriberto Murrieta, former Mexican National Team players Borgetti, Rafa Puente and Luis Zague, among others. Additionally, ESPNDeportes.com will feature live updates and onsite reporting throughout the day.
ESPN Deportes’ studio news and information programming on March 26 (all times ET):
Raza Deportiva (10am-12pm); Destino Brazil (12-12:55pm); Los Capitanes (3-3:25pm); Cronometro (7:30-8pm); SportsCenter (8–8:30pm); Futbol Picante – Mexico vs USA preview special (8:30–10:30pm); #Redes (10:30-11:30pm); Fuera de Juego (11:30pm-12:30am); Futbol Picante Post-game special (12:30-2am); and SportsCenter (2-3am).
UniMás and Univision Deportes Network will also have extensive coverage of Mexico vs USA World Cup qualifier. Three special editions of Univision Deportes Futbol Club will air. The first broadcast, at 6pm ET, will look back at past qualifying matches for Mexico and USA with live coverage from Estadio Azteca. The second broadcast, at 7pm ET, will analyze the March 26 Mexico vs USA match and dissect the soccer action taking place in Europe. The third broadcast, at 8pm ET, brings more live coverage from Mexico City, with feature stories and interviews on both teams.
UniMás and Univision Deportes Network live coverage of the Mexico vs USA match then begins at 10:15pm ET.
USA vs Costa Rica airs live March 22 at 9:45pm ET on ESPN.
Mexico vs USA live coverage on March 26 begins at 9:30pm ET on ESPN; live coverage begins on UniMás and Univision Deportes Network at 10:15pm ET.
USA captain Clint Dempsey: Credit Kurt Rivers/ZUMAPRESS.com/Newscom