ESPN throwing a lot of weight behind tomorrow's USA-Mexico qualifier

USA TODAY Sports

A one-hour pre-match show and a re-air of the USA-Costa Rica match will precede the game.

ESPN recognizes USA-Mexico games are always the biggest draw of World Cup qualifying, and well, international soccer in this country in general.

They'll put a ton of talent and broadcast time up for Tuesday night's CONCACAF World Cup qualifier between the North American rivals. It's absolutely worth it, too, because the USMNT is definitely reaping some buzz from the insane, snow-filled match against Costa Rica on Friday. It drew 860,000 viewers in a terrible timeslot up against an evening packed with March Madness. One would think the network would be poised to pick up even better numbers on Tuesday.

ESPN will air a one-hour pre-match show, starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. Here's where things get interesting: ESPN is only televising this United States road match because they own rights to all of Mexico's home matches during this hexagonal. Usually, coverage of USMNT road matches on television is abhorrent and only available on the little-distributed beINSport. So, while all of ESPN's American regulars will be there, the match will have some more neutral counterparts to it.

The pre-match show will be hosted by the man who wears the armband for American soccer broadcasting, Bob Ley. He'll be joined by usual cohorts, Alexi Lalas and Kasey Keller, and ESPN Deportes' Jorge Ramos. The match will be called by Ian Darke with Taylor Twellman and Alejandro Moreno, both former MLS strikers. The sidelines will be covered by Monica Gonzalez and John Sutcliffe.

The whole thing caps a full soccer day for the networks of ESPN. 14 World Cup qualifiers will air across the various networks that day, and that aforementioned U.S.-Costa Rica match will get the ESPN Classic treatment. ESPN2 will air live coverage of the UEFA qualifier between France and Spain, two other matches will air on ESPN Deportes, and 11 others will be available on ESPN3.

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