By Paul Kennedy
The biggest soccer game of the year is the USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier in Columbus, and ESPN has big plans for Tuesday.
(Click here for Soccer on TV for viewing information on all the Tuesday qualifiers.)
And this was before the match took on a new significance with the USA on the verge of qualifying and Mexico in disarray following the ouster of Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre.
Fans can watch two and a half hours of pregame coverage, beginning with a special 90-minute ESPN FC preview show from the stadium at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by a one-hour pregame show beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Coverage of the game itself begins at 8 p.m. ET withIan Darke (play-by-play), Alejandro Moreno and Taylor Twellman (analysts) in the booth.
Bob Ley, Kasey Keller, Alexi Lalas and Jorge Ramos will provide analysis before the game, at halftime and afterwards from the on-site studio.
With more than 220 credentials issued to ESPN personnel working the game to provide programming and content to fans via a myriad of platforms, the support marks the most comprehensive commitment by a U.S. media company for a single soccer match.
USA-MEXICO CLASSICS.ESPN Classic will air on Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m. ET, all three U.S. wins over Mexico in Columbus, all 2-0 victories in FIFA World Cup qualifying contests (Feb. 28, 2001; Sept. 4, 2005, and Feb. 11, 2009). The marathon will include the 0-0 tie at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca on March 26, 2013.
USA-MEXICO WATCH PARTIES:
Shannon's On Pine
209 Pine Ave. (562) 436-4363
Mr. D's Pizza & Sports Club (host: AO Stockton)
122 East Oak Street (209) 941-0881
English Tap & Beer Garden (host: Ft. Lauderdale Strikers)
5050 Town Center Circle #247 (561) 544-8000
Mickey Byrnes (host: AO South Florida)
1921 Hollywood Blvd. (954) 921-2317
Fado's Irish Pub (host: AO Miami)
900 South Miami Ave. (786) 924-0972
Tampa Bay Times Forum West Plaza(host: Tampa Bay Sports Commission)
401 Channelside Drive
Futbol Club Eatery & Tap
12030 Blue Valley Pkwy. (913) 563-4625
Brit's Pub(host: Minnesota United FC)
1110 Nicollet Mall (612) 332-3908
Johnny's Tavern in Kansas City Power & Light District
1310 Grand Blvd. (816) 268-2260
3175 Morganford Rd. (314) 772-8224
Trolleys (host: AO Springfield)
107 Park Central Square (417) 799-0309
Reza's Pitch-Burgers & Beer
304 E. Front Ave. (701) 221-9779
Wes Welker's Sports Bar and Grill (host: OKC NASL)
3121 West Memorial Rd.(405) 608-2200
Fado Irish Pub (host: AO Philadelphia and Philly.com)
1500 Locust Street (215) 893-9700
Dan McGuinness (host: The Soaring Eagles)
1538 Demonbreun Street (615) 252-1991
14930 Midway Road (972) 458-2444
932 Garden Park Drive (214) 383-2500
Trinity Hall Irish Pub & Restaurant
5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, #250
2817 Greenville Ave. (214) 823-8580
Alamo Drafthouse Park North (host: AO San Antonio & Crocketteers)
618 NW Loop 410 (210) 677-8500
Azteca Mexican Restaurant (host: La Ola Verde)
17555 Southcenter Pkwy.
Email Soccer America with your watch party plans for Tuesday or tweet them with hashtag #USAvMEXWatchParty