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Red Bulls to play for championship! ABC to show it!

(Credit: Watchdog)

WatchDog has learned the Red Bulls will play for the MLS title Sunday. No, really.

I took the family to the team's opener way back in early April, so I feel like I'm a part of this historic run. Sort of.

Click below for a very detailed news release from ABC/ESPN about its coverage plans. Drink a Red Bull before you read it; it'll be over faster.ESPN’s week-long coverage of MLS Cup 2008 will culminate with ABC’s live broadcast of adidas presents MLS Cup 2008 Sunday, Nov. 23, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET, from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The high definition broadcast will feature Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel and the New York Red Bulls vs. Argentinian midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto and the Columbus Crew in the first MLS Cup appearance for both teams.

Veteran soccer play-by-play commentator JP Dellacamera will call the match with soccer Hall of Famer and former captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team John Harkes providing analysis. Harkes was an assistant coach with the New York Red Bulls in 2007, and he played for the Columbus Crew from mid-season 2001 through 2002. The ABC broadcast will also feature two sideline reporters, Allen Hopkins and Pedro Gomez, a first for an MLS Cup broadcast.

Rob Stone (host), former U.S. Women’s National Team captain Julie Foudy and former U.S. Men’s National Team player Alexi Lalas, will provide on-site studio commentary during the pre-game, halftime and post-game segments. Lalas is a former president and general manager of the Red Bulls and he also played for the team (then known as the Metrostars) in 1998.

Other MLS Cup on ABC highlights:

§ 20 cameras, including two super slo-mo cameras, steadicam, blimp camera, and more;

§ ESPN All-Axis, a U.S. domestic soccer virtual replay technology that allows analysts to use graphic telestrations to highlight the locations and movements of players on the field to better explain how plays develop and what leads to scores, offsides and other key events during matches; and the Offside Line, which displays a virtual line affixed to the last defender to show viewers whether the referee’s offside decision is accurate on replays;

§ Black and white still photos of select players cradling the new, redesigned MLS Trophy with audio of their thoughts on competing for the championship trophy for America’s top professional soccer league. ABC conducts similar shoot for the NBA Finals with top players – such as Celtics Kevin Garnett and Lakers Kobe Bryant – with photo and audio inserted into the game broadcast and studio segments.

Additional ESPN News and Information Programming

§ The 2008 MLS Most Valuable Player, the top individual honor of the season, will be unveiled exclusively on ESPNEWS, the nation’s only 24-hour television sports news network, Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The top-three finalists: Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Chicago Fire), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew). In addition, the network will air segments previewing the 2008 MLS Cup matchups beginning Friday;

§ ESPN news and information programs such as SportsCenter and ESPN Deportes SportsCenter will feature 2008 MLS Cup news and highlights, including match-day coverage from site by reporter Jamie Motta on ESPN Deportes;

§ On Friday, ESPN2’s weekday live, morning program First Take (10 a.m. – 12 noon) will feature a segment highlighting some of the goals that paved the way for the Crew and red Bulls to play in the championship game.

§ ESPNSoccernet Press Pass (ESPN Classic, Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.): New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol will join host Adrian Healey and analysts Tommy Smyth and Janusz Michallik to preview MLS Cup 2008 on ESPNSoccernet Press Pass – one of international soccer’s most popular sports television programs tackling emergent soccer news and issues across the globe. The program will also include John Harkes in a one-on-one interview with former Red Bulls striker Jozy Altidore, who was sold in a mid-season transfer to Villarreal C.F. in the Spanish La Liga for a league record $10 million. Altidore’s interview was taped Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the U.S. Men’s National Team camp leading up to the team’s 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match vs. Guatemala.

ESPN International

ESPN International will televise the MLS Cup 2008 in 142 countries via live coverage on ESPN Dos/Dos Mexico, ESPN+, ESPN+ Andina, Australia HD, ESPN Atlantic, ESPN Middle East and same day coverage to the ESPN Pacific Rim, Latin North/South; Latin/Caribbean and Latin/Brasil regions. In addition, the MLS Cup 2008 will be carried by seven broadcasters reaching 23 countries in Europe.

ESPN Digital Media

§ This week, ESPNSoccernet.com, the leading English-language soccer news and information site in the world, features daily MLS Cup-themed stories, matchup analysis and previews through post-match reports Monday by U.S. editor Jen Chang and writers Ives Galarcep, Steve Davis and Doug McIntyre. There will also be a MLS SportsNation chat with a player on Friday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. For ESPNSoccernet.com’s coverage, click here: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/section?id=mls&cc=5901

§ ESPNdeportes.com features chats with players (TBD) leading up to the title match; a game preview chat with ESPN Deportes analyst and former MetroStars (now Red Bulls) player Giovanni Savarese; blogging and columns by Fernando Palomo; video preview and post-match reports; MLS Cup gamecast; and more.

Tags: espn

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