Now a second set of analysts have been announced, and they will certainly add to the quality and prestige of ESPN’s presentation in their last World Cup broadcast. Two of them are current prominent analysts for ESPN’s global soccer coverage and the other two have previously been involved with major events. Kasey Keller and Alejandro Moreno officially join the World Cup cast while ESPN welcomes back veteran EPL voices Efan Ekoku and Stewart Robson. Ekoku called the 2010 World Cup Final with Martin Tyler for ESPN while Robson worked the Confederations Cup Final with Darke last summer in Brazil.
Here’s more on each new analyst from ESPN…
Ekoku scored an impressive 16 goals in 38 appearances for Norwich City during the 1993-94 Premier League season, earning a spot on the Nigerian National Team for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. He currently works as a co-commentator for Premier League Productions, where he is heard across the English-speaking world wherever Premier League matches are televised.
Keller, a member of the U.S. team roster for four World Cup tournaments (1990, 1998, 2002 and 2006), is the most-capped goalkeeper in U.S. Men’s National Team history with 102 appearances. He is a studio analyst for select Major League Soccer and U.S. Men’s National Team telecasts, and he served as co-commentator for the 2013 Confederations Cup and the UEFA EURO 2012 on ESPN.
Moreno, who played 41 matches for Venezuela from 2004-11, ended his 11-year Major League Soccer career in 2012 and made a seamless transition to broadcasting. He is the English-language match analyst for Mexican soccer – “El Tri” and Liga MX club matches – on ESPN networks, as well as studio analyst for ESPN FC and MLS Cup on ESPN.
Robson, a midfielder, played top-division football for 13 seasons with Arsenal, West Ham United and Coventry City from 1981-94. Since he retired from professional soccer, Robson has been a television commentator for Arsenal TV, UK’s international feed of FA Cup and ESPN UK.
These four join previously announced analysts Alexi Lalas, Taylor Twellman, Steve McManaman, Michael Ballack, Gilberto Silva, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Santiago Solari to form a very strong core for ESPN.
Now the intrigue that remains is which analysts will be matched up with which play by play men. It’s interesting to note that ESPN says Robson will serve in a “lead match analyst” capacity but did not say whether he would be teamed with Ian Darke as the #1 team.
ESPN has no fewer than four analysts to choose from to be Darke’s partner for the World Cup Final – Ekoku (who called the 2010 Final), McManaman (who worked with Darke for ESPN’s EPL coverage), Robson (who called the 2013 Confederations Cup with Darke), and Twellman (who works USMNT games with the Englishman).
All four would be deserving and there isn’t a bad choice in the group. With all the talk surrounding the sport of wanting to hear more American voices for American soccer coverage, it would be great to see Twellman placed in a Final role before ESPN hands off the baton to Fox and Gus Johnson. Theoretically, ESPN could pair McManaman or Robson with Darke for England games and Twellman for USA games and then decide knockout round announcing assignments from there.
To decide the Final analyst, maybe Darke can take each one of his prospective partners out on a date and announce it for our viewing pleasure.