Don’t look now, but the 2022 MLS season is getting to the business end of the action, with only slightly more than two months remaining before this year’s MLS Cup Playoffs are due to begin. Three months from next Thursday, this season’s MLS Cup Final will be held live in primetime on FOX Sports from the home stadium of the conference champion with the higher point total. It’ll be a noteworthy match because it’ll be the last MLS contest to be broadcast before a new worldwide rights deal sees an Apple TV+ MLS league goes into effect for the 2023 season.
This is the second part of a two-part series concerning which broadcasters should be considered to be on the call for games when the new MLS/ Apple TV+ contract goes into effect.
Help Wanted: Major League Soccer in Need of Qualified Analysts for New Media Package
It goes without saying that the 2023-future MLS media package could very well be a sign of what might come next, as the new rights deal marks the first time that a North American professional sports organization made its games exclusively available via an over-the-top streaming package.
With this MLS season ending in approximately two months’ time, the powers that be have to at least brainstorm a list of names of announcers to potentially hire before the league’s 28th season kicks off.
In part one we took a look at which play-by-play announcers should be considered for the job. Now in part two, the analysts take center stage.
Stu Holden Should be a Lock
If you watch FOX’s MLS coverage, chances are that you’re probably already familiar with the network’s lead analyst Stu Holden, a former midfielder for the Houston Dynamo between 2006 and 2009 who netted 15 goals over the course of 88 MLS matches.
Since his retirement from soccer as a player six years ago, Holden has been a mainstay on FOX’s soccer events, having been paired with John Strong as the lead MLS/ FIFA World Cup broadcast team beginning in the 2017 MLS season.
Strong and Holden were onsite in Russia a little over four years ago and are slated to work together again for this year’s World Cup in November and December.
Holden Can Break Down The Game at an Expert Level
Stu Holden has been known to be adept at zeroing in on key points during a match, especially in cases of sequences where the game is won or lost.
During the USMNT‘s 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup run, the Americans closed group play with a 1-1 draw versus Panama in Kansas City.
After the match, FOX Sports’ YouTube channel released a short video wherein Holden, then a studio analyst for the network, dissected various aspects of the match, including the equalizing goal from USA midfielder Michael Bradley, outlining the sequence leading up to the tally.
It would be borderline criminal for the Apple TV+ MLS package not to include Stu Holden, and if John Strong gets hired on play-by-play, the next phone call should be placed to Holden.
Lloyd Sam is Brilliant on the Microphone
Ahead of the 2021 MLS season, expansion side Charlotte FC assembled a tremendous trio of English-language television commentators for the team’s freshman year in the league, including match analyst Lloyd Sam, who formerly played as a winger for DC United and the New York Red Bulls in MLS and Miami FC in the USL before retiring from competition two years ago
The Charlotte FC analyst gig is Sam’s first as a broadcaster in Major League Soccer, having previously worked in the same capacity in MLS’ development league, MLS Next and the USL.
Sam is able to point out where a team can be helped the most, and anyone who watched Charlotte FC’s first-ever win in team history against the visiting New England Revolution on March 19 heard this loud and clear.
During the match, he pointed out that Charlotte had to find a way for striker/forward Karol Swiderski to create scoring opportunities as the team searched for win number one of the franchise.
Sam knew what he was talking about, as Swiderski converted for a brace on the evening in a 3-1 victory.
Lloyd Sam Can Be Entertaining
A hallmark for any analyst on any sports telecast is the ability to find the balance between being informative and being entertaining, and Lloyd Sam has clearly found that balance.
Between matches, Charlotte FC releases a new episode of its video series, Crown Talk.
During the series’ second installment, Lloyd Sam promised the viewers that he would receive the official attendance figure from the inaugural Charlotte FC home match on March 5 versus the Los Angeles Galaxy (74,479, a league record for highest-attended game) as a tattoo on his arm.
Two episodes later, he kept to his word, analyzing the March 19 win versus New England and previewing the following Saturday’s match against Cincinnati while getting said tattoo.
The footage is truly something that has to be seen to be believed, and it’s for these reasons why Lloyd Sam should be strongly considered as an analyst for the new Apple TV+ MLS package of games.
Jordan Angeli is a Natural
The final stop on this microphone tour sees the bus parked in Ohio’s capital city of Columbus, the home of Crew SC, a charter member of MLS in 1996, and it’s also where Jordan Angeli, a former forward and defender for the Boston Breakers (then of Women’s Professional Soccer), as well as the NWSL’s Washington Spirit and Western New York Flash, calls locally-televised matches as the analyst on Bally Sports Ohio and Bally Sports Great Lakes.
Angeli has served as the analyst on Bally Sports Ohio’s Columbus Crew telecasts for the past three years, being the first woman in that role in team history.
Having watched Columbus Crew telecasts in the past, there’s no denying that Jordan Angeli is one of the best analysts currently in Major League Soccer, and could be one of the best for the Apple TV+ MLS package.
Her passion for the game is highly evident whenever she’s on-air or on a podcast, as she’s a regular guest on MLS Today with David Gass, previewing the noteworthy matches for the upcoming weekend or midweek slate.
She Can Do It All
In truth, Angeli is a tour de force, as she’s worked as a play-by-play commentator for the NWSL in the past, along with a stint as the radio analyst for the Colorado Rapids.
On July 27, she worked as the sideline reporter for ESPN+’s coverage of the US Open Cup Semifinal between Sacramento Republic FC and Sporting Kansas City, a match won by Sacramento, 5-4 on penalty kicks.
The Apple TV+ MLS package won’t have a decent showing without the services of Jordan Angeli as analyst, nor can they have a decent Apple TV+ MLS package without the services of Stu Holden or Lloyd Sam as analysts.
Which Analysts Would You Like to See Get the Job?
One final question to the audience out there:
As far as analysts are concerned, who would you most want to see get hired for the new Apple TV+ MLS package?
Leave your responses in the comments.
main image credits: