Behind The Scenes

Alejandro Moreno looking forward to booth duty for tonight’s Mexico-USA match

ESPN's Alejandro Moreno (Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
ESPN’s Alejandro Moreno (Rich Arden/ESPN Images)

Barely two months removed from his retirement as a professional soccer player, Alejandro Moreno will be in the TV booth to call one the biggest matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying series.

Moreno, Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman will share a rare three-person booth for the Mexico-USA match, live from Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca (ESPN, beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.).

A former Venezuelan National Team star, Moreno serves as the lead analyst for Mexican soccer – Mexican National Team and Liga MX – on ESPN’s English-language networks, primarily working alongside play-by-play commentator Fernando Palomo.

Leading up to Moreno’s first U.S. Men’s National Team assignment, Front Row caught up with the three-time MLS champion.

How are you preparing for the telecast?
Mexico vs. USA World Cup qualifier is “THE Game” in CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football). There is a lot information regarding this game. I am trying to organize all these nuggets by bridging the gap between interesting storylines and their tactical significance to the game.

How are you approaching your role tonight in the three-person booth?
This is a great opportunity to work with two very talented people – Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman. Both have been very helpful and accommodating. Ian, of course, has tremendous experience and provides a calming voice of reason. Taylor is a good friend, we go back a long time, and he’s anything but calming. He is passionate, knowledgeable and so eager to tell the story developing in front of him.

My role, as I see it, is to provide a different perspective. I’ll be watching very carefully and listening to both Ian and Taylor. If I feel something needs to be said and it fits within the context of the match and commentary, then my responsibility is to communicate my thoughts in a manner that makes sense to the viewer.

What are two things to watch with the Mexican National Team?
The quality of their passing and place interchange in the final third as they build attacking sequences. Also, you must pay attention to the off-the-ball movement inside the box by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

What are you most looking forward to in Estadio Azteca?
I am curious to see what happens if Mexico is not playing well early on. Will the fans turn on their own team? They have done it before. I am also interested to see how the US team reacts to playing in impressive, imposing Estadio Azteca. We will know early on if the US will be able to withstand the pressure of playing Mexico in Azteca.

REMINDER: Tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, EPSN Classic will re-air the “snow match” between the US and Costa Rica from last Friday.

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