Soccer

Tackling his fifth MLS season with ESPN, Healey reveals a few of his favorites

Healey’s Top 5 MLS matches he’s ever called

Now in his fifth season as ESPN’s lead MLS play-by-play commentator, Healey gives Front Row the top-five league matches he’s called – one predates his ESPN tenure.
1. July 2012: San Jose Earthquakes 4-3 victory over LA Galaxy – California Classico at sold out Stanford Stadium. LA at its peak with David Beckham and Landon Donovan against a San Jose with Wondo (Chris Wondolowski) and Bash Bros. (Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart).
2. March 2014: Portland Timbers 3-3 tie with New York Red Bulls – Season opener, and debut for Caleb Porter (Portland) and Mike Petke (New York) as coaches, and for Portland midfielder Diego Valeri, who stole show.
3. July 2015: New York City FC 4-4 tie with Toronto FC – The David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco show at Yankee Stadium, including a record four penalties awarded.
4. April 2011: Portland Timbers 4-2 victory over the Chicago Fire – The first MLS home game for the Portland Timbers was an instant classic.
5. April 1998: Miami Fusion 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution – You never forget your first time.

Adrian Healey is in the midst of his fifth season as ESPN’s lead play-by-play voice for Major League Soccer telecasts.

He returns to the booth, alongside analyst Taylor Twellman, Sunday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN for the Columbus Crew versus Montreal Impact match – the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs. A veteran commentator for marquee soccer events on ESPN since 2008, Healey reflects on his tenure commentating on MLS games with Front Row.

What is your favorite MLS stadium to call a match?
With ideal proximity to the field, a super playing surface, and an amazing and perfectly-sized stadium – it is Red Bull Arena. It would be a gem anywhere in the world.

Who is the best MLS interview and why?
[LA Galaxy coach] Bruce Arena is someone we all enjoy talking to off camera – dry, sarcastic, but with a twinkle in his eye. He just gets it. Among players, Dax McCarty with New York Red Bulls is always refreshingly honest.

What is the most challenging MLS match you’ve called?
The San Jose Earthquakes’ 4-3 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy in July 2012 in Stanford. I had flown the day before from commentating on the Euro 2012 semifinal match, Germany versus Italy, in Warsaw, Poland. From an impossibly high vantage point in an unusual stadium and running on jet-lagged empty, I was handed a commentators gift – a match that almost did itself.

What are you most looking forward to Sunday with the Columbus Crew versus Montreal Impact Eastern Conference semifinal match?
This is my first postseason visit to Columbus and my first time calling a Montreal Impact match. These are two exciting teams who play an attacking brand of soccer, and with two dynamic strikers in Didier Drogba (Impact) and Kei Kamara (Crew). Sparks are going to fly.

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