Behind The ScenesSoccerSportsCenterStarting 5

SC anchor Bretos’ perspective on Twellman’s USMNT rant

ESPN soccer analyst and former US Men’s National Team star Taylor Twellman is more than a tad bit upset about the American side’s elimination from FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia contention.

Tuesday night in Couva, Trinidad, the U.S. national team suffered a 2-1 upset loss to host Trinidad & Tobago. The result, combined with scores elsewhere, resulted in the U.S. being eliminated from qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 31 years.

Interviewed by anchor Max Bretos on SportsCenter moments after watching the match from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studio, Twellman unleashed an epic, more-than-six-minute rant that resonated with a nation of disappointed fans on social media. EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch an excerpt of Twellman’s outburst in the ESPNFC tweet above and read the social media reaction at the bottom of this post.

[espnpull align=”right”]It was maybe two minutes after [the match ended], and so emotions were raw. I have covered this sport for 20 years, so my stomach was turning. – Max Bretos, anticipating Taylor Twellman’s on-air reaction to the USMNT loss[/espnpull]

Bretos, who taped an edition of the Max and Herc American soccer podcast immediately after his SportsCenter duties, tells Front Row what it was like as Mount Twellman erupted.

“I walked towards the SportsCenter studio at halftime of game; it was one of the worst halves I have ever seen the U.S play,” Bretos recalls. “Taylor was in the SVP [Scott Van Pelt] meeting room, I walked in disbelief. We both had a look on our face like we saw a ghost.”

Later, Twellman walked into the SportsCenter studio, where Bretos and Nicole Briscoe were reporting.

“It was maybe two minutes after [the match ended], and so emotions were raw. I have covered this sport for 20 years, so my stomach was turning,” Bretos said.

Bretos’ instincts were correct.

“As I listened to his first answer, I immediately noticed the volume of Taylor’s voice, he was screaming,” Bretos recalls. “The studio was eerily quiet, everyone knew what was being said was important.

[espnpull align=”left”] I knew then I could not interrupt, but I had to keep that volume and passion of Taylor going, the questions had to feed into the anger towards the failure.
– Bretos on interviewing Twellman[/espnpull]

“I knew then I could not interrupt, but I had to keep that volume and passion of Taylor going, the questions had to feed into the anger towards the failure.”

Bretos used to call Twellman’s national team matches; Twellman played for the American side from 2002-08.

“I have known him for 15 years. I believe that familiarity is key in these spots,” Bretos said.

Twellman’s emotional tirade about the failure of U.S. men’s soccer has earned rave reviews. It also provides just another example of SportsCenter providing a forum for reaction to breaking sports news.

“In closing, we saw the power of SportsCenter,” Bretos said. “Suddenly, we are doing must-see TV that everyone in soccer and beyond has watched. [It’s] a reminder of the important work we do.”

As Max Bretos (L) watches, Taylor Twellman (R) marvels at how Iceland qualified for the 2018 World Cup but the U.S. failed to do the same.

A sampling of social media reaction: