Monday, March 26, 2007

US 3, Ecuador 1

Landon Donovan (10) of the United States attacks the Ecuador goal during the first half of an international friendly soccer match in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, March 25, 2007. The United States won 3-1. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Yesterday the United States Men's National Team played Ecuador in a friendly in Tampa, Florida, winning 3-1 on the strength of three fine goals by our mercurial star, Landon Donovan. (Also known as Landycakes, LandonGone, and InvisiLandon for his habit of disappearing in big games. This was only a friendly.) Ecuador played well in the World Cup so this was a good test.

I didn't really concentrate on the first 15 minutes of the game, because I was watching on a split screen with Marist-Tennessee on the other. Sadly, the Pride of Poughkeepsie succumbed early to the awesome Candace Parker and Pat Head Summit's excellent team, so the Nats got my full attention.

Unfortunately, the game was on ESPN, and they have their terrible trio of announcers: Dave O'Brien, or Dave O'Baseball as I call him; Bruce Arena, the recently deposed coach of the National Team; and Eric Wynalda, the leading scorer in the history of the men's team, who is as terrible an announcer as he was great as a player.

Donovan scored in the first minute, then again at 66 and 67 minutes. The first goal was a gift from Ecuador as a clearance went straight to him. The second goal came off a brilliant through pass from Brian Ching, and Donovan ran 50 yards down the field before putting a nifty shot past the keeper. The final goal was a blast off a great left footed cross from the much-maligned Damarcus Beasley (maligned partly because Bruce Arena played left footed Beasley on the right throughout the World Cup).

The back line didn't play very well, and looked disorganized throughout the first half. It's hard to put together a cohesive team in a matter of days, and of course Jimmy Conrad and Oguchi Onyewu haven't played together very often, as Arena played Eddie Pope in the back line for the Nats far too long. Can you say 'red card, Italy', anyone? There was no mention of Jay Demerit, the 26-year-old American starting for Watford in the Premier League who has never been capped. He was suffering from a groin injury at the beginning of camp, but was supposedly available. (google: Yanks Abroad says he had "picked up a knock". Whatever that means.) Maybe they'll think to mention him on Wednesday when the Nats play Guatemala in Dallas, Texas in their second friendly (minus Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, and Brian Carroll who have all been released to their club teams.)

I hate Dave O'Brien as a soccer announcer so much. First, he still doesn't know the game. He doesn't even know all the US players by sight yet. And forget the other team. When Donovan was running half the field to score his second goal, O'Brien never identified the pass as having come from Ching. Because he didn't know who passed the ball until he watched the replay! Just pathetic. Then, he gives extraneous information, constantly repeating the score and the time remaining (both of which are constantly available on our screen via ESPN's graphics). He describes players by giving their numbers, which is just not done in soccer. I don't care what any player's number is. And then there's his obsession with the weather and the temperature. I don't care! I can see that the sun is shining, I know the game is in Florida, I see the players sweating, I know it's hot. Just shut up and watch the game. And that's the worst thing about Dave O'Baseball, HE NEVER SHUTS UP. You never hear the players calling to each other on the field, or the sound of the crowd. There are no moments of silence. No, he starts saying that Gooch looks like an American football player, or talking about baseball, or telling us what he knows about soccer, which consists of what he saw during last summer's World Cup. Just the constant blare of his basso profundo voice, telling us nothing.

Do you know that ESPN hates me? Yes, it is a proveable fact. Three years ago O'Brien was approached about becoming the radio voice of the Chicago Cubs, but ESPN said no. This year, it was the Red Sox, my beloved Red Sawx, who came calling and ESPN gave him permission. Yes, it's true, Dave O'Brien now ruins the summer pleasure of listening to the Red Sox game on the car radio. Instead of hearing the sounds of the shrine of Fenway, fans chatting, beer sellers hawking, Sawx fans heckling, planes overhead, all I'll hear now are Dave O's stories about when he was the announcer for the Marlins, and the obscure trivia that must be spewed over every sporting event he calls. Oh Christ, just shoot me now and get it over with. Can I be charged with road rage if I run someone off the road with my car while fuming over the empty stylings of Dave O'Baseball?

USSoccer game report

ESPN game report

FoxSports game report

MySoccerBlog: Player grades


Anonymous said...

Looks like nobody else agrees with you.BTW - ESPN's coverage of the World Cup received an Emmy nomination last week. And O'Brien never identifies players by number.
Why don't you start paying attention? Any idiot can blog an inaccurate rip of somebody more talented than they are. Why not strive to be something more? Start by getting your facts straight. Concentrate. You hold yourself to a far lower standard than the people you rip. You should be ashamed.

truth said...

I feel so alone.

ESPN - PLEASE Show Dave O’Brien A Red Card!

WSJ: Fans Say ESPN's World Cup Coverage Deserves Penalty

SportsFilter: Prefer a language you don't understand over Dave O'Brien?