Friday, August 10, 2007

LA 0-1 DC - Beckham shows something but United get the points

Los Angles Galaxy 0-1 DC United
The fans at RFK got just about everything they wanted as Beckham played, Emilio scored and United won. Not a bad way to spend a night.

During the first half, ESPN kept showing Beckham on the sideline and mentioning how angry he looked but I'd be pissed as well if my club played as horrible as his did in the first 45. LA was getting nothing moving and could not hold a ball to save Donovan's life. Meanwhile United, thanks in large part to the work of Fred in the middle were everywhere while Gros and Olsen were having standout matches.

The second half saw LA actually start playing a serious match and not losing the ball with every touch, but it was United's Jaime Moreno that caused the most excitement. He was running at balls and putting himself into position. If only he could have kept his shots down, he might have broken the MLS record for goals.

And then it was time, Beckham entered the match and he showed what he could bring to the Galaxy. Even though they were down a man, LA was suddenly moving forward and controlling the tempo. Between enforcing calm and directed his players, Becks also found time to place a few near perfect passes including one that almost set Donovan free in the United box. LA played United close for the final 20-minutes and actually looked like they could get a tie out it. In short, this was the best the Galaxy looked all year and is reason enough for people to not write the club's season off.

Now a few other things about the match. How was that take down of Donovan by Devon McTavish in the box not a penalty? It was a textbook example of a play that should result in a pk. United was extremely lucky with that call.

Hopefully the league will give LA's Kyle Martino a huge fine for his disgusting tackle on Fred. As the video showed, Fred is lucky to be walking today.

What does it take for ESPN to actually call the match taking place right in front of them. Stop talking about the NASL or American's in Europe or Barry Bonds and talk about the action happening in the game. At least three times there was action taking place in the box and the ESPN boys were talking about something else. Eric Wynalda made a big deal about how MLS needs to focus less on getting fans from other sports and more on getting the soccer fans that already existence, yet he spent most of his time on mic not calling the game. Does he really think fans of European soccer want to hear about the hairstyles of players (or whatever garbage they were talking about)? It really is a simple concept, if the action on the pitch isn't exciting enough for the people who are being paid to pay attention to the game, why should anyone else. If ESPN wants them to talk about all this other stuff then why not either do it at halftime (like they do in the NFL and NBA) or, crazy idea, have a 30-minute pre-game show.

But let's end on a happy note, seeing RFK full for a soccer match was wonderful. Let's hope a number of those fans liked what they saw and return again soon.

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Anonymous Sean PHHS said...

About ESPN's commentators- I agree with you. After watching years of British Football, with the very Spartan commentary (for the most part), there seems to be this unease that every second has to have some sort of inane prattle or else the audience will think nothing is happening. I used to mute Ty Keough, and I am thinking about doing the same for all broadcasts. Did they ever consider that talking about celebrities instead of the game might be a reason people don't tune in?
And Beckham, well, I have to admit I am not the biggest fan but I do recognize the ability. I thought the twenty-twenty five minutes he played were solid. But how many "casual fans" are going to understand that he is not a goal-scoring machine, but a playmaker?

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd think that with the current all-Texas situation in the Western Conference there'd be plenty of league-specific news to talk about. I'm not sure how exciting it is for casual fans when Wynalda keeps reiterating that "the best players go overseas."

1:19 PM  
Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

Impressed as I was by Michael Wilbon's somewhat unexpected knowledge of soccer (comments about Wilbon appear in the "random" section), you do have a point about the long, mid-game conversation about the NASL and Beckham's potential to save the game. I will, however, offer a defense of the decision: because ESPN lacks a self-run platform to air discussion of that kind of topic and with that kind of figure, they took advantage of the one platform they have - and the most visible one at that: a game featuring Beckham.

It's not the best decision, but it's at least defensible.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Manly - love your views as always. I too was impressed with Wilbon and, as you said in on your site, he should be in the booth for some games.

Now I'm not saying that they shouldn't go off on such tangents at times but it seems that the main potion of their broadcast is spent yakking about nothing and they only talk about the game as an after thought. Actually, if they wanted to have a 20-minute knock down talk about the state of soccer in America (and I mean a real examination of it and not a surface, general, nothing to see here kind of talk), I would so welcome that over much of the junk they do discuss.

Sean - You nailed it, there is a fear of silence in broadcasting but sometimes that is the best way to do it.

Anon - So true, there is so much happening in the league that they could talk about but they never do.

2:55 PM  

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