Has Dave O'Brien called his last soccer match?
Another popular subject last night was word that Eric Wynalda and Dave O'Brien are being replaced as U.S. national team and major MLS game commentators for ESPN. A team of JP Dellacamera, Bruce Arena and John Harkes was being rumored to take over. Let me be the first to say that Dellacamera as national team play-by-play guy can't happen soon enough. He's the best in the business. Let me also say that the three-man booth model just doesn't work for soccer. Hopefully someone realizes this eventually. This hasn't been made official yet by ESPN though so stay tuned for confirmation.Let me be as diplomatic about this as possible, 'it is about time.'
O'Brien is a talented sportscaster but his skills do not work well with soccer. As far as Eric Wynalda, he would do better as half-time host (or maybe his own show), because most of his call during games was more commentary on items not really related to the game in front of him.
What about the 'new' guys? JP Dellacamera is fantastic and will give the games the punch they need. John Harkes will bring a wonderful knowledge of the game to the booth. Bruce Arena, um, yeah.
I don't mean to hit Arena, but his time as a broadcaster has not been that spectacular. He does bring a huge amount of knowledge with him but he just doesn't have that great of a voice. Also, why is ESPN sticking with three in the booth? Have two in the booth, one on the pitch and a half-time analyst and everything is covered.
Still, if they go with Arena as the third, it will still be an improvement. As my wife said, "I can handle one million Arenas if it means no O'Brien!"