ESPN's performance - USA/Mex

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Geneva, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Geneva

    Geneva LA for Life

    Feb 5, 2003
    Southern Cal
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I wanted to discuss impressions of the broadcast team.

    As I mentioned on the post-game thread, I thought Harkes was pretty annoying. One example that had me yelling at the TV: late in the game, Gooch came up to take his long throw in, and Harkes is arguing that it's too far for him to come up that late in the game, and that surely someone else could take the throw in!?!? Come on, do we want to score or not? No mention that our first goal came on just such a play. I expected Harkes to be an upgrade over Wynalda, but based on this one game I'm not seeing it.

    On the 2nd goal Mexico goal, he's calling...."someone" lost their mark there, and I'm thinking no kidding, and it took him 2 replays to find out that it was Moor. That can happen, I suppose.

    JP was OK but seemed to stumble over his words at times. Foudy & Stone are very competent, but what is with Foudy's wardrobe? Stone is wearing a suit & Julie looked very frumpy in the sweater & quilted vest.

    I thought the addition of a sideline reporter to cover Mexico, and to translate an interview at the end was a very nice touch.

    Finally, the replays and camera angles seemed like an improvement from past games. We had all our major questions answered on the offside calls. I would have liked to see a replay of the ball that went over the endline before Mexico scored on the corner kick, since there was a dispute who it went off of... but all in all I think they're doing better.
  2. ZACicker

    ZACicker Member

    Jun 2, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I actually liked this group...mainly for the fact that:

    1) they didn't talk every second of the match (sometimes there is nothing to say...just let us watch!)

    2) they didn't go off topic very much (they did talk about the SuperBowl for a few seconds, but at least they didn't go off into Wynaldaland with tangents about god-knows what.

    3) Foudy and Stone were competent, which is good. I'm not really looking for much. Just show the game, give a few interesting stats, stay on topic (soccer being the main topic!) and you'll have my stamp of approval. I'm low maintenence really. Thanks ESPN.

    4) Now if we can fix that Moor and Corrales issue...
  3. Lloyd Heilbrunn

    Lloyd Heilbrunn Member+

    Feb 11, 2002
    Jupiter, Fl.
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks, I was waiting for this thread.

    I thought JP was solid except for the miscall of the first Mexico goal, and the idiotic
    Rivalry week stuff.

    Harkes was mixed to me, right on his critical comments on Clark,MB,Corrales,Convey,and Moor. I disagreed with him on Dempsey,who I thought played well, and it is clear Gooch has the best longthrow in the squad. And I also don't get his praise of LD's deadball service.

    Both missed badly on the called back goal, as did "the truck", it should never take until halftime to figure out a call like that.

    Loved the HD, except for some reason, I had the near touchline cut out of the screen a lot(function of the Bottom Line?), or is it my TV?

    Too many crowd shots during the action.

    Stone and Foudy: Meh, but HD is not Julie's friend.....
  4. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    When I have the option of watching the game on Univision - and I don't speak Spanish well, even adjusted for the soccer terminology - I will do so because I can't tolerate the ESPN2 stats scroll at the bottom of the screen.

    That kills the deal for me right away.

    BTW, Julie's clothing was frumpy but what about her make-up and hair? Oi, vey.

    USvsIRELAND Member+

    Jul 19, 2004
    Even though he's a former US captain and great coach (or not I dont know) John Harkes sucks at commentating soccer games.

    JP is the best. Stoner rules. Foudy is lousy.

    JP+Stoner in the booth with Allen Hopkins doing the interviews and halftime with somebody new(Rongen?).

    That is the best option.
  6. leppercut

    leppercut Member+

    Oct 10, 2006
    SLC and Anchorage
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I like to watch most of the games in Univision, but that's because I'm used to that kind of mindless chatter(and am half mexican), but if you guys don't like when the espn guys go off topic, you should hear some of the stuff this guys say. It's ridiculously hilarious. but dumb sometimes.
  7. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich Member+

    Jul 11, 2006
    strange, but Harkes and Wynalda play the same role on the field as in the booth.

    Wynalda was brash and egotistical, and Harkes is a mother Hen, controlling midfield guy.

    I prefer Wynalda because he put a lot more soccer knowledge into the game and some choice comments that likely offend most people, but tend to keep things interesting.

    Harkes is bland and inoffensive and brings some sense of the game.

    A three man team of Wynalda, Harks and Arena might be the best show on TV.
  8. Geneva

    Geneva LA for Life

    Feb 5, 2003
    Southern Cal
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yep, my niece said, maybe some earrings or something would help! There's really no excuse, get that woman who makes up all the presidential candidates. Image help now.
  9. BigOranje

    BigOranje Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    Commentators aside, it continues to drive me nuts that info graphics don't really conform to what I've come to expect from watching matches broadcast anywhere else in the world. Example:


    I mean I know the Reliant Stadium crowd heavily favored Mexico and all, but that game really was played in Houston - which is in the United States - and the home team ought to be displayed on the left. In any game a viewer chances across, they should be able to glance at that bar and know who's playing, what minute they're in, what the score is, and where they are. 'Til ESPN gets it right, that ain't true.
  10. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Member+

    Apr 10, 2002
    California - Bay Area
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    HD in 16:9. Awesome! After that, I can put up with anything...

    ...well almost anything. JP was fine, but not at his best. Harkes was terrible. On the first Mexican goal, you could clearly see Moor was in front of his mark. No surprise that he lost him for the goal. No comment about maybe Timmy coming off his line. He kept complaining about Corrales (who was a mixed bag), but he never mentioned Moor on the two goals, Bradley having an off game, and the problems of traveling from Europe for an International game (which he could provide some insight).

    No more Harkes. At least his English accent or whatever it was is gone.
  11. AndSomeAreAngels

    AndSomeAreAngels Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 7, 2003
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The commentary was pretty meh. I like JP - great voice, knowledge of the game (he actually knows who plays for what team in Europe...gasp!), and doesn't digress too much.

    Harkes was pretty awful though. Still an amazing upgrade over Wynalda, but he made so many comments that just scream "AYSO". His criticisms of Dempsey, Gooch taking the long He's just bland and boring, which is still much better than Wynalda, but he lacks much insight.

    The production was the typical ESPN stuff - no meaningful replays, way too many crowd shots, cutting in for the "30 at 30" crap, etc. How effin' hard is it to show me a good replay? I just think that the directors/producers of soccer on ESPN are not soccer fans whatsoever, and therefore don't know when the audience needs replays. They rarely show any sort of set-up, but rather just show the tap-in or whatever. Really frustrating.

    The Dempsey offside call (while correct) took forever for JP and Harkes to get right. Granted, it was confusing (and a really, really late whistle), but there has to be a producer looking at replays, figuring it out, and filling in the match commentators. Clearly there was not anyone doing that and so the audience was left in the dark. They finally got it right at half-time.

    HD? Cut me a piece. Definitely the best part of the broadcast. I also liked the Matrix-style thing where they showed the angle for the shot. Kinda gimmicky, but at least it gives the viewer a better sense of what the players saw on the field.

    I don't think ESPN hates soccer. I just think no one there that's calling the shots understands the sport.
  12. Scotty

    Scotty Member+

    Dec 15, 1999
  13. MasterShake29

    MasterShake29 Member+

    Oct 28, 2001
    Jersey City, NJ
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not sure how long you've been in the U.S., but every channel here (save FSC and GolTV) shows the home team last for every sport. That's just the way it is.
  14. Dwbakke

    Dwbakke Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Arlington, VA
    American-style has the home team listed second. It's that way for every other sport in America, I don't expect them to change it for soccer.
  15. AndSomeAreAngels

    AndSomeAreAngels Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 7, 2003
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh, one more comment - Pedro Gomez interviewing Magallon at the end of the game, asking questions in Spanish and then translating, was a great touch. Kudos to ESPN and Gomez for that.
  16. The Big Ticket

    The Big Ticket New Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    MN -> UIUC
    I actually thought ESPN did a very good job. Last year's games seemed like they were produced for (or by) ADD sufferers - everything from the rapidly changing camera angles to the non-stop chatter in the booth. It wasn't nearly as bad last night. I think Harkes is a slight upgrade over Wynalda. He had a few head-scratching comments last night, but also some good observations. He's not nearly as annoying as Wynalda can be at times.
  17. dfwtinman

    dfwtinman New Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    This was mentioned in at least one of the "in game" threads, but Dempsey is not, as claimed by Harkes, a "home town boy."

    For Soccer purposes, Clint grew up in "North Texas" and played his youth club soccer in Dallas (for the Dallas Texans).

    In any event, Nacogdoches is about 140 miles from Houston versus, oh say, 110 from Philly to NYC
  18. PVancouver

    PVancouver Member

    Apr 1, 1999
    I agree it was a classy touch and Gomez was impressive.
  19. drew_VT_6

    drew_VT_6 Member

    Feb 22, 2000
    Orange County, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes. That and the fact that he talked with at least someone on the Mexico coaching staff about what was said at HT and what adjustments were being made.

    The Julie Foudy/Rob Stone chemistry was horrendous. Why not add in this Pedro Gomez guy to try to balance them out or give another side to the story?

    We're certainly getting better at this. It's nice that JP's voice brings back childhood memories, in the same way that Marv Albert's or Brent Musberger's do.
  20. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004
    "Where did you get that dress? It's awwwwful. And those shoes? Jeeeezus!"
  21. sitruc

    sitruc Member+

    Jul 25, 2006
    I never really pay that much attention to the announcers and commentators, so I rarely judge them or their performance. To me commentators are like officials. If they have a good match, you don't notice them. Even if the commentator is more colorful than most, they shouldn't upstage the match. I did have a problem with the cameras. The near sideline was cut off the entire match either by the ticker or not adjusting the camera angles for soccer instead of football which has a narrower field. It was nice to see the offside line a few times. Anybody notice we saw two different lines? One was a narrow white line and the other was a NFL style wider yellow line. Maybe ESPN will decide which one to use and we'll see it on a regular basis this year. I didn't think ESPN did as well with replays last night. They were definitely behind on the Dempsey offside. The "synthetic" thing was definitely interesting and I wouldn't mind seeing that some more as long as they don't overdo it. Of course my largest complaint is they didn't promote the match. The only reason I knew about it is because I follow US soccer and visit sites like this. I didn't see any promotion for the match and my televisions sadly take in a lot of the ESPN family of networks. I understand Duke-UNC was the big game of the week and that it is "Rivalry Week," but rivalries don't get much larger than USA-Mexico. Also, I'm in ACC territory and ESPN is blacked out for some ACC games. Local Raycom affiliates showed the game with the one announcer potentially worse than Dicky V. Basically, I'm saying that's a lot of people not watching anything on ESPN and if they promoted the match people could have turned on over to ESPN2. My next complaint isn't soccer specific. I've never liked the 30 at 30, but it is especially annoying in the run of play. ESPN needs to either ditch it or at least not completely steal the focus away from live events.
  22. sitruc

    sitruc Member+

    Jul 25, 2006
    In Foudy's defense, does Rob Stone have good chemistry with anyone?
  23. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    Farewell Sweet Prince
    Jan 9, 2004
    Gentrification's Apex.
    Philadelphia Union
    You just don't understand football. We also should have displayed the date of the game as 6/2/2008, and the game played at 20:00. That's how real football nations do it.
  24. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Correct. He is from Naca-no-where Texas. That is why us in Houston celebrate him as a Texan. Holden and Alvarez are our Houston products. Just like Agoos is a Dallas dude.

    The soccer guys I've know and played against from Tyler and other small East Texas towns did do the commute thing to DFW for their elite clubs. However they are proud to claim East Texas and not North Texas. East Texas is more like Arkansas and Upper Louisiana rather than the DFW metroplex. It's not like Clint is from Plano, Frisco or Denton partner.
  25. Smacking

    Smacking New Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Providence, RI
    I do have to say I appreciated the long lead into the game. They used to just flip from some other coverage to the game about 3 minutes before kickoff. It seemed like they really did try and place some focus on the match and build some excitement.

    Down side was those cuts to the basketball games on other ESPN channels. I felt like they were begging me to change the channel. I also felt like the cuts and zooms were not well timed. Frequently they would linger and zoom tight on players or coaches, as the ball was moving up field.

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