ESPN2’s coverage of Major League Soccer kicks off tonight, and I couldn’t be jollier. I can actually watch the games at home tonight instead of going to the local soccer pub, which is nice, if for no other reason than I can imbibe as freely as I like and not have to call the wife for a ride home afterwards. She loves picking me up… she really does. She even loves cleaning the vomit out of the back seat the next day.
Here is what is on tap for the opening games…
New England v. Chicago: This game should be the better of the two matchups. Sure, the Revs are banged up, but if you saw the last game you know that those new Gambians (Mansally & Nyassi) sure can play. Seems while everyone else was trolling South America for talent, the Revs were tapping the African market (that sounded oddly sexual). Even without Twellman or Ralston, the Revs should show up to play. Plus, Blanco loves a big stage, and for MLS, it doesn’t get any bigger during the regular season than the Thursday night 8:00 MLS game. It’s kind of like MLS’s Monday Night Football, only without the annoying theme song, Mike Tirico or as many viewers. Hey, at least it’s never employed Dennis Miller (though Wynalda had Miller’s snarkiness sans the library of references).
San Jose v. Los Angeles: David Beckham’s Gals should be more comfortable in the friendly confines of the HDC than they were last week in the thin air of Colorado. While L.A. certainly wants to erase the memory of last week’s debacle, SJE, guided by former Galaxy coach Frank Yallop, is looking to return to the league by making a statement. Beating the Galaxy would not be super impressive, but it would be a coup for Yallop and Joe Cannon, both of whom were cast away from L.A. last season like Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend. Meanwhile, L.A. will be without Carlos Ruiz, who suffered a knee injury in the final minutes of the season opener. I can’t believe I am saying this, but its very possible the Quakes could outplay the Galaxy. Gullit needs Beckham to be involved early and often.
As for the broadcast team, Rob Stone and Julie Foudy will still be in the studio to provide background prior to the game and highlights at half time. Allen Hopkins will still be on the sidelines. The only changes are that JP Dellacamera and John Harkes are in and Dave O’Brien and Eric Wynalda are out as play-by-play announcer and color analyst respectively. Though, as this is a double header, we will likely get to see the ESPN2 MLS B announcing team as well, and lord knows who MLS has rounded up to do the second game (is Dennis Miller available?).
As for play-by-play, the change shouldn’t make too much of a difference. But Harkes for Wynalda could be a change for the worse.
Wynalda got the boot (likely) for his perceived arrogance. It didn’t help that he made comments that some people considered inappropriate regarding the California wildfires of 2007. Wynalda also said Jim Rome could “suck [his] dick” and threatened to “club [Rome’s] ass” if he got too many drinks in him. I for one, am still trying to figure out what was so wrong with this statement. Personally, if Wynalda wants to have a few cocktails, make Rome suck his dick and then club his ass, I am all for it.
Seriously, ESPN got rid of Wynalda because he was too arrogant? Has anyone at ESPN ever watched Jim Rome’s show? Let’s just say I got really excited when I saw a show called Jim Rome is Burning was going to be on ESPN. It was so disheartening when I learned it was not actually a competition where people tried to set fire to him.
This is a guy who never played professional sports, yet publicly ridiculed a former NFL Pro Bowler for not being tough enough, only to have that former Pro Bowler almost kick his ass on the air.
Now, I don’t want Rome anywhere near my penis and I am not putting anything in the vicinity of his ass. But, if I get the chance, I may get Jim Everett to do it for me.