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US World Cup Coverage: Alexi Lalas and John Harkes the Commentating Equivalent of Laurel and Hardy

COS contributor Aaron Chewning takes a look at the manner in which the World Cup is being covered Stateside and Landon Donovan can’t believe just how much the coverage stinks.

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United States' Landon Donovan reacts after victory against Algeria in a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 23, 2010.         REUTERS/Brian Snyder (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Football (from now on I’m going to get in to character and call it
Soccer) is growing in America. The U.S. Men’s National team’s heart
wrenching, late scoring journey through the group stage and into the
first game of the knock out round of the World Cup surely won a few
hearts over from the dark side in America. We are all proud of our
boys for their fighting spirit and ability to make us pee a little in
the late stages of the games. What we are NOT proud of is the voices
of U.S. Soccer sharing their nonsense to the world.
ABC (and their little bitches ESPN and ESPN 2) have entrusted the
likes of Alexi Lalas and John Harkes to call and analyze the games for
the American broadcasts of all the 2010 FIFA World Cup games. Both are
former U.S. players that knew not what to do with themselves after
their lackluster careers were over. Lalas is the lumbering red haired
center back that spent his career looking like a lion on various
pitches around the U.S. John Harkes should have chose a career in soap
operas with his square jaw and chesseball smile, but (unfortunately
for us) chose soccer instead. He spent a few seasons in England but
spend most of his career in the MLS. Surely, if they can play
(decently) they can commentate right? Wrong.

Lalas has been in the ABC studio in Johannesburg previewing and
analyzing every game (not just the U.S. games). Not only does he not
make sense, he’s dumb. It’s not hard to see why a lot of Americans
find it hard to fall in love with soccer when they have a big ginger
gorilla trying his damndest to piece together a comprehensible
sentence. The intricacies of his sentiments rarely go any further than
“good strikers” or “solid defense.” It’s going to be impossible to
break the American opinion that soccer is an elementary game when the
voice we hear dissecting the matches come from an elementary man. The
US Soccer governing body need to break his contract with ABC, buy him
a comfortable all-purpose helmet, and ship him back to the mainland
where he can spend his remaining years sharing his dumbass opinions
with a padded wall.

John Harkes must have won too many headers back in the day. When he
calls games, I genuinely feel terrible for the often-intelligent
European bloke that has been made by ABC to bite the bullet and humor
Harke’s laughable commentary. When he’s not spouting off impressively
uninteresting stories about his glory days playing for various MLS
sides, he’s shunning the players and coaches for their futile approach
at the game he so dearly loves. According to him, John Harkes is the
God of soccer. In reality, he is the cancer that is eating at
America’s potential love for the game. While I wish him out of the
soccer world entirely, Harkes isn’t completely useless as a human
being. I’m sure there is a place in the world where he belongs.
Something like the BODIES exhibit would suit him.

America likes to be king at everything. We’ll even pretend to be king
if we’re not king. BUT we got this one wrong. I wish we could swallow
our pride and let people like Martin Tyler and Andy Gray talk to us
about our soccer. The world would be a better place. America might
actually be intrigued by soccer more often. As a hopeless lover of the
game and my country, I want every American to be enlightened to the
culture they don’t know exists. We’ll get there by taking baby steps.
Baby step one: get Alexi Lalas and John Harkes as far away from a
camera and microphone as possible.


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