I am now twenty enlightening days into my MLS adventure. For any new readers I am an English football fan who is frustrated with the money driven predictable English game. I turned to Major League Soccer partly because I knew so little about it but also because it is dismissed without foundation by so many. My articles simply document my journey and my uneducated opinions on Major League Soccer. Oh and I forgot to mention, I have fallen in love with Canadian minnows Toronto FC who I decided on as my Major League Soccer team. I feel like I am far enough into my journey to talk candidly about another trivial MLS issue that should not really matter. When Major League Soccer first hit British screens over ten years ago British football fans were simply not ready for the awkward, uncomfortable and spurious commentary they had to endure. Here is a perfect example of the sort of drivel we had to put up with if we wanted to watch MLS in this country ten years ago:
Release the Kraken? Release the commentator, and hire someone else. When watching a game I want just the right amount of excitement from commentary. If he or she goes over the top and offers too much then (like in the above case) it sounds like some sort of angry orgasm which inevitably is quite off putting. Now just in case you think I am saying English commentary is exemplary, I’m most certainly not. All fans have their hated few. For instance if I hear David Pleat’s voice anywhere near a football match that I was hoping to enjoy I have to press the mute button. Who is David Pleat I hear you ask? It is this irritating, grating joke of a football co-commentator:
I wish he would go home and then retire while he’s there. Whilst on the tiresome subject of Pleat here is a golden rule for any commentators; never predict the outcome of a penalty. Best case scenario is hard to please football fans similar to myself will be underwhelmed and unimpressed by the foretelling of a well taken penalty. Worst case is you could become a national laughing stock like Kevin Keegan did after confidently announcing David Batty would score his crucial spot kick against Argentina at World Cup 98.
I have however discovered something that might be of interest to British fans who were originally put off by overexcited MLS commentators in the past. Things have undoubtedly improved. Bad commentary is no longer an excuse not to give Major League Soccer a chance. Unquestionably commentators are much more knowledgeable about the sport than they were ten years ago and muting the television is now by no means essential. I have memories of throwing a shoe at the television over a commentator’s confusion with the offside rule, however that sort of annoyance has become just that, a memory. Whilst watching Toronto commentator Luke Wileman has been faultless. Importantly Wileman gets the right amount of excited, not wildly over enthusiastic but not bored out of his brains. I have also heard the input of former Sheffield Wednesday man John Harkes who has been interesting and informed. Just as in England you inevitably get your bad eggs and some of the jargon still goes over my head, but in time I’m sure I will get it. I’m almost certain at least one commentator calls the goal itself a cage for reasons unknown to me, but I can deal with it, or at least throw a shoe at the television again.
Now onto Toronto FC and a quick mention for English defender Richard Eckersley whose goal saving block secured all three points for Toronto FC on Saturday. It was another accomplished and clinical Toronto performance and after the Pumas performance the back four looked relatively solid. I’m still awaiting my first clean sheet as a Toronto fan but 6 points out of 6 in the league is good going. Bring on Tauro F.C and Chivas USA this week and fingers crossed for some solid commentary but if we can’t get that then two wins would do. Finally if any readers have examples of bad commentary they would like to share with us then by all means add them to the comments box, because if this Tuesdays champions league fixture is anything like the last then I will need cheering up.
I have just noticed I have gone through the whole article without a single statistic so I better drop one in at the end, it doesn’t make great reading:
- Toronto FC have made 89 MLS substitutions this season, the most by any team.
TORONTO FC 2 COLORADO RAPIDS 1