I was a bit too harsh in the comment threads of the TNT just now, but generally, I think I'm spot on. Something needs to improve in soccer coverage around here. The problem generally lies with reporters that are coming to the game now that MLS has entered the fray locally.
There are some exceptions. Don Ruiz at the TNT (I wasn't picking on him) and Jose Romero at the Seattle Times have been at this longer than a few months, and now their stuff shows that. Other than that, I depend on bloggers and twitter updates for my Sounders commentary.
But, here are a few things that could help things out.
1. Post game talk. I felt lost a few weeks ago driving home from my first Sounders game with no review on the radio. Even just one hour would be something.
2. Round table discussion on Sounders FC Weekly. There are enough reporters and bloggers that get it (see above) where you could replace the puffery that dominates the central news broadcast that covers the Sounders with actual discussion of the game.
Couple more subpoints about the Sounders FC Weekly. Why do they refer to Toronto FC as the "Reds?" Do they just need to have a nickname for every team? TFC is just as official a nickname for Toronto FC as they Reds is. And to that end, FC Dallas is nicknamed the Hoops, but I guess the producers haven't caught up with that one yet.
Also, the quality of the rest of the league game highlights is horrible.
3. I don't know how the rest of the reporters could carry this off, but please stop treating this like the first time you've ever covered soccer. It shows and its bad. John McGrath's reference to "soccer purists" rather than people who just understand the game implies that if you actually know something soccer, then you're outside the mainstream.
Would McGrath ever refer to someone who understands and accepts the infield fly rule as a baseball "purist?" Do only gridiron football purists understand rules regarding the forward pass, or are they just better informed?
And, if McGrath puts himself with "the rest of us" (you know, the normal folk) who don't understand why a rule exists, then should he be covering soccer?
Adendum: My explanation about why ties work:
1. The game is two 45 minute halvess, so the result is whatever happens at the end of that.
2. The season is a collection of points, not a winning percentage. The Sounders have 14 points, behind Chivas USA with 22. How they accumulated those points doesn't matter to the standings.
3. Also, the"season" is not a single competition like every other North American sport. In addition to the MLS leauge play, the Sounders may also qualify for the US Open Cup this year. Next year they could be in both Superliga or the Champions League. With so many competitions to possible consider, not playing overtime beyond 90 minutes is a good thing.
Yeah, thanks for that comment. I was thinking the same thing after last Sundays game, but didn't want to make a big deal out of it, since I am a Eurotrash Soccer Snob.
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