Sadly, I got suckered in to the huge media hype surrounding David Beckham’s first game for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. I watched the game, and all 15 minutes that Becks played. For the most part I enjoyed the spectacle, I was shocked that the MLS and ESPN could put on a relatively entertaining program, considering the star of the show barely played. The one problem I had with the whole event, was the color man for the broadcast. Though he’s one of the best players in the history of American soccer, Eric Wynalda is the most critical, negative, pain in the ass I’ve ever heard on a national broadcast. Seriously, the guy is awful.
He spent the entire broadcast ripping the Galaxy for their level of play, how outmatched they were and how awful they were playing. Uh, Eric? They were playing Chelsea, FA Cup champions and one of the best clubs in the world. They have guys like Andriy Shevchenko, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Joe and Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech, of course they were outmatched. But Wynalda didn’t miss a chance to blast their defense for looking disorganized or their offense for not creating other opportunities. He also took Landon Donovan to task for not having a great season so far for the Galaxy. Well Eric, maybe he’s a little tired, since he’s been busy tying your goals record for U.S. Men’s National Team. The funny part about Wynalda being so negative, was that Tommy Smyth (Mr. “Old onion bag” himself) argued with him or had a positive answer for almost everything he said. They were basically politely arguing the whole time, with Smyth looking better in every exchange.
Some people will say that Wynalda just calls people out when no one else will, but that’s not what the MLS needs. The MLS (in conjunction with ABC and ESPN) needs announcers who are positive, almost to a fault. They need to pump up the league, spin things in a good light and make it seem that the level of play in the league is getting better – as it clearly is. Sure it’s not the NFL, but the league has gotten better and with the luring of Beckham and Cuauhtemoc Blanco to the states are big moves for American soccer and should help tremendously. They need someone who will show those moves for what they are. Having Wynalda fill that chair makes as much sense as darts at a bar. We love darts love playing whenever possible, but has anyone else thought that having alcohol and sharp metal objects flying through the air in the same room, might be a bad idea?
After Wynalda’s public bout with Bruce Arena during the 2006 World Cup and his recent (possibly drunken) quotes about Jim Rome he might not be the guy to champion the virtues of the MLS. We don’t have anything against Wynalda, he just seems like a prick who has never said anything positive about anyone. I’ve literally never heard him say anything complementary. Here’s how I see him: he’s the kind of guy who would see a Jessica Alba, and while all his buddies were talking about how hot she is he’d say something like, “Man, I’d never bang her. She’s got fat knuckles.”
I guess what we’re wondering is, what does Eric Wynalda actually like?