ESPN’s typical amateurish MLS telecast gained some new life tonight as Tommy Smyth joined Eric Wynalda and Rob Stone on the call of New England-Columbus. Smyth’s presence in the booth made an otherwise unwatchable midweek game between two teams who were completely out of form watchable. Both Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth have experience calling Major League Soccer on a local level: Rae called the New England Revolution games for many years and Smyth has experience calling matches for the New York franchise on MSG Network.
In addition to Smyth’s knowledge of the international game his presence in the booth will add credibility to MLS telecasts among fans of English and European football. A team of Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth calling MLS games rather than Rob Stone and/or Dave O’Brien paired with some former US National team player would give the league a major boost in soccer media circles. I’ll be curious to see if Smyth is permanent addition to ESPN’s MLS team or if it was a one time event.