The main thrust of my articles last week about FOX’s appointment of Gus Johnson was whether FOX made the correct decision or not to hire the best talent available. I said that I would give Johnson a chance in his debut game on FOX Soccer. So, how did he do?
Here are the pros and cons of Gus Johnson’s debut appearance on FOX Soccer:
1. Lots of energy and excitement in his voice.
2. Excellent calls on the opening goal by Danny Welback, and the wonderful kick-save by David De Gea. Plus, Johnson’s excitement at Robin van Persie’s shot later in the game that was saved off the line.
3. Very listenable.
4. He’s an American commentating on a US soccer network.
5. Did well with identifying players.
6. Gus Johnson made a concerted effort to let the game do the talking at times, instead of talking incessantly.
1. Disliked his several references to “Man U” during his commentary, which is very insulting to Manchester United supporters. To be fair, Mario Melchiot was also guilty of saying the same thing.
2. Made the mistake of calling a free kick a corner in the first half (see above photo) when Xabi Alonso had the ball.
3. Way too much talking during the game regarding trivial matters or player facts or figures that distracted and distanced the viewer from the game we’re watching. A good example of this was Ronaldo’s sensational headed goal. Instead of commentating on the build-up to the goal, Johnson was talking about Ozil’s recent performance for Germany in a friendly which was cut short just as Ronaldo’s head met the ball in mid-air.
To be fair, there were lots of talking by Tyler about off the pitch matters too that didn’t concentrate on the game, but he chose to say them during lulls or stoppages in the game, not during key moments.
4. Dislike his overuse of “fire.” I’m not a big fan of catchphrases. Tyler doesn’t have one. It’s cheap and cliched.
5. Called Ryan Giggs “one of the greatest footballers in English history.” He’s Welsh.
6. Not a big fan of his fascination with the six yard box in his commentary. “Curls it into the six,” and “…in the six” are just two examples. The six yard box hasn’t got this much love from a commentator since forever.
7. Several times during the game, he got his descriptions mixed up. When it was a pass, he described it as a cross. When it was a cross, it was a pass.