You're no doubt aware that in one of the more awesome developments of 2009 or any year, the U.S. upset Spain 2-0 in the Confederations Cup semifinal yesterday. Since putting forth the national team's worst effort in 10 years against Brazil, all the Yanks have done is overturn a six-goal differential deficit to advance out of the group, throw back-to-back shutouts against two teams that had combined for 12 goals in their previous five games in the tournament, and eliminate the reigning European champions and current consensus best national team on the planet. So, yeah, that makes sense. Beautiful, beautiful sense.
The only downside to that 3-0 Egypt win that got things started was realizing, again, that despite his generally acceptable command of play-by-play and a good rapport with rapidly-improving color analyst John Harkes, lead ESPN play-by-play man J.P. Dellacamera needs a freaking ton of work on his goal calls. Goal calls are (if you ask me) far and away the most important part of a soccer broadcaster's job; I mean, they're far and away the most important part of the game, right? Via Awful Announcing, listen to Dellacamera's call of the goals that against-all-odds snuck the U.S. into the semis:
"The U.S. has another! ... (pause) ... Clint Dempsey makes it 3-0! ... (longer pause) ... We will soon know how important that goal is." Contrast that with the BBC's call of the same goal from Dempsey (via):
I'm not asking for Dellacamera to start pulling some Larry Munson-grade homerism on us or anything, but still, dude, you're American. It's OK to sound more like the Brit who realizes he's calling one of the most stunning, surprising developments in recent international soccer memory rather than the crew stuck with the Wednesday night MAC special on ESPN2.
I'll give Dellacamera a little bit of credit: his goal calls yesterday were a marked improvement. But still, listening to this rather excellent compilation of U.S.-Spain calls in four different languages (and the good work of the Univision crew), you can tell he's still got a little ways to go to catch up to the rest of the world:
Here's the good news: Dellacamera could have Ursula the Sea Witch replace his voice with Carol Channing's, and I'd still rather listen to him than ESPN's choices for play-by-play at the last two World Cups. (Jack Edwards and the unforgivably atrocious Dave O'Brien, if you're wondering.)
Your regularly scheduled Auburn programming will resume shortly.