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Brian Dunseth: Why I Don't Watch MLS

Brian Dunseth was a better player than commentator.
Brian Dunseth was a better player than commentator.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Joe OneillCorrespondent IINovember 14, 2010

I'm a soccer fanatic. A season-ticket holder to the Portland Timbers, I can't wait until they make their debut in MLS next year. Every Saturday—and Sunday—is spent watching the Premiership on FSC (to the consternation of my wife).

I love the flow of the game, the strategy and the anticipation of the development of the play.

I would like to show my allegiance to the American league by tuning in to watch MLS.

There's just one problem.

The likes of Brian Dunseth.

Dunseth is a commentator for Fox Soccer Channel. He's an expert in the painfully obvious. His vocabulary might be 1,000 words.

If Vin Scully is jazz, Brian Dunseth is elevator music.

I don't watch MLS because the skill of the game is below the Premiership (though it most obviously is). I don't watch it because listening to Dunseth is more annoying than listening to a screaming 2-year-old.

The executives at MLS still have't figured out their audience, or their product.

The MLS just isn't a great product yet, and they need commentators who can sell the game. Tommy Smythe and Andy Gray are two examples of excellent British commentators. They can take a boring game and make it interesting simply with their analysis and banter. They provide insight into the strategy of the game that is both interesting and educational.

Dunseth, on the other hand, is simply annoying.

He essentially says exactly what is happening on the screen. An example of his recent coverage of the Colorado-San Jose playoff game:

"Convey makes a left foot shot. Cronin, big first touch. Brian Johnson on the left. Cut-off by Mullin."

Wow! Riveting stuff.

Someone needs to explain to Dunseth that viewers are watching the game and can determine the action on the screen. This isn't radio.

His commentary reads like short sentences designed to teach a 6-year-old to read. They're basic, boring and painfully, painfully uninteresting.

The sad truth is that every time Fox tries to insert an American commentator, they are just awful (see Foudy, Julie and Stone, Rob). The strategy seems to be find a former player and stick them in the broadcast booth.

Bad strategy.

Dunseth was a former MLS player of some notoriety. He looks, and sounds, like a frat boy/male model. Nice to look at, but I just wish he would keep his mouth closed.

The best sports commentators, in my opinion, are rarely ex-players. Vin Scully, Howard Cosell, Bob Costas and Marv Albert were never successful players. They are broadcasters and masters of their craft.

So, until FSC can figure it out and get some broadcasters that don't make me want to turn off the TV and stick my head in the oven, I'll be watching the Premiership and tuning out MLS.

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