The quasi dark side of RBNY fandom.
If you live in America (and not under a rock), odds are, you know who Gus Johnson is.
Last year on the podcast, we had discussed Johnson doing some radio calls for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Last week, it was announced that he would be the lead play-by-play announcer for FOX’s coverage of the Real Madrid-Manchester United Champions League match last night. This is part of FOX’s plan to groom Johnson for the 2018 World Cup, which they won the US TV rights to last year. Historically, soccer fans in this country have not been happy with American announcers, whether because they want a foreign accent, or feel that American announcers don’t know know the game well enough. To an extent the second part of that has been true with some of the people ESPN have trotted out for previous World Cups.
The only clips I’ve been able to find so far have been on sportsgrid.com. Johnson was paired up with color commentator Warren Barton, and the two seemed to have a good understanding of who would do what. Johnson’s play-by-play calls weren’t really colorful, but you can’t really blame him since he has only done a handful of soccer matches up until last night. For the most part, I thought Johnson handled himself well. He was minimalist with his call during the run of play, which I personally like because I can obviously see the action. He did fairly well when talking to Barton. He let Barton provide enough information and seemed to ask decent follow ups to help the conversation along.
His best moment, in my opinion, was his call of a David de Gea save early on in the second half (last clip on sportsgrid). Johnson has always been known to explode with excitement at any moment, but he did it at the right time last night.
All in all, it wasn’t a perfect night for Johnson, but if this game was anything to go off of, America might have just found it’s first stand out announcer. Only time will tell of course, and Johnson has a lot to learn by 2018.