This is becoming a disturbing pattern in Ian Darke's commentary. Two weeks ago, he fell in love with Stu Holden and ruined ESPN2's coverage of Bolton's match against Spurs. We heard about Stu's bravery in returning to England, his Mom's breakfast choices, his pioneering work in puppy dog heart transplants. Darke was in love - we get it - but surprisingly, he's not being monogamous.
Ten minutes into the United States' match against South Africa's become clear: Tim Ream has become Darke's latest lust, and John Harkes is playing match-maker. The New York Red Bulls defender, making his first senior national appearance for the States, has had his name mentioned 81 times thus far. Maybe less, I don't know, but this is quickly turning into the Tim Ream show.
Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh on Darke, but let's face it. After his coverage of Holden in the Bolton-Spurs match, this type of scrutiny is in play. You can't so blatantly pander without your credibility being an issue. Ian Darke was one of my favorite commentators before the World Cup, but since he decided getting work with ESPN was a priority, he's more of a USSF PR man than source for reliable coverage.
Now 14 minutes into the first half, the U.S. defense has been tested twice. Thus far, no score.