[TELEVISION WATCH] American voices will be almost entirely absent from ESPN's expansive coverage of the World Cup, but luckily it will have Alexi Lalas. He rang the alarm bell about the U.S. backline. And that was before the game started ...
Lalas was clear about what the game did or did not mean. "He knows his 23," he said of Bob Bradley before the USA went out and lost to the Czech Republic, 4-2.
But he raised concerns about those who'll be going, notably Oguchi Onyewu, who hadn't played in seven months after suffering a knee injury.
"He's a complete lame duck," said Lalas.
But he added the problems didn't stop there, listing off the two other key center backs.
"Jay DeMerit. Another center back. It was announced the other day that he's having depth-perception problems with his eyes. Possibly a problem when you're a marking back or a professional soccer player ...
"Carlos Bocanegra. We find out the guy's had [sports hernia] surgery a couple of weeks ago out. They neglected to tell us that ..."
Lalas' take on the U.S. situation was in contrast to that of German Juergen Klinsmann, who did not add much in his ESPN debut.
Klinsmann's post-game summation: "I hope the coach saw the things that he wanted to see."
WISHFUL THINKING? Bob Bradley measures his words, so it was a surprise for him to slip up in his post-game interview with Jeremy Schaap.
Among the positives he got from the loss: "Having Gooch and Stuart Holden get 90 minutes, that's also real important."
Bradley apologized for the slipup -- Onyewu only went 65 minutes -- but he sure sounded unconvinced about the fitness of his giant center back.
"Through this period," Bradley added, "he's moving better all the time. We'll see how he comes out of this game. I think he felt good coming off the field. We'll continue to work him hard."
NO WINGS IN RENNES? John Harkes' sense of humor rarely comes across on television, but he did have the line of the night when a camera caught Landon Donovan and captain Carlos Bocanegra talking while Bocanegra was eating what looked like a chicken wing in the suite for the U.S. players who didn't dress.
What was Donovan saying?
"You sure you're OK to eat that," said Harkes.
(What did you think of ESPN's coverage of the USA-Czech Republic game. Let us know in the comments below ...)