A couple weeks ago, I reviewed Fox’s Fernando Fiore and Fox’s Copa America broadcast and loved what I saw. I thought it was entertaining and informative.

Then I watched the USA vs. Argentina Fox broadcast on location in Houston Tuesday night and found myself thinking this at the end of the broadcast:

What the hell was that, Fox?

First, let’s start with the two hour pregame show. Despite it seeming like it went on too long and the Fox crew was running out of things to say at times, I won’t blame the length of the pregame show on them. Throughout the tournament, many people have wanted to and/or criticized Fox to provide more time to their Copa America coverage and they came through on that in a very important game. So, when it comes to the length of the two hour pregame show, that’s not really on Fox and more a sense of “be careful what you wish for.”

Apart from Fox treating the pregame show like a two hour pep rally for the USA, my biggest issue with the pregame show was toward the end when the crew gave their predictions. Everyone watching the broadcast realizes that Stuart Holden, Aly Wagner and Alexi Lalas are going to be rooting for the USA. The three of them are proud Americans and proudly represented their country as players. I totally get that. I’m an American, I’m rooting for the USA too and want them to win like any other U.S. Soccer fan. At the same time, when I’m writing about the team on 32 Flags, I want to be fair to the situation and whether it’s good or bad, accurately talk about the team and what to expect.

When the Fox crew made their picks, all but Fiore chose the United States. Fiore had the distinction of being Argentinian-American so he legitimately could call it as he saw it. Holden, Wagner and Lalas all chose the United States, who were big underdogs. Holden at least provided a realistic and plausible explanation on how the USMNT was going to win, tying 1-1 and then winning in penalty kicks. Wagner went with the “my brain is for Argentina but my heart is with the United States” method as to why she chose to go with her heart and choose the USMNT. Lalas however went completely off the rails.

Lalas first said that Argentina was the favorite (true) but the U.S. wasn’t the underdog (not true). He then claimed that because the USMNT defeated Colombia in a World Cup (in 1994), Argentina in a Copa America (in 1995), Brazil in a Gold Cup (in 1998), and Spain in a Confederations Cup (in 2009), that the United States was going to win. Not to state the obvious here, but unless Lalas himself laced up his boots and played against Argentina on Tuesday night, I’m pretty sure the United States wins back in 1994 and ’95 do not apply to 2016. When the USMNT defeated Argentina in 1995, Christian Pulisic wasn’t even born yet, most of the team was in middle schoo,l and Tim Howard, the oldest player on the Copa America squad, was 16.

Even when the United States defeated Spain in the Confederations Cup, only Clint Dempsey, Brad Guzan, Michael Bradley, and Howard remain from that squad, so to say this current team could beat Argentina simply because past players who aren’t on the team anymore beat big teams in the past is something that any person could come up with and, quite frankly, should be the kind of analysis that’s beneath a USMNT legend like Alexi Lalas.

I’m not saying the Fox crew needs to hide their American pride – far from it. It’s an international game and anyone who works in soccer, including the media, is clearly going to be passionate for their country, so I’m all for letting that passion out. I also believe that that passion can blind impartiality and being fair to the U.S. Men’s National Team. I don’t think anyone would question their patriotism if more than one person chose Argentina over the United States because, I don’t know, Argentina is the #1 team in the world, have a front line that consists of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuain, and Lionel Messi, and have been the consensus favorite throughout the entire tournament. Lalas even said on Copa Tonight on June 14, entering the knockout stage, that the Copa America was “on a platter” for Argentina to win and that we should “give them the trophy.”

In between Lalas’ statement and the USMNT game, Argentina won 4-1 against Venezuela, so what led to that change of opinion? Let’s say for the sake of argument, the United States is equal to Mexico (although that’s debatable). If Mexico had been playing Argentina Tuesday night, would everyone but Fiore predict Mexico to upset Argentina? I would say not. Analysts are supposed to analyze and preview the game, not be fans. If they want to be fans first, go watch the game with the American Outlaws and put someone else in who may be a fan but isn’t afraid to say that Argentina is going to beat the United States for rather obvious reasons. I’m not asking for a loyalty test to the United States, I want realistic outcomes of what’s going to happen and predictions based on what is seen from the experts, not the kind of analysis that even a casual soccer fan could put out.

Onto the game itself, I felt the shining moment of the game broadcast was Landon Donovan. Donovan is just starting to get into broadcasting so he naturally has some things to work on, but I think he has a future. Donovan was realistic about the ability of the USMNT before, during and after the game. Sure, some may say Donovan being cut by Jurgen Klinsmann before the 2014 World Cup makes it easier for him to criticize, but Donovan was mostly complimentary about Klinsmann throughout the game and was pretty accurate with his analysis on Klinsmann and the team itself. There were times that Donovan may have said things that were a bit cliché and obvious like “goals change games,” but he hasn’t been doing this that long and he wouldn’t be the only person in sports broadcasting to do that, so it can be worked on. I wouldn’t mind seeing Donovan doing more commentary in the future knowing that there’s potential there and I think will improve over time.

During the game broadcast, many people took issue to some technical problems Fox had. Mainly, the audio was off sync and slightly ahead of the video in parts of the broadcast. In fairness to Fox, the video part is controlled by a world feed, so Fox is at their mercy for the most part. In terms of audio issues, it seemed as though that was solely a Fox problem because Univision didn’t seem to have issues with their audio. Also, Fox seemed to have a similar audio issue during their coverage of the U.S. Open this past weekend. So whatever the issue was, that was on Fox.

Then there were a couple graphics issues that contributed to the audio issues. First, Fox accidentally listed USWNT #18 Ashlyn Harris instead of USMNT #18 Chris Wondolowski when he got a yellow card during the game. No clue why that’s even a possibility of happening, but like Good Morning America and “Tea Lizard,” at least it seemed that people had fun with it.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp