Tag Archive for USMNT

USA 0 – Mexico 0, is this a coming out party for MLS and soccer in the US?

When a team has managed just a single draw in 20 years against a particular opponent at a particular stadium, getting another one is a big event.  When a team normally fills their ranks with players from European leagues but instead stocks the team with players from MLS due to injuries and other issues, it can be a big event.  When these things impact what many people consider one of the most heated international rivalries in sport, it is big.  That is what happened on Tuesday night when the US Men’s Soccer Team took the pitch at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City to face the Mexican National Team and in the past two days there have been many published thoughts about what happened and what it might mean for both soccer in general and for Major League Soccer and US Soccer specifically.  Who am I not to jump on this bandwagon and offer some thoughts?

The biggest thing that has jumped out to me after the match isn’t what most people have focused on, for me it has been the number 7,000,000. That is the number of people in the United States that watched the match on TV, the most ever for a World Cup Qualifying match.  4.6 million of those people watched the match on Uni Mas, while 2.4 watched the match on ESPN.  That number on ESPN was 47% more than people who watched the NBA match that was showed at the same time on TNT (LA Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks), that is a huge accomplishment for US Soccer.  I think the appeal of the US vs. Mexico match, along with the excitement of last week’s US vs. Costa Rica match (the snow match in Denver) sure helped boost ratings.  These numbers both on of these networks were record highs for this type of programming, a great accomplishment for the networks, the teams, and for the fans of both sides.

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Two down and thirty two to go for Real Salt Lake & other news

So on Saturday night RSL lost a tight 1-0 match to DC United, and to be honest neither team looked nearly as good as I expected them to, a part of that might be the way the respective midfields match up, a part could be that we are still very early in the MLS season and teams are still adjusting to new lineup, teammates, and such.  Still, remember back to what Garth Lagerwey has said for a few months now, RSL will look better in June than they do in March and they will look better in October than they do in June.

So there were some real upsides on Saturday night, perhaps none more than the late match energy of Lovell Palmer who was a ball of energy on both sides of the ball and could be pushing for a start on Saturday against Colorado if he is fit enough to go the full 90.  I think Chris Schuler and Kwame Watson-Siriboe were rock solid in the match and worked well in tandem of who was going forward and who was covering space, the teamwork and communications between them seemed to be spot on.

On the downside, I think RSL lacked a bit of energy early on in the match, it seemed to lack the intensity of the San Jose match, but that is somewhat understandable on a short week, a long trip to the East coast and your second road match in 7 days.  You also have to remember that we were taking on two teams that finished in the top 3 last year, the two finished with a combined home record last year of 22-2-10.

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The Gold Cup is coming to Rio Tinto Stadium

Now before we all get too excited the exact dates and teams are yet to be announced, but we can look at the stadiums that were chosen, the format of the tournament, and come up with some speculations.

We know that 12 teams make the tournament, for 2013 those teams are (Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States – either Panama or Guatemala will join those 11 teams).  The tournament has 3 groups of 4 teams that will play each other once (3 sets of double headers), and that the top 2 teams from each group and the next two best teams advance to the Quarterfinals, and then the winners advance to the Semifinals and the finals.  If we look at the 2011 version of the tournament there were 9 group stage dates each at a different location in the form of double headers, two quarterfinal dates and location (again each a double header), and the semis at a single site (a double header) and then a single site for the final.

Yeah that was tough to follow, but I will try to make it simpler, if you look at the map provided by CONCACAF:

Locations where the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches will be played.

Locations where the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches will be played.

So if you look at the map there are some natural groupings by geographic region that would seem to jump out at you, but don’t be fooled.  In 2011, Group A played matches in Texas, Illinois, and North Carolina, while Group B played in California, Florida, and New Jersey, Group C played in Michigan, Florida, and Kansas.  The Quarterfinals were played in New Jersey and Washington DC at larger NFL style stadiums, the Semis were at Reliant Stadium in Houston, and the final at the Rose Bowl in California.

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