Sunil Gulati dropped a few coy hints (namely a very obvious, non-commital smile) on Wednesday when asked if Seattle would get a World Cup Qualifier any time soon. Now the prevailing belief is that the Sounders' home field will be hosting a WCQ date sooner rather than later.
The idea might divide some, but I think this is excellent news.
It rewards a rabid fanbase with the chance to see their National Team play in person, which will obviously generate a raucous atmosphere. There are few things that pump up a player more than a stadium full of screaming fans, and having the match based in pacific northwest will make it highly unlikely that USA fans will be in the minority, as is the case in any stadium near the Southwest.
I have read complaints about the artificial surface making injuries more likely, or that the quality of the game will drop significantly, but these issues miss an important point: the playing surface is an equal opportunity hinderance. If the tradeoff is having the Clink rattling with tens of thousands of fans, then the United States still has an edge. It's worth pointing out that a lot of our players have experience playing on artificial fields, while the same cannot be said for a great deal of Central Americans or Caribbean folks.
The Houston Dynamo have acquired a Spanish language broadcast partner, securing a deal with Mega TV. The agreement will see Mega TV broadcast seven away games this coming season, with a 30 minute pre-game and post-game show. Spanish speaking Dynamo fans should be pumped, as their team is getting more coverage in Spanish that most teams do in English, content-wise. While the deal only broadcasts a fraction of their games, it is nevertheless progress for a city that didn't even have its own stadium two years ago.
That deal is a good sign for soccer here in Texas, and whlie FC Dallas can barely get on the radar with most of the hispanic population here, it shows that it is possible to appeal to the latino crowd with exposure through the right channels. We all hate the Dynamo, but their efforts provide a solid roadmap that can be followed by other teams, and that is something to be commended.
I would recap the USMNT match from yesterday, but why re-live the heartache? You would be better off reading Rosenblatt, McCauley and Rockwell (sounds like a law firm), the men who ply their trade at Stars and Stripes FC. They do a great job of covering the Nats and if you have not yet taken a peek at their work, go look. Their articles are informative and amusing.
As a side note, I usually listen to ESPN Deportes in the morning and the complete meltdown that the hosts are having over their draw with Jamaica is delicious. Points-wise it is not exactly a rosy result for our Nats, but I can't deny the satisfaction of hearing Mexican fans commit opinion-related fratricide over their National team's result. The shouting and hysteria on the radio this morning was pure, auditory gold.
Roy Hodgson has reportedly asked Frank Lampard not to join MLS, under the premise that it would be "difficult for the manager to follow" him if he were to move stateside. The hidden meaning in all this is they obviously believe MLS to be well below European quality, which is hard to argue. Whether Lampard would suffer from playing in MLS is a different conversation entirely, though I cannot help but feel a little annoyed at these comments.
England is hardly the most inspiring side at the moment, their win aganst Brazil notwithstanding, and they need every able-bodied stud that they can get their tea-stained hands on. It's true that Lamps is coming along in years, but if you have been paying attention to Chelsea (or indeed, his goal against Brazil) then it is clear the man has a few years left in him. Jürgen Klinsmann himself produced well into his 30s, and there's no reason to believe Lampard is going to drastically decline based exclusively on age. The only real issue I forsee with a move to MLS would be an increased risk of injuries given his age and the physical play (read: assault and battery) allowed by our league.
However, all this speculation could end being entirely pointless, as it is being reported by Dan Levene of the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle that Mr. Abramovic is heavily considering re-signing the British legend.
Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake went and got himself injured during a friendly that occurred last month against the Danish U-20 team and has now had surgery, putting him out of action for at least 4 to 6 weeks at the earliest. With RSL missing Morales, and with Jaime Olave and Fabian Espindola both gone, you have to wonder if RSL can continue to set high expectations. One or two extra injuries and this could become a season where simply getting into the playoffs would be considered a success.
- Should Frank Lampard come to MLS, will the drop in quality competition actually hurt his level of play? It did not seem to affect Becks as much.
- Are you joining the schadenfreude party against Mexico or are you more cautious in your approach to what you want in the Hex, points-wise? Mexico IS going to qualify, so shouldn't they take as many points as possible from our other opponents?
- How do you feel about Seattle potentially getting a WCQ? If their artificial field gets greenlit by the USSF, should Portland also be considered for purposes of home-crowd advantage?