Friday, September 30, 2005

Abridged Version

Congrats to the US Open Cup champ LA Galaxy and fans of the Colorado Rapids on the Commerce City stadium groundbreaking. Enjoy the weekend. The Kin of Fish will be back on Wednesday.

Clip ‘n’ Save
Lots of footie fun on the tube this weekend, including all six MLS matches, many with playoff implications. Here’s a sampling (all times ET)…

Saturday, 10/1
10:00am: GER: Eintract Frankfurt –Schalke on FSC
Noon: EPL: Sunderland – West Ham on FSC
Noon: ITA: Chievo – Treviso on RAI
2:00pm: ESP: Barthelona – Real Zaragotha on GOL
3:00pm: EPL: Charlton – Tottenham on FSC
4:00pm: MEX: Toluca – Chiapas on Galavision
6:00pm: MEX: Monterrey – Santos on Galavision
6:30pm: ITA: Udinese – Lazio on GOL
7:30pm: MLS: Columbus – Chivas on DK, HDNet
7:30pm: MLS: MetroStars – Scum, I mean DC United on DK, MSG, CSN
7:30pm: MLS: New England – San Jose on DK, WLVI
8:00pm: MLS: Kansas City – Chicago on DK, Comcast
8:30pm: COL: Millonarios – Santa Fe on GOL
9:00pm: MLS: Colorado – Real Salt Lake on DK, Altitude, KSL
10:00pm: MLS: Los Angeles – FC Dallas on DK, FSN West 2, KLDT
10:00pm: MEX: Atlas – Atlante on Telefutura
11:00pm: USL-1 Final: Seattle – Richmond on FSC

Sunday, 10/2
8:00am: ITA: Fiorentina – Livorno on RAI
9:00am: ITA: Lecce – Cagliari on FSC
9:00am: ITA: AC Milan – Reggiana on GOL
11:00am: ESP: Deportivo La Coruna – Osasuna on GOL
1:00pm: EPL: Arsenal – Birmingham on FSC
2:30pm: ITA: Juventus – Inter Milan on GOL, RAI
4:00pm: U-17: 3rd Place game: Turkey – Holland on FSC
4:30pm: ESP: Malaga – Real Madrid on GOL
5:00pm: MEX: America – San Luis on Telefutura
7:00pm: U-17: Final: Mexico – Brazil on FSC, Galavision
9:30pm: BRA: Corinthians – Brasiliense on GOL

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lalas (Sort of) Live

Metro GM Alexi Lalas took time out of his day to tackle some tough questions from fans in a chat on Not only did he field a marketing question from yours truly (3rd question in) but the red-haired one pulled the curtain back a bit to note:
  • Tailgating won't be an option at Harrison, though there will be pubs & restaurants near the stadium
  • Harrison may not be ready for the 2007 season
  • Ticket prices will come down for 2006
  • He loves AC/DC
  • He believes that the US isn't producing "soccer entertainers" on the field
  • Amado Guevara may not be a MetroStar next season
  • He's expecting 20K fans for this Saturday's match vs. DC
  • Daniel Garipe should make his Metro debut vs. DC

By the questions asked, one can ascertain the frustration and gloom that has gripped the Metro nation this season. A win vs. DC and positive results down the stretch will go a long way toward righting the ship, however. Respect to Lalas for answering the tough questions with humor and humility.

The Final Countdown

The Dewar-US Open Cup
Originally uploaded by mr fish.
There will be a two-time champion crowned when the LA Galaxy meets FC Dallas in the US Open Cup final tonight at the HDC (GolTV, 11pm ET). The Galaxy has beaten Chivas USA, San Jose, and the USL-1’s Minnesota Thunder to reach the final, while FC Dallas, which entered the competition in the third round, defeated the USL-2’s Wilmington Hammerheads and fellow MLS clubs Columbus, DC United, and Chicago en route to the championship match. Tonight’s all-MLS final continues a trend, as it’s been six years since a lower-division club has reached the final match. Here are the USOC finals in the MLS era:

1996: DC United 3-0 Rochester
1997: Dallas Burn 0 (5) – 0 (3) DC United
1998: Chicago 2-1 Columbus
1999: Rochester 2-0 Colorado
2000: Chicago 2-1 Miami Fusion
2001: LA Galaxy 2-1 New England
2002: Columbus 1-0 LA Galaxy
2003: Chicago 1-0 MetroStars
2004: Kansas City 1-0 Chicago gg

Note that San Jose is the only original MLS club to not reach a cup final. Although two MLS teams will be competing tonight, two lower-division sides were the stories of this year’s tournament: The PDL’s Des Moines Menace, an amateur club, played way above its head in defeating the USL-2’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the USL-1’s Charleston Battery and Atlanta Silverbacks, before succumbing to the KC Wizards in round four. The Minnesota Thunder, led by Liberians Melvin Tarley (who was sold to RSL) and Jonny Menyongar, did the USL proud by knocking off three MLS sides (RSL, Colorado, KC) to reach the cup semis.

Much debate as been made concerning the USSF’s shoddy marketing of the Cup, and that cup matches are usually played at “alternative” smaller venues when MLS clubs are the hosts. As it stands, LA will downsize the HDC to a capacity of 10,000 for tonight’s match. There’s no easy answer here. The clubs and leagues need to shoulder the load in both educating their fans on the importance of the competition and marketing the matches. Getting the final on national TV is a great thing, but hopefully MLS/SUM/USSF can bundle more cup matches in when the next television contracts are up for renewal. Best of luck to both Dallas and LA tonight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Missed It By… That Much

The US played well, hit the woodwork a couple of times, but fell to Jeffrey Sarpong’s two goals for the Netherlands in the FIFA U-17 World Championship Quarterfinals. The US started strong, but lost steam after Kevin Alston suffered a broken leg after a tackle by Holland’s John Goossens. Sarpong’s goal in first-half injury time gave the Dutch the 1-0 halftime lead. The US effort was also hampered by a red-card expulsion by Neven Subotic in the 75th minute. Sarpong crushed the US hopes by scoring on a counterattack with six minues to play. The US finishes the tournament with a 2-1-1 record and the Group C title. The Netherlands will face Mexico in one semifinal, which Turkey meets Brazil in the other. Congrats to the US for a strong showing. Both the U-17s and the U-20s won their groups in World Championships this year. Perhaps the senior team can carry those vibes into Germany next summer? Stay tuned, and RIP Don Adams.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Leaving It ‘Til Late

Coming into Saturday’s match, MetroStars and New England Revolution had played three times this MLS season, and in every match, the game-deciding goal was scored in the 85th minute or later:

-May 21st @ Giants Stadium: Twellman scored in the 89th to give NE a 2-2 draw
-June 25th @ Gilette: Ralston breaks a tie in the 86th and the Revs win, 4-2
-Sept. 17th @ Giants Stadium: Youri’s 89th minute blast off Reis gives Metro a 5-4 win

It came as no surprise, then, that Saturday’s crucial contest (for the Metro, anyway) was settled with only minutes to spare as the Revs’ James Riley found himself unmarked in the six-yard box and scored in the 85th minute, giving New England a 1-0 victory.

With the win, the Revs became the first Eastern Conference club to clinch a playoff berth, and is in possession of an eight-point lead for home field advantage. The Metros, however, had a five-match unbeaten run snapped and lost a chance to gain ground on the 4th place K.C. Wizards, who dropped a 2-1 decision at LA last night. Much could be settled this coming weekend, and four Eastern Rivals face off. Chicago, for instance, could find themselves in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th after this weekend’s matches. It’s easy to see why the past few games have been so entertaining, as the teams are ratcheting up their intensity level for meaningful matches.

The current Eastern Conference picture:
Team, Pts, GD, Matches remaining (H/A), Most Possible Points
1. New England 55, +19, (2/1), 64
2. DC United 47, +17, (2/2), 59
3. Chicago 45, +2 (2/3), 60
4. Kansas City 43, +19, (2/1), 52
MetroStars 40, +4, (1/3), 52
Columbus 34, -10 (1/3) 46

Matches this week:
Sat 10/1: NE v SJ, MET v DC, KC v CHI, CMB v CHV

Tough Lima Beans
The US U-17 squad was 5 minutes away from emerging from the first round with a perfect record, but the Cote d’Ivoire’s Siaka Bamba scored in the 87th minute to force a 1-1 draw. The result didn’t prevent the US from winning the group, though, and the Mini-Nats will face off against a strong Holland team today (5pm et, FSC) in the quarterfinals in Peru. Holland made it through group play with wins over Gambia and Qatar and a loss to Brazil. If the US advances, they’ll face… Mexico, who scored late vs. Costa Rica in their quarterfinal to take their match to extra time, then scored two in the extra frame for a 3-1 win. Hopefully our boys aren’t looking ahead, and best of luck to them today.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Good Showing

To tell you the truth, I was expecting DC to fold easily last night after their red-eye to Santiago for their Copa Sud match vs. U. Catolica. I was pleasantly surprised after United took the lead on an early goal by Christian Gomez. When Jaime Moreno missed a penalty kick, though, I knew that the soccer gods weren’t smiling on DC. Then Gomez made me believe again when he scored on a freaky rebound of the post & the back of the Catolica keeper. Though DC led 2-1 at the half, two late goals by Catolica, the last coming in the 87th minute, sunk DC in their first-ever Copa Sud tie, 4-3 on aggregate. Despite the crushing loss, though, DC played well on the road and has a lot to be proud about. Hopefully United’s one-and-out experience won’t deter CONMEBOL from inviting another MLS club into next year’s competition.

DC’s exit from the Copa means that all Eastern clubs can focus 100% on the last few weeks of the MLS season. Heading into the weekend, only 12 points separate the first-place Revs from the fifth-place Metros, and the two will meet for the final time this season in Foxboro on Saturday night. With both DC and Chicago off this weekend, KC and the Metros could tighten things up even further for the final stretch.

The current Eastern Conference picture:
Team, Pts, GD, Matches remaining (H/A), Most Possible Points
1. New England 52, +18, (3/1), 64
2. DC United 47, +17, (2/2), 59
3. Chicago 45, +0 (2/2), 57
4. Kansas City 43, +10, (2/2), 55
MetroStars 40, +5, (1/4), 55
Columbus 31, -11 (1/4) 46

This weekend's matches of import:
9/24: NE vs. MET (7:30pm et, DK & FSC)
9/24: RSL vs. CMB (9:30pm et, DK & HDNet)
9/25: LA vs. KC (8pm et, DK)

Heading into today’s final first round-match of the FIFA U-17 World Championships, the US is one of three participating CONCACAF nations to qualify for the tournament’s quarterfinals. Costa Rica beat host Peru yesterday to win Group A, and the Mexicans have advanced out of group B despite yesterday’s 2-1 loss to Turkey. The US has already clinched their berth ahead of today’s match with Cote d’Ivoire (4:30pm et, FSC). Unfortunately, we can’t have an ’85 Big East-like Final Four, as Costa Rica will meet Mexico in the quarters on Sunday.

If El Guapo asked you if he had a plethora of matches to watch this weekend, he'd be right. Here's a sampling of what's on, and when:

Saturday 9/24
7:30am: EPL: Birmingham City-Liverpool on FSC
10:00am: GER: Werder Bremen-Bayer Leverjusen on FSC
10:00am: ESP: Real Madrid-Atletico Bilboa on GOL
11:30am: ITA: Parma-Juventus on GOL
12 noon: EPL Bolton-Portsmouth on FSC
1:30pm: ESP: Betis-Barcelona on GOL
3:00pm: EPL: West Ham-Arsenal on FSC
6:00pm: MEX: Monterrey-Tigres on Galavision
7:30pm: MLS: New England-Metrostars on FSC
10:00pm: MEX: Atlas-Chiapas on Telefutura

Sunday 9/25
9:00am: ITA: Cagliari-Roma on FSC
9:00am: ITA: Sampdoria-Chievo on GOL
11:00am: ESP: Alaves-Real Madrid on GOL
1:00pm: MEX: Pachuca-Chivas on Univision
3:00pm: FRA: Lens-Rennes on FSC
3:00pm: ITA: Inter-Fiorentina on GOL
5:00pm: U-17 Quarterfinal on FSC
5:00pm: MEX: America-Necaxa on Telefutura
7:00pm: USL-1: Semifinal on FSC
8:00pm: U-17 Quarterfinal on Galavision
8:00pm: MLS: Los Angeles-Kansas City on Direct Kick
9:30pm: BRA: Flamengo-Corinthians on GOL


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Two For Two

Kyle Nakazawa Celebrates (ISI)
Originally uploaded by mr fish.

For the second straight match, the US scored three goals en route to victory in the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru. Yesterday the team beat Italy 3-1 to clinch a spot in the 16-team competition’s quarterfinals. The goal scorers were Ofori Sarkodie, Kyle Nakazawa, and Ryan Soroka, the latter two scoring their second goals of the tournament. The Mini-nats will try to close out Group C with a perfect record on Friday when they face 0-2 Cote D’Ivoire (FSC, 4:30pm ET). Based on their finish, the US will face Gambia, Holland, or (ugh) Brazil in the quarters.

Geared up

My fellow Metro fans are split on this one, but I think all MLS fans have to pull for DC United in their Copa Sudamericana second-leg match vs. U. Catolica in Santiago, Chile on Thursday night (FSC, 8pm ET). While MLS sides played well vs. European clubs this summer, it's in competitions like this that we can see just how far the league has come. DC, who may be without Santino Quaranta and Jamil Walker, needs at least a 2-2 draw (thanks, d) to advance to the quarterfinals, where the four-time MLS champs would face Fluminese of Brazil or Banfield of Argentina. Best of luck. Hey d, any DC fanaticos making the trip?

In Limbo has a great analysis of Bob Bradley's woes with the Metro. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thanks, Grant!

Grant Wahl (
Originally uploaded by mr fish.
I'm honored that Grant Wahl has selected The Kin Of Fish as one his "starting XI" soccer blogs. Hope you all enjoy reading the site as much as I enjoy writing it. Thanks, Grant!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Big Ups to the Mini-Nats

The US U-17 Squad (ISI)
Originally uploaded by mr fish.
The US got the biennial FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru going in fine style, beating Kim-Jong Il’s gang, 3-2 in Chiclayo. The US scored all of its goals off set pieces, and US keeper Bryant Rueckner let in a howler when he collided with defender Kevin Alston, dropping the ball to the foot of Myong Ho Choe, who poked in the North Koreans' first goal. The US goal scorers were Ryan Soroka, Kyle Nakazawa and Preston Zimmerman.Next up, the Italians on Tuesday (4:30pm on FSC), who beat the Cote D’Ivoire in a lively match, 4-3. A win should put the US through to the quarterfinals. Good luck, guys!

Guts, Take Two

Merci, Youri. (AP)
Originally uploaded by mr fish.

Even if they miss the 2005 postseason, the MetroStars have shown more guts over the last two matches than they’ve shown in the previous twenty. Last week, the team held off KC on the road while playing a man down for the final 35 minutes. On Saturday, the team took three vital points in a thrilling 5-4 win against Supporter’s Shield contender New England. The stars of the Metro played huge, like French World Cup hero Youri Djorkaeff who all but willed the team to victory with two goals and an assist, including the game winning blast in the 86th minute against a poorly-positioned Matt Reis. Mike Magee played his best game of the year, scoring two goals, none bigger than the 76th minute-strike that evened the match at four. Magee took a picture-perfect pass from Michael Bradley & put one past Reis just two minutes after Taylor Twellman had put the Revs ahead. Twellman's goal had seemingly shifted all the momentum to New England. Amado Guevara had a goal and an assist, and Ante Razov added three assists in a night that made one proud to be a Metro fan and an MLS fan. If you haven’t seen the highlights, you owe it to yourself to check them out. The best part… the two teams go at it again this Saturday at the Big Razor. The night would have been perfect for the Metro if Columbus could have held Chicago to a draw, and LA could have defeated KC, but the fantastic win vs. New England will be enough for one week. Saturday’s match will surely go down as one of the best in Metro history. It’s no consolation that the Metro sits in 6th place in an MLS single table, and that the team would sit in 2nd place in the Western Conference, but c’est la vie.

The current Eastern Conference picture:
Team, Pts, GD, Matches remaining (H/A), Most Possible Points
1. New England 51, +18, (3/2), 66
2. DC United 47, +17, (2/2), 59
3. Chicago 45, +2 (2/3), 60
4. Kansas City 43, +10, (2/2), 55
MetroStars 40, +5, (1/4), 55
Columbus 30, -11 (2/4) 48

Matches this week:
Wed 9/21: NE vs. CMB, SJ vs. CHI
Thu 9/22: U. Catolica vs. DCU in the Copa Sudamericana
Sat 9/24: NE vs. MET, LA vs. KC, CMB @ RSL

Thursday, September 15, 2005

At the Cope-ah

United v. Catolica (AP)
Originally uploaded by mr fish.
Have to say that I’m happy that mid-week Cup matches have become a part of the US soccer culture, especially when the games had such meaning. DC’s 1-1 draw vs. U. Catolica in the Copa Sudamericana Wednesday night was a tense affair, and kudos to FSC for picking up the broadcast. Catolica looked more relaxed and experienced than DC, and the late first-half goal certainly added to their confidence. Give DC credit, though, for attacking well against the bunkered Chileans. United maintained possession well through stretches of the match, and definitely earned their draw. Big ups to super sub Jamil Walker on his goal. Based on the matchup, though, I’d be floored if DC was able to get a result in Chile later this month.

Unfortunately, neither of the two USOC semifinals were televised. Congrats to FC Dallas and LA Galaxy for making to the final on Sept. 28th (GolTV) at the HDC. What this tournament really needs is some marketing muscle behind it, however. If US Soccer marketing was smart (hmm…) they’d try to sell the title sponsorship of the tournament to an MLS/SUM sponsor. How about “The Pepsi Lamar Hunt US Open Cup,” rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it? A title sponsor could build awarness of the event, big time. Anyway, I’m glad to hear how seriously the players take one of the oldest tournaments in modern North American sports. If only the fed, leagues, and teams took the Cup that seriously.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Gritty, gutty Metros

Mmm... donuts. (
Originally uploaded by mr fish.
Being a Metros fan is a really tough. The team’s decade of futility has produced few shining moments – a one-goal loss in the 2000 MLS Cup semifinals at Chicago, a one-goal loss in the USOC Final to the Fire in 2003, and that’s about it. This past Saturday night at Arrowhead, however, the Metros showed heart, brains, and effort (all in the same match!) and beat Kansas City 1-0 to keep their slim playoffs hopes alive. Playing in front of a teeny-tiny crowd (mostly Tony Meola’s family and friends), the Metros got a lucky goal by Eddie Gaven shortly before half-time and played the final 35 minutes down a man after Tim Regan picked up a second yellow card. Meola got his first shutout since returning to the team earlier this season, and amazingly, the Metros got their first 1-0 victory of the year in their twenty-sixth match. Big ups to subs Chris Leitch and Mark Lisi, two defensive minded subs who showed their mettle staying behind the ball after the squad was reduced to ten men. The victory, the team’s first on the road since May, has the Metros within five points of Chicago and KC for the final Eastern spot. Metro should be rested for Saturday’s home clash vs. the Revs, though DC and Chicago face midweek competition that may hurt their league efforts this weekend. Here’s how the picture looks today:

The Current picture:
Team, Pts, GD, Matches remaining (Home/Away), Most Possible Points
1. New England 51, +19, (3/3), 69
2. DC United 44, +15, (3/2), 59
3. Kansas City 42, +10, (3/2), 57
4. Chicago 42, +1, (2/4), 60
MetroStars 37, +4, (2/4), 55
Columbus 30, -10 (3/4) 51

Matches this week:
Tue 9/13: DCU vs. Univ. Catolica in Copa Sudamericana
Wed 9/14: FCD vs. CHI in US Open Cup
Sat 9/17: MET vs. NE, CMB vs. CHI, DCU vs COL, KC vs LA

Friday, September 09, 2005

MLS' Big 'To

Looks more and more like MLS is headed to the Great White North for it’s next club. Speaking at a gathering of Milwaukee investors and fans, grande queso Don Garber “said the next round of expansion should come in 2007, when Toronto is expected to join the league.”

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, owners of the NHL Leafs and NBA Raptors, is in place to serve as investor-operators, and there’s a twenty thousand seat stadium in the works that has to be ready for the ‘07 FIFA U-20 Championship. The stadium will apparently include an “inflatable winter roof” so the field will be playable year-round. There’s a little bit of political back-and-forth going on in terms of the stadium location, but if the home of the Blizzard (?) is to be ready by April of ’07, these issues need to be solved quickly.

Point of information: the NASL Toronto Blizzard/Metros/Metros-Croatia drew 15,000+ fans in 1980, their most successful season. Between 1979 and 1984, Toronto attracted an average of 10,905 fans/season, a number that would fit right in with KC or San Jose.

I’m not sure how I feel about a Canadian club joining the league, especially when there are so many US cities that could support MLS. Of course, Toronto seems to have everything that Garber & Co. want: solid ownership, an SSS plan, a soccer-hungry fan base. I’ve read that the club will be stocked with mostly Canadian players, which doesn’t thrill me all that much, but I guess if Chivas can play with a mostly Hispanic roster, it shouldn’t be that big a deal. They won't be a road draw, that's for sure. In the search for national sports relevance, however, I think heading to Houston (which may still happen for SJ or KC), Philly (where to play, who to own?) or Seattle (Paul Allen, please pick up the white courtesy phone) should be a top priority.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bloated Expectations

Johnson Chases (AP)
Originally uploaded by mr fish.

Remember the days, not too long ago, that the US feared playing World Cup Qualifiers in Central America? During the last qualifying cycle, the US was jobbed on a fantasy pk call in Costa Rica to drop a game, and the same happened in Guatemala to turn a win into a tie. This time around, of course, the road has been kind to the US, and even when Bruce Arena trots out a young b-team on the road in CONCACAF, the expectation is a victory. Last night’s scoreless draw in Guatemala City was an ok result, and the defense played well, but the Yanks could have easily won the match by three goals if its finishing was sharper.

Here’s a look at who helped their Deutschland dreams last night, and who hindered them.

Marcus Hahnemann: Make some dazzling saves in net, and is in line for the #2 keeper position, assuming Sir Alex doesn’t start playing Tim Howard this season.

Bobby Convey: Generated most of the early scoring chances for the US on the left wing, and punished the Guatemalan defenders who tried to take him on 1-on-1.

Jimmy Conrad: A steady, if not solid match in the center back position. Should get playing time in Costa Rica and vs. Panama. A strong defensive sub prospect for Germany.

Chris Albright: I’m not a fan, but he had a good match last night. Imposing size, especially vs. the vertically-challenged chapines.

Taylor Twellman: Oy. Taylor. You wonder when the kid will snap and pick the ball up and throw it in the goal. He runs forever, and helps break up plays on D, (Capt. Kirk Voice) But. He. Just. Can’t. Score.

Clint Dempsey: Was he tired? Did he have a stomach problem? What an off match. Hey kid, Bruce believes in you – he even tried you in two positions last night to find a fit for you. You’ve got to start delivering out there.

Greg Vanney: Yuck. May have played himself off next summer’s squad. Gave up too many balls, hit too many sightless clearing passes to the opposition.

Fair-to-middling: Marshall, Quaranta, Cunningham, Johnson

Already there: Donovan, Mastroeni

Incomplete: Ralston

Oh, and Mr. Hall-of-fame Balboa. It’s MAS-TRO-ENN-EE, not MAS-TREE-OH-NEE. Say it, just like it reads, ok? Ok.

That giant sucking sound
The Metro aren’t going to get to the playoffs by drawing every match. That sound you hear is the season slipping away. Saturday, Ante Razov hit a late ball to salvage another home draw, 2-2 vs. KC, leaving Metro seven points out of the playoffs with seven matches to play, and Columbus is coming up on the outside. Luckily, DC will have the Copa Sudamericana to worry about down the MLS stretch. Things are so bleak among Metro faithful that fans hope the team tanks to get coach Bob Bradley a pink slip.

The Current picture:
Team, Pts, GD, Matches remaining (Home/Away), Most Possible Points
1. New England 48, +17, (4/3), 69
2. Kansas City 42, +11, (4/2), 60
3. Chicago 42, +1, (2/4), 60
4. DC United 41, +14, (3/3), 59
MetroStars 34, +3, (2/5), 55
Columbus 30, -8 (3/5) 54

Matches this week:
Sat 9/10: NE vs. CMB, KC vs. MET, FCD vs. DCU

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Are the Arenas a Nielsen family?

Bruce Arena (Allsport)
Originally uploaded by mfishkin.
Yesterday US Coach Bruce Arena told the US soccer community to “put up or shut up,” in discussing the challenges that the USSF had in getting Saturday’s WCQ with Mexico on live, English-language television. To Il Bruce, I say, no matter how many friends I invite over to watch the match, no matter how many friends and family members I tell to watch the match, it won’t make a bit of difference on the television rating that Saturday’s match collects. Why? Because I’m not, or don’t have access to a Nielsen family.

It’s hard to believe, but the nation’s television ratings are determined by an ever-changing list of 5,100 households across America. 28,000 more households in top cities are measured for local market ratings. Maybe the USSF should spend a little of their reported $30 million surplus on advertising its matches to help casual soccer fans find the matches on television. I mean ESPN Classic is a little tougher to locate on the dial than say, ABC. To the Fed, I say, YOU put up. Then Bruce, you shut up.