Friday, October 28, 2005

Enjoy Yourself

Some of you may be too young to remember the period between 1984 and 1996 when (real, outdoor) soccer in this country was an afterthought. Not an “afterthought” in the way it is today, with spotty mentions in the nation’s top newspapers and rare highlights on SportsCenter, but a real afterthought, with no mentions, anywhere, about the sport outside of the World Cup. In the last ten years, the growth of both the internet and 500-channel television universe has helped cultivate a growing and fervent audience of fans of the US game (you, presumably).

Another major factor of that growth of course, is the league. Without MLS, we’d all be following the USL and its microscopic crowds around the US’ second (and third) cities and trying to follow our American heroes on the web & digital channels to judge our chances for the next World Cup. Over the course of the week, there has been a huge amount of negative press about MLS, its playoff system, its television broadcasts, its expansion plans, its stadium designs, its crowd passion, its uniform colors, paint on its fields, its boring matches, and so on and so forth.

To those columnists, posters, and bloggers out there, I say, “take a step back.” Is the league in the place we all want it to be? No. However, imagine what soccer in this country would be without MLS. Would you put the same energy into following teams overseas? Would you follow the Mexican league (shudder?). Would you support your local USL-1, -2, or PDL team with the same passion? Seriously, how would your “sporting” life change? For me, there’d definitely be something missing without MLS and my 2005 MLS Cup Champion MetroStars. I’d miss the friends I’ve made, pubs I’ve visited and the trips I’ve taken around MLS over the past ten years.

Warts and all, MLS has become a big part of my life, and I’m tired of the league getting ripped all time by folks that think they know better. Here’s some advice ahead of this weekend’s playoff matches: just enjoy them. Enjoy them despite the MLS haters out there. Enjoy them, even if your club loses over the weekend. Enjoy them even if the crowd looks sparse on TV. Just have a good time. ‘Cause that what it’s about, right?

Here’s what’s on the most popular networks, with the times ET.

Saturday, Oct. 29
8:00am: EPL: Tottenham-Arsenal, FSC
10:00am: GER: Moenchengladbach-Dortmund, FSC
12noon: EPL: Middlesbrough-Man. United, FSC
12noon: ITA: Sampdora-Inter, GOL
2:30pm: ITA: AC Milan-Juventus, GOL
3:00pm: EPL: Chelsea-Blackburn, FSC
4:30pm: ESP: Real Betis-Real Madrid, GOL
6:00pm: MEX: Atlante- Jaguares, GALA
6:30pm: PER: Bolognesi – Alianza Liam, GOL
8:00pm: MLS: Conf Semis, 2nd leg, New England-MetroStars, FSC, DK
8:00pm: MEX: Chivas – Morelia, TELE
8:30pm: MLS: Conf Semis, 2nd leg, FC Dallas-Colorado, DK
8:30pm: COL: America Cali – Independiente Santa Fe, GOL
10:00pm: MLS: Conf Semis, 2nd leg, San Jose-Los Angeles, FSC, DK, HD Net
10:00pm: MEX: Necaxa-Pachuca, GALA
12mid: MEX: Tigres – Toluca, GALA

Sunday, Oct. 30
9:00am: ITA: Lecce-Messina, FSC
9:00am: ITA: Fiorentina-Cagliari, GOL
11:00am: ESP: Valenica – Racing Santander, GOL
1:00pm: URU: Rentistas-Penarol, GOL
1:00pm: MEX: Pumas-America, UNI
1:30pm: EPL: Charlton-Bolton, FSC
3:00pm: FRA: Auxerre-Paris St. Germain, FSC
3:00pm: ESP: Atletico Madrid-Villreal, GOL
3:00pm: MEX: San Luis – Monterrey, GALA
4:30pm: MLS: Conf Semis, 2nd leg, DC United – Chicago, ESPN2
5:00pm: ITA: Treviso-Siena, FSC
5:30pm: COL: Independiente Medellin – Atletico Nacional, GOL
7:30pm: ELS: LA Firpo – Isidro Metapan, GOL
9:30pm: BRA: Corinthians- Vasco de Gama, GOL
11:00pm: ARG: Rosario Central – River Plate, FSC

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yay! Matchtracker!

So US Soccer decides to hastily arrange a friendly with the Scots. I’m all for that. As of today, however, the match will take place the day before the MLS Cup, deflecting attention and possibly key players away from the MLS final, and will only be available on Matchtracker! Way to go!

The last time the two teams met was on May 30th, 1998 at RFK stadium as the sendoff match before the World Cup in France that year. It was played as a doubleheader with the women’s team, which demolished New Zealand in the opener. I was there, along with two pals in a big Sam’s Army section, and the only thing I can remember about the MNT’s scoreless draw with the Scots was the oppressive pre-summer heat. Tough to stand for four hours behind the goal on the day, that’s for sure.

Il Bruce
The Bruce was at the Swamp on Saturday, presumably a lot warmer and drier than me and the ESC as the Metro Boys continued their unbeaten streak under coach MoJo (Yeah, baby!). Arena told the Star’s Ledger’s Frank Giase how tough MLS coaches have it, especially in comparison to front-office types. He’s got a point there. Brucie also inferred that he won’t be around after next summer in Germany. He seemed downright ornery in Jack Bell’s column regarding getting a seed in Deutschland, MLS parity, and Bob Bradley’s future. Geez, pal, lighten up a bit!

Last season, Columbus sped into the MLS Cup playoffs as the top seed in the East and on an 18-match unbeaten streak, only to be quickly dispatched in the first round by New England. History could repeat itself this Saturday in Foxboro, with the Revs on the short end if the young Metro defense can play like it did in NJ. Huge ups to Jason Hernandez and Seth Stammler for their efforts in containing the high-powered Rev offense, which was 2nd best in the MLS regular season. Although MoJo’s job is on the line, the Metro is playing with house money, and hopefully will get a result in the half-melon that is Gillette. I feel sorry for Rev fans that have to stare at a blue tarp the whole game. They deserve better, though most MLS fans were staring at empty seats in all four matches this weekend.

DC has to feel good about their chances at home vs. Chicago on Sunday. I see a 2-0 victory. Boy, did the Quakes take it on the chin vs. LA. San Jose has history on its side, though, and look for Dwayne De to be the deciding factor at Spartan. Quakes, 3-2 on aggregate after extra time. I have no feeling whatsoever about the Dallas-Colorado matchup. In my eyes, neither of these teams have much to offer, though if FC Cows make it to the final, I guess they’ll guarantee only 3,000 empty seats at the Deep Dish for MLS Cup. I keed! I keed!

RIP, Wellington Mara.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Kill Your Television

No, wait! Don't do that! Not with the MLS Cup Playoffs & so much other soccer to see on the tube this weekend. Enjoy, people... all times ET:

Friday, Oct. 21st
9:00pm: MLS: Quarterfinal, 1st leg Chicago-DC United: HDNet, DK

Saturday, Oct. 22nd
7:30am: EPL: Blackburn-Birmingham, FSC
10:00am: GER: Hertha Berlin-Mainz, FSC
12noon: EPL: Portsmouth-Charlton, FSC
12noon: ITA: Messina-Ascoli, RAI
2:00pm: URU: Nacional-River Plate, GOL
2:30pm: ITA: Fiorentina-Parma, RAI
3:00pm: EPL: Arsenal- Manchester City, FSC
4:00pm: MEX: Toluca-Atlante, GALA
4:00pm: ESP: Barcelona – Osasuna, GOL
6:00pm: MEX: Monterrey-Necaxa, GALA
6:30pm: BRA: Sao Paulo-Santo, GOL
7:00pm: MLS: Quarterfinal, 1st leg MetroStars-New England, DK, FSC
8:30pm: COL: Ind. Santa Fe- Junior, GOL
9:00pm: MLS: Quarterfinal, 1st leg Colorado-FC Dallas, DK, FSC
10:00pm: MEX: Atlas-Dorados, TELE
10:30pm: PER: Sporting Cristal – San Martin, GOL

Sunday, Oct. 23
8:00am: ITA: AC Milan-Palermo, RAI
9:00am: ITA: Lecce-Juventus, FSC
11:00am: ESP: Villareal-Mallorca, GOL
1:00pm: USA: WNT- Mexico, ESPN2
1:00pm: EPL: Newcastle-Sunderland, FSC
1:00pm: ESP: Racing-Atletico Madrid, GOL
2:30pm: ITA: Roma-Lazio, RAI
3:00pm: MLS: Quarterfinals, 1st leg LA Galaxy-San Jose, ESPN2
3:00pm: FRA: Auxerre-Paris SG, FSC
5:00pm: ITA: Treviso-Empoli, FSC
5:00pm: BOL: The Strongest-Bolivar, GOL
6:00pm: MEX: America-Veracruz, TELE
7:00pm: COL: Nacional-Pereira, GOL
9:30pm: ITA: Udinese-Inter Milan, GOL

Monday, October 17, 2005

Just Enough

How many times did Tony Meola stand on his head? How loud was Mo Johnston screaming in the locker room at halftime? After watching the MetroStars fight through a game Chivas side and their own tendency to self destruct, it was evident that the answers to above the questions were “just enough.” Wee Bradley picked an ideal time for to open his MLS goal scoring account, but the undisputed star of the Metros’ 2-0 win at Chivas USA Sunday was home-town boy Meola, whose stellar effort in goal pushed his team to the MLS Cup playoffs and eliminated his former KC Wizards club. There was much grumbling amongst the Metro “faithful” (a loose term) when the 36-yr keeper returned to the Jersey side earlier this season, and some soft goals allowed down the stretch did little to endear Meola to the Metro fans, but after yesterday’s performance, all is forgiven. All hail Tony the Tiger!

No Magic
While Metro-land is all aglow today dreaming of an upset playoff victory over New England, the fans of “City,” as Derek Rae used to refer to the Wizards, must be utterly despondent. Blame for missing the playoffs can’t be directed at the Wiz’s result at the PHP on Saturday, however. KC hasn’t won a game since August 19th vs. Chicago – an eight-match winless streak (0-4-4) to end the regular season. With a dreary performance on the field and at the gate (9,961 avg. home attendance, last in MLS), and a “for sale” sign still hanging on the door, things look bleak for the franchise as a whole. Here’s to hoping things are brighter for the Wizards in 2006.

Bracketology: Semis Week 1
Now to the eight clubs that will be fighting it out for the silver Rothie. In the East, DC took the season series vs. Chicago (2-1-1), but the two haven’t faced each other since August 6th. In that match at Soldier Field, DC took a 3-0 lead on goals by Carroll, Kovalenko, and Moreno and hung on to for a 3-2 win. I see a similar result this weekend.

The Metro are surely riding high, but the Revs had a sharp outing vs. Chicago last week and should be in good form. The Metros, on the other hand, will just be happy to be playing. I say 2-1 Revs on an 89th minute goal by Clint Dempsey.

Out West, the playoff-style California Classico will continue in the Quakes’ favor. San Jose took the season series over LA by a 3-1 margin (3-2 if you count the USOC). On the road at the HDC, the Quakes will "Ching-Chung-tonight" their way to a 2-1 win.

Nobody’s really talking about Colorado, but the Rapids haven’t lost a match since September 17th, going 4-0-2 to finish the regular season. Yes, they’ve been playing mostly the expansion clubs for the last few weeks, but matches over inferior opponents build confidence, something Dallas is surely lacking after blowing a win in injury time on Saturday vs. KC. I feel a 2-0 Rapids win at Invesco, with MOT Dedi Ben Dayan and Jeff Cunnigham the goal scorers.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Down to the Wire

There’s so much about MLS to complain about. A quick visit to the BigSoccer N&A board will bring some salient topics to mind. However, with such a meaningful game at hand Saturday night in Dallas, it truly is a shame that TV coverage can’t be pulled together for the match. Surely there’s a few grand sitting in Don Garber’s petty cash account to get three high-quality cameras to the Deep Dish for an internet video broadcast. Announcers aren’t even needed (many fans would welcome the change, I suspect.) Hopefully the Hoops will give life to the Metros' playoff aspirations by dispatching the Wiz, and hopefully the Metros won’t be too distracted by the, um, talents of Chivagirl Adriana (pictured) to deliver the Metro Nation into a two-match playoff series with New England. The Revs, on a 1-2-2 slide, may be vulnerable come playoff time.

For your viewing pleasure... here are this weekend's TV highlights:

7:30am: EPL: Wigan-Newcastle, FSC
10:00am: GER: Stuttgart – Moenchengladbach, FSC
12noon: EPL: Chelsea - Bolton, FSC
12noon: ITA: Siena – Udinese, RAI
2:30pm: ITA: Juventus – Messina, RAI
3:00pm: ESP: Dep. La Coruna – Barcelona, GOL
6:00pm: MEX: Atlante – UAG, GALA
7:30pm: MLS: New England-Chicago, DK
7:30pm: MLS: DC United - Columbus, DK
7:30pm: MLS: Los Angeles – San Jose, FSC, DK
8:00pm: MEX: Chivas –Morelia, TELE
8:30pm: COL: Real Cartegena – America de Cali, GOL
10:00pm: MEX: Necaxa – Cruz Azul, TELE
12mid: MEX: Tigres-Atlas, GALA

SUNDAY, Oct. 16
9:00am: ITA: Lazio – Fiorentina, FSC
9:00am: ITA: Inter Milan – Livorno, GOL
11:00am: ITA: Caglari – AC Milan, FSC
11:00am: ESP: Osasuna – Celta de Vigo, GOL
1:00pm: EPL: Birmingham – Aston Villa, FSC
1:00pm: MEX: Unam – Toluca, UNI
3:00pm: ARG: River Plate – Boca Juniors, FSC (The SuperClasico!)
3:00pm: MEX: San Luis – Veracruz, GALA
4:00pm: MLS: Chivas USA – MetroStars, ESPN2
5:00pm: FRA: Lyon – Ajaccio, FSC
6:00pm: USA: Women’s NT – Australia, ESPN2
9:30pm: BRA: Palmeiras – Corinthians, GOL

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


The US Rattler
Originally uploaded by mr fish.
Nike Soccer’s new USMNT “Don’t Tread on Me” campaign launched this morning with an awesome new online site and a terrific print ad “So Says This American Game,” in USA Today. Kudos to the copy writers at Nike/Weiden & Kennedy for the work. A sampling…

“Less than 20 short years ago, even microscopic island nations drooled rivers at the opportunity to dribble around us…Other nations do not scout us anymore; they toss and turn and develop digestive problems over us…This is soccer. A game for the flag-waving, tax-paying, apple-pie eating, Star-Spangled Banner-singing, red-blooded American.”

I got chills. Really. I hope Nike keeps it up all the way through to Germany, and best of luck to the boys vs. Panama tonight (8pm ET, ESPN2). Perhaps we'll see some new TV creative as well on the broadcast?


MLS Commissioner Don Garber put a scare into the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment folks trying to land a franchise in Toronto by laying down an October 31st deadline to get their Exhibition Place stadium plans in order. Speaking on a conference call yesterday afternoon, Garber made it clear that expansion will pass TO by without a firm construction plan that will get a stadium in place for an April 2007 kickoff. Apparently, MLS saw an opportunity to open the new market when Canada was awarded the 2007 FIFA World Youth (U-20) Championship. The league then approached MLSE, the owners of the NBA’s Raptors and NHL’s Maple Leafs and asked them to join the league. Other nuggets gleaned from the conf call:

-If all goes well with Toronto, MLS will announce the league’s 14th club at the MLS Cup in Frisco on 11/13
-Finalist cities include Houston, Philly, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and St. Louis
-The league will get an expansion fee “slightly higher” than the $10 million Chivas and RSL paid last year from MLSE
-The Toronto club will serve as the de-facto “Team Canada,” with a mostly Canadian roster. In the 1980’s, the NASL had a similar deal with US Soccer with the DC-based club “Team America”
-There may be a groundsharing agreement with the USL’s Toronto Lynx to play in the new stadium

Garber’s timetable gives MLSE just 14 business days to get their deal done. Best of luck to them. The Kin Of Fish will be fasting for a while, but will be back on Friday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Vive le Frenchie!

Watching Youri Djorkaeff snap the ball past Nick Rimando Saturday night convinced me that he's the Metros MVP. Five of the Fabulous Frenchie's ten goals have been game-winners, and on numerous occasions this season Djorkaeff put the team on his back and carried them to victory. Next up for the squad is watching the Wiz at the Deep Dish this Saturday. A win or a draw by the Super Hoops makes things reasonably easy for Metro. A win by the Wiz and Metro needs to play Australia to Chivas' American Samoa on Sunday. There’s scuttlebutt today about Yallop & Lalas talking turkey (it was Canadian Thanksgiving, after all) about the coaching job. Lalas isn’t counting out Mo Johnston, and he shouldn’t. Johnston will be coaching somewhere in MLS next season.

All Wet
Even favored teams have an off night once in a while, but I don’t think the US was favored in its match at Costa Rica on Saturday. In one corner was a team playing as if its life depended on it, trying to clinch a World Cup bid in front of its home fans. In the other, a team with nothing to play for other than to impress the head coach. And, it’s pouring. And it’s on artificial turf. No one ever likes to lose 3-0, but folks, let’s keep it in perspective. Costa Rica needed it more than we did. Better to move on. Not sure what kind of crowd is expected in Foxboro tomorrow night for Panama, in the rain, on Yom Kippur, in a meaningless match for both sides, but I hope it’s a good show, and that Mr. Twellman finally finds the back of the net.

Not sure how many of you heard this exchange between ESPN2’s Sean McDonough and his SoCo-sippin' color man on the miserable LSU-Vandy football game that delayed the US-Costa Rica telecast by forty minutes. I replayed it three times to make sure I got it right:

McDonough: “… and, unless you have a short memory, you know that soccer will be coming up after the game...and I think my partner is having a change of heart.”
Color Man: “I’m pulling for the US now... Are we favored?”
McDonough: “I have no idea.”

Our Home and Native Land?
Don Garberleone will be holding forth at 4pm today to possibly introduce the Toronto expansion team for 2007. Along with the RSL Stadium announcement, this could be quite a week in MLS history.

MLS Conference Semifinals Schedule:
Eastern Conference
#1 NE vs. #4 KC or MET
Game 1: NE at KC or MET, Sat Oct 22nd @ 7:30pm (FSC?)
Game 2: KC or MET at NE, Sat Oct 29th @ 8pm

#2 DC vs. #3 CHI
Game 1: DC at CHI, Fri Oct 21st @ 8:30pm
Game 2: CHI at DC, Sun Oct 30th @ 4:30pm on ESPN2

Western Conference
#1 SJ vs. #4 COL or LA
Game 1: SJ at COL or LA, Sat Oct. 22nd
Game 2: COL or LA at SJ, Sat Oct. 29th @ 10pm

#2 FCD or LA vs. #3 LA, COL, or FCD
Teams, Dates, Times TBD

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bring Out Your Dead

KC and Metro are both dead teams walking entering tomorrow’s penultimate league matches. The Wiz is home at the gaping maw that is Arrowhead vs. New England, and the Metros will dawdle down I-95 for a visit to the Nationals’ baseball stadium to take on a DC club that looks ready to retain their title. KC has gone a wretch-worthy 0-4-2 in their last six, while Metro has gone a mediocre 2-2-2. Neither of these teams look like they want a spot in the final eight. With both clubs’ title prospects so weak, however, who could blame them?

Quite a trip
Welcome to Panama? What? We’re supposed to be in Costa Rica? Oh, ok. Good luck to the Nats tomorrow night at the Saprissa. With a pumped tico crowd behind them and more to play for than our boys, I’m predicting a 2-1 Costa Rica win. No one get hurt, please. Personal shout-outs for favorable results for Israel, Senegal, and Holland tomorrow – Holla!

The Tube
The weekend east coast forecast is rain, rain, and more rain, so we know those wusses who play with bat and ball will be inside, watching soccer on TV. Here’s a sampling of what’s on the tube of boob, with a heavy serving of World Cup quallies:

Saturday, Oct. 8:
11:00am: WCQ: Russia - Luxembourg, FSC
1:00pm: WCQ: Bulgaria – Hungary, FSC
4:00pm: WCQ: Italy – Slovenia, TELE
7:30pm: MLS: DC United – MetroStars, DK
7:30pm: BRA: Corinthinans – Fortaleza, GOL
8:00pm: MLS: Kansas City – New England, DK
8:30pm: MLS: Chicago – Columbus, DK, FSC
8:30pm: MLS: FC Dallas – Colorado, DK, HDNet
9:00pm: WCQ: Mexico – Guatemala, TELE
9:30pm: HON: Marathon-Victoria, GOL
10:00pm: WCQ: Costa Rica-USA, espn2
10:00pm: MLS: San Jose – Real Salt Lake, DK

Sunday, Oct. 9
4:00pm: WCQ: Bolivia- Brazil, TELE
5:00pm: EXH: Chivas/Chivas USA XI- Santos, FSC
7:30pm: GUA: Comunicaciones – Suchitpequez, GOL

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Required Reading

Want to know how much it costs to run an MLS franchise? The ECG's and YCJ's Andy Mead has located the answer in Convention Sports & Leisure’s “Feasibility Study for a Proposed Stadium, Sports Complex, and Retail Development” report for the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation. The 200+ page document (it reads much quicker – really!) is a treasure trove of info about MLS, how it operates it franchises, and what it really takes to run a soccer franchise in the US of A. Check it out.

What really can be said about last night’s Metro collapse at Soldier Field? That the result proves that Metro is cursed? That the team has thrown in the towel? That it’s beyond belief that the match went untelevised? That Mo Johnston has only two more matches at the helm of the Metro? I think the answer is yes to all those questions. I guess this is what it’s like to be an Arizona Cardinals fan, or an LA Clippers fan. Underachieving for a decade really blows. Truly.

The Mexicans have had a great week. First, their U-17s throw a smack-down on Brazil to win their first World Championship in Peru. Last night, both Mexican squads in the Copa Sudamericana advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals, where UNAM Pumas will face off against Brazil's Corinthians and Club America has Argentina's Velez Sarsfield. At least we won't see an all-Mexican final; the winners of the above matches will meet in the Copa semis.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

'06 Here We Come!

Bob Bradley’s booting yesterday (after a horrendous Metro effort in a 4-1 pasting by DC United) saved the coach more embarrassment as the team limps towards a likely fifth-place finish in the MLS East. Bradley’s dismissal will only allow the Jersey native to seek employment earlier than planned, as a new coach was always in GM Alexi Lalas’ designs for the team. You can’t blame Lalas, though, for pulling the trigger, as the team has produced a number of uninspired efforts during the ’05 campaign, such as:

• A 2-2 draw at RSL on July 4th
• A 1-0 loss at Columbus on July 20th, with the goal given up in stoppage time
• A 3-0 dismantling at DC on August 10th
• A 3-3 draw vs. Chivas on August 21st – Metro was down 3-1 in the 2nd half
• A 1-0 loss at New England on September 24th

Who will be the next Metro coach? Your guess is as good as mine, though former Earthquakes and current Canadian national coach Frank Yallop is the subject of rumors. Former Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid is out there as well, though rumors have the portly one heading to Columbus. Newly elevated Mo Johnston is unlikely, which is a shame. Thomas Rongen? Watch your mouth!

Newly Minted Yanks
I’ve never understood the BigSoccer posters who line the USMNT board with “Cap (fill in the blank) now!” postings. I mean I’m all for finding new talent for the team, but there’s a rich player pool of current players that need experience before the U-17 squad is rushed into full national team duty. Saturday's match at the Saprissa vs. Costa Rica, and next Wednesday's game vs. Panama in Foxboro should give The Bruce ample opportunity to get some new blood onto the field, including Ricardo Clark, Jonathan Spector, Santino Quaranta, and yes, Taylor Twellman. Big ups to Arena for not completely filling in his roster with untested youngsters, though, as vets Lewis, Mastro, Pope, and Albright should provide leadership and calm to the young’uns.

Hack Paul Gardner apparently ran up a hill to pen this masterpiece at While I agree in principle with MLS clubs developing players, I just don't get the man's style.

With two weeks to go, here’s the MLS Eastern picture…
Team, Pts, GD, Matches remaining (H/A), Most Possible Points
1. New England 55, +17, (1/1), 61
2. DC United 50, +20, (2/1), 59
3. Chicago 48, +1 (2/1), 57
4. Kansas City 43, +8, (1/1), 49
MetroStars 40, +1, (0/3), 49
Columbus 34, -11 (0/3) 43

Key matches this week:
Wed 10/5: RSL v DC, CHI v MET, CMB v FCD
Sat 10/8: KC v NE, DC v MET, CHI v CMB