Big, BIG ups to RBNY (Ribknee?) honcho Alexi Lalas for banning those godforsaken plastic horns at Giants Stadium for the upcoming season. You have to love Lalas’ tongue-in-cheek attitude in his announcement. For too long, Metro games have sounded more like a cow pasture than a soccer match. I’m sure parents of six year-olds may take issue, but for anyone that’s suffered sitting in front of a pack of youth soccer players blowing into those horns for ninety minutes, the change is most welcome.
Combined with the addition of the Pride & Passion Pub, which will live on despite the ownership change, RBNY has taken steps to make the game experience more attractive to adult soccer fans, a target that the club has ignored in the past. Well done.
Brazil, the Czech Republic, Holland, and Argentina are the only nations in the world ranked higher than the US this morning in the latest FIFA rankings. The Mexicans, so sadly, have dropped to seventh. Not only is the five-spot the highest ranking for the Yanks ever, but the US is ranked above Mexico for only the second time since the rankings began in 1993 (In June of 2003, the US was 9th, Mexico 11th). Barring a slip vs. the Krauts next week, the US should finish its pre-World Cup slate without a loss, as non-qualifier opponents Jamaica, Morocco, Venezuela, and Latvia shouldn’t give the Yanks too much trouble. Much has been said about the lack of attention to give the FIFA rankings, but maintaining a strong ranking will be important for the US to receive a top seed for South Africa 2010.
The venerable (if not expanding) Empire Soccer Club will hold their annual “Meet the GM/Coach” event tonight in NYC at the Stout Pub on 33rd Street (b. 6th/7th) at 8pm. Given Alexi’s offer to take dissatisfied fans into the team locker room to tell the players why they’re giving up on the club, it should be an enjoyable evening. Events like this should make MLS fans appreciate the lengths that the clubs go to in order to reach out to fans. It’d be hard to imagine Joe Torre or Omar Minaya taking the time to meet their teams’ fans in a public setting to discuss team issues. Even if you're not planning on joining the ESC, If you’re an MLS in the Metro area, please try to attend.
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