Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Curtain Went Up

The stadium looked great. The sky was finally clear. The crowd was excited. The luminaries of the Cosmos and MetroStars were on the field. The eagle, and the skydivers, landed. And then… the match started. A defensive, bone-crushing, knock down match in which yellow cards were plenty and opportunities went unfulfilled. The Red Bulls' scoreless draw with New England was yet another unsatisfying on-field performance by the home side in front of a large crowd. On Saturday night, the sizzle was more appealing than the steak. Once the match started, the thirty-five thousand fans had little to cheer about, other than Shakira’s midriff. Which is lovely, by the way.

Still, there were bright spots. Jeff Parke did a great job in the center of the defense handling the Revs’ three National-team forwards. Chris Henderson got up and down the field like a man half his age, and created a couple of chances with dangerous, diagonal runs into the box. Tony Meola made a few key saves, and wound up with his first clean sheet of the season ahead of his 100th USMNT appearance tonight vs. Jamaica (7pm et, espn2).

The question is: without the opening day circus, will NY fans return to the swamp all season long? DC and Mr. Adu will be in town next Saturday, but will fans pay to see the Bulls take on Columbus? RSL? Colorado? The club did little on the field Saturday to endear itself to its fan base.

What NY Watched

The Newark Star-Ledger print edition has a nifty little feature on Tuesdays called “What We Watched,” a breakdown of the New York metro area sports TV ratings for the previous weekend. Here’s where MLS fit in on Saturday 4/8 (One ratings point = 74,000 households).

-Yanks-Angels on YES: 4.1
-Masters Golf on CBS: 3.9
-Rangers-Bruins on NBC: 1.3
-Nets-Cavs on YES: 1.3
-CHIVAS USA-DC UNITED on ESPN2: 0.4 (or 29,600 HHs)
-Devils-Canadiens on MSG: 0.2
-RED BULLS-REVOLUTION on MSG (TD at 10pm): 0.2 (or 14,800 HHs)
-Islanders-Capitals on FSNY: 0.1
(The Mets were rained out)

-As many folks tuned in the match on tape delay as did the Devils game live.
-The Red Bulls pulled in twice the Islanders’ rating
-Chivas-DCU pulled in twice the Red Bulls’ rating
-There are lots of viewing choices for the NY-area sports fan (and I didn’t include ratings for NASCAR, the WTA, Horse Racing, the Men’s NCAA Hockey final or NCAA Softball)
-I wonder what percentage of the Red Bulls’ rating were folks who rushed home from the game to watch the replay

Go West Red-Haired Man?

The rumors surrounding NYRB Pres./GM Alexi Lalas’ departure to take the same spot at the LA Galaxy are growing louder, as Michael Lewis picks up the trail. If Giorgio Chinaglia is about to take over the reins, get ready for lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing from the front office. Bleh.

Making Their Case

Though the final result isn’t important, tonight is huge for those taking the field for the Nats this evening in Cary, NC vs. Jamaica. Those on tonight’s roster fall into three groups:

Those securely on Il Bruce’s 23: Donovan, Mastroeni, Pope, Twellman, Wolff
Those with a serious chance of getting a spot: Dempsey, Hejduk, Johnson, Noonan, O’Brien, Ralston
Roster-fillers who (barring an injury to the first team) will be watching from home in June: Albright, Ching, Garcia, Meola, Olsen, Reis, Zavagnin

Big ups to NY local legend Tony the Tiger for hitting the century mark. Shame this testimonial opportunity couldn’t be played at The Swamp in front of the home-town fans, but SAS Soccer Park should be loud and proud tonight.

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