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  1. #161
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    US earns a 1-1 draw against France. With the top two teams in each pool and I think four of the six third-place teams advancing, if the US beat Ghana on Thursday, they should be okay to advance. Anything less and they are probably in trouble, considering that would be only two points with a bad GD. Thinking it out, they probably have to win and they are in. Draw or lose, the tourney is over.
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  2. #162
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    What a great time to be a US men's soccer fan. All these games on TV.

    Gold Cup is coming up and everyone is fighting for a piece of the US men's soccer pie. Here's what is going on in July.

    July 5 vs. Guatalemala (sp) 11 p.m. NBC Sports - FRIENDLY

    GOLD CUP
    July 9 vs. Belize 11 p.m. Fox Soccer
    July 13 vs. Cuba, 3:30 p.m. FOX
    July 16 vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. Fox Soccer

    A game on FOX? WOW! This is B team Gold Cup stuff, and it's on national network TV. AWESOME. I don't get Fox Soccer, but I'm sure I'll be watching the other games in some fashion.

    Between US qualifiers, friendlies, the Gold Cup and the U20 World Cup, I'm really going to get my fix of US men's soccer this summer. And in the process I'm really going to see a lot of different players.
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  3. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
    If the US were in that group, I would expect them to end up with 1 point after they tied New Zealand. They might also tie one of the other two.
    I'd expect them to go 1-1-1. I wouldn't be surprised if the went 2-0-1 though.

    Not beating New Zealand (Fifa rank 57, ELO ranking 54) would be a failure in my opinion. It would be akin to spain failing to beat Costa Rica (USA v New Zealand has an ELO difference of about 240 as does spain and Costa Rica). I'm really genuinely fascinated why you think the US is that bad. Even if they play in a crappy conference, you surely think the CONCACAF is better than the OFC? I mean, New Zealand couldn't even beat out Tahiti for the Confederations cup (tbf, I don't follow this region, so I don't know how that happened).
    Last edited by hardyaf; 06-26-2013 at 07:00 PM.
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  4. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    What a great time to be a US men's soccer fan. All these games on TV.

    Gold Cup is coming up and everyone is fighting for a piece of the US men's soccer pie. Here's what is going on in July.

    July 5 vs. Guatalemala (sp) 11 p.m. NBC Sports - FRIENDLY

    GOLD CUP
    July 9 vs. Belize 11 p.m. Fox Soccer
    July 13 vs. Cuba, 3:30 p.m. FOX
    July 16 vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. Fox Soccer

    A game on FOX? WOW! This is B team Gold Cup stuff, and it's on national network TV. AWESOME. I don't get Fox Soccer, but I'm sure I'll be watching the other games in some fashion.

    Between US qualifiers, friendlies, the Gold Cup and the U20 World Cup, I'm really going to get my fix of US men's soccer this summer. And in the process I'm really going to see a lot of different players.

    Agreed. ESPN has really picked up soccer lately and the other networks are following suit. It is really really nice. Not to mention, we aren't relegated to ESPN deportes for all soccer coverage now. That used to really bother me (as much as TV can anyway). Although we do still have announcers on sportscenter who can't name any players, but I think that's more funny than anything else.

    Putting the U20 team on TV has been simply put awesome. There is hope yet!
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  5. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardyaf View Post
    Agreed. ESPN has really picked up soccer lately and the other networks are following suit. It is really really nice. Not to mention, we aren't relegated to ESPN deportes for all soccer coverage now. That used to really bother me (as much as TV can anyway). Although we do still have announcers on sportscenter who can't name any players, but I think that's more funny than anything else.

    Putting the U20 team on TV has been simply put awesome. There is hope yet!
    I don't know where I read this or saw this, but the fact that Fox Soccer will be gone proves just how lucrative soccer coverage is in the US. It's dying because everyone wants a piece of the pie and because the EPL isn't a gimmicky thing to have for early-morning or mid-afternoon weekday games any more. It has some serious clout.

    Just 10 years ago you could go four months without seeing a soccer telecast on reasonably regular TV (the basic cable stations and network TV). Now, there's something almost daily on TV that you can watch. And it's only going to get better when NBC starts with that EPL contract this August. I'm pretty pumped.
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  6. #166
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    For those interested, I think the U20 game begins at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

    GO USA!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    I don't know where I read this or saw this, but the fact that Fox Soccer will be gone proves just how lucrative soccer coverage is in the US. It's dying because everyone wants a piece of the pie and because the EPL isn't a gimmicky thing to have for early-morning or mid-afternoon weekday games any more. It has some serious clout.

    Just 10 years ago you could go four months without seeing a soccer telecast on reasonably regular TV (the basic cable stations and network TV). Now, there's something almost daily on TV that you can watch. And it's only going to get better when NBC starts with that EPL contract this August. I'm pretty pumped.
    Yes and no. Soccer popularity is expanding now that people can watch Euro games every week. However, it's still barely a blip on the US sports scene.

    The WNBA probably still gets better ratings than an MLS game or an EPL game.

    I think the fact that Fox Soccer is dying has more to do with the desire for NBC, ESPN, etc to have programming on than them making any money on it. I suspect that NBC will lose money on its soccer deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    I don't know where I read this or saw this, but the fact that Fox Soccer will be gone proves just how lucrative soccer coverage is in the US. It's dying because everyone wants a piece of the pie and because the EPL isn't a gimmicky thing to have for early-morning or mid-afternoon weekday games any more. It has some serious clout.

    Just 10 years ago you could go four months without seeing a soccer telecast on reasonably regular TV (the basic cable stations and network TV). Now, there's something almost daily on TV that you can watch. And it's only going to get better when NBC starts with that EPL contract this August. I'm pretty pumped.
    Agreed on all of it. Next step: Let us please never see Alexi Lalas or Kacey Keller do any kind of strategy recap again. I am not sure I have ever heard either one of those ever give any kind of analysis beyond what anyone who played any sort of competitive soccer knows (although maybe they keep them because that is all our non-soccer fanbase can handle).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
    Nigeria and the Ivory Coast are better than any team in CONCACAF. Ghana was better at the last world cup. Cameroon was better when they had Etoo before he chased the money and disappeared.
    I'd disagree with Ivory Coast being better, but I won't argue it. I'd say it's tough to say who is better of the USA/Mexico/Ivory Coast.

    Saying Nigeria is better than either USA or Mexico is frankly laughable to me. They barely escaped a group consisting of Malawi, Namibia, and Kenya. I mean, the US struggled too (at least they have been promising as of late), but at least they won games. Nigeria advanced on 2 wins, 3 ties.

    Ghana was better at the last world cup, but that was 3 years ago. Ghana (along with Egypt) is one of the hardest African teams to judge in quality. I won't really argue if you think they are better than the US but I'd put them more at the level of Costa Rica.

    As far as cameroon, they suck. Etoo didn't disappear, he got old. I doubt we see either him or Drogba (for ivory coast) play a starters role in the world cup.

    That leaves 2 teams that are as good-ish as US/Mexico, with 2 more spots than the CONCACAF gets. I guess the real comparison is do you think Nigeria/Egypt/Mali are all better than Costa Rica.
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  10. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post

    The WNBA probably still gets better ratings than an MLS game or an EPL game.
    I don't have numbers, but I highly doubt this is true. iirc, seattle, portland, vancouver, montreal, and houston not only sell out almost every game, but they average more attendance than quite a few MLB teams. I'd actually be willing to bet that 90% of all MLS teams "out attendance" the top WNBA teams. I would actually guess 100%, but I'm not sure, so I'll leave safety room.
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  11. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
    I think the fact that Fox Soccer is dying has more to do with the desire for NBC, ESPN, etc to have programming on than them making any money on it. I suspect that NBC will lose money on its soccer deal.
    I'd agree with that. I think a lot of sports programing probably loses money. However, I think 10 years ago, NBC using soccer as a major part of its programming schedule wouldn't have been something that would've been acted upon. Of course, one could argue there's not much else to go for. Still, I don't think they would've done this 10 years ago, and didn't do it 10 years ago with Versus or whatever Versus (I forget what it was named before it was Versus right now) was called 10 years ago because it didn't make sense - and they could've done it for basically pennies 10 years ago.

    Anyway, it really doesn't matter why it's happening. It is. We're going to see more EPL, more Champions League (Fox's new sports station), more MLS soccer (eh, it fills the gaps and you do get to see some US players) and more US soccer (men's, women's, U20) than I could've ever imagined. I think Fox might have the FA Cup as well and I'm sure ESPN will keep up with some of their Mexico stuff (international and club).

    It's going to be dealing with soccer overdose. I'm already watching US soccer matches and tape-delayed Champions League games (on FSD+) over some local teams. A lot of this has to do with it still all being "new" to me and because I'm still on the sponge stage.That, and I have the benefit of my game I produce to enhance what I see.

    Got to end my post. I have some stat gathering concerning tackles, intercepts and blocked shots to do on Augsburg in the Bundesliga.
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  12. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardyaf View Post
    Agreed on all of it. Next step: Let us please never see Alexi Lalas or Kacey Keller do any kind of strategy recap again. I am not sure I have ever heard either one of those ever give any kind of analysis beyond what anyone who played any sort of competitive soccer knows (although maybe they keep them because that is all our non-soccer fanbase can handle).
    I don't mind them. They are faces I know from when I first started getting interested in the US soccer team, back in the ol' US hosting the World Cup days. I don't find them to be completely idiotic. But, maybe some of that has to do with myself still trying to really learn the game. I'm still, basically, a hack enjoying the games, yapping after the fact.

    But minus TNT's NBA studio show, I really don't get too invested into being educated or entertained about what I'm watching or am about to watch from anyone or anything I see in these studio shows. I mostly get forced to watch the pregame shows because I never want to be suckered into missing the game because a lot of the time you can't get an honest answer when the game begins and if there is a pregame show or not. For example, tomorrow. I don't think there will be any sort of pregame show, so I'm going to be darn sure to be at my TV when the game is supposed to start, at least in my mind. But, I could end up being wrong and end up watching some sort of pregame show. And I'll keep it on, but I probably won't pay too much attention to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardyaf View Post
    I don't have numbers, but I highly doubt this is true. iirc, seattle, portland, vancouver, montreal, and houston not only sell out almost every game, but they average more attendance than quite a few MLB teams. I'd actually be willing to bet that 90% of all MLS teams "out attendance" the top WNBA teams. I would actually guess 100%, but I'm not sure, so I'll leave safety room.
    I think Buddha was talking about TV ratings. Honestly, I don't know one way or the other.

    But to enhance your point, when the US was playing the qualifier in Seattle, they had about the same attendance at that game than the Mariners had for the three-game series they played against Houston during the day before, day of and day after the US game. Of course, the US never plays in the Pacific Northwest and they are soccer crazy out there, so I completely expected them to draw crazily high numbers. I expect there will be high numbers during the Gold Cup as well because I think Seattle and Portland have US games for that tourney as well.

    On a side note, I've been to a few US soccer games now (four caps to be exact), and, of course, watch pretty much every game. The fans in Utah were pretty bad. You heard no chanting, no nothing most of that game. When you are at the game, it's a blast, particularly in the supporter's section. Actually I've always been in the supporter's section so I don't know what it is like elsewhere.
    But, like I said, even on TV you get a sense of what is going on in the stands with the fans. You can hear them, you hear the chants, you hear everything right to the opposing keeper kicks reasonably clear, if you know what's being said. But, man, Utah was pathetic, the vocal support was garbage. Ford Field was better. I wish they could yank that Gold Cup game out of Utah and find a more worthy venue. They better step up this time.
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    I've done both, and the supporters section is really the only way to go. Especially out here in the midwest, where if you aren't in the supporters section you really won't be part of the game at all. Not sure how it is in the Northwest. I can't wait to find out sometime though.
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    I've only been to Ford Field and Columbus for games. Maybe one day I'll hook up with Buddha and go to a game in Chicago.

    One of these days I'll go to Nashville as well.
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    Ghana beating up the US, again.

    1-0 in the first half.
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  17. #177
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    If I learn anything by watching these U-games when I get a chance (all these World Cup U tourneys), it is the United States has no future talent, particularly on defense. Nobody wows you when he has possession. No one in the midfield wows you with anything they do. The defense wows you with their ability to allow goals and outstanding scoring chances.

    We still have some time in this game, but it would probably be better off if it was done.

    Ghana 4-1 in the 90th minute.
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    Anyone thinking Donovan being back with the B team at the Gold cup means anything? I still doubt Klinsmann uses him outside of a sub role. And frankly, at this point, I support that choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardyaf View Post
    Anyone thinking Donovan being back with the B team at the Gold cup means anything? I still doubt Klinsmann uses him outside of a sub role. And frankly, at this point, I support that choice.
    Donovan will either be completely in or completely out. He'd make this team a better squad with a snap of a finger. Playing or not playing with the team in recent months doesn't change that.
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  20. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardyaf View Post
    I don't have numbers, but I highly doubt this is true. iirc, seattle, portland, vancouver, montreal, and houston not only sell out almost every game, but they average more attendance than quite a few MLB teams. I'd actually be willing to bet that 90% of all MLS teams "out attendance" the top WNBA teams. I would actually guess 100%, but I'm not sure, so I'll leave safety room.
    MLS matches this season are down 22% ratings wise. In face, a game between Chicago and Philly recently drew a grand total of 51,000 viewers.

    The recent WNBA memorial day game drew a record viewership of 336,000 people.

    Once again, you are really overestimating soccer in the US. ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    If I learn anything by watching these U-games when I get a chance (all these World Cup U tourneys), it is the United States has no future talent, particularly on defense. Nobody wows you when he has possession. No one in the midfield wows you with anything they do. The defense wows you with their ability to allow goals and outstanding scoring chances.

    We still have some time in this game, but it would probably be better off if it was done.

    Ghana 4-1 in the 90th minute.
    Ghana beat the US again? Huh. Who would have thunk it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardyaf View Post
    I'd expect them to go 1-1-1. I wouldn't be surprised if the went 2-0-1 though.

    Not beating New Zealand (Fifa rank 57, ELO ranking 54) would be a failure in my opinion. It would be akin to spain failing to beat Costa Rica (USA v New Zealand has an ELO difference of about 240 as does spain and Costa Rica). I'm really genuinely fascinated why you think the US is that bad. Even if they play in a crappy conference, you surely think the CONCACAF is better than the OFC? I mean, New Zealand couldn't even beat out Tahiti for the Confederations cup (tbf, I don't follow this region, so I don't know how that happened).
    Look man, ELO ratings are based on the same flawed premise that the FIFA ratings are based on: that you can come up with some mathematical formula to give an accurate judgment of teams that never play against each other in competitive games. The US gets "points" for beating Germany's "C" team in a game that meant nothing to Germany that they sleepwalked through.

    If the US had an abundance of talent, it would be getting snatched up by the major European clubs when that talent was very young. But it's not. Because they're not that talented.

    Where is our 17 year old getting bought by PSG? Or Barca? Or Real? Where is our 20 year old kid getting offers from United or Chelsea? Where is our 20 year old playmaker getting a run out at Bayern?

    And for the limited number of players who HAVE been given chances, how many have succeeded? Let's count:

    1) Friedel
    2) Reyna
    3) Howard
    4) Dempsey

    Who else? Not Donovan. He was the most talented player the US has ever produced. Unfortunately he was too much of a ***** to succeed if he was 5 miles away from home. He went to Leverkusen and was a complete failure. He went to Bayern and was so bad that he got Klinsmann fired (well, that and the fact that Klinsmann is a terrible coach). He went to Everton on a no challenge, no pressure semi-appearance late in his career and was a fine player. But Everton is a not a big club and Donovan was well past his prime by the time that happened.

    Anyone else I'm forgetting? Oh yeah, Onyewu. How did that turn out? He was so horrible at Newcastle that they shuffled him out of there after only a handful of games. Milan took a gamble that he could handle the slower Italian game (since he's so damn slow) but he got hurt and never played a minute. He was decent in the Dutch League because the Dutch League is a feeder league for growing young talent, not a big time league full of big time teams (see Beasley, DeMarcus). Edu in the Scottish league at Rangers? Maybe 20 years ago when Reyna was there, but Rangers haven't been a big team in a long, long time and now they're in the third division.

    Little Ecuador has produced more quality players than the US. So has Ghana. So has the Ivory Coast. So has Nigeria. So has almost every county in South America. Even Peru has Norby Solano.

    The US is BEREFT of big time talent. They won their world cup games due to luck and perseverance and strength (the things the US is really good at). They have the same puncher's chance as any well organized team has in a soccer tournament that is not a round robin. As long as the WC is just playing one game against one team, almost any outcome can happen (look at the US beating Portugal or New Zealand tying Italy). But don't judge one game as some sort of barometer for talent. Talent rises to the top Euro teams because that's where the money is. The top teams have players littered around the top Euro leagues. And the US has a paucity of players in those leagues because the US has a paucity of big time talent.

    But hey, we produce good goalies because we're so tall. That's something I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    I think Buddha was talking about TV ratings. Honestly, I don't know one way or the other.

    But to enhance your point, when the US was playing the qualifier in Seattle, they had about the same attendance at that game than the Mariners had for the three-game series they played against Houston during the day before, day of and day after the US game. Of course, the US never plays in the Pacific Northwest and they are soccer crazy out there, so I completely expected them to draw crazily high numbers. I expect there will be high numbers during the Gold Cup as well because I think Seattle and Portland have US games for that tourney as well.

    On a side note, I've been to a few US soccer games now (four caps to be exact), and, of course, watch pretty much every game. The fans in Utah were pretty bad. You heard no chanting, no nothing most of that game. When you are at the game, it's a blast, particularly in the supporter's section. Actually I've always been in the supporter's section so I don't know what it is like elsewhere.
    But, like I said, even on TV you get a sense of what is going on in the stands with the fans. You can hear them, you hear the chants, you hear everything right to the opposing keeper kicks reasonably clear, if you know what's being said. But, man, Utah was pathetic, the vocal support was garbage. Ford Field was better. I wish they could yank that Gold Cup game out of Utah and find a more worthy venue. They better step up this time.
    there's a lot of talk that the MLS will end up on BeIn sport (the sports channel owned by Al Jazeera and which is one of my favorite channels on the planet, but not a lot of people have it. They have Ligue un and Spanish League) because there's nowhere for them to go. NBC has been getting horrible ratings with MLS and now that they have the EPL they don't need MLS anymore. EPL reruns probably do better ratings in the summer than MLS. And next summer is the World Cup so no one will be paying any attention. Less than usual.

    I like having MLS around if there's no baseball to watch in the summer, and the product has gotten better, but the tv ratings just aren't that great. they never have been and probably won't ever be as long as it's easy to watch European games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
    the tv ratings just aren't that great. they never have been and probably won't ever be as long as it's easy to watch European games.
    How are ratings for European games? I always got the feeling that Americans could care less about watching, regardless of the league.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
    there's a lot of talk that the MLS will end up on BeIn sport (the sports channel owned by Al Jazeera and which is one of my favorite channels on the planet, but not a lot of people have it. They have Ligue un and Spanish League) because there's nowhere for them to go. NBC has been getting horrible ratings with MLS and now that they have the EPL they don't need MLS anymore. EPL reruns probably do better ratings in the summer than MLS. And next summer is the World Cup so no one will be paying any attention. Less than usual.

    I like having MLS around if there's no baseball to watch in the summer, and the product has gotten better, but the tv ratings just aren't that great. they never have been and probably won't ever be as long as it's easy to watch European games.

    I wonder if there's just too much soccer out there for the MLS to get ratings. There are MLS games on, seemingly, all the time. I see them on the ESPN networks, NBC sports and even on FSD (Columbus games, probably from FS Ohio, whatever that station is called). Then, with the US games all over the place, the Confederation Cup going on and even Mexico games getting great attention from ESPN, there are so many other quality soccer options during the summer. And I haven't gotten into any of what BeIn is doing, because I really don't know what they do since I don't get it. Heck, even the US women are on all the time, playing friendlies we know are going to finish 4-0 (mainly because there are only three or four legit women's programs in the world). But, they win and people love a winner, so they are on all the time as well.

    And, I guess, that was your point.

    I'll watch them frequently when I see they are on TV. It's inferior soccer. That's obvious, but it's still entertaining for the most part. But even with me, I don't seek out the games, really. I know when the US men play. I knew when the Confederations Cup games were played. I know when the US men's U20 team is playing for Pete's sake. But MLS rarely gets on my radar as truly knowing what time a game is being played. It's still mostly understanding when the games are usually on and I'll check to see if they are playing. I like watching the pacific coast games because they are so excited about the games.

    There are a few MLS games I do kind of try to remember. When you get the MLS friendlies with the EPL teams, I enjoy watching those. But even in that instance, it's not MLS vs. MLS. What I need is an MLS team that's close that I can become a fan of. Seattle kind of is the team I pull for, but I'm not going to Seattle any time soon to watch a game.
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    Here's a great link to what NBC plans on doing with the EPL next season.
    NBC Sports announces Premier League programming plans | ProSoccerTalk
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    Here's a story about the TV ratings for the US-Mexico qualifier.
    Ratings for USA-Mexico qualifier shatter records | Soccer By Ives
    "Only Lions fans can predict a victory when their starting quarterback has a broken arm." -unknown

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    Buddha,
    You might be the person to ask this question to. I hear comments about Rangers wanting to join the English Football League system occasionally. I've seen actual on the record comments about it.

    Now, if it's possible for Rangers to do that, what about this new New York team with ManCity roots doing the same? Just as US sports try to find ways to expand into other countries, it seems like the EPL and other leagues would be smart to try to do the same. However, to me, it seems to me that adding teams from the United States to the English Football League system would be very smart. If it was one team or two teams, then if any of these squads ever advanced to the EPL, it would hard as a US citizen not to start pulling for those teams and pulling your attention to these teams.

    But all this is moot if it's not possible. What is keeping foreign leagues from doing this? Can it be done?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    Buddha,
    You might be the person to ask this question to. I hear comments about Rangers wanting to join the English Football League system occasionally. I've seen actual on the record comments about it.

    Now, if it's possible for Rangers to do that, what about this new New York team with ManCity roots doing the same? Just as US sports try to find ways to expand into other countries, it seems like the EPL and other leagues would be smart to try to do the same. However, to me, it seems to me that adding teams from the United States to the English Football League system would be very smart. If it was one team or two teams, then if any of these squads ever advanced to the EPL, it would hard as a US citizen not to start pulling for those teams and pulling your attention to these teams.

    But all this is moot if it's not possible. What is keeping foreign leagues from doing this? Can it be done?
    Nothing is keeping them from doing it. Monaco plays in the French league. Swansea and Cardiff play in the English league (they're Welsh teams).

    Taking an American team to the English league is a fantasy, IMO. The travel costs would be prohibitive. And second/third division teams don't make the kind of money that Premier League teams make. If the concern is penetrating the American market, they don't need a team here to do that, the EPL is shown here all the time and is soon to be on broadcast TV as well as cable. There really isn't any need for the League to take the extra expense to do that.

    But who knows in what ways Man City will try to waste their money? Their owners are buying whatever they want in order to get their money into something other than oil. Maybe they will buy every team in MLS for a couple billion dollars and make them all wear Man City jerseys?

    As for the Old Firm, they've been talking about that for years and nothing is ever done. It would destroy the Scottish League. I doubt they would do it. But Rangers/Celtic see the dollar signs...
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    Here's a story about the TV ratings for the US-Mexico qualifier.
    Ratings for USA-Mexico qualifier shatter records | Soccer By Ives
    I think the US national team gets ok ratings for soccer games. I would imagine that the Mexican games get better ratings here for obvious reasons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
    I think the US national team gets ok ratings for soccer games. I would imagine that the Mexican games get better ratings here for obvious reasons.
    I was looking for exclusive Mexico TV ratings and am having a hard time finding them. I am sure they get very good ratings though. If they didn't, ESPN wouldn't have obtained the rights to the games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    Now, if it's possible for Rangers to do that, what about this new New York team with ManCity roots doing the same? Just as US sports try to find ways to expand into other countries, it seems like the EPL and other leagues would be smart to try to do the same. However, to me, it seems to me that adding teams from the United States to the English Football League system would be very smart. If it was one team or two teams, then if any of these squads ever advanced to the EPL, it would hard as a US citizen not to start pulling for those teams and pulling your attention to these teams.
    I agree with Buddha that travel expenses would prevent an MLS team from doing this. What would be more feasible would be the MLS champion playing in the Europa Cup. That would be huge for the MLS and a money-maker for the Europa Cup, but I doubt UEFA would allow it.
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    MLS is still a regional sport, so it is no surprise that their national tv ratings suffer. A lot of that has to do with the time slots that games are on.

    As for USA talent, we will always lag behind other countries. There are too many other options and the country is too large and spread out to identify develop talent.

    Our current model is that the good players get college scholarships and are developed in that system. Then the best go to MLS and rise to the top, where they don't develop the necessary skills until their mid 20s.

    We need well funded and organized academies in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Miami.
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    At the highest level (even at the Championship level), I think the travel could be adjusted around. For example, just have formats where teams are home for two weeks and then on the road the next two weeks. You'd have some issues when the holiday games come around, and if you have other games rescheduled late in the season, but it could be worked out. Players are traveling a few times during the year already for international competition. Some players are more than adjusted to doing such things. And if some can adjust, so can the rest if they need to. Having the pull of a New York market team, and the possible lure of all of the US, would be pretty significant.

    Where I completely agree is at the lower levels. What are you going to do, start at the lowest rungs and work your way through it? Conference teams aren't going to be able to travel to New York, even if the NY team could. I don't see Braintree Town making the trek to New York.

    But it's an interesting thought. And with some seeds being planted in the US right now, who knows what might be possible in 10 years.
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    There is zero chance of a US team ever being part of a European domestic league. Such instances require FIFA approval, which is granted on a case by case basis. It almost always occurs for teams from bordering countries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelton View Post
    As for USA talent, we will always lag behind other countries. There are too many other options and the country is too large and spread out to identify develop talent.

    Our current model is that the good players get college scholarships and are developed in that system. Then the best go to MLS and rise to the top, where they don't develop the necessary skills until their mid 20s.

    We need well funded and organized academies in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Miami.
    My kids play travel hockey rather than travel soccer, but I suspect there are many parallels. That written, if I am mis-representing the travel soccer scene / youth development model, I would genuinely like to hear the contrary experiences.

    There are 3 things needed for a nation to develop top end athletic talent in a given sport:

    1. money,
    2. a population base large enough to support a sizable youth program, and
    3. the sport must have cultural significance

    Soccer, and to a somewhat lesser extent ice hockey, do not have cultural significance in the US to consistently develop top level players.

    Something I have seen specific to youth hockey (and I suspect applies to soccer as well) is an overemphasis on winning and playing games at the expense of developing skills and practice time at the 12 and under age group. By over-emphasis on winning, what I mean is focusing on team strategy / system play rather than developing the individual player's ability to create space for himself, be it through handling skills or simply fundamentals and technique refinement. System play can be taught later, whereas hand/eye (or foot/eye in the case of soccer) coordination really need to be highly developed by 12 to have any sort of real chance to become a professional, and you need lots and lots of young kids with a high level of coordination development to pan out the few true stars.

    Two features of the current youth travel system that create inefficiencies as I see it are:

    a. Most parents and coaches equate winning with development. It is a natural assumption - and - winning IS important. But while development and winning are not mutually exclusive, they aren't mutually inclusive either. Coaches feel pressure to win because if they don't players will leave the team at the end of the season. So they will sacrifice at least some skill development for system play at early ages and/or will use what could be practice time and schedule scrimmages instead. It is a case where short term and long term goals are at odds.

    b. Teams do not always take the most skilled players. Carrying a kid because the dad helps with practice or is a great fundraiser or whatever is commonplace. It is also common to require a new player to be at least markedly better than the player he would hypothetically replace when deciding to replace an existing player. Both my sons have not made it onto a team they were clearly good enough to be an average player on. The problem was they weren't enough better for the coach to bear the risk that I or my wife was a nutbag parent (or my kid a total spazz) relative to the player he would have replaced. So the practical consequence is kids who make teams early tend to stay on them, even if they lag in development some.
    Last edited by Mr. Bigglesworth; 07-02-2013 at 11:36 AM.

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    I'd say that's reasonably accurate and while the degree may be argued, those elements exist. Well written.
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    It looks like the process of getting my US-Mexico World Cup qualifying ticket may be kicking off today! YAHOO!!!

    I need to just flat out join the outlaws so I can get the tickets when I want to. It seems silly four years later I'm still relying on my Outlaw-member friend.
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    Just a word of warning, games start hitting with regularity again starting tomorrow.

    What a great time to be a US men's soccer fan. All these games on TV.

    Gold Cup is coming up and everyone is fighting for a piece of the US men's soccer pie. Here's what is going on in July.

    July 5 vs. Guatalemala (sp) 11 p.m. NBC Sports - FRIENDLY

    GOLD CUP
    July 9 vs. Belize 11 p.m. Fox Soccer
    July 13 vs. Cuba, 3:30 p.m. FOX
    July 16 vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. Fox Soccer
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    It drives me completely batty when we see the US do the - pass left, pass back, pass right, pass back, pass left, pass to the keeper, pass right - now what do we do? Oh, oh, just kick it out of danger!

    This is Guatemala - this isn't a good team!

    Then they push the issue for the last five minutes and get some good scoring chances.

    1-0 US at the half.
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