If you haven’t been following your US men’s national soccer team (MNT), why not? They are in first place in CONCACAF world cup qualifying with a record of 4-1-1 for 13 points, two points ahead of Costa Rica. In their appearances dating back to the start of the hex in February, the US has only two losses: the opener at Honduras and a home friendly against Belgium. The rest of the matches have been huge successes with home wins over Costa Rica (the blizzard game), Germany (friendly), at Jamaica, Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala (friendly); and a draw at Azteca in Mexico City (a win given our record their). Granted the 4-3 win over Germany wasn’t against their top line but it was a pivotal game that saw Jozy Altidore get his first goal for the MNT since November 2011, a penalty kick at Slovenia. Also, the victory over Germany came on our centennial anniversary celebration and five days before we headed to Jamaica for our first of three World Cup qualifying games in a week and a half. As I mentioned the US went 3-0-0 in those games with a goal differential of five goals to one with Jozy scoring three of those. Last night, the US MNT ousted Guatemala 6-0 in a tune up match before the start of the Gold Cup. Landon Donovan returned to the lineup for the first time in almost a year and scored his 50th and 51st international goals. Suffice to say, the US men are looking really good right now however, this isn’t what I wanted to focus on today.
In each of these games, there have been huge, raucous crowds supporting the team. The blizzard game in Denver was played in front of a sellout crowd of a little over 19,000+ freezing fans (and no one would trade that experience for anything). There were huge crowds in the friendly matches against Belgium and Germany as well, but then came the game against Panama in Seattle. I would say Seattle is a soccer town because they can trot out huge crowds to support their MLS team, the Sounders, but wow! There were 42,000+ people in attendance at the game and there could have been a lot more had Seattle not capped ticket sales so that there would still be people at the Mariners-Astros game across the street. Now in my opinion, why cap a game that is quite possibly a once in a lifetime event for some people just to encourage people to go watch two bad baseball teams play one game of a multiple game series (and I’d be saying the same thing if the Cubs were playing). This point was articulated several times by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman. Fans have been coming out in mass numbers for these recent games and it’s awesome. Just check out some of the chants from the Seattle game it was incredible.
| || |
| || |
I hope all of you have a great week this week and be sure to be on the lookout for posts by Marris and T.O. Also, I’m going to be in Champaign, IL on Friday so I’m hoping to get a post up on Wednesday, so be on the lookout for that as well. Thanks, as always, for reading.