Allardyce's dream job ends quickly

Yesterday, Sam Allardyce had his contract as England manager terminated after 67 days and just one game in charge.

Videos have emerged which appear to show Allardyce explaining to undercover reporters from British newspaper the Daily Telegraph posing as businessmen representing a consortium from Asia how to get around the FA’s rules on Third-party ownership of players.

Allardyce also appears to negotiate a fee for going to speak to some fictitious investors in Hong Kong and Singapore, he mocks Roy Hodgson’s performance in his job, and his rhotacism, and criticises the FA over the cost of Wembley.

The Telegraph’s sting was part of a wider investigation they are running into financial impropriety in football, and they have promised to release more stories over the next few days, so things could possibly get even worse for the FA.

Whether or not you believe what Allardyce said merited losing his job, and amidst all of the nonsense, there were some truths said; in my opinion, it immediately seemed clear that the FA could not keep him as manager.

The FA have come under increased scrutiny over how they mete out discipline. As a result, the FA have to hold themselves to as high a standard as they hold others. So, it is not acceptable for the FA’s highest-profile employee to act as though he believes that the rules are optional and offer to help a bunch of strangers flout them.

I think that Allardyce has fallen into a trap that several others have fallen into in the past, and others will almost certainly fall into in the future.

The Premier League is watched by hundreds of millions all around the world. That level of exposure, plus the huge financial rewards that come with it, can give people a false sense of their status within the game. Just because people will know who you are, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a superstar.

Allardyce has been a Premier League manager for a long time, and to be fair to him, he did a great job at Bolton, didn’t get the credit he deserved for a solid job at West Ham and was doing well at both Blackburn and Sunderland before his spells there prematurely came to an end.

So, Allardyce will be someone who fans from all over the world who follow the Premier League will know. That, plus Allardyce’s own ego, which certainly isn’t small, and arrogance will have allowed him to give himself the impression that he really is a big deal in the world of football.

The England job wasn’t just Allardyce’s dream job; it was the validation he has been seeking for his entire managerial career. He’s believed for years that his natural place is at the elite level of football management, and he believed the England post would give him the chance to prove to everyone that he belongs at the top.

After all, this is a man who once said “I'm not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Internazionale or Real Madrid. It wouldn't be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time.”

Allardyce has created and then played up to the ‘Big Sam’ persona. He presents himself as a larger-than-life figure; someone who is quick with a joke and provides great quotes for the media. He believes himself to be what we would call in the UK ‘a real character’, someone who is beloved by fans of the game, and someone who the game would be all the poorer for if he wasn’t part of it. He seems to be oblivious to the fact that many see him as a pompous, big-headed buffoon.

In some ways, I think Allardyce has trapped himself in that Big Sam persona. Allardyce is much more of a cerebral coach than he presents himself to be. He was one of the first Premier League managers to embrace sports science and the use of stats as a coaching aide. But instead, he dumbs himself down in a bid to gain popularity.

That’s what I think Allardyce was doing in those videos. He was making himself look big in front of a bunch of strangers, bragging about how well-connected he was and what he could do for them, for the right price. He was playing up to the crowd.

That probably explains the cheap shot Allardyce took about Roy Hodgson in the video. Criticising Hodgson‘s time as England manager is okay; saying that he was indecisive and had probably picked the wrong coaching staff was also okay.

But, mocking Hodgson’s character and, even worse, his speech impediment, is not okay; and that will have counted heavily against Allardyce when the FA were decided what to do when the allegations first emerged. This is after the FA had previously called a newspaper headline mocking Hodgson’s rhotacism ‘unacceptable’.  

For all of Allardyce’s bluff and bluster throughout his career, and his unswerving self-belief, the only really big clubs he’s ever managed are Newcastle and West Ham, in the former he failed badly, and in both cases the fans couldn’t wait to see the back of him. The last trophy he won as a manager was the title of what is now League Two with Notts County in 1997.

Even the appointment of Allardyce by the FA, which was supposed to be the crowning glory of Allardyce’s career, always seemed as though it came about more because there wasn’t really anyone else rather than because Allardyce was the outstanding candidate.

The FA now face having to look for yet another England manager. If they want an English one, the field seems thinner than ever. There are only 4 English managers in the Premier League, and that includes Mike Phelan at Hull, who isn’t their permanent manager. Of those, only Alan Pardew would seriously be considered. Outside of that, there’s Steve Bruce who left Hull in the summer. Hardly inspiring choices are they?

As for Allardyce, he spent less time in the England job than the Chilean miners spent trapped underground. He only managed them for one game; scraping a 1-0 win against Slovakia. Despite all of this he walks away with a large payoff and with the knowledge that he will probably be back in football before too long.

Allardyce is already making noises about media entrapment and it won’t take him long to spin everything in his own mind so that he can once again go back to being Big Sam and when the next Premier League team in trouble calls upon him- and they will- he can allow himself the delusion that he is once again on his way to the peak of the game.  

Fans Boycott The Premier League 'B' Team Trophy

A few months ago, the Football League, now stupidly rebranded as the English Football League (despite it containing teams from outside of England) made the decision to radically change the Football League Trophy (now called the Checkatrade Trophy), the competition it runs for the 48 clubs in Leagues One and Two, which started this week.

They’ve changed it in order to solve a problem that no-one’s sure exists, and have managed to produce a solution that nobody asked for. The predictable result of this seems to be a complete farce, which has completely ruined what used to be a fun competition.

For years now, the consensus within English football is that, apart from it always being the coach’s fault, the reason England fail to deliver in major international tournaments is because young players at the academies of English clubs need a greater level of coaching and competition than they are currently getting to be able to be ready to step up into the first team.

Having players coming through those academies didn’t hurt Wales in EURO 2016; suggesting that England’s problems aren’t just to do with the skill level of players; but, I guess any programme which improves players is never a bad thing. 

A few years ago, the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) was introduced in an attempt to standardise coaching in English academies. An independent auditor assesses each academy and decides which category it should be awarded, with Category 1 being the highest.

The unintended result of this is that it has favoured the richest clubs; and does little to prevent them cherry-picking the best players from lower category academies for a nominal fee. This means that the richest teams have stockpiled talented young players and hope that if they throw enough of them at the wall, one will eventually stick.

The other problem with this plan is that while it means young players should, in theory, be better coached than before, it has done nothing to bridge the gap between academy football and first-team football.

One of the solutions floated has been for Premier League teams to introduce ‘B’ teams into the football league, similar to those that play in the Spanish league system. This has met with a lot of opposition from clubs and fans, who feel that such a move threatens to destroy the integrity of what are viable, popular leagues.

As the English football system is a pyramid, it would be possible for a Premier League B team to be admitted to a league a few tiers below the Football League and work their way up; which nobody would argue with, but the level of football they would be competing in would be too low and the risk of a highly rated starlet being injured being too high for clubs to consider that a realistic option.

Amidst the opposition, the Football League started to backtrack a bit from any idea of introducing B teams into the Football Leagues, but it came up with the compromise of allowing those teams into the Football League Trophy, a plan which was agreed to by Football League clubs last month.   

The Football League Trophy (which used to be known as the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy) was a competition for clubs in Leagues One and Two. The competition wasn’t taken as seriously early on, but as teams progress further into the competition, the more the fans start to get engaged and the competition becomes fiercer. Last season’s final between Barnsley and Oxford United had an attendance of close to 60,000 at Wembley, with Barnsley becoming the 26th different winner of it in the 32 years it has been played. 

The changes see the number of teams competing increased from 48 to 64, with the additional 16 teams coming from Category 1 academies, which for the most part are the academies of Premier League clubs. The format also changes from it being a knockout competition to 16 groups of 4, with each group containing at least one academy team, plus one team from each of leagues one and two, plus an additional team, with teams being divided between Northern and Southern England.

The Premier League is putting up extra prize money for the competition, and they had to commit to their academy team playing their Football League Trophy games at their first team’s stadium.

That was the big selling point the Football League used to get clubs to agree to the changes. The extra money was what sold it to the clubs, but the chance for their team to play at the likes of Old Trafford, Anfield, the Etihad Stadium or the Emirates Stadium was what the clubs could use to sell the idea to their fans.

So, the Football League announced that they had changed their competition entirely to suit the elite clubs of the Premier League.

But guess what they hadn’t done? Asked any of those clubs if they actually wanted to take part.

Almost immediately there were rumblings that several high-profile teams would decline the invitation. When the draw was made, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham had all decided not to take part for various reasons, but many cited a fear of player burnout with academies having their own competition.

The withdrawals didn’t end there. Despite their relegation from the Premier League, Newcastle’s academy was of a high enough level to be invited, but they said no. Newcastle’s place was offered to Aston Villa, who also said no. Eventually, Championship side Reading accepted a place, along with fellow championship sides Blackburn, Derby County, Wolves, Norwich and Brighton.

So the competition that was changed to accommodate 16 Premier League teams now contains 6 teams from the Championship.

It could have been worse for the Football League had Chelsea not changed their minds and decided to participate having previously indicated that they would also decline any invitation. The Football League actually broke their self-imposed rules in order to get West Ham to participate. The fee West Ham would have had to pay to play their games in the Olympic Stadium, their new home, would have been prohibitively expensive, so the Football League have allowed them to play all of their games away.

The news that they had been sold an idea based on promises made by the Football League that they couldn’t deliver went down badly with teams from Leagues One and Two. It went down ever worse with the fans, who, understandably decided that they didn’t want to see their team playing against academy teams and the Against League 3 campaign called for fans to boycott the competition, saying:

“Asking supporters to boycott is a decision that we took with a heavy heart. No-one wants to deliberately avoid going to watch their team. It’s a horrible feeling. Boycotting doesn’t make you any less loyal or any less of a true supporter. Boycotting means you reject the idea that our teams should become just another tool for the Premier League youth development conveyor belt. Boycotting means you are willing to stand up and be counted to try and improve football for all levels – not for just the select few”

The official line from the Football League when the changes were made was that crowds were declining, so the competition needed rejuvenating.

Well, the average attendance for the first game in last season’s competition was 1870. This week’s average was 1462. Seven games saw fewer than 1000 fans in attendance, something which never happened once last season.

Allowing for the fact that teams inflate attendances to include complimentary tickets given to sponsors, the attendance at Fleetwood v Blackburn u23’s was 392. Fleetwood’s first game of last season’s competition was 4 times that.

The total of the squad numbers worn by the Swansea team last night was greater than the crowd at their game at AFC Wimbledon. Blackpool never bothered producing a programme for their game as not enough people would have been there to buy one for it to be worth it for them.

Port Vale recorded their lowest attendance in 30 years. Millwall, somewhat conveniently, recorded an attendance that was 4 fans more than their lowest since moving to the New Den. Bradford’s average attendance in the league so far this season is over 17,500. Tuesday against Stoke it was 1,144.

Not only has the competition been changed to benefit the Premier League teams (at least those who wanted it), the teams in it are being held to two different sets of rules regarding team selection. League One and Two teams have to abide by rules stating that they have to play a minimum of 5 regular first team players in their starting XI’s, but an academy team only has to have 6 players under the age of 21, leading to situations like this:

 

Luton Town’s squad of 18 players last night had 14 players under 21, nearly all of whom were English with 5 young players making their debuts. Yet, they could potentially be fined £5,000 (a sizeable amount for them) whilst the u23 teams can make as many changes as they want with impunity. How can that be right?

As for the benefits the England team will get from academy teams playing in this competition; predictably, a lot of those u23 teams contained a sizeable number of foreign players. Stoke picked Charlie Adam, who has 30 caps for Scotland and the Spanish Marc Muniesa, Norwich had the French Tony Andreu score a hat-trick and Reading picked 7 foreign players.

Lower league teams are also worried about the strain the extra games will put on their squads. Whereas Chelsea can stockpile enough players that they can send out 38 of them on loan, many teams operate with squads of around half that many players.

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray said: “It’s all right for these big clubs coming in, but what people forget to think about is that it’s people’s jobs on the line when earning three points is your living. “It’s not just turn up and have a game for an U23 team, this is people’s lives and we’ve got to go into the weekend now with knocks and bruises.”

While it’s too early to call this experiment a failure; perhaps fans will engage more as the competition continues, it can be said that the early signs are not encouraging.

 

 

MLS-Leading FC Dallas Continues To Attract Ballooning Prices On Secondary Ticket Market

August is heating up, which means that another slate of MLS action is upcoming this weekend. With only six playoff spots up for grabs in each conference, teams are becoming more aggressive in hopes of making the playoffs. The leaders of each conference, however, are in command and will likely earn top playoff seeds. In the Western Conference, FC Dallas (44 points) paces all teams, while NYCFC (37 points) holds a strong lead in the Eastern Conference. The top upcoming games for Week 24 of the MLS season are presented below.

 

8/13/16 Sporting KC @ FC Dallas I Toyota Stadium I Get-In Ticket Price: $37

 

The most expensive get-in ticket price during Week 24 will feature two of the Western Conference’s best teams. FC Dallas, winners of three straight games, will welcome Sporting KC (34 points) to Toyota Stadium. These two teams have split their first two meetings, so this game will determine which team will have bragging rights. It’s also a crucial game for Sporting KC’s playoff chances. Fans that want to go to this game can check out Razorgator, where Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas tickets start at $37,

 

8/13/16 Colorado @ Los Angeles I StubHub Stadium I Get-In Ticket Price: $32

 

The second highest ticket price will feature a Western Conference matchup between the second-place Colorado Rapids (38 points) and the third-place LA Galaxy (36 points). The Galaxy has won four straight games at home, but has not notched a victory against Colorado this season. On Razorgator, Rapids vs Galaxy tickets start at $32, which is a pretty good bargain considering the two clubs involved. This should be an entertaining contest with postseason implications involved.

 

8/13/16 Toronto FC @ Houston  I BBVA Compass Stadium I Get-In Ticket Price: $24

 

Next up is an encounter between Toronto and Houston. Toronto (33 points) currently sits in second place in the Eastern Conference and Houston (20 points) is in the cellar of the Western Conference). These two teams are heading in opposite directions but Houston will look to score a win against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Fans looking to save money on getting to the game should check out ParkWhiz.com for cheap Houston parking.

 

8/13/16 Philadelphia @ New England  I Gillette Stadium I Get-In Ticket Price: $23

 

A potential playoff preview will commence at Gillette Stadium when the Philadelphia Union (30 points) squares off against the New England Revolution (26 points). New England recently traded Charlie Davies to Philadelphia, so expect him to play with extra motivation in this game. New England knocked Philadelphia off in its recent U.S. Open Cup matchup in penalty kicks, and as a result, Philadelphia will likely be looking for some retribution in this one. The get-in ticket price for this game is $23, which is the fourth highest price in Week 24. Fans driving to the game can find parking deals for Gillette Stadium parking on ParkWhiz.com.

 

8/13/16 NYCFC @ Columbus  I Mapfre Stadium I Get-In Ticket Price: $22’

 

The fifth and final game on this week’s list interestingly enough includes first-place NYCFC and ninth-place Columbus (19 points). NYCFC is 6-2-1 over its last nine games, while Columbus is 0-3-3 over its last six games, as they head in the wrong direction. Things certainly won’t get any easier for them when they take on the class of the East. Given NYFC’s involvement in this one, fans might be getting the best deal of the week on tickets to this specific contest. On Razorgator, the get-in ticket price is just $22.

Sigi Out; plus: Not a Sane Lawsuit

In retrospect, what doomed Sigi Schmid in Seattle was something that was completely out of his control.  When the Sounders FINALLY got over on the Galaxy in the playoffs last year, I thought that bought Sigi time.  I realize Sounders fans were losing patience, but a penalty shootout loss to FC Dallas had to be their least painful playoff exit in their history. 

Then Dallas flopped against Portland, and the Timbers went to Columbus and won MLS Cup. 

It's always a painful thing when the arch-rival wins the championship.  When the arch-rival who came into the league AFTER you wins the championship BEFORE you?  That riles up a fan base.  It was the worst possible ending to a season that was primarily notable for Clint Dempsey tearing up a referee's notebook. 

Historically, Sigi Schmid provides either quick or very quick success, peaking with a landmark season.  And then it falls apart - slowly at first, reaching terminal velocity within a year.  Schmid's last two Galaxy teams were painful to live through, and, well, you can look at the standings and see how the Sounders are doing.

Some of this is made worse because of Schmid's previous success.  The Sounders aren't used to being underwater at all, let alone down there with the miserable Dynamo.  They've lost five times at home, and yes, they do lead the league in that unfortunate stat. 

So, yeah, in the long view, Schmid had a highly successful run for the Sounders.  I was just about to say he didn't win a double, like he did for Los Angeles and Columbus...but he did, didn't he, in 2014.  It was just the wrong double.  Stop me if I've told you this one, but the Open Cup and the Supporters Shield is like ordering whipped cream and hot fudge but leaving off the ice cream.  Nice hat.  Nice belt buckle.  No cowboy.

Should your team hire Sigi?  Of course.  He drafts well, he signs well, and he wins.  Then his star players turn the locker room against him, and your owner would prefer to keep Sigi and not dump fifteen players, but that's not economically feasible.  Or he'll leave you for a better gig, like he did to UCLA and the Crew.  But he'll leave many trophies behind. 

The big question is, who will replace him?  UCLA got lucky with Jorge Salcedo.  LA...well, Sigi's replacement there won a double himself.  Rejoice, Sounders fans!  Sigi is like the Johnny Appleseed of doubles!  Okay, in reality, it took the Galaxy and Crew a minute or two to recover from Sigi's departures.  Heck, the Crew are at the bottom of the East right now, so - really?  Defending conference champions?  Strange team.  Strange league.

Should Sigi coach the US national team?  Probably?  I think?  Sorry, my hot take machine is on the fritz.  He can scout talent and build a team, and get that team to win.  And then it goes bad.  If he can have his good year in 2018, then the sky is the limit. 

I was going to say Schmid is the most qualified for the position, what with having won championships in NCAA and MLS.  But then I realized I just talked myself into hiring Caleb Porter...or re-hiring Steve Sampson. 

Since in this premise Schmid would be taking over a team that Klinsmann has either ditched or ran into a ditch, a safe choice would be almost obligatory.  I think it's less likely he'll be a candidate for the next cycle.  Assuming Schmid wants to wait around to follow Klinsmann, he'll be almost 70 in 2022.  (Okay, fine, he'll be almost 70 in 2022 whether he follows Klinsmann or not.  You know what I was getting at.)

LAFC is by far the most obvious choice for Sigi at this point, which will annoy the Galaxy to no end.  I can only assume Schmid and LAFC are working out the final details.

______________________

One place Sigi Schmid won't coach will be the NASL team in Los Angeles - because there won't be one.  Chad Hollingsworth had the intriguing report here - go read that while I congratulate myself on that incredible topic segue I just made.

One of the factors that dissuaded Sumner was the pending antitrust lawsuit by the NASL against the USSF. With representation including high profile attorneys like Jeffrey Kessler, who represented Tom Brady against the NFL, the legal fees are bound to pile up. Reportedly, each NASL ownership group is expected to share equally in those costs.

This is very, very close to being the funniest thing I have seen, read or heard of in my adult life, except for maybe - MAYBE - the Sarah Silverman Program episode where Brian Posehn and Steve Agee passive-aggressively argue about Tab. 

The issue in question is Division 1 status for the North American Soccer League.  I've, um, touched on this issue in the past.  Long and stupid story short, Division 1 status is not worth fighting over.

From the USSF point of view - Jesus, just grant the waiver.  You've done it before for the NASL.  You've granted a waiver for Division 1 before, for WPS. 

For our younger readers, WPS was a struggling soccer league that didn't quite meet the written standards for a Division 1 league in the United States.  But the USSF granted WPS a waiver so it could claim Division 1 status. Guess whether it worked.

The only reason I can see for not giving NASL Division 1 status - well, apart from the fact that they don't meet the standards, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be the last guy on the planet who cares about the standards - is the sanctity of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.  As a Division 1 league, goes what for want of a better term we'll call "reasoning," its champion should gain automatic entry into the CCC.

Unless the NASL's champion is Canadian, or Puerto Rican, of course.  Stop me if I've told you this, but I'm not sure the NASL has thought this all the way through.

Anyway, the USSF could either take ticket away the Supporters Shield winner and give it to the NASL champ....assuming they want only one, considering the NASL crowns champions every couple of weeks or so thanks to that asinine minor league split season scam they run so the Cosmos and Puerto Rico FC don't have to start the season on time if it's not convenient.  Or the USSF could use the US Open Cup the way the CSA uses the Pyramid Scheme Challenge to pick its national representative.  For those of you just joining us, no NASL team - including the Pet Rock era versions - have come anywhere close to winning the Open Cup.  USSF's right to choose its representatives to the CCC is pretty much undisputed, so the NASL would have no recourse if Sunil chose to be cute about it.

Which brings us to the NASL side of the lawsuit.  If the lawsuit is going to be so expensive and time-consuming that actual serious investors are scared off, then maybe your lawsuit isn't such a great idea, maybe?  Sports league lawsuits in this country have a very amusing history, and it doesn't usually end up well for the challengers.

A much better option for the NASL is to actually act like a Division 1 league with Division 1 teams paying Division 1 salaries.  That's what the American League did, that's what the American Football League did, that's what (a few) American Basketball Association teams did.  The USFL even made a little go of it that way, before they decided to quit gridiron and try lawyerball.

This shouldn't even need to be said, but the money spent on attorneys to argue this case - this stupid, stupid, stupid case - could be used much more productively.  Like stadiums and players and advertising.  Or building a giant Lego Danny Szetela, I don't know. 

I haven't even mentioned FIFA here.  Thou Shalt Not Sue Thy Federation is pretty high on the list of FIFA commandments.  Everyone on the NASL side of this is risking a ban from the sport.  I bring this up because if the argument is that USSF has the power to make and unmake leagues through FIFA authority, then the NASL will be pariahs in Zurich and...New York?  Miami?  Wherever CONCACAF's headquarters is these days. What price CONCACAF Champions Cup place, if the league is not allowed to compete in international competition through FIFA and CONCACAF decree. 

And if the USSF does NOT have ultimate power over soccer through apostolic succession from FIFA....then what is NASL suing over?  USSF is just a licensing agency.  If the NASL can't market its teams once it gets that license, whose problem is that? 

There's an outside chance - I've mentioned this, I think - that the real target is not the USSF, but Soccer United Marketing.  It would be nice, from the NASL point of view, to divorce MLS from US national team friendlies...and, better still, Mexican national team friendlies.  But divisional status has nothing to do with that subject. And again, any serious attempt to say that USSF can't market and promote soccer as it sees fit will probably have repercussions in Mexico City, let alone Zurich and...it's not Port au Prince still, it can't be.  Assuming NASL can get a judge to agree that it is being harmed by Mexico playing New Zealand in Nashville, AND assuming NASL can get a jury to award it change appreciably above chump status.

And I want to beat one last thing into the ground.

This is not to say that the pursuit of legal recourse is the wrong path for the NASL. A legal victory would likely have a more significant impact on the league’s long-term goals than the addition of any single team, regardless of market.

Nope.  What would help the league's long-term goals is having teams with long-term plans.  Building a fan base is the best - maybe the only - aim of a soccer league.  A legal victory would mean nothing except on whatever marketing can be squeezed out of the difference between "only pro soccer team for miles around" and "only Division 1 pro soccer team for miles around."  Sacramento and Cincinnati have shown that not even Division 2 status is necessary to build a team and gain fans.

Seriously, was I ever wrong about FC Cincinnati.  I see their gear worn by people in public.  Like in parks and stuff. 

The NASL could take advantage of similar markets if they made the effort - but apparently they can't find investors in Detroit, Buffalo, Nashville, San Antonio, San Diego, Birmingham, Truth or Consequences, or St. Louis, because mean old USSF won't let them dress up as Division 1 princesses.  Meanwhile people are making money in Division 3.  NASL should fire everyone and start over.  But I've probably said that already, too.

MLS Clubs Brace For Crucial Second Half, Tickets Yielding Great Value On Secondary Market

Several of the top MLS players will only have a limited window to bounce back after a tough loss to Arsenal in the MLS All-Star Game. Nonetheless, play continues on in the MLS season, with the All-Star Game marking the midpoint of the 2016 campaign, and teams are still jockeying for playoff positions as the calendar flips to August. This weekend’s slate of games features several key inter-conference matchups, including a showdown between top clubs. The top five upcoming games, in terms of get-in ticket price, are presented below.

8/6 Houston Dynamo at Montreal Impact I Saputo Stadium I Get-In: $40

 

The most expensive get-in ticket price this weekend will feature a clash between Houston and Montreal. Houston (19 points) currently is in last place in the Western Conference and will need to earn points in every matchup if they want to move on. Montreal (29 points) sits fourth in the Eastern Conference and can push for the top seed with a big second half. Fans that want to go to this game can find tickets on Razorgator, where Montreal Impact tickets start at $40.

 

8/6 Vancouver Whitecaps at Colorado Rapids I Dick’s Sporting Goods Park I Get-In: $29

 

The second highest get-in ticket price features a Western Conference matchup between Vancouver and Colorado. Vancouver (30 points) currently holds the sixth and final playoff spot in the West, while Colorado (38 points) sits comfortably in second place. On Saturday, Colorado lost its first match in its last 16 games, so expect a big effort at home to bounce back. Fans that want to attend this contest can find Colorado Rapids tickets starting at just $29 on Razorgator. Additionally, those fans who are driving to the game can find parking options for Dick’s Sporting Goods Park parking on ParkWhiz.com.

 

8/5 NYCFC at San Jose Earthquakes I Avaya Stadium I Get-In: $28

 

After notching a huge win over the highly-rated Colorado Rapids, NYCFC will travel to California to face the Earthquakes. NYCFC (36 points) sits five points ahead of the NY Red Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference. San Jose (26 points), meanwhile, is currently eighth in the Western Conference, so they’ll need a big second half in order to secure a playoff spot. The get-in ticket price for this game is $28, which offers a nice value given the clubs involved.

 

8/6 New England Revolution at Toronto FC I BMO Stadium I Get-In: $24

 

The New England Revolution will travel north of the border for an Eastern Conference showdown against Toronto FC. Toronto (27 points) and New England (26 points) currently sit fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Eastern Conference, so both teams will need to keep adding points in order secure their playoff seeding. These two teams played to a tie earlier this season, so expect a competitive matchup as well. Fans traveling to this game can find solid ticket options on Razorgator; the get-in ticket price is $24, which is the fourth highest this weekend.

 

8/3 Real Salt Lake at Toronto FC I BMO Stadium I Get-In: $17


Before hosting the New England Revolution this weekend, Toronto FC will welcome Real Salt Lake (31 points) to BMO Stadium. Real Salt Lake currently sits fifth in the Western Conference, so Toronto will need a big effort in this game. Toronto will need some magic from Sebastian Giovinco, the reigning league MVP. Giovinco notched a hat trick against DC United a week ago, and he’ll look for more of the same in this encounter. The get-in ticket price for this game is only $17, which is one of the best values of the weekend.

Bayern Munich, Real Madrid Pace List Of Priciest 2016 International Champions Cup Tickets

It’s already underway and drawing a buzz on the secondary ticket market.

On July 22, the 2016 International Champions Cup kicked off to the delight of many across the globe, as the anticipated soccer tournament features some of the best squads from different continents taking part in rare, exciting matchups.

The tournament itself will span multiple continents and features teams from Asia, Europe, and Australia. Luckily for soccer fans in the U.S., the tournament will features games between teams in the world’s top leagues on U.S. soil. Of note, the United States/Europe table will feature AC Milan, Barcelona (2016 ICC United States and Europe Champion), Bayern Munich, Celtic, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid. Each team will play three games and the club with the most points will be crowned champion. Regulation wins count as three points, shootout winners receive two points, and losing teams receive one point. An overview of the four top games, in terms of get-in ticket price, are presented below.

8/3 Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid I MetLife Stadium I Get-In: $123

The most expensive get-in ticket price features a tilt between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. These two teams met last year in the Audi Cup in Germany and are considered two of the most popular and most prestigious teams in the world. Fans that want to attend this game can check out tickets on TiqIQ, where the get-in ticket price for Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid is $123. Fans driving to the game can find deals for MetLife Stadium parking on ParkWhiz.com.

7/30 Liverpool vs. AC Milan  I Levi’s Stadium I Get-In: $56

The second most expensive game will consist of a showdown between Liverpool and AC Milan on Saturday, July 30, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. This is the second straight year that Levi’s Stadium has hosted a game in this tournament. Last year, excitement ran high when Barcelona and Manchester United squared off in front of a packed house. The get-in ticket price for Liverpool vs. AC Milan is $56, which should clock in as one of the better bargains of the event.

7/30 Bayern Munich vs. Inter Milan  I Bank of America Stadium I Get-In: $54

Fans in the Charlotte, North Carolina area will get a taste of world-class soccer when Bayern Munich and Inter Milan come to town on Saturday, July 30. This is the third straight year that Charlotte has hosted an ICC Game. Between these two clubs, eight Champions League titles have been won, so expect a spirited atmosphere. The get-in ticket price for this game is $54, which is the third highest get-in price. Fans driving to the game can find options for Bank of America Stadium parking on ParkWhiz to help save on the costs of attending the contest..

7/27 Liverpool vs. Chelsea  I Rose Bowl I Get-In: $51

When Liverpool and Chelsea square off at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, July 27, it will have unsurprisingly have one of the more expensive price tags. These two Premier League rivals will duke it out again, but this time, it’ll happen on American soil. Both clubs are tied in their most recent meeting, so expect another competitive game from both sides. Ticket prices for this game start at $51, which offers some value relative to the other matches.