I see this blog is part of the BigSoccer blog network. I thought I'd welcome them before I read them (just to get in good), and wish them well.
Mr. Hawk, I like the cut of your jib. And not because Arsenal ranks less than a three on my All-Bran scale.
And now to today's totally unrelated topic - the USSF bringing THE national team game to Sandy, Utah. What can we expect? Here's a quick overview.
Twenty paragraphs delineating the history of national team games in Utah, population projections, weather forecasts, barometer readings, wind patterns, and comparisons of altitude between CONCACAF cities deleted Never mind.
For a good laugh read Confirman Sede by golf reporter John Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe did retract it here, what with the official USSF announcement and everything. I was sort of hoping he would burn his sources, but failing that, I guess we must assume that Sutcliffe made it all up.
Was it that hard for the soccer press to actually call Chicago and ask?
EDIT - nope, it wasn't. I missed this the first time: "When contacted by Goal.com, a spokesperson for U.S. Soccer would neither confirm nor deny that Salt Lake was set to host the match."
Was it that hard for Soccer House to actually say "We haven't decided yet"? Sutcliffe isn't even a soccer reporter, but he's on a big website and he's using a real name...theoretically the big difference between the legitimate press and something like MLS Rumors.
There's a school of thought - well, more like a vo-tech of thought - that says any coverage is better than no coverage at all. Problem is, after a while, there's no difference between the two.
Really, what's the incentive to wait for the real story? The blogs and message boards are alight, everyone's saying how they REALLY feel about Ohioans and Utahns - we're all having a merry, jolly time.
There is actually a useful topic for discussion here, buried in the compost - when every MLS city has an SSS built in the hope and expectation of getting US qualifiers (preferably big tasty ones like Mexico), who actually gets the games? It isn't as if Dick's Sporting Goods Park is now a decaying, radioactive wasteland - but Rio Tinto has a pretty legitimate case for a qualifier, and it's not likely that the Rockies will get two Hex games in one cycle.
"Hey, Commerce City got the Guatemala game in the first round!" Not the same thing. The sexy games are in the final round. That's why it's called the Sexagonal.
And - before we go any further, Los Angeles deserves a qualifier as much as Wal-Mart deserves Best US Soccer Store - my stand-up comedian friend Jerry asked me what the deal was with having to put every US game in tiny, remote cities.
...you know, come to think of it, I think he was asking about airline peanuts. But still. Am I the only one uncomfortable with the implicit assertion that Mexico fans are too stupid to figure out how Southwest Airlines works? I mean, us hearty hardcore fans are smart enough to figure out how to travel to these provincial backwoods, and we're a bunch of yahoos.
Yeah, Chicago would be a truly ghastly choice for the US-Mexico qualifier, but not because a bunch of ventiladores* live there. It's because the Fire front office would handle the ticket sales, they would reasonably use their season ticketholders as go-to customers, and a bunch of them are Cootiemac fans. New York's going to have an SSS, hopefully Washington and San Jose will pretty soon as well. You can't judge every big city by Los Angeles (whose spotty record with US support I can chart, explain, and justify in some detail...just not at all interestingly). At least Washington got another chance with the Cuba game this year...I thought after the Honduras loss, USSF would treat it as if it were the District of Chernobyl.
Let's take it for granted that, as long as the US wins in Columbus, Crew Stadium hosts Mexico games. What about afterwards? With every passing year, and every passing SSS, the pickings get a little slimmer, with more and better facilities competing for a fixed number of games. If the US ever loses in Columbus, "We hosted La Guerra Fria and the Gooch Staredown game" won't, er, hunt. "Yeah, but Madoff Investment Securities Stadium has better luxury boxes."
Instead, "MEXICO GAME AT RIO TINTO!" is crammed between "SCHELOTTO TO LEAVE COLUMBUS!" and "GALAXY TO SIGN MARQUEZ!" How can I compete with all these comedy bloggers?
*I wish I could remember where I read this - it was on the comments of a big soccer site - but someone posing as a Mexico supporter used Babelfish for his Spanish, and said something about how Mexico had los mejores ventiladores.