I love U.S. Soccer’s venue choice for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.
U.S. Socccer announced yesterday that the September qualifier against Jamaica will play out at Crew Stadium, what I’ve called previously the “meat and potatoes” of U.S. soccer grounds.
No ornamentation. No fancy-schmancy. Just four sets of nuts-and-bolts stands around a good field. Perfect! It’s a place that embodies the simple, no-frills, lunch pail approach that once marked the U.S. program.
Plus, what Crew Stadium does offer is history – something still is relatively short supply in matters of domestic soccer.
Consider the following:
- The United States is 5-0-3 there. That’s the kind of history that players can lean on. As in: “We don’t lose when we play in Columbus.”
- Crew Stadium is the historic site of two landmark U.S. qualifying triumphs. Remember the so-called Guerra Fria (Cold War)? That was the Mexican media’s moniker on February 2001 triumph on a bitterly cold Ohio night. (I could barely type my story, no kidding at all.) That 2-0 win over El Tri provided a brilliant launching pad for the final drive toward World Cup 2002.
- Conditions were less polar bear friendly four years later on a brilliant fall day of 2005, when goals at Crew Stadium by Steve Ralston and DaMarcus Beasley helped the United States officially clinch its berth for World Cup 2006.
- Jamaica, typically stocked with talented players, qualified for the 1998 World Cup. So the Raggae Boyz probably represent the most substantial U.S. obstacle in the semifinal round. This one needed to be picked wisely, based on performance factors rather than economic ones. (Larger venues = better profit, so money was perhaps left on the table here, and prudently so.)
- The match falls on Sept. 11. What better place to recognize national history, sad and notorious as the date is, than playing near the heartland, at a site with a growing legacy of U.S. Soccer history?
BERLIN (AP) The German soccer federation is mulling a proposal to allow China’s under-20 team to play friendly matches in the fourth tier of its league system.
Because the Southwest Regional League is comprised of 19 clubs, each currently has two match-days free that can be used for friendly games. The one-off action would allow China’s under-20 team to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
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“Nothing has been fixed yet but the clubs are all in favor,” league president Felix Wiedemann told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There’s a lot of interest in it. It’s important to say that there will be no points at stake, so it won’t influence the outcome of the league.”
Clubs would receive about 15,000 euros ($16,700) in compensation for two home games against the Chinese side, if the plan is approved. The Chinese are planning on a base near Heidelberg in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Southwest Regional League members are meeting on July 11, when a decision will likely be made in consultation with the German soccer federation, Wiedemann said. The league kicks off at the end of the month.
China and Germany agreed to a five-year soccer partnership last November, aimed at developing the game in China with training and other programs.
Australia and Cameroon fight for their Confederations Cup lives on Thursday at 11 a.m.ET live on Telemundo Deportes.
[ WATCH LIVE: Cameroon vs. Chile on Telemundo Deportes ]
Cameroon will have its top attacker in the form of Vincent Aboubakar in its bid to overcome an opening loss to Chile, while Australia will hope goalkeeper Maty Ryan can get the job done following a 3-2 loss to Germany.
Germany and Chile square off at 2 p.m. ET.
Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace has offered its managerial position to Dutch boss Frank De Boer.
Palace has been without a manager since Sam Allardyce retired after the season. The Eagles finished 15th in the Premier League, five points behind eighth place Southampton and seven points clear of the drop zone.
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An accomplished defender at Ajax and Barcelona, the 47-year-old De Boer led Ajax in his first managerial stint before spending less than three months at Inter Milan last season.
De Boer twice won the Rinus Michels Award as the top manager in Dutch football, and would become just the second Palace manager from outside the British Isles.
He would inherit a very good group of attackers with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend. Palace also has a talented midfielders Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye to go with marauding Dutch back Patrick Van Aanholt.
Mexico should be counting their Confederations Cup blessings in congested Group A after a prolonged shoving match at the end of its 2-1 win over New Zealand on Thursday somehow ended with a single red card.
New Zealand is fortunate, too, but the All-Whites have already seen their hopes of the knockout round extinguished by a pair of losses in Russia.
With New Zealand counterattacking in hopes of a late equalizer, Mexico’s Diego Reyes pulled back charging Niko Boxall. It was the second pull back in minutes after Rafa Marquez went uncarded at the other end, and Boxall reacted poorly by lunging cleat-first into Hector Herrera’s calf.
Referee Bakary Gassama should’ve easily pulled two red cards there, but lost his focus in an ensuing melee that saw Herrera charge back to knock down Boxall, headbutts between Diego Reyes and Andrew Durante, and an absurd hand-throwing performance from Javier Aquino. Perhaps this lapse was understandable, which is why he had Video Assistant Referee available.
Even video couldn’t get it right, as a long and sloppy review was seemingly bungled by the referees saw a trio of yellow cards given to Boxall, Reyes, and Herrera.
All three should’ve been sent off, and otherwise Man of the Match contender Aquino and his teammate Marco Fabian should not have escaped discipline by any stretch of the imagination. If Gassama needed it to be level, Michael McGlinchey, Ryan Thomas and Durante could’ve left the match as well.
Instead, a terrific match has been left in the lurch. Will FIFA have the guts to issue supplemental discipline ahead of the important final matches of the group stage?