Broadcast of U.S. v. Panama was second highest audience for World Cup Qualifier

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More news that the sport of soccer is positively thriving in the United States – Tuesday night’s World Cup Qualifier between the U.S. and Panama was the second most-watched and second highest-rated FIFA World Cup qualifying or international friendly match telecast.

The 2-0 U.S. triumph at CenturyLink Field in Seattle recorded an average audience of 1.436 million viewers and was seen in 888,000 households, based on a 0.8 household U.S. rating according to Nielsen Media.

The Southern California soccer hot-bed of San Diego was once again the top market for the match telecast with a rating of 2.5, while Seattle-Takoma (2.5), Baltimore (2.1), Hartford-New Haven (1.9), and Nashville (1.9) rounded out the Top 5.

Tuesday’s viewership was bested only by the March 26th World Cup Qualifier between the U.S. and Mexico, which ended in a 0-0 draw at the famed Azteca Stadium. That telecast delivered the record average audience with 2.385 million viewers and was seen in 1.644 million households, based on a 1.4 household U.S. rating.

The next date for American soccer to make itself heard is on Tuesday, June 18th when the U.S. takes on Honduras in the final World Cup Qualifying match before the summer. That match can be viewed live from Rio Tinto Stadium on ESPN or the WatchESPN app.

Here are some other broadcast numbers in recent U.S. history that show just how big the game has become stateside –

  • The 2010 World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands drew a record 24.3 million U.S. viewers (U.S. v. Ghana drew 19.4m)
  •  The 2011 Women’s World Cup Final between Japan and the U.S. drew a record 13.458 million U.S. viewers
  • The 2011 Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona drew a record 4.2 million U.S. viewers
  • The 2012 MLS match between Seattle and Portland drew 880,000 U.S. viewers (3rd largest audience)
  • The May 2012 Manchester United v. Manchester City match drew a record 1.033 million U.S. viewers
  • The 2012 European Championship Final between Italy and Spain drew drew 2.968 million U.S. viewers (2nd largest)

STREAM LIVE: West Brom-Palace, Liverpool-Leicester in PL Asia Trophy

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It’s a incredibly early kickoff for the third place game of the Premier League Asia Trophy tournament, at least here in the States, where West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace duke it out at 6 a.m. ET. in Hong Kong.

West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.

[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]  

Palace fell 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal.

The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)