Cowboys 3

When it comes to Gold Cup playing surfaces, it’s dollars over good sense


ARLINGTON, Texas – When we posted about the Cowboys Stadium bedraggled field yesterday, and when I posted on the Twitter about the PST post on this lame creature, a few of you wanted to know “why?”

As in, why make four surviving tournament teams play on the doggone thing?

If we knew the field would be too small (we did), and if we knew the history of temporary grass surfaces everywhere and inside Cowboys Stadium in particular was splotchy at best (it is), then why bother?

The answer, of course, is green. You know, cash money. The sweet sound of cash register “Ka-ching!”  It’s a case of dollars over good sense.

Yes, a doubleheader that was always likely to feature Mexico and the United States will draw nicely in Texas with its heavy Latino population. (A local demographic that also includes a significant Honduran population, which will help drive Wednesday’s gate even more.)

(MORE: The field in a word at Cowboys Stadium: awful)

But a lot of places are heavy in Latino demographics. While it’s great to spread the big-game love, Houston’s relatively nearby Reliant Stadium always does well in international soccer attendance, and the grass field there is rarely problematic.

For that matter, if they truly craved Dallas as a venue, the historic Cotton Bowl, which seats a very healthy 90,000, sits just beyond downtown Dallas. The 1994 World Cup venue, which has hosted the U.S. national team as recently as 2004, was a Gold Cup training site, in fact.

The sticking point for the Cotton Bowl is luxury suites. More specifically, a lack of them at the older ground. Plus, there is greater prestige in playing in the newer, more heralded ground.

So essentially, the Gold Cup organizers (CONCACAF officials) chose a little more money and a better ability to schmooze sponsors over player safety. That’s it.

(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s U.S.-Honduras preview)

In the bigger picture, does a 12-team tournament really need to be staged over 13 venues? Of course not.

But sure enough, the participating teams are being dragged all over the country in a bid to maximize exposure and profit. On one hand, a reach for greater exposure is reasonable and understandable.

But in the future, let’s hope organizers check their greed. And let’s hope they come to understand there are plenty of great venues of varying size across our great land, plenty of outstanding facilities that will accommodate a full-sized, natural grass field.

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
Leave a comment

Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.

Mourinho “working like never before” to turn Chelsea around

Jose Mourinho, Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho got the dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.

Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:

“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.

“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”

What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.

[ MORE: Ozil, Coquelin say Arsenal can win the title this season ]

The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.