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

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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.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.