History has taught supports of the American game that “soccer fans” do not necessarily trip over themselves to join the ranks of “MLS fans.”
So no one should get too geeked over the big crowd that showed up to watch as Brazil took apart Honduras last weekend in Miami. A crowd of 71,124 saw the stylish Samba soccer set beat down the still-growing Central American side, 5-0.
That crowd is significant because it was the second-largest soccer crowd in the United States this year, surpassed only by a crowd of 81,410 outside Dallas for a summer Gold Cup semifinal doubleheader (a pair of matches that involved the United States and Mexico.)
So, good on Miami for that one.
But that international soccer market can be a slippery set – a bit high browed as soccer fans go. Just because the area’s diverse demographic is intrigued by the chance to go see Neymar and his illustrious pals – minus a few injuries, Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari brought a very good squad to South Florida – that hardly means the fans will automatically flock to see the local MLS club on a regular basis.
Not even an MLS team fronted by even more illustrious David Beckham. That will still be about broader market dynamics, about how well the team develops its identity and how wisely it chooses its stadium, branding strategies, market approaches and such.
Still, it’s certainly not bad news that Miami can draw so well, if only for one night. The ongoing evidence that soccer fans do actually inhabit the South Florida area will help provide momentum as Beckham and Co. continue to explore their options.
Sir Rod Stewart knows how to play to a crowd.
This proves it.
[ MORE: Wenger charged after push ]
And no, 72-year-old Stewart was not performing on stage at one of the world’s biggest venues on Sunday but he was instead conducting the draw for the fifth round of the Scottish FA Cup.
Live on Sky Sports in the UK, he was given the task of drawing out the home teams and Stewart did so in flamboyant and phenomenal fashion, especially when drawing out his beloved Glasgow Celtic.
Click play on the video below to be mesmerized by Stewart’s energy and excitement. This is brilliant.
There are some suggestions out there that he may have had a small alcoholic beverage before taking part in the draw…
Personally, I think there should be a new rule which sees Rod Stewart involved in every single cup draw from here on out.
Agree? I think you will.
Arsene Wenger has been charged with misconduct by the English Football Association.
[ MORE: New PL title odds released ]
Wenger, 66, reacted angrily to Arsenal conceding a penalty kick in second half stoppage time against Burnley on Sunday — the 10-man Gunners would go on to get a contentious spot kick off their own in the 98th minute to win 2-1 — and was sent to the stands by the officials.
He then appeared to push the fourth official and afterwards admitted he “regrets everything” and he should have “shut up and gone home” after the incident.
The FA released the following statement regarding Wenger’s charge.
Arsene Wenger has been charged for misconduct following Arsenal’s game against Burnley on Sunday [22 January 2017].
It is alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official. It is further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct.
He has until 6pm on 26 January 2017 to respond to the charge.
Many are calling for Wenger to be handed a very long ban for his actions.
He pushed fourth official Anthony Taylor and although it wasn’t hard enough for Taylor to fall over, it was in an aggressive manner and Wenger and the fourth official were separated by security guards in the tunnel area.
It was not the Frenchman’s finest moment and he is sure to pay a heavy price both in a fine and a potential touchline ban.
If Jose Mourinho received a one-game touchline ban for kicking a battle earlier this season, then surely Wenger has to get at least two or three games for physical contact with a match official.
The stress of a title race does funny things to even the coolest of characters.
D.C. United have completed the deal to bring Ian Harkes back to RFK Stadium.
[ MORE: Title odds in PL ]
Harkes, 21, signed for the Major League Soccer franchise Monday as a Homegrown player, fresh from winning the MAC Hermann Trophy earlier this month as the best collegiate player in the U.S. following his heroics with Wake Forest University over the past four years.
Son of former D.C. United and U.S. national team captain John Harkes, it is believed the two-way midfielder had plenty of options in Europe due to his dual nationality after he was born in England duringJohn’s playing days with Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, West Ham United and Nottingham Forest.
However, the younger Harkes has instead decided to sign for United and head coach Ben Olsen was delighted to add arguably the most talented up and coming midfielder in U.S soccer.
“I’ve known Ian nearly his entire life and have watched him develop into one of the nation’s best young talents.” Olsen said. “He has all the tools to succeed at the next level and I look forward to being a part of his pro career.”
Harkes starred for DCU’s Academy as captain of both the U-16 and U-18 level before heading to Wake Forest for his storied four-year college career and now he will return home to try and lead a D.C. side back to the latter stages of the postseason.
Olsen has endured an up and down time with United over the past seven years, but has reached the MLS Cup playoffs in four of the last five campaigns.
Adding Harkes will no doubt increase DCU’s chances of making a deep run at the postseason in 2017. He also increase their number of Homegrown players to four in their current squad.
The bookies aren’t quite calling it yet, but it’s getting to that stage…
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
After a tumultuous weekend in the Premier League the odds on Chelsea winning the title were slashed to 2/5 odds-on by some bookmakers. Chelsea’s 15th win in their last 16 games, coupled with a draw for Manchester United, a draw between Manchester City and Tottenham, a defeat to Liverpool and a late win for Arsenal, saw things continue to stack in Antonio Conte‘s favor.
With all that in mind, below is a list of the title odds for the current top six teams in the Premier League via SkyBet in the UK.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
I don’t know about you guys but Arsenal at 9/1 seem like a very decent price considering the games they have coming up and their star players pretty much all in-form and, for now, fully fit. Maybe that’s where the value is in this market.
Would be intrigued to see who you guys would bet on, aside from Chelsea…
Chelsea – 2/5
Tottenham – 7/1
Arsenal – 9/1
Liverpool – 12/1
Manchester City – 22/1
Manchester United – 40/1