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)

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

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There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]

Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.