Impressed and surprised by US Soccer

I have to admit, I was absolutely positive US Soccer was going to go with its wallet and stick the US-El Salvador qualifier here in DC – home of America’s largest Salvadorean community. In DC, that match is an assured sellout and would’ve produced one of those electric half-and-half atmospheres that we saw in past qualifiers at RFK against Honduras and Guatemala.

According to Goff
, US Soccer is actually prioritizing the home atmosphere over a guaranteed big sellout. Does it mean that RFK could end up with another damp squib of a qualifier like Cuba? Sure, but in the end, it’s not about putting good matches close to me (or the rest of American soccer’s best fanbase). It’s about putting the team in the best position it can to win. And that’s what Sunil Gulati and US Soccer are doing, despite them probably leaving some gate-receipt cash on the table.

Well done to them for making the right call there.

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4 thoughts on “Impressed and surprised by US Soccer

  1. You really thought US Soccer was gonna go that route? I’d have been shocked if they welcomed the hostile crowd. They’ve been showing for a while now that they are more concerned with qualifying for the World Cup than with making a little extra money on a single qualifier.

    RFK has never hosted El Salvador for a WCQ, to my knowledge. We played them in St Louis in 1989, and the next two times in Foxboro.

  2. You’re right, RFK has never hosted a WCQ against the Salvadoreans. I just thought they might make this year the first time.

  3. As much as Gulati annoyed me by failing to bring in Klinsmann as the US’ head coach (although I thought Bob Bradley was probably the best American for the post), I do think he understands one important aspect about American soccer… In order for the US National team (and US Soccer in general) to earn respect, the USSF must begin to treat it with respect.

    Since Gulati took over, I’ve been rather pleased with the steps he’s taken to improve the Nation’s soccer. First it was the Development League, and now scheduling matches with the team’s concerns, and not money, driving the decisions.

    It’s possible that as more US matches are aired showing pro-US crowds, more fans will feel compelled to go. Granted, there’s nothing that we can do when we play Mexico, but still… at least Columbus will be sold out.

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