As we do every Monday, here are our quick thoughts from a weekend of soccer in the United States. We’ll start in East Hartford, where a disappointing crowd of under 6k saw the United States hold off Sweden in a Womens’ friendly. The game was interrupted by lighting and the teams were directed to clear the field. Kudos to FS C for sticking with the game after the delay, although their programming during the delay failed to provide any information about the weather and left viewers tuning in late clueless as to why the game wasn’t on television. Local coverage of the match was solid, with the Hartford Courant leading with the story on their Sports Front Page. Local television coverage was somewhat lower than anticipated, but the weather and smallish crowd may have played a roll. The USSF did a good job for television by only populating the “tv side” of the stadium, but it appears that the 40k seat stadium is too large for such a match. The stadium is operated by AEG, which is the likely reason for using the venue.
ESPN was able to squeeze in its broadcast of Tottenham v. San Jose despite a long running British Open. The soccer was scheduled to start at 4:00 and ESPN ran a scroll at the bottom of the screen indicating the soccer would kick off at 4:20. However, these notifications didn’t begin until 4:00; advance notice would have been appreciated. It was a strange attendance weekend for MLS, with teams hosting international friendlies (45k+ in Seattle), SuperLiga matches (16k in Chicago for a doubleheader) and regular season matches (13k in Colorado and 11k in Dallas). However, television coverage remains excellent with ESPN and FSC combining to showcase 3 matches involving MLS teams from Thursday-Sunday.
Around the league, the transfer market is generating significant attention with additions of Nery Castillo in Chicago and Omar Bravo in Kansas City. The weekend also saw the debut of Blaise N’Kufo in Seattle. Coverage of potential transfers has definitely heated up Twitter and America’s prominent soccer writers (now back from South Africa) are aggressively covering the rumor mill. With the new DP rules, this is the most active transfer market in MLS history and an interesting test of how American soccer medial will cover the silly season.
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