West Coast: You Want China!

(Note: USSF has not finalized the USA vs. Colombia match that is rumored or slated for October 2010.)

Check out the tadpoles who got the nod the last time the U.S. played in the Bay Area...

Hey West Coast, beyond a few of your stadium turf issues, you want to root for a Japanese or Chinese, but not an Australian, friendly.

Got it?

Rumors–likely to be confirmed–have a United States versus Colombia friendly now scheduled for on or around October 12th.

Add that in to the recently announced United States versus Poland match October 9th at Soldier Field in Chicago and save some Camp Cupcake Finales the United States men’s national team seems to have an allergic reaction to playing with its A squad on the West Coast. Outside of a Gold Cup game against Grenada in Seattle–repeat the quality of that game back to yourself–and games at the official training center at HDC, the US has not played on the West Coast with an “A” side since early 2007.

Of course, there is a method to this.

Just a few months ago, TSG investigated how USSF selects the locales for USMNT home games.

You can throw most of the criteria in that piece out the window for this round of friendlies because there are only two factors that matter with these games having the least meaning of those in the run-up now to 2014:

Player travel

and

Money (attendance)

Yup, it’s that simple. With more than twenty potential USMNT candidates playing in various locations in Europe, an in-season jaunt back to the United States has to be as painless and time efficient as possible.

Neither the clubs nor USSF wants a player like Stu Holden to miss time at his club, put in a sub par club or national team performance because the games are too closely scheduled or anything else that comes with rushing, travel and long cramping flights.

Secondly, with no US home field advantage really necessary in these friendlies, USSF is plopping the matches specifically in locales where they figure to draw both US fans and fans of the opponent.

At 29, Smolarek can still bring it for Poland...

Chicago, the second largest population to NY, for hundreds of thousands of Polish-Americans (like myself).

Done. (Per the picture on the left, Euzebiusz Smolarek made TSG’s All Not-Going World Cup Team.)

Colombia, well wouldn’t you know that the largest Colombian populations are in and around New York City (as many Latin American populations in the States are).

That said reports are that securing a venue in either Florida or New York has been troubling.

I’d bet on D.C. or Baltimore for this one (large Colombian contingents in D.C. and Dover, Delaware).

Looking historically to the recent Send Off Series, Turkey? Would it surprise you to learn that one of the largest Turkish populations in the United States is nearby Paterson, NJ and that the nearby-to-that New York tri-state area houses another large Turkish contingent? That game was at the Linc in Philadelphia.

I can go on, but you get the picture.

Note, the Czech Republic is a bit of an anomaly, but when you consider that the Czechs had just played in the greater New York area, ESPN needed a dress rehearsal of their World Cup coverage….and the US team ESPN needed a cheesy roster announcement on the “great grassy plains of Bristol,” well, that anomaly makes sense.

So West Coast, if you want a US match other than the Cupcake Cup at HDC, you have two options.

One, voice your fanaticism when some of the qualifying matches start to get planned for…

Two, push for a friendly with a country from the Pan-Asian region with a solid emigration base in your city.

The last two friendlies in the TSG’s hometown Bay Area? Japan and China.

Japan (February 10, 2006 at SBC, now AT&T, Park): Taylor Twellman was an absolute monster this game….and then he didn’t make Arena’s World Cup squad. 3-2 U.S. Todd Dunivant started for the U.S.

China (June 2nd, 2007): Fans get to see Charlie Davies’ first cap, the US in a 4-3-3 and a cameo by Lee Nguyen. This game is also noted in TSG lore for making fun of our good friend and keeper Jon Kart who kept hollering, “C’mon Kasey.”

That and ESPN broadcasters having to close the window to a non-air conditioned booth at Spartan Stadium in San Jose because a throng of college boys were hollering “Julie Foudy’s hot!” right underneath the broadcast booth.

Sorry, quick trip down nostalgia lane.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. What, no mention of Kamani Hill’s first cap in that same US/China game? Y’all haters kill me.

    Reply

  2. Posted by kaya on 2010/08/23 at 7:26 PM

    I believe the Japan friendly at then AT&T park was in 2006 ;)
    Out of curiousity, where do you get the demographic info? I thought San Jose had a quite large Colombian community and that the Miami community would be bigger than NY.
    Thanks for taking us with you on your nostalgia outing ;)

    Reply

  3. Posted by Ryan R. on 2010/08/23 at 11:47 PM

    I’ve been pushing Stanford Stadium as a spot for a match since it re-opened in ’06(?, I think that was the year). The place is a gem and there’s free parking on big open grass lots so tailgating would be awesome. At 50,000, it could be a profitable place for a friendly, but I think that against a T&T or non-Latin country, it would be a great place for a qualifier because Bay Area people are more into soccer than most and have always appeared to be very patriotic. I think a qualifier where the opposing team doesn’t bring many fans could see nearly Stanford Stadium sold out with Yanks, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Ryan R. on 2010/08/23 at 11:48 PM

    Oh, and an add. Not a West Coast city, but can someone explain to me how Charlotte hasn’t hosted a match? The Carolinas do a great job supporting soccer and they have a stadium right there downtown, plus it’s on the East Coast so travel isn’t an issue. If they could ever get an owner, I think they’d be the perfect place for a Southern MLS team too.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/08/24 at 2:02 AM

    Just straight up coastism on the part of the USSF IMO. Whatever happened to no discrimination? :>

    Reply

  6. Posted by Randy on 2010/08/24 at 10:46 AM

    I would just like to see one of these friendlies in Houston be against someone other than Mexico. Of course, it seems like Mexico plays here at least once or twice a year and every three years against USMNT at Reliant.

    Houston has large contingents from all Central/South America countries so even a Colombia or Chile match would likely sell out and we wouldn’t have to deal with the 15:1 fan base disadvantage like we do with Mexico. We’d still be outnumbered but probably nothing like that friendly in Feb 2008. Hell it might have been better for them to have just given our supporters a free plane ticket to Azteca the way that whole thing turned out. The US supporters should not be that massively outnumbered here.

    Reply

  7. Posted by SamsArmySam on 2010/08/24 at 10:57 AM

    Two things…

    Money strikes me as a legit reason to host friendlies. Happy we have a well capitalized Fed these days.

    Playing venues where we have good “away” support helps prepare players for away qualifiers. Fine with that as well.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/24 at 11:08 AM

      Agreed. I have no problem with USSF going with this strategy. I should have made that clear within the body of the piece.

      Reply

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