Wednesday: Bradley, Attendance, More

En Espanol

A few of you have written in or asked TSG to comment on a few stories….here we go:

• England U-21 squadman and Tottenham’s Danny Rose with a candidate for Goal of the Year

Blurry video is the best we can do for now.

Lincoln Field: Brief home for the Union.

MLS Attendance pops ahead of the NHL and the NBA

I’m not meaning to burn your toast here, but we’re still really early for full season comparisons. A team like the Bullets or the Clippers are only drawing around 10,000 of less in the waning days of the NBA season.

The MLS number is helped by a few things: a) an opening season bump b) a team like Philadelphia playing in larger capacity venues like Lincoln Field for now and c) pomp and circumstance around the Red Bull Stadium opening.

There are three barometers that I think I want to use to show growth in MLS: attendance, television ratings, and ticket availability (soldout?) and prices (activity of trading on the secondary market, a rise in face value, etc.)

I’ll look for these and watch them through the season.

MB90 gets chief billing ahead of Brandon Marshall

• Sweatpants Jr. gets top billing on

A good bid by ESPN here. If I scold them for their ineptitude I have to praise them for their efforts as well.

Best move by ESPN here on the home page? Getting folks to sign-up for their World Cup game. This will allow ESPN to re-market the World Cup to the casual fan. Worst move? How about updating the stories in the right column on Soccernet for the United States. The announcement of the Australian tune-up is really still a top story on the right? Come on guys, if the tech is program just do a quick release, I’m begging you.

About Michael Bradley, decent article. I’m not sure  it is best to romanticize one of the USMNT’s minutes leaders volatility and inability to control his temper on the pitch to the detriment of the team (MB90 has largely curbed that behavior this year as well). Otherwise a decent read for the lay fan and fanatic as well.

I do find it ironic that for how stoic Bob Bradley is, his son is quite the opposite.

And I might have mentioned that Mikey Bradley (and to some extent Rico or Edu) will have the Herculean task of chasing Wayne Rooney up and down the pitch.

• Battle of Bald Eagles today

Brad Friedel goes up against Big T today as Aston Villa, desperate for a win, go up against Everton.

Benny Feilhaber is already manning the left flank today for Aarhus as well.

Mo Edu and DaMarcus Beasley’s Rangers play top fiver Dundee.

• Rumble at Rustenburg

Yes, that’s our semi-creative name for the England-USA match that kicks of World Cup 2010.

Aywho, we did a four-column series earlier this week, worth checking out:

Part I: Overview

Part II: The Key Tactical Battle

Part III: England’s Offense and Neutralization

Part IV: The States’ Offense and Neutralization

Speaking of England’s offense, those groin injuries can be downright pesky and Aaron Lennon is having a tough time shaking his.

• The Flag Remains Down

Jonathan Wilson at the Guardian has an excellent piece today on the impact of tweaks to the offsides rule and how they’ve impacted the game. Solid read.

25 responses to this post.

  1. Matt,

    What’s your take on ESPN’s “Insider”? Do you feel that having their best soccer articles/blogs posted on a pay-only portion of the site is yet another example of ESPN’s abuse of soccer fans? Or do you feel it’s a clever marketing tacit?

    I, for one, hate it. I like ESPN Insider for a few reasons, mainly for the in depth coverage of the big four or sports. But I’m disheartened to be on the other side of this as I did not renew my Insider subscription this year. Since I’m so pissed at ESPNSoccernet in general, and the botched transition to the new World Cup themed page for Soccernet USA, I’m determined to undermine ESPN Insider, primarily by not paying them and finding pirated versions of their articles.



    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/14 at 12:30 PM

      I think ESPN has been challeged on the soccer side of Insider for awhile.

      Insider is suppose to give you premium content: either the most current news possible or features that others just can’t get.

      Insider for soccer typically does neither.

      It looks like there is a clear distinction between ESPN — which does a very good job at soccer in general–and SoccerNet which struggles mightily.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 12:45 PM

      From a market entry point of view, surely this subscription idea is a bad strategy? It seems to me that most football fans go elsewhere for their news (I look at Sydney Morning Herald before ESPN!) , so why does ESPN think they can penetrate this market by charging people, especially given most of the football community recognise that their product offering is poor?

      It seems to me that this is a lost opportunity for ESPN to gain a foothold and garner some respect. There are so many established and respected publications and newspapers out there for world football in general, so why do they think people would switch?

      Reagrding the US national team, the coverage is just shocking. There is such and exploitable opportunity here to attract the casual US fan into learning more about the national team, player profiles and progress, likely 23-man squad, etc etc. And on the run up to the World Cup, you’d think that their whole campaign would be more cohesive.


      • Agreed George. ESPN is completely underestimating the casual fans’ interest. How do you expect to attract the casual fan by charging them for content that otherwise would be free.

        Oh, and I read TSG before ESPNSoccernet:-)

        It makes me wonder if they had a plan at all, or if Jen Chang was the only one asking for more budget to produce more articles. Since he left, or since he was about to leave, the number of quality articles dropped dramatically. It’s pathetic.

        ESPN is in the business of making money, which is why it’s still so shocking to see how badly they’re handling the coverage of the WC, from the US perspective, because there is so much money in advertising alone that would boost their numbers.

        Just another case of exces fudging up the whole process.


  2. Just read the Bradley article, and wow. ESPN did a great job with that one… just wonderful.

    And I’ll be the first to admit that I was very critical of Junior Bob. I didn’t understand how this kid was an automatic selection at 22. I still think his presence needs to be limited somewhat; because of him, guys like Beckerman never see the pitch, which is a shame because Kyle is very gifted and seasoned. I just don’t like relying on one player too much, ever. It can lead to disaster.

    But, with all that in mind, he’s an automatic call up and rightfully so. He’s earned everything he has.

    He turned me into a believer of his skills after he doubled up on Meh-ee-ko. I remember watching him run belligerently around the field, and I was jumping up and down in my apartment shouting “THE COACHES SON, THE COACHES SON! UNBELIEVABLE!”

    Good times…


  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 12:56 PM

    Regarding MLS attendances, it’s fantastic to see that the overall numbers are rising. However, it would be an interesting exercise to drill down into the data and understand the metrics a little better. For example, seeing the statistics for season ticket holders, those who bought 8 (or 4) games packages, and single games. Going forward, you would ideally want each category of buyer to upgrade, and it will be about how the individual clubs and MLS effectively target these football fans, not to mention getting first time fans through the door. Definitely exciting times for MLS!


  4. Posted by Len on 2010/04/14 at 12:57 PM

    I was just about to ask for the Tottenham goal myself while you were taking suggestions. Glad to see you read my mind. Also glad I skipped class to see that. What a goal! COYS!


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 1:17 PM

      The funny thing is that if Rose was American, everybody would be bleating how he should be in Bradley’s 23!


      • Posted by Len on 2010/04/14 at 1:41 PM

        I happily concede that I probably would be, despite the fact that this is the first time I’ve been able to watch him. Can’t speak for the yanks who aren’t spurs fans though.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 1:58 PM

          Gomez made some great saves in the last 10 minutes. Wow.


        • Posted by Len on 2010/04/14 at 2:29 PM

          Spectacular stuff. Especially on Van Persie’s free kick. Are you wishing he was English George?


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 2:39 PM

          Do you know what the funny thing is? I did think about RVP and Rooney leading our offense! Having somebody of that calibre would improve England to the Nth degree.

          But in all seriousness, I think a fit RVP could start for any international team, and I include Spain and Brazil.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 2:43 PM

          That’s an interesting topic – the including RVP (or XYZ) would only increase Spain or Brazil’s quality marginally. But he would really increase the quality of the other ‘contenders’.


        • Posted by Len on 2010/04/14 at 4:31 PM

          Haha I was actually having a go at your keepers (one of the few things I can have a go at as an American) and suggesting you put Gomes in goal. RVP would be a better addition though. Rooney and Van Persie would be an extraordinary combo, one that would give me nightmares before and most likely after the England vs. USA showdown. This reminds me of that national team trade piece a while back. A number of teams would certainly benefit to a greater degree from his addition.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 8:32 PM

          Gomes is a very good shot stopper, but his collection (punches even when he can get two hands on the ball) and distribution are horrible. His weaknesses would really get exposed at international level.


    • here is a crisp HD video of that goalm clocked at 70mph from 30 yards out. So proud to be a Spurs supporter this morning!!! GLORY GLORY!!


  5. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/14 at 2:06 PM

    Great. In a couple of years time I’m going to bump into US City fans – and they’ll tell me that they’ve supported them for ages…

    Matthew – not sure where to put random comments, so sorry.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/04/14 at 2:28 PM

      About the random comments: now you know how I feel George! Step it up Matt!


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/14 at 2:31 PM

        If anyone can figure out how to get coveritlive into wordpress but not as a pop up then we’d be all set.

        I’ve tried competitive looking products that doesn’t work.

        And we are looking for some development work although it will be for some more groundbreaking products that I am very excited to write prds for. Seriously.


        • Posted by B-Mac on 2010/04/14 at 4:03 PM

          I used to be able to embed CoverItLives fine into wordpress, I’d be happy to to help out. You just need to be careful about the html code, it can get messed up by wordpress.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/14 at 2:32 PM

        Believe I want to find a way for trusted individuals to post stories or links.


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/04/14 at 2:40 PM

        “Ha. Just giving you a hard time” – matthewst


  6. Posted by Kevin on 2010/04/14 at 2:36 PM

    Matt- You give lots of excuses as to why MLS Attendence is higher, but for them to even be comparable is a great leap. People said soccer would never cut it and when all it takes is some new stadiums with larger seating capacity, you can’t help but to feel like soccer has grown tremendously the last decade. Sure, I might not be the most qualified to say that, seeing as though I was in single digit ages during the turn of the century, but just in the last five years or so I’ve seen incredible growth.


  7. Posted by Andy on 2010/04/14 at 2:46 PM

    Sorry to be a bit off-topic, but you did mention Edu… Did anyone else notice in the ESPN game tracker that Edu was substituted at the very end of the game? Reason given: injury.


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