NBC Sports shared some interesting numbers today. Out of the 17 times when Premier League matches have been shown so far this season on NBC and NBCSN, Washington DC and Providence have ranked among the top 10 US markets 13 times over the first three weeks of the season.
Hats off to Washington DC and Providence for being super fans of the English Premier League.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 19, 2012) US Soccer Players – It's easy to trot out the standard coach-speak following Arsenals 5-2 win over Tottenham in England's Premier League on Sunday. More specifically, it's a 5-2 win in one of that League's most contentious derbies, a showdown of neighbors that's supposed to be a highlight game.
For once, the home team lit up the scoreboards at RFK Stadium. Against one of the most historically powerful teams in the world, the team calling Washington, DC its home prevailed in front of a boisterous sellout crowd.
Unfortunately, D.C. United was a few hundred miles away from RFK, and doesn't have a single player with a scoring acumen close to that of Jozy Altidore or Clint Dempsey.
Think of somebody you'd want to play if you were an MLS team on the ropes and riding a seven-game losing streak. Now picture the exact opposite. There's a good chance you're thinking of Sporting Kansas City, D.C. United's opponents tonight. Here goes nothing.
It's been almost exactly two years since reports first surfaced of D.C. United's interest in Buzzard Point as the home of the team's proposed new stadium. Last week, we took a photo tour of Buzzard Point to give you a look at this part of Washington, DC. While walking the area, we also developed some strong impressions of the challenges and opportunities Buzzard Point presents.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Dec 7, 2012) US Soccer Players – There was a time in Major League Soccer when any and all comparisons to the original North American Soccer League soccer brought looks of shock and horror from league officials. Blaming player salaries as the primary problem with its predecessor, MLS adopted a plan to control spending known as single-entity.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Dec 5, 2012) US Soccer Players -- I'm going to make a small request here at the top of this piece about the frenetic insanity of the MLS transaction season. Read it quickly, as quickly as you can. In fact, stop wasting time on this part and skip to the second paragraph, post haste.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Dec 3, 2012) US Soccer Players – Here's the thing about anointing the Los Angeles Galaxy as the best team in Major League Soccer. While I've argued already that they and Houston were the most competitive teams in 2012, there's also an argument that neither of them were the best.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 30, 2012) US Soccer Players – It must be tough to be the other MLS finalist. On Monday, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber turned the State of the League conference call into an open mic riff on multiple topics, adding to the story lines in a week that's supposed to be about one game.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 29, 2012) US Soccer Players -- The nation's identification and development structures for elite youth players continue to grow, yet talented young American professionals are falling through the cracks – and no one seems completely sure what to do about it. The onset of the MLS offseason always brings a spate of waivers, declined contract options and other mechanisms for jettisoning players.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 28, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Here's the thing about Best XI's, that subjective take on the season's best performers that every observer of Major League Soccer trots out at the end of the season. Scrutiny is by design. They're subjective, which means they're inevitably wrong.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 27, 2012) US Soccer Players – Let's play with definitions, shall we? What does 'market' really mean in a major metropolitan area? Specifically, what does it mean in the biggest metro region in the country? When Major League Soccer was still on the drawing board, it meant the region.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 26, 2012) US Soccer Players – Normally, most people aren't bothered by flattering comparisons. It's human nature to decide that the person making even a decidedly unlikely connection must see something you only notice at the very best moment of your very best day.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 21, 2012) US Soccer Players -- When the LA Galaxy rushed off the podium after giving the MLS Western Conference trophy just the smallest modicum of respect on Sunday night in Seattle, the message they sent to the rest of the League echoed through the rapidly emptying expanse of Century Link Field.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 20, 2012) US Soccer Players – Is it possible to discuss David Beckham without making it about the whole of Major League Soccer? It's tough to argue that there's any separation between Beckham's tenure in MLS and the League's steps forward, but is it fair? We've all read the quotes from club and League officials crediting Beckham with reorienting professional soccer's scope in North America alongside his own.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 14, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Goalkeepers are an odd breed. Not necessarily in personality, though they often carry, as a group, a reputation for being some of the stranger characters in the game. No, goalkeepers are an odd breed because finding one you can depend on week in and week out isn't as easy as it might seem.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 12, 2012) US Soccer Players – Whenever a team takes a sizeable first-leg lead in a two-game playoff series, the talk normally moves to comebacks. There's almost always an example of a team that made good on a first-leg deficit. Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan made that point after his team was the one taking that sizeable first-leg lead.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 8, 2012) US Soccer Players -- From the beginning, Joey Saputo's choice of head coach for the Montreal Impact's first year in Major League Soccer seemed a little odd. It's not that Jesse Marsch lacks pedigree and potential, but he had no previous head coaching experience, possessed little to no name recognition, and didn't fit the aspirational continental flair of Major League Soccer's first officially bilingual club.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 7, 2012) US Soccer Players – We'll start with the obvious. Houston did enough in Game One to expect to advance to the Eastern Conference final. Sporting Kansas City has no choice but to talk up home field and their advantages (9pm ET – MLS Live), but the reality is a team up against it.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 6, 2012) US Soccer Players – One of the questions that Major League Soccer has yet to answer after 17 regular seasons is when it's time for a team to admit they no longer have a chance. Over its history, MLS is the League of slight chances turning into real opportunity.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 5, 2012) US Soccer Players – The majority of complaints about the playoff setup concern the two-leg series. So how about getting rid of the two-leg series? This is an old point in this League and we've seen a variety of answers. Though it managed to throw me on an annual basis, MLS used to follow the two-leg Conference semifinals with a single game Conference championship.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 1, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Back when Major League Soccer was just a startup, when every team played in someone else's building and the jerseys had the look of Trapper Keeper cover art, a handful of meaningful rivalries formed in the cauldron of the new American soccer League.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 31, 2012) US Soccer Players – Last season gave us the strong suggestion that the Play-In Round would bring an end to the plucky underdog battling through as a lower seed to make the MLS Cup. That began to border on the cliché in this League when it was still possible for a Western Conference team to qualify for an Eastern Conference wildcard.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 30, 2012) US Soccer Players – This morning, Toronto is once again going to remind the rest of Major League Soccer that they're a team in transition. It's a creative way to maneuver around being a team in trouble. Toronto management always seems to have a plan, pulled from the failure of the last plan.
One of the benefits to playing a sport competitively is the seemingly endless hunt for proper nourishment. Over the years my passion became the search and consumption of local cuisine as I traveled around the world playing soccer. I use to tell people eating was my hobby and there were certain MLS cities I looked forward to visiting for their culinary offerings.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 24, 2012) US Soccer Players -- For all the meddling Major League Soccer's all-powerful brain trust does with the League's format and schedule, the 2012 regular season is set to close with a bit of a whimper. With just a game left to play for 18 out of 19 teams, all ten playoff participants are set.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 19, 2012) US Soccer Players – Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis can choose to play up the moral victory aspect of his club's 1-1 draw with Herediano on Tuesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League, but in all other respects it was a loss. As everyone knew going in, RSL needed three points to win Group 2 in the ‘only the winner advances' reality of group stage.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Dec 6, 2012) US Soccer Players -- It's an old idea that communication is leadership, and Jurgen Klinsmann is doing a fair job of living out that maxim with his proactive entrées to the American soccer media. The latest was a breakfast meeting with journalists in the run-up to last week's MLS Cup at the Home Depot Center.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 15, 2012) US Soccer Players – On Wednesday, the USA failed to lose against the 9th-ranked team in the world. Let me stop you before letting me know FIFA Ranking is meaningless. Let's just assume that a team having no trouble in UEFA qualifying is quality, certainly not business as usual by CONCACAF standards.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 13, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Jurgen Klinsmann's effort to test the US National Team with demanding international friendlies continues in faraway Krasnodar on Wednesday, as the Yanks visit Russia for their final match of 2012 (10am ET - ESPN2). Amid a brief break from the tension of CONCACAF qualifying, Klinsmann has called in a hybrid US roster featuring both regulars and newcomers which should make for interesting.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 31, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In his book How Soccer Explains the World, Franklin Foer describes a criticism of soccer as a game that "gives life to tribal identities which should be disappearing." Foer rejects that criticism for ignoring what he calls a ‘craving' to identify with a group as a central part of the human experience.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 16, 2012) US Soccer Players -- The US National Team's opponents in next year's CONCACAF Hexagonal round are ranked 19th, 43rd, 52nd, 66th and 72nd in the FIFA World Rankings, an unassuming set of numbers which might give outsiders another excuse to minimize the region's difficulty.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 17, 2012) US Soccer Players -- The United States went down to St John's, Antigua and--get this--found the conditions difficult. The field was a bog, slapped down in the middle of a cricket oval that had not wanted for use. It was muddy. The footing was intermittently treacherous.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 16, 2012) US Soccer Players -- The United States National Team has weathered rough results, injury, and challenging away dates all leading up to the finale of the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. Circumstances favor the US as they prepare to host Guatemala on Tuesday evening at Livestrong Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 9, 2012) US Soccer Players – Anyone who follows club cup competitions knows that sometimes the overmatched team manages to win. It's the ‘giant killer' cliché of English soccer, when the mighty topflight club rolls into town and exits the tournament courtesy of a third division team.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 11, 2012) US Soccer Players -- United States President Barack Obama is campaigning for reelection which will do much to define his legacy in his homeland. Yet, he's already been immortalized by the Caribbean island of Antigua, whose tallest point was renamed "Mount Obama" three years ago in a nod to his status as "the first black president of the United States of America, as a symbol of.
A satisfying road win in Washington DC tonight. TFC conceded a dodgy penalty early and DeRo buried his shot. Toronto did not look bad at that point, perhaps vulnerable to counters, but you worried that luck was going to be a factor.
By Charles Boehm - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 22, 2012) US Soccer Players -- The media in this country is routinely perceived as pessimistic, cynical and sensationalistic, and its rapidly-growing ranks of soccer journalists are no exception. Interest and expectation grows along with the game's profile. With it, comes competition for web traffic and breaking news stories.
By J Hutcherson - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 19, 2012) US Soccer Players – Letters time, and we start with Will's response to Field Conditions where I made the field in St Johns the principle antagonist in the Antigua & Barbuda – USA story: "You have a point, but I think you're letting Klinsmann off too easy.
By Jason Davis - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 10, 2012) US Soccer Players -- If you're American, a fan of Brad Friedel's, someone who buys the notion that players should keep their starting jobs as long as their performances are up to snuff, or all of the above, it's a little difficult to stop and celebrate the end of Friedel's historic 310-game streak of Premier League appearances.