Pitch Points schedules friendlies

france football federation logo soccerAcross the pond. The US Men’s National team will take on France shortly before the World Cup. The June 9 fixture in Lyon will probably be paired with another UEFA away match against a team preparing for the big stage. With England set to take on a CONCACAF side (Panama) in their opener, that’s a pretty good bet. This likely means any sort of NIT-type tournament in the US is not gonna happen, which is fine.

Dave Sarachan will continue to coach the team at least for the January camp, which means Bruce Arena’s replacement will probably be appointed after the US Soccer presidential election. SI’s Avi Creditor with a look at who might be called in by Sarachan’s staff.

Am I alone in thinking that Clint Dempsey needs to be called in as much as possible going forward until he gets a goal to break the deadlock with Landon Donovan? The sooner you get that out of the way, the less obligated you feel to bring in a guy whose contributions to even 2022 qualifying are in doubt, and you can call him in because you want to, not because US Soccer wants him to have the opportunity to be the all-time leading scorer (a mantle of which he’s absolutely deserving, by the way).

World Cup ratings. They are not going to be super-great in the United States. This still has too many confounding factors to be super-meaningful.

The U.S. television audience plummeted for the World Cup draw without the presence of the Americans in the 32-nation field.

English-language coverage Friday on Fox’s FS1 averaged 65,000 viewers from 10-11:05 a.m. EST, down 87 percent from a record average of 489,000 for the 2014 draw televised by ESPN2 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. EST on Dec. 6, 2013.

“I don’t want to tune into a network that employs Skip Bayless” is a totally legitimate explanation for a big part of the drop. Obviously I’m being a bit cheeky with the language there, but ESPN2 is always going to have better ratings than FS1 for a comparable event. Don’t believe me? ESPN’s post-draw special which didn’t have the advantage of the draw itself as a lead-in did significantly better numbers (double!) than FS1’s.

The ratings are going to go down without the United States in the World Cup: duh. But the implication that the Yanks’ absence is the lone reason for a major decrease in ratings is really bad writing.

Hashtag save the Crew. FailSon may be in for a legal battle. Now, not only can you thank the Cleveland Browns for giving your local NFL team many victories in recent years (unless your local NFL team is also the Browns), but also for making it significantly tougher for America’s Ugliest And Worst Man to pack up and move the Columbus Crew to Austin:

The basis for the action, he said, is a 1996 law that says no owner of a professional sports team in Ohio that uses tax-supported facilities or gets public financial assistance can move out of town unless the owner gives six months advance notice and gives the city or local individuals who reside in the area the opportunity to purchase the team.

Please please please let this happen. Anthony Precourt can do whatever the hell he wants with his money. Using it to try to hold a municipality hostage for his own financial gain is a bush league move, and thankfully the state has at least some mechanism for slowing things down.

Make dude pay expansion fees if he wants to own a team in a different market. Don Garber’s comments at the State of the MLS address was pretty repulsive: “he bought a struggling team that is still struggling” in financial terms. Why is it the job of the league to protect him when he makes a bad investment? Just bad business and bad PR all around.

Brian McBride not thrilled about the potential for a move.

Hope for president? One of the USWNT’s best-known players of all time has thrown her hat in the ring. That brings us to nine candidates (she’s the second woman, behind SUM president Kathy Carter). Like with most candidates, there are positives – she’s been a powerful influencer in the USWNT v. USSF battle, for example. There are also negatives of a different type than other candidates, namely multiple instances of legal trouble.

One of her cornerstone issues is something that is not only an obvious touchpoint of this particular election, but also one of the topics I’m passionate about:

Yes, most club teams ‘scholarship’ kids in, but it is the responsibility of the USSF to develop the best youth in America. The system has been set up to discriminate and to overlook the disadvantaged because of an arrogant belief that the United States possesses the worlds best athletes, so therefore we can get away without having the world’s best soccer players. It is an outdated and a painfully evident reality that the National Teams currently face.

Red flags exist, yes. She will still have support from the corners that matter, and her campaigning platform is solid (hit the link to see the rest of it). Will legal issues be disqualifying? I doubt it. They may still turn out damaging, though.

I’ll do a deeper dive into the presidential candidates after the Tuesday deadline and we know who is actually going to be in the running. Before Solo’s announcement, the Washington Post’s Steven Goff unscientifically estimated the order to be Carter, Wynalda, Cordeiro, Martino… a little surprising to me that Carter and Cordeiro don’t cannibalize each other’s support as the two establishment/Gulati candidates. Still, plenty of time to go, likely some more official debate-type substances, and we don’t even know for sure who will be in the running.

Etc.: Russia corrupt? You don’t say! Taylor Twellman on various subjects. Danny Williams on success in the Premier League and his USMNT future. Germany building a new national team training center. Atlanta United built a soccer culture in its inaugural year.

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