Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gold Cup 2009 hosting venues

This is Giants Stadium. My guess is the Gold Cup Final will be played here in 2009

This is only a guess as to what CONCACAF officials are trying to do. I will break 12 teams up into 3 groups. Here are 3 groups for arguments sake to guess as to how the games will be played. Mexico, Costa Rica and the USA should anchor each group.

Group A......Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, Guadeloupe
Group B ......Costa Rica, Canada, Jamaica, Cuba
Group C ......USA, Nicaragua, Honduras, Grenada

I believe to get into all 13 venues in, all opening games will be a single game not a double header. By playing the 6 opening games at separate venues will create a huge buzz for the Gold Cup 2009 games. Also all teams will be traveling to their second venue so no one team get an advantage of resting while one travels.

Group A Mexico will play 1 game against someone (Guadeloupe) at Phoenix. Mexico is the only team that could come close to a sell out in Phoenix. Mexico and Guadeloupe then move to Houston for the 2 remaining double header games. Mexico has a huge fans base in Houston and Phoenix is not to far to travel. The other Group A game will be Carson or Oakland I will pick Carson 30k stadium since it is smaller. This game will feature the other 2 teams in Group A (Panama vs El Salvador). This would pit 2 Central American rivals against each other in a city (Carson-close to L.A) that has a large Latin American populous. Those 2 teams (Panama-El Salvador) will meet Mexico and Guadeloupe in Houston. The remaining games will be double headers in Houston’s Reliant stadium. CONCACAF officials will look at this group as their money maker with attendance. Mexico can carry any group by itself. By placing 2 Central American teams along with a quality Guadeloupe Group A should be the lead group with attendance.

Group B plays at Florida International University (FIU) Miami and Crew stadium for 2 opening games. FIU Stadium underwent an expansion beginning in March 2007, and completed in September 2008, for the 2008 college football season. Upon completion, seating capacity was increased to 20,000 seats, including 1,400 club seats. MLS is also looking at the possibility of bringing back a MLS franchise to this city. The Gold Cup would give MLS and SUM marketing a good insight as to the fan interest with a single game at FUI. Crew Stadium has the rowdiest fans bases in all of MLS. Weather they will watch other international matches that does not include USA is unknown. Since it good fan base, small intimate stadium and location (Columbus is in “Central” USA) it is a good pick for 1 game in the Gold Cup. Here is my scenario- Costa Rica plays Canada at Columbus while Jamaica faces off against Cuba in Miami. Jamaica and Cuba have a very good fan bases in Miami and FUI stadium only hold 20k. A sell out and the atmosphere should be great in Miami. Then all 4 teams will meet in Washington D.C for the remaining double header games.

Group C Has the host USA. Seattle has a new franchise in Seattle FC. Seattle does not have that big of a Latin American fans compared to other venues. Seattle is also on the West Coast. Sam’s Army will represent the yanks fans here. Seattle is a huge stadium and I do not see any other teams besides the US that will attract attendance. Since it is a 1 game deal the stadium should be well attended to see the host play. The other game will be Central American nation Nicaragua playing Honduras in Oakland in a single game. There are plenty of Latin Americans living in this area so the attendance should be very good. There is only 1 game here which will also help attendance. CONCACAF tries to make the Gold Cup a national event by moving the yanks from coast to coast. They did it in 2007 and I think they will do it again. I see all 4 teams will move to Massachusetts Gillette Stadium for remanding double headers. I place the yanks here instead of Wash D.C because yanks fans (Sam's Army followers) are more prevalent in Massachusetts that Latin American fans. Wash D.C also has a huge Latin American following for the home MLS team D.C United. I placed 2 Central American teams and one Caribbean team Grenada. Grenada will have S Joseph who plies his trade for the Revolution. S Joseph will have fans at Gillette watching him guide the Spice boys through this group.

Quarter Finals (Dallas-Philly)
Dallas and Philly will host quarterfinals. Dallas has a Dallas F.C and they also have many international fans in the area. Dallas will have Group A winner which will more than likely be Mexico anchoring Dallas while USA will probably play in Philly for the quarter final matches. Philly is a city that is getting a new MLS franchise so it is important to MLS to have a game here. Philly is also on the East Coast.

Semi Final -Chicago
Chicago had final in 2007 which Mexican fans packed the house. They get the one game semi finals and CONCACAF officials will hope Mexico is still in it. Chicago has the Fire and Chicago has a huge Mexican following. Chicago can not be felt out.

Gold Cup Final New York
New York will get the final. NY is the #1 media market in the USA. The city has more people (over 8 Million) than any of the Central American nations that are playing in this Gold Cup. The Red Bulls will get some publicity and the hope is Mexico make it to the finals again.
I could be wrong but there would be 6 opening games all at separate venues and that would be a great way to kick off the Gold Cup 2009. Double headers would ensure large crowns at the bigger stadiums. Any all the big market MLS franchises will get a little exposure with game played in their markets. Philly and Seattle included.

Friday, February 27, 2009

13 Venues for Gold Cup

This is a pic of New Dallas Stadium that holds 80k people. This and Giants stadium will be the biggest venues for the Gold Cup.

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2009
Tentative venues

1. Gillette Stadium, Boston (Foxborough, Massachusetts) 68k

2. Soldier Field, Chicago 61k

3. Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio 20k

4. Giants Stadium, New York (East Rutherford, New Jersey) 80k

5. Lincoln Financial Field, (Philadelphia) 68.5k

6. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (RFK), Washington 56k

7. Reliant Stadium, Houston 71k

8. New Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Dallas (Arlington, Texas) 80k

9. FIU Stadium, Miami 20k

10. University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix 63.4k(Glendale, Arizona)

11. Oakland-Alameda Country Coliseum, San Francisco 48k (Oakland)

12. Qwest Field, Seattle 67k

13. The Home Depot Center, Los Angeles (Carson, California) 30k

If these are the venues then CONCACAF is taking a big chance. These are mostly huge stadiums. Mexico can fill anyone however has the interest grown that much. The next biggest supporters are Sams Army. Will the yanks be able to pack a "large" stadium like Mexico.

Suprise is Miami's Orange Bowl is no longer an option but the brand new FIU looks like they will be hosting a game. this may be testing the waters for an MLS franchise. This is the only game in Florida so this 20k stadium should be full ...even with one game.

This is a bold move sine there has been absolutly NO frikin promotion of this event yet. has recently removed this link but we can speculate.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Latest Gold Cup 2009 news

We all have been wondering where the Gold Cup will be held. is almost a useless website for information. I, like most, have predicted it would be held in the USA. There is some speculation that a group match might be played in Canada. Currently there is ongoing negotiation with this event. Why you say. Well because the Gold Cup is really going to try to spreads it’s wings this year. Soccer United Marketing (SUM) has indicated on it’s web site that there will be a staggering 13 markets the games will be played in. Wow from 7 venues to 13 different markets. I do not know what this means but I want to guess.
“Held every two years, the CONCACAF Gold Cup™ is the confederation's showpiece event for men's national teams as it crowns the regional champion. The 2007 Gold Cup featured record crowds, including a sold-out Soldier Field. The 2009 version will feature 12 national teams competing in 13 major markets throughout the United States. Soccer United Marketing manages marketing, public relations and operations for the Gold Cup tournament.” Link
What we do know is that RFK will be one of the venues. This from the Washington Post. “*RFK Stadium is tentatively set to host a CONCACAF Gold Cup first-round doubleheader on July 8. A U.S. team visit is possible.”

Since SUM is also the marketing arm of MLS so they can kill two birds with one stone here. They will play games in MLS marketing venues. Since they are presently planning 13 venues here is what I am guessing. There will be six group games matches for each group or a total of 18 group play matches. Since there will be 3 groups SUM will try to spread these Groups in the “best” marketing areas they see fit.
The North East market has huge markets in New England, New York and Philadelphia and Washington D.C. These markets also have MLS franchises there also. New England gets 2 games because of the strong soccer support and the Revolution. New York will get 2 games because they are the number 1 market in the USA and also have good fan support. SUM also has the interest of the MLS famous NY Red Bulls. Washington D.C. has already stated that they are hosting the Gold Cup so they get the other 2 games. The North East is settled. I believe Philly will get the final and semi final games.
The West Cost Market;…..Seattle for the new franchise Seattle F.C so I see them getting 2 games. If Mexico is in this group then they will play in L.A Memorial Coliseum twice and go to Seattle. The other group games will play in Carson California’s Home Depot Center with the other group participants. Carson is the home of Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy. SUM may even try to play a game in San Jose home of the Earthquake. SUM might explore Vancouver to test the “soccer” market of a new franchise they (MLS) has to decide on with the expansion bid. Vancouver is also very close to Seattle so do not rule it out. My guess is Seattle, Los Angeles and San Jose.
The Mid west Market: The Mid West market has some major cities close together. They also have MLS franchises like Toronto, Chicago and Columbus Ohio. Toronto is Canada biggest city and this game would promote soccer in Canada. Montreal could get a game for group play. The Habitants of Montreal would have only 1 chance to see a Gold Cup game and with the interest of the Montreal Impact this could be a good choice. If Montreal does not host I see Toronto hosting 2 games. Chicago is the 3rd biggest TV market in the US and is loaded with Latin American soccer fans. MLS also has the Chicago Fire to market so Chicago gets 2 games. Columbus Ohio home of the Columbus Crew get 1 game. Columbus will provide a very intimate setting for any game. Kansas City gets one group play game. 4 MLS franchises are taken care of here and the mid west market is done. My guess is Chicago, Toronto and Columbus.
Group play has 18 games which leave’s 7 knockout games left. They remaining big soccer markets are Texas and Florida. Texas has 2 huge markets in Houston and Dallas and guess what?..... they also have MLS franchises. Florida has the great soccer market of Miami and now Tampa is an option. I see these sites hosting a 1 knockout game apiece.
I also think Philly will host the semi-final games and the final game.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nicaragua's rise

Nicaragua is the least densely populated country in Central America but has the 3rd most populous country with 5.8 Million people. Nicaragua is the poorest Central American country after the war between the US-backed Contra and the elected government of the Sandinistas. Much of the country's infrastructure was damaged or destroyed in the 1980 battles between these two groups. This is the main reason why the national economy and the national soccer program have suffered so much. Nicaragua however just made history this year in the UNCAF Nations Cup 2009. The played are surprisingly good tournament. Let’s take a quick look at Nicaragua’s past tournaments and the progress they have shown.
Group play went according to form. Honduras and Costa Rica both won their groups as expected. The little surprise was Nicaragua. They only lost 1 game to the host. The tied both Belize and El Salvador. This is significant since Nicaragua was the worst UNCAF team by far. In 2001 Nations Cup they lost 6-0 to Panama and 10-2 to Honduras. They were just a hideous team 10 years ago. These scores reflected the low status Nicaragua had in soccer. In 2003 they went 1 win and 4 loses with a -10 goal differential. The 2005 tournament was no better they went 1-2 with a -7 goal differential. 2007 is where they started to show some improvement. They still went 1-2 however their goal differential was 0 in group play. This placed them in the final playoff spot for the Gold Cup. Nicaragua was now playing with the big boys for something considerable. They were slaughtered 9-1 by a talented Honduras team. They got a real taste of the high stakes of soccer in this match. However this was a learning tool for Nicaragua. Nicaragua played the same Honduras team in 2009 and only lost 4-1. I say only since the gmae was in Honduras not a neutral site. Nicaragua did not lose another game after their opening loss. They stunned El Salvador 1-1 and again tied a feisty Belize team 1-1. This placed them again into the all important playoff game for the last Gold Cup slot. This time they did not fall apart. They went on to win one of their most significant games ever. It was a 2-0 over regional power Guatemala.
Nicaragua can not be considered cannon fodder no longer in Central America. This gives the Central American another team that can compete and now win against their close rivals in the region. Nicaragua has a long way to go however for now their fans and fellow country men can prepare for the regional championship later this year. Every Nicaraguan fan will be looking with pride this summer as their national team takes the field against the elite of CONCACAF.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Panama

Congratulations out to Panama.

this is their first ever international Tournament.

This game also is payback for the 2007 UNCAF Nations Cup.

2007 they lost to Costa Rica in a shoot out.

This win also has 4 nations out of 7 winning the Nations Cup.

Also there were plenty of fans there for the Honduras games.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

UNCAF excitement

Panama is red were out played almost the entire game however the Canaloros scored when they had to to advance to the their 2nd straight Final.

There are a few pictures of the UNCAF Cup. If you

have any please share and psot.