Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gold Cup Attendance

Gold Cup 2009 Review

After a long vacation that ran right in the middle of the Gold Cup I am back. Sorry for not posting but I felt a little let down after the Yanks lost. Sitting back a while I had time to reflect if this was a successful Gold Cup. I have to say yes it was. Total attendance was 468,688 (average 36,053). This was slightly down from Gold Cup 2007 488,722 (37,597). This was a success since it was less than a 10% drop from 2007 but still outpaced Gold Cup 2005 340,131 (26,164avg). When reviewing averages we all must understand that it is Mexico’s participation that drives the total and average for the Gold Cup. Reviewing each group we can clearly see what national teams Concacaf officials want to advance in the Gold Cup.

Group A was considered the group of death going into the tournament. I still believe it was the most competitive group. Canada was the surprise here beating Jamaica 1:0 and El Salvador 1:0 with a possession game and timely scoring. They tied Costa Rica 2:2 to give them 7 points and group winners. Costa Rica was the second place team with only 4 points. They beat Jamaica 1:0 and ties Canada after losing their opener. They again mad the knockout round. Jamaica was a huge disappointment to me. They had the talent and the title of Caribbean Champion going in but they only went 1 win and 2 losses. El Salvador was the wild card. They question was could they win outside of Cuscatalon Stadium. They answered that by beating Costa Rica 2:1 in the opening games. This was no lucky upset either El Salvador outplayed the Tico’s most of the game.

Attendance Group A The fans packed into the Home Depot center making officials very confident in the opening game. “A sold-out stadium of 27,000 clearly favored El Salvador, as the stadium was awash in blue and white and producing a bone-chilling atmosphere. The decibel levels reached during the El Salvadorian national anthem were high enough to make even David Beckham blush.”[1]

This was the best Group A could do though. The next double headed was in Columbus and attendance was a flop at a group low of only 7,059. Columbus was a nice small stadium with natural grass however no on in Columbus cared. The Gold Cup may never return to Columbus after this attendance figure. The group recovered somewhat with 17,269 in Miami. The atmosphere was great however the only problem at FUI stadium “The Cage” was artificial Turf. This will be a problem for any future MLS franchise looking to play in or near Miami looking for a stadium. Group A total cam in at a respectable 51,328 total.

Group B had the favorite USA (the host) and regional power Honduras come in a predictable 1 and 2 to advance. Haiti also made the knockout round with a win over lowly Grenada and a tie against the Yanks. That would be the highlight for Haiti but they did get their fans excited at Gillette Stadium with the historic 2:2 tie. The games opened with a huge disappointment in Seattle. The Seattle Sounders were averaging about 28,000 for league games and officials wanted to capitalize on this factor. They even played the host there but a small crowd of 15,387 shoed in Seattle. This was the second lowest total of all games in the Gold Cup. IT could have been the match up however Seattle was a big let down. RFK had 26,079 in attendance and about ½ were Yanks fans. This was good after Honduras fans outnumbered Yanks in Chicago earlier in the year for a WCQ game. The group again went to Gillette stadium and again Gillette showed it’s consistency and had 24,137 in attendance. The group outpaced Group A with 65,603 Total spectators. Seattle will be the odd city out next Gold Cup.

Group C the favorites Mexico win this group in typical style. They beat Nicaragua and Guadeloupe and tied Panama in another physical game. Guadeloupe again made the knock out round coming in second with 6 points. Guadeloupe has now been playing very well for 4 years and their style of play is tactically sound. Nicaragua was happy to be there and has a long way to go before it becomes a consistent team. They did not score a goal nor were they an embarrassment. Hopefully they can repeat their UNCAF magic and become a consistent player in CONCACAF. The Central American Champion, Panama, slipped into the knockout round with 4 points getting by Jamaica and El Salvador.

This group led attendance because of Mexico. 32,500 turned out in Oakland which was on grass field. Then 47,714 turned out to see Mexico take on and tie feisty Panama in Reliant stadium in Houston. Houston continues to be a Gold cup favorite with it’s huge Mexican fans base. The group then traveled to Phoenix and the 3rd smallest crowd of only 23,876 watched this vital match. It is safe to say Phoenix had it’s chance to shine but the Gold Cup will avoid Phoenix in the near future.

The group total attendance of 2009 was inline with the 2007 total. I do not know if playing only 1 game at each venue prevented a bigger discrepancy but facts are facts and there was not a huge dip.

The quarter finals in Philly pitted the highly confident Canucks against the Catrachoes. The feature game had the Yanks against Panama. I was very disappointed in the very physical Panamanian national team. They played like thugs and wined like babies after the game was over. There was a clear foul in the box against Cooper and the correct call was made. Panama lost but almost assaulted the ref after the game. The Canucks finally lost to Honduras 1:0. Attendance in Philly was a respectable 31,087 but was no where near the 82,252 that packed into Cowboy stadium. That is correct 82,252 and this is why Mexico is the lead factor in attendance. They have almost 3 times as many fans as any other national team in the states.

The semi final in Chicago turned out 55,173 with Yanks beating Honduras again 2:0 and Mexico tying Costa Rica 1:1. This game had to be decided on penalty kicks. Mexico outlasted Costa Rica and another Mexico-USA match happened.

Mexico took a test book approach to control the fast athletic yank team by playing a very conscience ball control game. El Tri slaughter the Yanks 5:0 in front of 79,156 fans at Giants Stadium near New York. The fans were mostly Mexican in New York and they had a lot to cheer about. They had not beaten the yanks on US soil since 1999.

Mexico beating the yanks to give CONCACAF a new champion was good for CONCACAF and great to revitalize Mexico. They Yanks had won 3 of the last 4 Gold Cups and the tournament was getting a little predictable. Mexico had been lacking in confidence and are in 4th place in WCQ. This will be a huge boost for their confidence going forward. Whether we want to admit it or not CONCACAFR needs Mexico in the World Cup. They are a team that consistently plays well on the World stage and they will have a good chance of advancing out of group play.

Total Attendance 2005 Gold Cup 340,131 (Average Att 26164)

Total Attendance 2007 Gold Cup 488,772 (Average Att 37597)

Total Attendance 2009 Gold Cup 468,688 (Average Att 36053)


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Worst call in Gold Cup final

The Jay Heaps call to awarded a penalty kick has to be one of the worst calls in the final ever. This call put Mex up 1-0 and the flood gates opened. The Yanks were beat 5-0.

Mex should have gotten another penalty shot later but the ref let it go.

Mexico brings the fans and they will be celebrating tonight. giants stadium was packed to capacity. Mostly Mexico fans in attendance.

This victory was great for Mexico and good for Concacaf.

I will be working on a revew shortly

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gold Cup Attendance 2009 down

Many writers have been telling me that the CONCACAF region has been expanding. The Gold Cup is the showpiece tournament for the Senior national teams. Just some stats to chew on. The group games in 2007 total was 285,478. The total group matches in 2009 are 221,020. That stat is down 64,000 spectators so far.
Is it because there are less international stars at this tournament?
Do you think changing the venues for every game help prevent a bigger slip in attendance?

Gold Cup 2007 Attendance
Group A
Canada, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Haiti
Game 1 Orange Bowl, Miami 17,420
Game 2 Orange Bowl, Miami 22,529
Game 3 Orange Bowl, Miami 15,892
Total Group A Att 55,841

Group B
USA, Guatemala, El Salvador, T &T
Game 1 Home Depot Center 21,344
Game 2 Home Depot Center 25,000
Game3 Gillette/Boston 26,523
Total Group B Att 72,867

Group C
Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Cuba
Game 1 NY/NJ Giants 20,230
Game 2 NY/NJ Giants 68,123
Game 3 Houston 68,417
Total G C Att 156,770

Total Group Att 285,478

Quarter Final Gillette G-1 22,412
Gillette G-2
Houston 70,092
Houston G-2
Semi-Final Chicago 50790
Chicago Game 2
Chicago 60000

Total Attendance 488,772
Average Att 37597.85

2009 Total attendance so far in group matches 221,020 which is a drop of 64,458 from 2007 figures

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review of game 2 of each group.

Gold Cup 2009 (Game 2)

Group A

Columbus Crew stadium has a capacity of 22,500 however only 7,059 showed up for the double header of this group. In contrast in 2005 22,529 showed up for game 2 in Miami, Fla. and all 3 games were played there. This figure in Columbus is about 1/3 of the last Gold Cup .El Salvador fans again outnumbered all the fans of the 4 teams. The last game will be played in Miami so we will see if it location or just the fact that this Gold Cup is not as important or interesting as the 2007 version.
Again Canada surprised me. They are now 2-0. Ali Gerba the future Toronto FC player now has winning goals in both games he has played. Much credit should go to the coach from Trinidad and Tobago - Stephen Hart. Hart was the coach who coached them to the very successful 2007 Gold Cup semi-final. His style is to keep the ball away from the opponent as much as possible to limit their chances. His team is physically bigger and stronger than most Central and Caribbean teams. His team is not as tactically gifted with creativity however they are tactically organized and hard to break down. The again won 1:0 against El Salvador and now sit atop group A.

Central American power Costa Rica only scraped by with a 1:0 victory against Caribbean Champion Jamaica to stay alive. I say scrapped by since Jamaica went down a man in the first half with a red card. Remember A3 (possibly Costa Rica) could play B1 winner (USA) in the opening quarterfinal. That would be a great quarterfinal to see. Costa Rica will have to score against the stingy Canuck defense to overtake El Salvador for the coveted 2nd place.
Jamaica, loaded with quality players, looks like they will bow out of this tournament with a whimper. I had high hopes for this star studded team that looked to be the first team not from North America region to win the Gold Cup. The Reggae Boyz will hear it from their fans who have called them Raggae Toyz in the past for sub par performances. Jamaica will be playing for respect and respect is what this team needs now.

El Salvador will want to avoid 3rd place or even elimination if they lost their last game. They will want a good performance heading into the final Hex qualifying later this year. If the Cuscatlecos lose to Jamaica they could be endanger of not even advancing after their historic win over Costa Rica. So it seems all the games in group once again have been the most interesting to me

Group B

The 2nd round games were played at RFK Stadium in the nations Capitol. The capitol was picked as one of the venues because 2 main factors. There is a good MLS fans base for D.C United and many are of Latin American decent. The playing surface is a nice grass field which makes for a good game. Players prefer the grass field much more than artificial turf. Attendance was 26,079 and that is very comparable to 2007 Gold Cup Group B 2nd game (25,000) in Carson Cal. Most fans again were wearing Honduras White and Blue stripes. However the ratio was better for the Yanks at about 60-40 in Honduras favor. This is a good sign for the USA support.

The game to determine the group winner was very even game until the Yanks scored late in the second 1/2. The Yanks will take to top spot and play the least ranked opponent from Group A3 or Group C3. The Yanks did well once they inserted 2 Confederations Cup participants in Davies and Feilharber. These 2 change the dynamic of the game into the Yanks favor. The Yanks won 2:0 and have not yet been scored on. The yanks are the clear favorite now. Yes the yanks are playing their B team but other teams like Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico are resting many of their top players too.

Honduras should take 2nd place after they play lowly Grenada in the last game at Gillette Stadium. Presently Honduras would face Guadeloupe in the quarterfinal. That would be a great game after Honduras lost to Guadeloupe in the 2007 Cup 2:1.

Haitian fans now have hope. They were the Reigning Caribbean Champions from 2007 Cup. They were place in the Final round in the 2009 Caribbean Cup with Cuba, Guadeloupe and Antigua and Barbuda. They only got to play 3 games and were bounced out in Kingston. Other Caribbean teams had been playing for some time in the opening rounds and were much more fluid. With the Yanks already assured a quarterfinal birth they may send in everyone who has not played. This is good news for les Grenadiers who hope to get stronger and more cohesive as the tournament progresses. I win here could boost their confidence and we could have the Cinderella story.

Group C review will be added after tonights games...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Group A highlights game 2

Canada 1:0 El Salvador
Do you notice all the dark blue shirts supporting El Salvador. Gerba impresses again...he is a keeper!

Jamaica 0:1 Costa Rica
I am very surprised and disappointed in Jamaica performance.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The first games are in the books

Well the Gold Cup is underway. The first games are in the books. There was already some surprises.

Group A

CONCACAF officials must have been very happy to see a sellout at the Home Depot Center. 27,000 fans showed up to support their nation. The first game between Canada and Jamaica the stadium was not full. The fans came to see the second game between El Salvador and Costa Rica. I would guess to say that El Salvador fans outnumber Costa Rica fans 5 to 1 in the final game. El Salvador fans were not disappointed either. El Salvador played with confidence and finally beat their nemesis to the south. This was significant since El Salvador had not beaten Costa Rica since 1997. This 12 year span included loses to the Tico’s in the UNCAF Cup and other Gold Cups. This will be a huge confidence boost for El Salvador as they play the other 2 teams in the Group of Death. Canada did crash out of World Cup Qualifying and they did not even win a game in the semi-final round. Most Canuck fans were distressed at the national situation. Before the tournament even started Dwayne De Rosario and Adrian Serious decided not to participate. Both of these players would have been starters. A sinking feeling was taking over camp but the CSA pressed on. Canada had to open against Jamaica. They could not beat Jamaica at home in World Cup Qualifying and they lost 3:0 in Kingston. Jamaica had a plethora of international stars in GK Donovan Ricketts, Ricardo Gardner (Bolton Wanders), Luton Shelton (Valerenga) and Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids). They are my dark horse to win the entire tourney. Well we all know about the late heroics that Canada had beating the Reggae Boyz.
Both of the favorites will clash in Columbus. This will be the battle for survival. The winner between Canada/ El Salvador may very well be the winner of the group. To me these will be the most interesting games.

Group B

The group so far is falling into typical shape. Both The Yanks and Honduras won. Seattle Qwest Field had the lowest fans attendance so far. This is disappointing to the USA federation. Seattle wants to be known as the soccer city in America but attendance of 15,387 is almost ½ of what shows for a Seattle FC game.
The Yanks Camp: The story so far for the Yanks is that the plan is working. They want to develop the young guns to develop depth for the national team. Bradley played 2 experienced midfielders and the creative/youth was up front and on the wings. At forward Bradley had Davies and Adu and on the wings in Robbie Rogers and Stuart Holden. All 4 of these players had youth on their side. Freddy Adu 20, Robbie Roggers 22, Charlie Davies 23 and Stuart Holden 23 all scored in the 4:0 blanking of Grenada. The yanks dominated possession with short passes to involve everyone. They changes direction of field to look for weaknesses. They dominated shots, shots on goal and goals. To me I was happy with Rogers. The left side is the Yanks national team is their weakest spot. Rogers (a pure left footer) was always dangerous with the ball. He had 7 serves from the left side in the first half...when I started counting. I stopped counting after Holdens goal. The young “Creative positions” at forward and the wings had to please Bradley. However they will get a better assessment against Honduras.
The group winner will be decided next game in D.C. Honduras beat Haiti with a Costly header late in the game. Haiti looked better than Grenada if there is a winner between the 2 …that team could advance. Other group teams (especially Jamaica and Costa Rica) will be hoping for a tie.

Group C

I was glad to see Nicaragua stayed competitive the whole game. Nicaragua stayed in form and they were hard to break down. "They made it difficult for us," Aguirre said about Nicaragua, a team making its Gold Cup debut. "They stood back and never came out of their area, complicating things. But we take perseverance out of this. This was a team that looked and looked for a solution and that first goal took off some of that pressure. I think the score is just." Just as CONCACAF is developing so are the teams. It was good to see a competative Nicaragua team perform. Again I saw the referee not call clear yellow and ever red cards against El Tri.
The stadium was empty for the Guadeloupe – Panama match up however 32,500 eventually trickled into to see Mexico play Nicaragua. The Home Depot Center was a sell out but 32,500 did beat the Home Depot Center capacity. This group now moves to Houston Reliant Stadium.
Panama will be fighting for their survival life against Mexico here.
Guadeloupe again impressed beating the UNCAF Champion 2:1. Most on Guadeloupe team play in French National leagues that have regulation. The second and third tier leagues are better top to bottom that the top tier teams in most of the Central American nations. Guadeloupe was a revelation in 2007 however they have a quality team that could take top honors not only in the Group but the entire tournament. We were confident enough that we knew we could do something interesting in this tournament," Guadeloupe captain Stephane Auvray said. "The most important thing was to get the three points, but I think we can do better in the next game. We can keep the ball much more, but for the first game it's a good start." Would this be a black eye for CONCACAF if Guadeloupe won the Gold Cup?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A few articles of interest

  1. Seattle Times U.S. national soccer team looking to build on its success nothing new and hardly an oppinion.

  2. Associated Press. Again nothing new a few quotes about interest coming from Latin American section of America....slow growth from youth soccer but no revelations.

Wow 2 upsets

I had Costa Rica as the favorite and Jamaica the Challenger....both lost. This is already shapping up into a very exciting group. Canada has now won 3 games in a row. The Canucks Cyprus, 1-0, on May 30, and Guatemala, 3-0, on June 30 and now they beat the Caribbean Champion and 5th ranked(CONCACAF ranking) Jamaica. Canada fans have to be a little encouraged with the progress of the youth performance here.
Jamaica seems to have the talent but just did not put it togather. They have to come out with an attitude in Columbus or it will be a long and quiet trip back to Kingston.

Here is Canada vs Jamaica highlights. Rickett made an outstanding save....maybe be save of tournament already what do you think? The stadium was not full at this were waiting for El Salvador game.

I wathced the first half of the Costa Rica El Salvador game. What I was impressed with were the fans that were packed into the Home Depot Center(27,000). Here is a quote from the LA Times "Fans piled into the stadium hours before the match, clogging the streets surrounding the Home Depot Center at least a mile behind."1
It has been over 10 years since El Salvador has beaten their regional nemesis. Finally Costa Rica has some challengers in Central America.
The stadium was over 80% wearing El Salvador Blue. The LA Times indicated that the first match was a sellout at 27,000. Phooie to those of you who that this would be the "worst Gold Cup ever"

Here is El Salvador vs Costa Rica highlights

Was that a fans at the end with a blue shirt getting handle by 8 guards?


Thursday, July 2, 2009

NE REvs sign Giant Forward

Edgaras Jankauskas is a giant at 6-4 who will be able to hold the ball up as a target forward. The revs fhave a good team but it is severly lacking at the forward spot with out Twellman