We are now about 36 hours out from the United States national team's fourth consecutive 2-0 win in a home World Cup qualifying match in Columbus and the subsequent result between Honduras and Panama that secured a spot in the 2014 World Cup for the United States. Now that the dust has settled, there is no shortage of opinion and analysis available for fans of the national team that still want to revel in the win over Mexico.
The match between the United States and Mexico on ESPN earned a 1.9 overnight rating, which beat the 1.6 rating from the reverse fixture in Estadio Azteca in March. There were only 5 programs on ESPN from 8/26 to 9/1 with a better rating than 1.9, so it's a very strong rating. It's also encouraging to see TV ratings for the national team continue to improve.
In terms of the match itself, Liviu Bird pours a bit of ice water on the jubilation being expressed by most in the aftermath of the win over Mexico and qualification for the World cup. Brian Sciaretta makes his picks for the World Cup roster based on where he thinks the players will be next summer rather than where they are now, which explains why he leaves Brad Evans off the roster.
Now that the United States has secured their spot in the World Cup, what will they do about the final two qualifying matches? This is of particular interest to Sounders fans, with 3 likely national team starters on Seattle's roster. The US will face Jamaica on October 11th in Kansas City and travel to Panama for the final qualifying match on October 15th, which could decide whether Mexico will have a chance to play in the World Cup next year. Pro Soccer Talk makes the case for USMNT fans to pull for Mexico in the final qualifying matches. It has been widely speculated that Klinsmann will go with a B team lineup, as he did in the Gold Cup. When asked about his plans, however, he didn't give any indication that he plans on making significant changes, citing the limited amount of warm up games available to the United States between now and the start of the World Cup next June.
The new FIFA rankings have been released, and the United States is ranked 13th, moving up 6 spots and 36 points from their August ranking. There are approximately 130 points between the United States and the 7th spot required to be included in pot 1 for the final draw for the World Cup. It's unlikely that wins against Jamaica and Panama will be enough to propel the US into the top 7 by the end of the year.
But enough about the national team. We have a huge game of our own here in Seattle tomorrow night. For the first time in recent memory (perhaps ever), the top two teams in MLS will face off in front of a crowd in excess of 50,000 in a matchup that could very well ultimately decide the destination of the Supporters Shield. At present, the Sounders have a (slightly) better chance of winning the Supporters Shield than any other team.
The lineups for both teams are very much up in the air right now. Brad Evans is still recovering from his calf injury. Clint Dempsey and Kyle Beckerman each played a full 90 on Tuesday night. Eddie Johnson played most of the game and is apparently still dealing with some discomfort in his neck after taking a nasty fall in the second half against Mexico. Real Salt Lake will be without Alvaro Saborío tomorrow night due to a leg injury.
In the only MLS match last night, Chicago once again walked away with a disappointing result, this time settling for a draw at BMO Field against Toronto FC. All the scoring happened in the first half, but Bright Dike made his TFC debut in the 75th minute.
The real news was made earlier in the day in Toronto by MLS commissioner Don Garber, when he announced that 3 of the 4 expansion cities set to join MLS by 2020 have already been determined. That almost certainly means Orlando and Miami. The third city is anybody's guess. Although Miami seems certain to once again secure a MLS franchise, it may or may not be owned by David Beckham, with the owner of the Dolphins expressing his interest in owning an expansion team.
On the heels of their team's win last weekend over the LA Galaxy with both sides missing players due to national team call ups, Burgundy Wave questions whether it's good for the league to play during international dates. After the loss to Colorado, some LA Galaxy players were left wondering whether they are too reliant on the duo of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.
Unlike Seattle, the Galaxy plans to field a USL Pro team starting in the 2014 season, according to Bruce Arena. Also unlike Seattle, LA is moving forward without having a clear idea of how they will make it happen.
In an understandably overlooked match on Tuesday night the 10th ranked University of Washington men's soccer team played to a scoreless draw against third-ranked University of Connecticut in the Husky derby in Connecticut. Unfortunately for UW, senior goalkeeper Spencer Richey suffered a broken leg in the 83rd minute that caused him to leave the game. Sounders Academy alum Ryan Herman replaced him and was able to preserve the shutout for UW. Herman will have to lead UW for the remainder of the season with Richey ruled out for the rest of the year. Richey, a senior, will most likely be eligible for a medical redshirt if he wants to return to UW next year instead of entering the MLS SuperDraft or signing with a foreign club.
The most recent episode of Rave TV featured a goal rewind from Lamar Neagle and a Twitter Q & A with DeAndre Yedlin, including a question submitted by yours truly.