Consider it their very own Columbus Crew Stadium.
The Costa Rican soccer federation is set to decide on Wednesday whether to stage the Sept. 6 World Cup qualifier against the US national team at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, where the USMNT has never won, or at the newly constructed Estadio Nacional, which opened its doors in March 2011.
The artificial turf and the proximity of fans to the field and lockers have made the Estadio Saprissa a nightmare venue for the USMNT, living up to its nickname the "Monster's Cave." And the Costa Ricans know it.
The new Estadio Nacional, where Costa Rica have played their recent matches, was a gift by the Chinese government and features a pristine grass surface.
"I only want to confirm what I've been saying: Both stadiums are useful to the national team," said Costa Rica manager Jorge Luis Pinto in November 2012. "When we believe it's convenient, we'll use Saprissa or the National Stadium."
Especially in light of the SnowClasico victory by the USMNT — Costa Rica's protest of the match was struck down by FIFA — the Ticos want to do their best to exact some serious revenge on Jurgen Klinsmann & Co.
There's one hitch: Apparently the state of the artificial turf at Estadio Saprissa is such that it's not even clear that the Costa Rican national team players want to play on it.
USMNT at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa (last six matches)
Dec. 1, 1996 -- Costa Rica 2, USA 1
March 23, 1997 -- Costa Rica 3, USA 2
July 23, 2000 - Costa Rica 2, USA 1
Sept. 5, 2001 -- Costa Rica 2, USA 0
Oct. 8, 2005 -- Costa Rica 3, USA 0
June 3, 2009 -- Costa Rica 3, USA 1
On Tuesday night Seattle fans were directing "Sounders Reject" chants at USMNT forward Herculez Gomez in the first half, only to get their comeuppance after he scored the game-winner for Mexican side Santos Laguna in their Champions League semifinal first leg.
Gomez was loaned out to the Sounders in their USL days while he was still an LA Galaxy player.
“I love it. Being called a Sounders’ reject – any kind of reject – digs deep. It fuels fire,” Gomez said after the match. “I didn’t have the easiest go at the beginning of my career, so any chance I can get to definitely redeem myself is a good chance.”
So now what happens when the USMNT comes to town to face Panama in a June 11 World Cup qualifier at the same stadium? Will those same Seattle fans taunting Gomez on Tuesday cheer him on vs. Panama?
How do you feel about Seattle fans mocking a USMNT player during a club match?
Share your thoughts below.
— herculez gomez (@herculezg) April 3, 2013
Gotta say @herculezg was a good sport. We started chanting "Sounders reject" at him and he gestured for us to do it louder.
— Jeremy(@ArmOfCrass) April 3, 2013
Damn. I want to not like @herculezg but he is kind of awesome. Please score next time you're in Seattle, and if you put it top corner again
— Josh Larkin (@JLark21) April 3, 2013
On a serious note, Seattle fans are pretty classy. Much appreciated applause on my way out to the tunnel. Very proud to represent! #USMNT
— herculez gomez (@herculezg) April 3, 2013
Put this one in the "It's about time" file: FIFA finally approved goal-line technology last summer, and now they've picked out a provider for this summer's Confederations Cup and next summer's World Cup, both of which will be held in Brazil.
The lucky winners are GoalControl of Germany, who were chosen ahead of three other competitors from around the world, according to a FIFA press release.
Goal-line tech has already been used at last December's Club World Cup, so the Confederations Cup will mark the second FIFA tourney to use it should the final tests go to plan. The Club World Cup went off without incident.
The move for goal-line tech gained momentum after the 2010 World Cup, in which Frank Lampard had what appeared to be a good goal ruled out against Germany in an eventual 4-1 England loss. Some, however, still argue that the shot didn't cross the line.
MLS executives have previously expressed interest in using goal-line technology, though FIFA licensing requirements make the timeframe a bit of a moving target.
Think it's time to make goal-line technology standard? Let us know in the comments section below.
Just in time for opening day, Boston-based web developer Mark Willis has finished his three-month-long project of envisioning soccer jerseys for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. And the results are pretty cool. Much like the above mentioned American football and hockey shirts, Willis has customized each shirt with local flair and matched them with local jersey sponsors – e.g., US Steel for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chrysler for the Detroit Tigers.
Our favorites so far are the black-and-gray hooped Baltimore Orioles numbers and the simple yet sleek San Francisco Giants shirts that recall the MLS All-Star jerseys from last summer, complete with AT&T as the sponsor. There's also the New York Yankees shirt with the cool "27" above the crest as a stand-in for the Bronx Bombers' overflowing World Series title trophy case. (Click on the images below to go straight to the rest of the mock-ups.)
Just don’t start getting carried away with South Florida expansion talk, Miami Marlins fans…
NYC2 is still No. 1 on the list. MLS Commissioner Garber has made no secret about that, and given the interest in the City – from fans and politicians alike – there's no solid reason to think that they won't be team No. 20.
But Orlando City aren't about to give up. And whether they're 20, 21 or something beyond that, they want to have their spot in MLS signed and sealed by the end of the year.
They aren't shy about saying so, either. Check out this tweet, which comes from OCSC's fan media day:
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) March 27, 2013
Could it happen? There have certainly been stadium rumblings in downtown Orlando, and with a new, deep-pocketed owner on board, a jump up the U.S. Soccer pyramid is starting to seem more and more likely.
As always with expansion news, stay tuned.
Former Major League Soccer veteran Alejandro Moreno has officially joined the ESPN soccer family, and will work the US national team game as an analyst when the Americans take on Mexico next Tuesday night in Mexico City.
Moreno (above, with Chivas USA in 2012) will primarily serve as an analyst for Mexican national team and Liga MX matches on ESPN’s English networks, as well as a studio analyst for marquee events such as MLS Cup, Confederations Cup 2013 and other FIFA events.
“Alejandro has a remarkable knowledge of the game and the rare ability to communicate it with insight,” ESPN senior vice president and executive producer Jed Drake said in a statement. "His work for us so far has shown he will be a great addition to our talented and diverse analyst team."
Moreno’s relationship with ESPN dates back to 2011, when he was a guest studio analyst for the MLS Cup Playoffs while playing for Chivas USA. He returned to the same role in 2012.
Moreno played for six different MLS teams before he retired after last season. He also earned 43 caps for the Venezuelan national team from 2004-11.
From the department of What Ever Happened To….
As rumored as long ago as January by some keen-eyed bloggers in Philadelphia, it looks like former Union head coach Peter Nowak (above) has landed a new job as the new technical adviser for the Kirkwood Soccer Club based in New Castle, Del.
Nowak, who was fired from the Union on June 13, 2012, will be running technical training sessions for the club beginning April 1, according to a recent announcement on Kirkwod’s Facebook page.
A quick hit from the world of one-time MLS Cup champions: Former Colorado Rapids head coach Gary Smith has been released by English League One side Stevenage after the club suffered their 14th defeat in the past 18 games on Tuesday night, 2-0 to Bury.
"After a very promising start with a new squad, we have slipped alarmingly and the board are concerned that the present management team may be unable to deliver the club's vision of increasing attendances and developing players in a winning environment," Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace told the club's web site. "We have waited longer than most others in similar circumstances, but we cannot in all good conscience continue to watch this downward spiral and do nothing."
Smith, 44, led the Rapids to their only league title in franchise history in 2010 before he and the club parted ways following the 2011 season. He joined Stevenage in January 2012.
What a weekend.
With the inaugural #RivalryWeek in the bag, it seems appropriate to reflect on some of the new, and not-so-new things we learned from YOU, the fan.
Our interactive #RivalryWeek page, presented by Windows, created a one-of-a-kind, virtual Jumbotron that allowed fans’ photos and tweets to illuminate the spectacle of the weekend.
Here’s some of what we discovered:
MLS Saturday took on a whole different look during #RivalryWeek, with a full day of programming on NBC and the NBC Sports Network that included, “The Breakaway,” a Red Zone style production that focused on every match played on #RivalryDay. All the action kicked at 12:30pm ET and ran until about 10:30pm ET.
To top it all off, we partnered with NBC to put together a Watch and Win contest, where fans had the opportunity to win a 2013 MLS Club scarf of his/her choice.
Here’s how it worked. On Saturday, @MLS tweeted a trivia question about each game. Fans who answered the questions using the appropriate hashtag were entered into a random drawing to select a winner.
UPDATE: Below are the the winners of the NBC Watch and Win contest:
— Jake Nutting (@jakenutting) March 16, 2013
— Kerri Kello (@fortherecord_x3) March 16, 2013
— Johnny (@Jboarei) March 16, 2013
— Colby Groneman (@colbyutahman3) March 16, 2013
#WatchRSLvCOL Clint Irwin
— Jackson Fendley (@Jackson_Fendley) March 16, 2013
— Rob McNicholas (@robbiemcnicks) March 16, 2013
— Scott Candage (@ScottCandage) March 17, 2013
•The first 20 eligible replies were entered in a random drawing to win.
Winners were selected during each match and notified immediately via DM. If you were selected, you had to confirm your eligibility via email before an official announcement was made.
Note: You did NOT need to tag @MLS or @NBCSportsSoccer in your tweets to be eligible, you just had make sure you followed both accounts.
Official MLS Social Media Giveaway Rules
Employees, officers, directors, representatives and agents of any Major League Soccer LLC, its member teams, Soccer United Marketing, L.L.C. and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries & affiliated companies and their immediate families and those living in their same household, whether or not related, are not eligible for any @MLS giveaway. MLS will determine giveaway recipients in its sole and absolute discretion.
If you have received an @MLS giveaway in the last 30 days, you’re not eligible. If a giveaway recipient is determined to be ineligible, MLS may, in its sole and absolute discretion, not give away the goods or ticket(s) or may give the goods or ticket(s) to the next eligible follower.
You will be required to privately (through Twitter direct message or email) provide your name and address if you are selected as a giveaway recipient.
Contests, trivia and giveaways are subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules or regulations. See applicable giveaway description for exact details of when and how to enter.
MLS reserves all rights.