By Tony Edwards – San Jose, CA (Oct 13, 2011) US Soccer Players — In the Thursday edition of the 5 Questions, Tony asks about the big issues from this week, including the impact of statements from US National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann and a look at some MLS numbers. As always, let us know what you're thinking in the comments section.
Is the World Cup a younger player’s game?
Apparently Jurgen Klinsmann thinks so. He “estimates a third of the 2014 World Cup roster” may come from next year’s Olympic team, which of course is an Under-23 competition (for the most part). It’s a fine line for all National Team managers, because for all the credit Bruce Arena rightly gets for 2002, Pope, Stewart, Friedel, and Reyna were as important as Donovan and Beasley.
Who leads the National Team in points in 2011 (goals plus assists)?
How do you sell tickets for an 11-month MLS schedule?
Let’s hope that Klinsmann and his boss are exaggerating to make a point about player development in this country. The obvious questions about the scheduling during the Olympics, World Cup Qualifying, Champions League arise even before we get into the fact that MLS attendance is stagnant, at best, in too many markets. How stagnant? Well, let's talk about that.
How many teams in MLS are playing to less than 75% capacity?
According to the MLS Attendance blog, seven (Chicago, Chivas, Columbus, DC, Dallas, Houston, and New England), with New York barely over the arbitrary boundary at 76% of capacity. Of note, three of those teams are in the playoffs. Don’t forget, even though San Jose is at more than 100% of capacity, that still means less than 12,000 in actual attendance.
This weekend’s most meaningful game is on television, right?
Let‘s give some credit to TeleFutura, where you can see New York at Kansas City on Saturday at 4pm ET. The Red Bulls can pass Sporting in both points and goal difference, although we remember that goal difference isn’t the first tie-breaker. New York turns around quickly, playing Philadelphia at home next Thursday to finish the regular season.