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U.S. national soccer team ticket update for friendlies against Poland at Soldier Field and Colombia at PPL Park

More than 22,000 tickets have been sold for the U.S. men's national team friendly against Poland on Saturday at Chicago's Soldier Field but only 6,000-plus for Tuesday's match against Colombia at PPL Park outside Philadelphia, the Insider has learned.

A good walk-up this weekend, particularly from Chicago's Polish-American community, would provide an adequate turnout at a 61,000-seat stadium for what is supposed to be the USSF's big money-maker of the two matches.

Advanced sales for the Tuesday affair at an 18,500-seat venue are particularly disappointing. There seem to be several factors at play, and when you combine them, a clearer picture emerges:

1. World Cup hangover. The U.S. team was still a hot topic when it faced Brazil six weeks after its return from South Africa -- and the fact that Brazil was the opponent made for an easy sell at the Meadowlands. Now, we're in the deadest period of a national team's four-year cycle, and although many of the regulars will be in uniform on this international fixture date, little intrigue surrounds the American squad, from the coach to the roster (other than newcomers Jermaine Jones and Eric Lichaj).

In the fall after the 2002 World Cup, a USA-El Salvador friendly in Washington drew 13,590. Four years later, the Americans were off until the January 2007 camp and attracted 10,048 for Denmark's visit to Carson, Calif. For both of those matches, a secondary squad was called in.

More.....

2. Timing. It's a Tuesday night when kids are back in school, no one is on vacation, and Philly sports fans are focused on Roy Halladay and the Phillies in the playoffs, the confounding Eagles a month into the NFL season, and the Flyers and 76ers beginning their NHL and NBA campaigns, respectively.

3. Ticket prices. For a seat behind the goal, the price is $30. Most others range from $38 to $110.

4. Tapped out in Philadelphia. Besides the inaugural seasons for the MLS's Union and WPS's Independence, the city hosted the U.S. World Cup tuneup against Turkey in May and Manchester United in July at Lincoln Financial Field. On Wednesday, the U.S. women's team drew with China, 1-1, in front of just 2,505 at PPL. On Thursday, the Union welcomes David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy to Chester for a league encounter.

An argument could be made that the USSF should have staged this match elsewhere. It did enter talks with Red Bull Arena and considered sites in Florida, where many Colombian fans live. For logistical purposes, with players needing to return to Europe right away, the East Coast made the most sense.

5. The opponent. Colombia hasn't qualified for the World Cup since 1998. Its many supporters in the Northeast seem more likely to attend the friendly against CONMEBOL rival Ecuador on Friday night at Red Bull Arena. In its defense, the USSF doesn't have a lot of options on fixture dates set aside primarily for European Championship qualifiers and other high-profile matches. Three months after the World Cup, the urgency to arrange big games doesn't exist either.

By Steve Goff  | October 7, 2010; 12:32 AM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  U.S. national soccer team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wednesday kickaround: Maryland, MLS scouts, USA-China, TV listings, Frank Simek's winning PK, MLS-WPS players' unions
Next: Weekend soccer TV listings: MLS, Mexico, European Championship qualifiers, friendlies, Brazil, Colombia, NCAA

Comments

Sad story, I would have liked to have seen what a place like Nashville would have done with this game.

Posted by: PEddy | October 7, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Or maybe Philadelphia's overrated.

How come they can't even sell out for Union games?

Posted by: very_clever_username | October 7, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Or maybe Philadelphia's overrated.

How come they can't even sell out for Union games?
===========

I was hoping someone would eventually notice that too. It's your first season! Every game should be sold out in such a small venue. What's it going to be like in 3 years, when the team still isn't competitive and the novelty has worn off?

Kudos to the SOBs; they're doing a great job. But the rest of the soccer fans in Philly need to step up their game.

Posted by: kdiff813 | October 7, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

At least PPL park looks pretty full for most games. More concerning is the persistently poor attendance in places like Columbus, where the team has been excellent for several years now. Columbus apologists said in the spring the crowds were poor "because school is not out yet." In the summer, the excuse was "school is out and people are away on vacation". And now its "there is too much competition from college football".

Then you have Colorado, whose crowds are so poor it appears to be a lost cause. The league office must be praying they don't go far in the playoffs, for fear of the embarrasment of an MLS conference final on live TV in front of 37 people.

Dallas is another lost cause. Without concert ticket giveaways, Pizza Hut Park has fewer people the seats than, well, your average Pizza Hut. This despite Dallas playing better soccer than it ever has. Maybe the team is technically in the black by means of various accounting tricks, but the fact is that franchise is a huge, embarassing black eye on the league.

And if we are going to point out teams that should be selling out but are not, look no further than the LA Galaxy. HDC has more empty seats than one would expect
for a team with all the stars it has.

DCU ain't exactly packing them in, but the reason is we are probably the worst team in the history of the league right now, thanks to Will "Dan Snyder on Steroids" Chang.

Posted by: Ron16 | October 7, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't get it. I like soccer. I like going to games. I like seeing my national team. None of those things cease to be in the months following a world cup or on Tuesday nights in the autumn. Ah well, to each his own.

Posted by: troy6 | October 7, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the foul odor of stale urine that eminates from most people from Philly is keeping more pleasent smelling fans from other areas away?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 7, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Union season ticket holder and won't be going to the US game (see #4). The culprit could be the location. The stadium is not in Philly, but in Chester, a blighted town that had to declare a state of emergency this summer because of all the shootings. I found it interesting that the SOBs sent a letter this week pleading with its membership to stop chants with "the seven dirty words" because "organized profanity, 2,000 at a time, causes problems for the Union at the ticket window." Let the finger-pointing begin.

Posted by: ennuihead | October 7, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Man, you'd think things were dire, from reading Ron's post. Funny thing is MLS announced that September wasone of the league's best months ever, and league attendance is up like 7% for the year. Maybe, the crowds aren't so bad? MLS is a work in progress.

Posted by: fischy | October 7, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Stop the blame game folks.

Remember Chicago Toyato Park drew crap for a qualifier a few years ago?

Crap happens.

In 2011 a lot will change, new exciting fresh faces, things on the line, hopefully a few attacking players (Mwanga, etc) and by 2012 roles along numbers will be good, especially if the team is doing well.

These games are 10x more interesting just to see some new players and how far along some fallen stars have come (Johnson, Onyewu)

Posted by: MrCerniglia | October 7, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

The USMNT's bad draw post WC is and always will be the lack of a meaningful competition on the horizon. The Gold Cup is run too often and aside from the inevitable championship or semi final game verse Mexico really carries little intrigue. A more meaningful hemisphere wide comeptition opposite the Euros is what is need to grow interest and raise the game in America. Imagine adding Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in meaningful games in off WC years as opposed to more games with Guatamala, Jemaca and Trinidad & Tobago.

Posted by: scap777 | October 7, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Columbus is actually outdrawing DCU by a couple of people.

Philly is at 19k, but I did expect more.

Who cares about the USMNT when you can watch history being made at Citizens Bank Park? Besides, they just had a friendly there 6 months ago.

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Bolivia v Venezuela today. Plenty of jokes to make.

Wear a cup!

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Don't want to wear a cup. I want to win one.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | October 7, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Tell the... ummm... glaucoma patients that there's Columbian at PPL park. Should be a sell out.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 7, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Venezuela? I thought those things were banned outside of South Africa.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 7, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

There's no reason for the upcoming USMNT games to draw big crowds.

I was at cold and rainy RFK for that game against El Salvador in late 2002. Although it was the first game after the succesful performance at the World Cup in Korea the team was made up of marginal (at best) US prospects. I got to see Kyle Martino, Sasha Victorine and Leo Cullen in action against a bunch of Salvadorans who were even more obscure.

Some better known US players were there too like Donovan, Mathis, Mastroeni, even an appearance from Ben Olsen after his long injury lay-off. But overall the team and the game bore little resemblance to what we saw during the World Cup.

It's like trying to compare an NFL preseason game to an NFL playoff game.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | October 7, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Copa de Bolivar?

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"Don't want to wear a cup. I want to win one."

-Change that to "we" and United's got its 2011 marketing theme.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | October 7, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I still don't get the "Dallas is a black eye for the league" baloney.
If anything is a black eye for the league it's DC United, and their fans who seem to think that they are in a position criticize other organization's front office moves. It's pathetic.

I'd trade crap attendance for a team with some teeth ANY DAY of the week. DC United isn't exactly known for making moves that are reeling them in and keeping them here. (See BaRRD's open letter from yesterday).

I'd have gone up to Chester if the match was this weekend. Instead I will go camping.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 7, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

wewincups

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

As a Union season ticket holder I think there are a couple of factors not mentioned that are at play as well. They are in the process of season ticket renewals. It's hard for me to cough that up an addition to the expensive U.S. tickets.

The other issue is that U.S. Soccer has done zero promotion in the area. I asked my rep about tickets and I was told that they aren't "allowed" to sell the game or promote it. That just doesn't make sense to me.

Even though they haven't sold out every game it's been pretty damn close considering this market.

Posted by: sire1 | October 7, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

There should be an all Andes tournament called... wait for it... wait for it... the Coffee Cup.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 7, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

- Venezuela? I thought those things were banned outside of South Africa.

Posted by: I-270Exit1

+1

Posted by: BaltoFan | October 7, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan | October 7, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Speaking as a glaucoma patient -- I-270, do you know something? I need more info...

Posted by: fischy | October 7, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

You can lower your intraocular pressure with some Columbian Gold. Just ask a "pharmacist," like DadRyan or PoopyMcPoop.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 7, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

This isn't about the market. It's a completely meaningless friendly on a Tuesday night four months after the World Cup. It simply has no juice and frankly I get it. As miserable a season as United is having right now I would much rather attend an United game than this friendly.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | October 7, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Going to go on a limb and say that many USA fans are quite ticked off that Bradley is still our coach and that Klinsmann isn't. I was not happy at all about how quick Bradley was given the job again even if Klinsmann was asking for too much. I think those that run US soccer are too much in a comfort zone to even take a risk. They don't have vision to make the team winners or at least not cannon fodder for Brazil. I would have sacked Bradley for the disgusting display the USA showed against a young Brazil team at home. We were literally played off the field right at home. Some will argue Brazil is Brazil, well yes they are, but they are also human. Some tactical awareness, some heart, goes a long way and I saw little that day from the USA if any at all. All of this shows Bradley as being quite behind the curve.

Posted by: elfelixg | October 7, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow, it took a while for someone to inexplicably blame Bradley.

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I hear DC United lured a player out of retirement:

Dennis Bergcup.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | October 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@RK -- C'mon, you know coaches are the main draws. Think how many people would have come out to see Klinsi stand up and and move his defenders around. Sam's Army would roar with every gesture.

Posted by: fischy | October 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm gonna take a chance and say that the burst of the housing bubble and beginning of the recession around 2006 obviously coincides with the realization of the american public that Bob Bradley had been appointed as the national team coach

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | October 7, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@I-270 -- Yes, I've noticed that, though years ago Newsweek noted in a report that despite this effect, it might actually worsen the condition. Never did find any basis or source for that information.

However, I was referring to info about PPL Park...

Posted by: fischy | October 7, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hiring Bob Bradley emboldens the terrorists?

Posted by: fischy | October 7, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Bob Bradley poisoned the Danube, and is about to poison the Delaware.

Bob Bradley kneed Evo Morales in the groin.

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Bob Bradley is...the Least Interesting Coach Alive.

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

A company due to take over the management of one of the venues used in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa has pulled out of the deal after miscalculating the running costs.

The Sail Stadefrance Operating Company (SSOC) -- a partnership between South African events company Sail and French consortium Stadefrance -- were due to take up a 30-year lease on Cape Town's Green Point Stadium on November 1 this year.

But Cape Town's residents could now end up paying for the $600 million stadium -- as the management of the venue transfers to the city in January 2011.

Posted by: Reignking | October 7, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

We would have won the World Cup if it weren't for Bob Bradley.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 7, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

But Cape Town's residents could now end up paying for the $600 million stadium -- as the management of the venue transfers to the city in January 2011.
Posted by: Reignking
==========

I'm shocked, shocked to find that taxpayers will foot the bill.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 7, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"We would have won the world if it weren't for Bob Bradley."

-- Napoleon

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | October 7, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | October 7, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

* Did anyone watch the womens game last night? Any report?

* I have not been there, but perhaps PPL is not drawing as well because only pretentious beers, er, I mean, "micro-brews" and "craft lagers," are on offer for $10 a bottle rather than what the people want -- a MACRO brew -- the best selling beer on the planet -- Bud Light (the best!).

Posted by: OWNTF | October 7, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, don't think it's bradley's fault that there are no columbians in Philly or that these are meaningless games that are on tv so there's really no need to spend the money on tix.

Of course, everything else is his fault. And if he doesn't start Edu he should be fired.

Posted by: hacksaw | October 7, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: OWNTF | October 7, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Fire Bob Braadley, hire Bora Milutinovic for another go-round, and watch the stadium fill to capacity, even standing room. Atmosphere would be electric!

Bora! Bora! Bora!

Posted by: Ron16 | October 7, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@hacksaw you're making much Edu about nothing

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | October 7, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see De Jong kicked off the Netherlands national team. Thug.

Posted by: GeneWells | October 7, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for Bob Bradley, we wouldn't have Michael Bradley, so there.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | October 7, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Bud Light Lime is the best

Posted by: GeneWells | October 7, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to go out on a limp.

Posted by: WorldCup | October 7, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Bora, I remember when Tony Korenheiser described the coach's hair as if Bora "rode on a motorcycle backward with no helmet."

Today, that's the style du jour. Just look at BaltoFan's favorite singer, Justin Bieber.

(Sorry, BF, it was your turn to take the hit...)

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | October 7, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

"Nooo, you can't blame Bob Bradley for THAT."

:)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | October 7, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Rick on, Charlie!!

Everybody's rooting for ya!!!

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | October 7, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Rick on, Charlie!!

Everybody's rooting for ya!!!

Well, except GeneWells

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | October 7, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Bud Light Lime is the best

Posted by: GeneWells | October 7, 2010 1:41 PM
---------------------------------------------------------

The best what? Astringent?

Posted by: fischy | October 7, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm just wondering about the scheduling geniuses who gave the US team two days off between games. Even the Colombians have enough sense to play tomorrow night, instead of Saturday...

Posted by: fischy | October 7, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Goff, you are right -- "USSF doesn't have a lot of options!" On anything ....

Posted by: lovinliberty | October 7, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

What's it going to be like in 3 years, when the team still isn't competitive and the novelty has worn off?

Posted by: kdiff813 | October 7, 2010 2:20 AM
----------

So you're saying they're going to be the Washington Natinals of MLS?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | October 7, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Bob Bradley might never be the determining factor in deciding whether or not I'd buy a ticket for a game. But he certainly doesn't increase my desire to do so.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | October 7, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Bud Light Lime is the best

Posted by: GeneWells | October 7, 2010 1:41 PM
------------

Thanks for the laugh.

As for I-270's statement, there's plenty of great "green" produced right here in the good 'ol US of A. Nowadays most central/south American imported "green" is dirt schwag. Who wants that crap unless you're gonna make a ton of "special" brownies?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | October 7, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Between Best and Beer surely there is Belgian.

Posted by: sofiaboy | October 7, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

* Did anyone watch the womens game last night? Any report?

Posted by: OWNTF | October 7, 2010 12:50 PM
__________________________________________

I was actually at the Electric Chair--oops, PPL Park. I had never been to an MLS SSS before. It is a very nice place, but definitely isolated. Do they really expect much redevelopment of the surrounding netighborhood? The game itself was a pretty lackluster performance by the Yanks. They have work to do on several fronts. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a certain person of Jack Benny's age (39) booking a trip to Germany next summer.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Never said Bob Bradley was the sole reason tickets aren't selling like hotcakes. I am saying his rehiring doesn't exactly spark a ton of interest now does it. You guys are a bunch of comedians, funny stuff, really I am laughing it up here... bleh...

Posted by: elfelixg | October 7, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Hello USSF,

Can we host a USMNT friendly?

Signed,

Seattle Fans

Posted by: cjtalamantez | October 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

How could you possibly try to spend this as anything other than another massive failure by US Soccer?
First of all Phillie isn't supporting their MLS team and I would be shocked if they aren't relocated within 5 years.
Second there are at least 50 other cities on the east coast that Would have pulled in a bigger crowd. If you are going to have the game in a small venue by national standards, why have it in a major city with multiple competing sporting events?
Third, if Bob Bradley ever rotated in some new blood there would be more interest. Sticking with the same old guys is ignorant. There were at least 3 people on the pitch against poland who have zero chance of making the team for Brazil 2014.
A few cities that would have been a better choice...
1. Every single college town on the east coast...the facilities are there and college kids don't have a problem with going out on a Tuesday night.
2. Every city with a population over 250,000 that doesn't have a professional sports team.
I guess they don't have enough sense to know that Bradley has hit the peak of his potential, so why would they know anything about promotion either?

Posted by: soccerballs | October 12, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

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