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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Tuesday kickaround: D.C. United, CONCACAF Gold Cup, U.S. friendlies, U.S. women, Americans abroad, TV listings

By Steve Goff

Greetings from South Carolina's Lowcountry, where D.C. United is in the final stage of training camp and competing in the Carolina Challenge Cup on Daniel Island, just outside Charleston. The season opener is just 10 days away? Indeed.

United, which defeated the host Battery on Saturday, will play the Chicago Fire on Wednesday. I'll meet up with the club at Tuesday's workout at The Citadel and share news and notes later.

Meantime, enjoy the latest offering from fan blogger Jeff Maurer.

*CONCACAF will unveil the Gold Cup groups and matches at noon ET today. Expect the United States to play in Detroit, Tampa and Kansas City in the first round, and should the Americans win the group, Washington's RFK Stadium for the quarterfinals.

*An update on advance ticket sales for upcoming U.S. friendlies: 44,000 for Argentina on March 26 at the Meadowlands, 13,000 for Paraguay three days later in Nashville. As the dates approach and the Argentina roster is set, I would expect a surge in the New York area and a final turnout around 70,000. The second match is on a Tuesday and the opponent is, well, Paraguay. No disrespect to the World Cup quarterfinalists, but they don't carry much appeal outside of Latin America. That said, shouldn't a U.S. team at full power (or near full power) draw a respectable crowd regardless of the opponent? Yes. So what's respectable for a Tuesday night in March in Tennessee? I'll go with 22,500. Giddyup, Music City.

*Alex Morgan scored twice as the U.S. women's team completed group play at the Algarve Cup with a 4-0 victory over Finland. The Americans will play Iceland in Wednesday's final.

For Americans abroad and TV listings.....

*Americans Abroad:
D Zak Whitbread and Norwich at Leicester
F Conor Doyle and Derby at Middlesbrough
D Eric Lichaj and Leeds at Preston
F Eddie Johnson and Preston vs. Leeds
F Mike Grella and Swindon Town at Plymouth
MF Anton Peterlin and Plymouth vs. Swindon Town
D Frank Simek and Carlisle vs. Hartlepool

*UEFA Champions League on TV:
Barcelona-Arsenal 2:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel (tape at 5 on Fox Soccer Plus)

Shakhtar Donetsk-Roma 2:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet/DC, Fox Sports Net, foxsoccer.tv (tape at 5 on FSC)

By Steve Goff  | March 8, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, CONCACAF, D.C. United, Gold Cup, TV, U.S. men's national team, Women  | Tags:  CONCACAF, D.C. United  
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Next: CONCACAF Gold Cup groups, matches set

Comments

VAMOS UNITED!!!

Let's put the RED back into the BLACK and RED!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 8, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

@ Currious99

Can you please add hours and minutes to your 1st match updates? (Seconds are irrelivent because it takes so long after you push the submit button.)

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 8, 2011 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to the USWNT for once again advancing to the finals of the Algarve Cup. Beating Norway was the hurdle to overcome, but Finland is no pushover.

Portugal is pretty nice this time of year. Winning makes it nicer still.

Posted by: StevanF | March 8, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

More importantly...where have you eaten in Charleston? It's a great food city.

I think Nashville pulled 30k for the T&T WCQ?

Posted by: Reignking | March 8, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The women should be careful, you never know when Iceland is gonna erupt.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 8, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

It may be 10 days to the first match, but for us out-of-market DCU fans, it's a 24-day wait to see the team on TV: match 3 at Colorado on Galavision. Then a hiatus until match 7 at Toronto on FSC.

Comcast's plans for DCU? A blackout for the first two matches. Beyond that? Don't know. To try and get this info from the Comcast web site requires a day-to-day schedule check. Not worth the trouble. If DCU knows the Comcast sched, it would be nice if they posted it on their web site.

Making matters even worse, I'm a Dish Network customer -- and Dish doesn't appear to be offering MLS Direct Kick this season. Dish customer (dis)service reps say they don't know whether it will be available. But with the season starting in less than two weeks, my guess is a big "no."

If MLS is offering a web-view subscription package, it's keeping it under wraps.

It's getting harder to be a DCU fan.

Posted by: runningcloud | March 8, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I watch most games on the computer (wife appreciates that, too).

Posted by: Reignking | March 8, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Direct Kick info typically doesn't come out until just before the season starts. Back when I had Comcast they never knew anything until the first day of the season or later. FiOS typically doesn't make any info available until the last minute either. So I am guessing that it may just be too early for you with regard to Dish. So, keep checking.

I haven't bothered with DK for the last couple of years, but with two new teams and that many more games this year I am thinking about doing it. Especially if it is still just $80 or so.

BTW, the FS+ free preview was up and running just fine this AM. Some sort of rugby match. I still can't see paying $15 a month or whatever they are charging for it, but for free I will check it out this week...

Posted by: fedssocr | March 8, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

runningcloud,

Have you tried contacting anyone at DCU directly, by email?

I've gotten helpful, direct responses from lower-level front office folk in the past; granted, that was regarding ticket sales but still...you might find someone sympathetic to your plight who could help get you the information you want.

Posted by: michanikos1 | March 8, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

runningcloud: I hear ya and second your frustration. When I went on ComcastSportsnet's site the other day to look for their TV schedule, they still have the "Ask Coach Curt A Question" page up:
http://www.csnwashington.com/pages/question_for_curt

Posted by: nairbsod | March 8, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

So what's the procedure for deciding the Gold Cup groups? Obviously Mexico's got to go in group A, because no one else is going to come close to filling Cowboy stadium for the opener. That forces the US in group C, so the possibility of US-Mexico final is left open, with Canada getting group B.

But after that? Do they do pots with a random draw, or does someone at CONCACAF just eyeball it?

Posted by: BooThisMan | March 8, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I think it was 26-28 last time. On a Wednesday, too.


I'd be happy with that possible:likely USMNT progression. I'd definitely hit up Tampa, and maybe try to make it to KC. Surely that flight couldn't be too expensive.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | March 8, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Do they do pots with a random draw

Sometimes they do crystal meth and sometimes crack.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 8, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

This is my first year with Direct TV, I love it. Though I was wondering if it's worth getting MLS Direct Kick, or whatever it's called? I usually watch DC games via a stream but paying for FSP has changes my perspective on dealing with the Internet. Is the video quality good? By paying for the package, does it ensue all be able to watch DC games every week?

Posted by: grubbsbl | March 8, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey, guys (and other gals) are y'all aware of this?

http://live.washingtonpost.com/arsenal-vs-barcelona.html

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | March 8, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I watch most games on the computer (wife appreciates that, too).

Posted by: Reignking | March 8, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse
------
I signed up last year for the MLS online viewing service, and unlike previous years, they blacked out nearly every DCU game - even on replay the next day. Do you have an online source you can mention, Reignking?

Posted by: WorldCup | March 8, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

WC...the "usual" ones...I haven't checked since the Big Game shut most of them down and moved them to .fm, for example.

Posted by: Reignking | March 8, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

OT: Just got my copy of Washingtonian magazine in the mail and there is a 10 page spread (8 pages of article, 2 pages photos only) on Andy Najar. Haven't read it yet, but glad to see Najar/DCU/MLS getting some love.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | March 8, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: NotOffisde | March 8, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

watch most games on the computer (wife appreciates that, too).

Posted by: Reignking | March 8, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse
------
I signed up last year for the MLS online viewing service, and unlike previous years, they blacked out nearly every DCU game - even on replay the next day. Do you have an online source you can mention, Reignking?

---------------

Ditto, I do like MLS Matchdaylive but the blackouts were insane. Terribly frustrating. I will try to see what I can find out about actual viewing options for this year.

MLS in general can simply be difficult to watch. It should not be difficult as an avid fan,. to just watch your home team and the rest of the league.

Posted by: DCB23 | March 8, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

watch most games on the computer (wife appreciates that, too).

Posted by: Reignking | March 8, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse
------
I signed up last year for the MLS online viewing service, and unlike previous years, they blacked out nearly every DCU game - even on replay the next day. Do you have an online source you can mention, Reignking?

---------------

Ditto, I do like MLS Matchdaylive but the blackouts were insane. Terribly frustrating. I will try to see what I can find out about actual viewing options for this year.

MLS in general can simply be difficult to watch. It should not be difficult as an avid fan,. to just watch your home team and the rest of the league.

Posted by: DCB23 | March 8, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

With regards to @runningcloud, DISH Network does indeed provide the DIRECT KICK package. See details here: http://www.dishnetwork.com/sports/default.aspx

Posted by: DISHTeam | March 8, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DISHTeam. Suggest you also provide this info to Dish phone and chat personnel.

Posted by: runningcloud | March 9, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

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