Tuesday, December 19, 2006

USMNT vs. Ecuador March 25th

According to ESPNdeportes.com, the USMNT will most likely be hosting Ecuador at Giants Stadium on March 25th, 2007. This is to be the first of two matches in the USA for Ecuador, as they will face Mexico in Los Angeles around the 29th of March. Ecuador is planning on using these two matches as prep work for the 2007 CONMEBOL Copa America.

So the schedule between January first and the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup is becoming clearer for the USMNT. If this and the rumored March 28th match against Guatemala do get scheduled, the US schedule will look like this:

January 20th @ Home Depot Center: USA vs. Denmark
February 7th @ University of Phoenix Stadium: USA vs. Mexico
March 25th @ Giants Stadium: USA vs. Ecuador
March 28th @ Home Depot Center: USA vs. Guatemala

Overall, the choice of opponents is not that bad. Mexico is a very good side and we always play them well. Ecuador made it to the 2nd round of the 2006 World Cup, only to go out 1-0 against England. Guatemala is a potential Gold Cup opponent and a very good representation of several other CONCACAF teams, which makes them a good test for the Gold Cup. Demark will be a good test for the MLS roster and for Bob Bradley and his new coaching staff.

Unfortunately, I would have hoped for some travel in at least one of these matches. Playing at home, regardless of the crowd itself being pro-Mexican or pro-Ecuadorian, doesn't substitute the experience of traveling to a foreign nation and having to truly play away from home. Considering that this year will be when more and more new faces are brought into the team, maybe playing away in Guatemala would have been a better experience?

I understand that the gate revenues and the TV broadcast revenues are larger up here in the US, which leads alot of teams to request that we host them, but shouldn't the USSF be negotiating home and away matches? We host you this year, you host us maybe 8 months later or next year? If not, we ought to start.

In any case, I am planning on making the day trip up to The Swamp for this match, if it happens. It will be the first time I am ever rooting for the Home Team at Giants Stadium. Hope to see you all there.


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