Category Archives: Futbol

2026 World Cup sites? ROOF ME!

The 2018 FIFA World Cup (it is trademarked) began yesterday in Russia. The host nation obliterated Saudi Arabia 5-0. The host nation has kicked off the World Cup every tournament since 2002, and while the groups for the World Cup are randomly drawn, the organizers always try to give the host nation an opponent perceived to be the weakest among the other three in Group A (the host nation is automatically drawn as position “A1”; this will be Qatar in 2022 and probably the United States in 2026).

Kansas City’s powerful sports talk radio station, WHB (810 AM), talked about the World Cup and association football quite a bit yesterday. The big news locally was Kansas City is one of 17 cities across America which are still in the running to host World Cup matches in 2026 when the event comes to North America. The U.S. will host 60 of the 80 matches, including all matches beginning with the quarterfinals. Canada will host 10 matches in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and Mexico will host 10 in Mexico City and two other locales.

If it were up to me, all American sites would be in northern climates and/or have a roof (retractable or fixed).

The Cardinals’ stadium in Arizona, the Cowboys’ stadium in north Texas and the Texans’ stadium in Houston would all be easy picks, since not only do those stadiums have a retractable roof, but all can easily accommodate a full-sized FIFA field, which is 105 meters long by 68 meters wide (approximately 115 by 75 for those who hate the metric system).

Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium cannot fit the 105×68 field. It would have to cut some seating in the end zones to make it work. It isn’t a bad idea anyway, since Arrowhead’s seating capacity of 79,000, give or take a few hundred, is too much for a market of its size. Arrowhead would be just fine in the 65,000-70,000 range.

However, I do not think Kansas City is an appropriate choice. Go outside today and see why. As Kool and the Gang crooned in 1980,  TOO HOT.

Back to my picks. I’ve already identified Arizona, north Texas and Houston.

New York City may be hot and humid in the summer, but it’s got to be better than Orlando or Miami. You can’t possibly leave off out one of the world’s ten largest cities, the world’s most diverse city, and the epicenter of media. MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants and Jets, is the obvious choice.

Los Angeles also has to be in the equation. In fact, three stadiums in the area could be used: Rose Bowl (Pasadena), Coliseum (south central Los Angeles) and the new stadium in Inglewood being built for the Rams and Chargers. I’ll go with the Rose Bowl and one of the other two sites.

Gillette Stadium, home of the Belichick/Brady evil empire in Massachusetts, is a fine choice.

Chicago has to be on the list. It was fantastic as a host in 1994 and it will be even better now that Soldier Field has been modernized.

Atlanta has proven it can fit the FIFA-sized field inside its Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has that retractable roof. You’re good.

So far, that brings my list to nine. Who would get the last bid?

If there is a good way to install grass indoors, then I would seriously consider New Orleans, Detroit and Minneapolis.

My native city would be my first choice among the three. Yes, there is a bit of homer in that choice, but also the Superdome in my humble opinion is a superior facility to Ford Field and US Bank Stadium, and there is so much for the international visitors to see and do in the Crescent City.

Indianapolis? I don’t know if it can fit the FIFA-sized field in Lucas Oil Stadium. If so, it is perfect since it is centrally located and excels at hosting sporting events on a large scale. Also, the retractable roof is a big plus in my book.

Denver? Great city but would some nations balk at playing at altitude (4,850 meters)?  And wouldn’t the Rockies balk about the possibility of a three-week road trip during the middle of the MLB season?

As for the altitude argument, TOUGH. If you’re that worried, see if the University of Wyoming will let you train in Laramie, where it is 6,600 meters. South American countries have it worse when they have to play in Bolivia, where La Paz is above 10,000 meters, the highest capital city on earth.

Seattle? Isolated but a great association football city. I’d rank it above Minneapolis and Detroit, but behind Denver.

San Francisco (49ers stadium in Santa Clara)? Again, great cosmopolitan city. However, traffic between San Francisco and Santa Clara is a nightmare on a good day. On a bad day? Good luck.

Okay here’s my 10 in order of preference:

  • Glendale, Ariz. (University of Phoenix Stadium)
  • Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium)
  • Houston (NRG Stadium)
  • East Rutherford, N.J. (MetLife Stadium)
  • Foxborough, Mass. (Gillette Stadium)
  • Pasadena, Calif. (Rose Bowl)
  • Los Angeles (Coliseum)
  • Chicago (Soldier Field)
  • Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
  • New Orleans (Mercedes-Benz Superdome)

The next group in order of preference:

  • Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)
  • Denver (Mile High)
  • Seattle (CenturyLink Field)
  • Detroit (Ford Field)
  • Minneapolis (US Bank Stadium)
  • Santa Clara (Levi’s Stadium)

Uruguay and Egypt are scoreless through 64 minutes. What’s wrong, Uruguay? That’s ridiculous.

Sports mania Monday

I have not left my house today. However, that’s not to say it has been boring.

Far from it.

There has been so much going on in the world of sports, more than usually happens on a Monday, especially during the summer. It’s expected in the fall, since there’s a Monday Night Football game, the highlights of Sunday’s NFL games run non-stop on ESPN and NFL Network, and many college coaches hold their weekly press conferences on Monday, including LSU’s Les Miles.

Bud Black became the third National League manager to lose his jpob when he was axed by the San Diego Padres at 2 p.m. (noon in San Diego). The Padres were expected to contend in the NL West despite the presence of the World Series champion Giants and the Dodgers having the game’s best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, plus a star-studded lineup, but the Swinging Friars are one game below .500, and the only reason they’re in third place is because the Diamondbacks and Rockies are pathetic, although not as poor as the Phillies and Brewers.

Milwaukee was the first team to fire its manager this season when it sacked Ron Roenicke May 3. The Brewers were 7-25 at the time, and they are still struggling at 24-41 following tonight’s loss to the Royals.

Two weeks following Roenicke’s dismissal, the Marlins canned Mike Redmond only minutes after Miami came within one out of being no-hit by Atlanta’s Shelby Miller at Marlins Park. The Marlins were expected to give the Nationals a run for their money in the NL East this year, but right now, the only thing keeping the fish out of the cellar are the woeful Phillies.

Not long after Black lost his job, Vanderbilt completed a stunning comeback in the College World Series, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to down Cal State Fullerton 4-3.

The game game began last night, and the Comoodores had no answer whatsoever for Titan ace pitcher Thomas Eshelman. Fullerton went ahead 3-0 in the fifth, but in the bottom of the sixth, the heavens over Omaha opened up and rained down hard enough that Noah would have needed his ark. The NCAA declared the field unplayable and ordered the game suspended until 11 a.m. today.

Only the game didn’t start at 11 a.m. The NCAA was forced to backtrack when the rain kept coming, and the start time was pushed back three hours.

Reigning national champion Vanderbilt scored in the bottom of the sixth when the game resumed, but the Titan bullpen shut down the Commodores in the seventh and eighth.

Zander Wiel, who doubled home Vandy’s run in the sixth, started the ninth with a double. Two batters later, Bryan Reynolds singled him home and the ‘Dores were within one.

Vandy’s next batter was freshman Jeren Kendall, a left-handed hitter.. Fullerton had left-handed relief ace Tyler Peitzmeier on the mound. Peitzmeier came into the CWS having limited left-handed batters to a .208 batting average this season.

So what does Kendall do? He jerks a full-count fastball into the Titan bullpen in right field. Game over. Vandy into the winner’s bracket to face TCU, Fullerton to play LSU in the second loser-leaves-town matchup.

If the Bayou Bengals fail tomorrow, the SEC will be down to two, both from the East, Florida and Vandy. Arkansas lost 4-3 to Miami to bow out 0-2. Right now, Virginia and Florida are locked in a 0-0 battle in the bottom of the sixth. It’s after midnight in Charlottesville and Gainesville, so I wonder how many people are still watching.

The Stanley Cup will not be returning to Florida. PRAISE JESUS.

The Blackhawks wrapped it up tonight in Chicago, blanking the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0. It’s Chicago’s third Cup in six years after not winning it for 47 consecutive seasons from 1961-62 through 2008-09. The Blackhawks also clinched the Cup at home for the first time since 1938. They won it on the road in 1961, 2010 and 2013.

I’m still seething over 2004, when the Calgary Flames gagged away a 3-2 lead and lost in seven to the Lightning. Calgary lost game six at home when Martin St. Louis scored for Tampa 33 seconds into overtime, and of course, the Flames’ goose was cooked back in Florida two nights later.

Even worse than the Lightning winning it, they got to keep the Cup an extra year, thanks to the lockout which wiped out the entire 2004-05 season. And then it got stupid when the Carolina Hurricanes won the Cup in 2006 over the Edmonton Oilers. I still wonder how many people in Raleigh-Durham can name all 30 NHL teams. Probably not many.

The Women’s World Cup featured four matches from Canada today. The host nation choked away what looked like a sure victory vs. the Netherlands when the Dutch scored in the 87th minute to forge a 1-1 draw. The Netherlands are a superpower in men’s association football, but the women’s program lacks far, far behind.

That’s not uncommon for one gender to have a strong association football team and for the other to be lagging. The men are far ahead of the women in England, Italy and Spain in addition to the Netherlands, while the United States, Canada, China and Japan are the opposite.

The are only two countries where the men and women are on equally strong footing.

The most obvious is Germany. Deutschland won the Women’s World Cup in 2007, it has won the men’s Cup four times (including 2014), and I would bet my bottom dollar it will beat the United States if and when the countries meet.

The other country with futbol equality is Brazil. It lost the 2007 women’s final to Germany, and it still has one fo the strongest men’s squads, the implosion at the end of the 2014 World Cup notwithstanding.

Virginia has broken the scoreless tie with Florida in the bottom of the sixth. The Gators have not been behind very much during the NCAA tournament, but the way they’ve swung the bats, it’s next to nothing.

Have a good night and pleasant tomorrow.