That would be the CONCACAF Champions League.
LOVE the feedback from people on this matter, whether games should be played at Qwest, and my sense is this – The first match – Sounders FC is guaranteed at least one in the play-in round – is for now at Starfire. I have to think that the club might revisit its plan to hold potential future CCL games at Starfire depending on how far the team advances in the tournament. I have no issue with filling Starfire to the brim for CCL and U.S. Open Cup games because that will happen regardless, but I also think the team will at least listen to the collective voice of those who want games at Qwest.
Remember that scheduling is an issue with the Mariners and/or Seahawks, and perhaps other events. So I would just advise to sit tight on all of this, things could change, and yes, let your voices be heard.
Around the league, Houston is looking at privately-financed plans to build a soccer stadium near the Galeria, a major mall in town, since its downtown plans have stalled. Here’s a piece of an article in the Houston Chronicle…
“The deal downtown started stalling a little bit. We started wondering if that stadium could make sense at this property,” said Brad Freels, chairman and CEO of Midway.
Freels envisions a 21,000-seat soccer and concert arena as part of a multi-use project on 30 acres the company owns at the intersection of Westpark Toll Road and South Rice. The property is just west of the 610 Loop, about a mile south of the Galleria.
Things are also moving on the San Jose stadium front, the San Jose Mercury News writes. The team is breaking ground on a practice facility and field, a sign that a new stadium is also on the way. Right now the Quakes are training in Oakland.
The $1.2 million grass field also will give the team a permanent home after spending the past two seasons sharing practice sites with Santa Clara University and West Valley College. The Major League Soccer team will continue playing most of its home games at Buck Shaw Stadium when the season opens March 27.
Some players complained last year about practicing at college fields, including on an artificial surface at Santa Clara.
“There’s nothing worse than sharing something, especially if you’re a pro club,” (coach Frnak) Yallop said.
Good news from ESPN/ABC, the AP writes:
But when the action shifts to South Africa, ESPN and ABC will make a major shift in their coverage. The U.S. networks will have crews on site for all 64 games at the 10 stadiums. During the 2006 tournament in Germany, two of five crews stayed home and called 20 matches from the U.S. studios.
“At some point you’ve got to treat it like the significant sporting event that is,” said John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president of content. “I understand it has not traditionally stopped work and stopped the country to watch it in past years. But we’re going to treat it like it should.”
The networks, owned by The Walt Disney Co., announced Wednesday that 10 games will be on ABC, including the U.S.-England matchup on June 12 and the final on July 11.
ESPN will televise 44 matches, with the remaining 10 on ESPN2…and every game will be replayed at night on ESPN Classic.
And finally, Real Salt Lake isn’t opening camp until Feb. 10, because coach Jason Kreis wants to give the champs extra time to heal up after playing so late into last season, MLSnet.com reports.