When you compare the 63,000 tickets sold for the Argentina match, the number for next Tuesday's match seem paltry, but Paraguay is not a world power the likes of Argentina. Despite coming off an appearance in the round of 8 where they were beaten by the eventual champions Spain in last year's Wold Cup, but La Albirroja are certainly not one of the "sexy" teams of world football (unless you count the team's unofficial mascot, Larissa Riquelme).
|No word on whether Larissa Riquelme will be in attendance next Tuesday. Now, that might sell more tickets!|
Also, Paraguay aren't bringing their star players. Even if they did, I'm guessing not too many folks who weren't born along the Rio Paraguay would buy tickets just to see Roque Santa Cruz and Nelson Valdez who are being left out in favor of some of the younger talents. Educated soccer aficionados may know the likes of Lucas Barrios (Borussia Dortmond) and Oscar Cordoza (Benfica), but the typical EPL obsessed fans I know don't know them at all.
But enough about the opponent. I'm more concerned that a match with the USMNT's first choice players hasn't already drawn more than 20,000. Landon Donovan. Tim Howard. Clint Dempsey. These are legitimate international professionals, if not star players. Considering that the USA's finish in last year's World Cup made these guys household names in countries on the other side of the globe, it boggles my mind that there isn't more interest on the other side of town here in the USA.
Maybe I'm just getting old and impatient, but it's about time the soccer community in the US woke up and started supporting the professional game here in the US. I know... Rome wasn't built in a day and all that hooey, but hurry up already!
Bussing It with Rocket City United
At least the Huntsville/Madison area will be well represented. Rocket City United has provided fans a free trip up to Nashville on their team bus, and if you haven't reserved your seat, it's too late. All 60 seats on the bus have been taken. The bus will take off from the Walmart on Madison Blvd. parking lot at 3:15 on Tuesday afternoon.
Rocking the Red
Looks like the Yanks will be sporting a new look when they step on the field this week. Nike and the US Soccer have unveiled a red third jersey. The shirt is an attempt to appease the hard core USMNT fans who always wear red and have been asking for a return to the red shirts for a while. The last time the US wore red in a real competition was the "last place finish" of the 1998 World Cup. I think someone at the US Soccer house became superstitious and decided the red shirt was to blame rather than the horrid 3-6-1 tactical formation and the bickering between the players.