By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Oct 18, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Tony looks at CONCACAF avoiding taking the lead on scheduling for 2013, a landmark event in Stuart Holden’s recovery, and Brian Mullan’s incredible playoff run ending.
Now that the United States has advanced to the final round of World Cup 2014 qualifications (the hex), when can I buy my tickets for US home games?
Right now, that’s an open question. According to Jack Bell in the New York Times, “in August 2010, officials from CONCACAF…decided that the teams that advance to the final round of qualifying would attempt to fashion a schedule among themselves.”
With that meeting scheduled for Friday, all we know is that there will be five home games and five road games. Not only is next year a Gold Cup year (almost all of July), but Mexico is also playing in the Confederations Cup in Brazil in late June for two weeks. FIFA dates (excluding friendly dates) include March 22-26, June 7-11, June 14-18, September 6-10, October 11-15, and November 15-19, but rumors have the Hex starting on the February 6th friendly date. The draw for the World Cup is December 6, 2013, in Brazil.
Speaking of the Hex and the Gold Cup, is there a chance US National Team player Stuart Holden will be able to play a part?
Holden is reporting for training with his Bolton Wanderers team for the first time since last April, as his recovery from two knee surgeries continues. The article in the Bolton News cautions that Holden isn’t close to first-team action yet, but hails his return to training as a “landmark” event. Holden commented on twitter: “Just finished my last on-field session at Elite PT. Needless to say they saved the best for last haha, will def sleep well on the flight tom.”
Will Columbus have Josh Williams back in their line-up for their game against DC United on Saturday?
Williams resumed training this week with Columbus after suffering a concussion against Kansas City in their last game. The Crew defender played for an additional 18 minutes before taking himself out of the game. Williams passed on field and sideline tests/memory checks and returned to the game, before teammates Chad Marshall and Julius James helped convince Williams to exit describing him as dazed.
The Crew’s team doctor Pete Edwards told Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch that Williams was “alert and oriented to the events that had happened.” Edwards told the Dispatch he instructed the player “if you don’t feel right, if you have any problems out there on the field, then you need to notify us and we need to get you out.”
Crew personnel followed MLS regulations, but as I’ve said time and again, it shouldn’t even be a decision. Players suspected of suffering a concussion shouldn’t have the option of staying in the game. The sub should be immediate, and not count against a team’s three substitutions. It’s a common sense move in an era where soccer is confronting the dangers of concussions for the future of players.
As bad as a knee injury or an ankle injury is, we’re not talking about the same long-term, even life-long, consequences of a possible concussion. Professional soccer should be setting the standard for protecting players.
Until this season, had Brian Mullan ever missed the playoffs?
He had not. The Rapids’ disappointing season ends Mullan’s run at 11 consecutive seasons in the playoffs, just one short of tying Dema Kovalenko for the League record. Mullan made the playoffs with the Galaxy, San Jose, Houston, and the Rapids. Along with Jeff Agoos, Mullan has five MLS Cups, more than anyone else to play in this League.
So New York coach Hans Backe’s quote that he wasn’t coming back for the 2013 season needs some clarification, right?
Sort of. A little bit. Maybe? Backe told Brian Lewis, writing for the New York Post, that the “only thing” he could say is that his contract ends this year. Backe isn’t the first coach to find his status in flux in North Jersey, but once again it’s the timing for the 2012 Red Bulls.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.