Greetings from South Carolina’s Lowcountry, where D.C. United is in the final stage of training camp and competing in the Carolina Challenge Cup on Daniel Island, just outside Charleston. The season opener is just 10 days away? Indeed.
United, which defeated the host Battery on Saturday, will play the Chicago Fire on Wednesday. I’ll meet up with the club at Tuesday’s workout at The Citadel and share news and notes later.
Meantime, enjoy the latest offering from fan blogger Jeff Maurer.
*CONCACAF will unveil the Gold Cup groups and matches at noon ET today. Expect the United States to play in Detroit, Tampa and Kansas City in the first round, and should the Americans win the group, Washington’s RFK Stadium for the quarterfinals.
*An update on advance ticket sales for upcoming U.S. friendlies: 44,000 for Argentina on March 26 at the Meadowlands, 13,000 for Paraguay three days later in Nashville. As the dates approach and the Argentina roster is set, I would expect a surge in the New York area and a final turnout around 70,000. The second match is on a Tuesday and the opponent is, well, Paraguay. No disrespect to the World Cup quarterfinalists, but they don’t carry much appeal outside of Latin America. That said, shouldn’t a U.S. team at full power (or near full power) draw a respectable crowd regardless of the opponent? Yes. So what’s respectable for a Tuesday night in March in Tennessee? I’ll go with 22,500. Giddyup, Music City.
*Alex Morgan scored twice as the U.S. women’s team completed group play at the Algarve Cup with a 4-0 victory over Finland. The Americans will play Iceland in Wednesday’s final.
For Americans abroad and TV listings.....
D Zak Whitbread and Norwich at Leicester
F Conor Doyle and Derby at Middlesbrough
D Eric Lichaj and Leeds at Preston
F Eddie Johnson and Preston vs. Leeds
F Mike Grella and Swindon Town at Plymouth
MF Anton Peterlin and Plymouth vs. Swindon Town
D Frank Simek and Carlisle vs. Hartlepool
*UEFA Champions League on TV:
Barcelona-Arsenal 2:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel (tape at 5 on Fox Soccer Plus)
Shakhtar Donetsk-Roma 2:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet/DC, Fox Sports Net, foxsoccer.tv (tape at 5 on FSC)