With the U.S. national team set to play Jamaica in a pair of 2014 World Cup qualifiers in a few weeks, let’s get caught up.....
TV: Confirming what the Insider reported a few weeks ago, BeIN Sport, the new Al-Jazeera backed U.S. outlet that debuted last week, announced today that it has purchased the rights to the Sept. 7 qualifier in Kingston. What we didn’t know until now is that it has also secured other U.S. away qualifiers during the 2014 World Cup cycle: the semifinal-round match at Antigua & Barbuda in October and, assuming the Americans advance, up to five road games in the final round next year. (It would not have the rights to a USA-Mexico qualifier at Azteca Stadium.)
At the moment, the channel is available only on DirecTV and DISH Network. However, the outlet is aggressively pursuing cable carriers. Whether it succeeds in time for the Sept. 7 match is unclear. The outlet has urged fans to contact cable systems through this link.
BeIN Sport — which has the rights to La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, 2015 Copa America and South American World Cup qualifiers — has also locked up the qualifiers involving all other CONCACAF teams, except Mexico.
(The absence of Mexican rights suggests the network might not have access to a USA-Mexico qualifier at Azteca. I’m checking on this.)
U.S. home qualifiers will continue to be shown by ESPN’s family of channels: The Sept. 11 match vs. Jamaica in Columbus, Ohio, is on ESPN2, Univision and ESPN3.com.
BeIN Sport will not stream U.S. qualifiers online.
USSF and ESPN spokesmen said they didn’t want to comment on today’s announcement.
The network’s announcers include Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson, formerly with GolTV, which was the victim of BeIN Sport’s spending spree. It has been reduced to showing primarily the Bundesliga, Mexican second division, Brazilian league and River Plate and Boca Juniors matches.
ROSTER: Juergen Klinsmann’s policy is to not announce his roster until the group is settled in the training venue. So don’t expect to see the U.S. list for the Jamaica qualifiers until Sept. 2, when the group gathers in Miami for camp. It’s safe to assume about 23 players will receive invitations. Because qualifiers fall on FIFA fixture dates, clubs are obligated to release players.
Barring injuries, this roster shouldn’t provide many, if any, surprises. In addition to the core of players who manufactured the 1-0 shocker at Mexico last week, veterans Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson and Brad Guzan are good bets to rejoin the team.
The big question is whether Clint Dempsey is called. As he awaits a transfer from Fulham, he is not playing. If a resolution isn’t reached soon, one would have to question his fitness and form.
TRAINING CAMP: U.S. players will begin arriving in Miami a week from Sunday, the 2nd, have several sessions, make the short trip to Jamaica on the 5th, and practice in Kingston on Sept. 6. The USSF typically doesn’t publicize the specific location of training camps. The Sept. 7 match is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. ET. The next day, the group will charter to Columbus to begin preparing for the Sept. 11 game at Crew Stadium.
VIDEO BONUS: Field-level perspective on U.S. victory at Azteca Stadium.....