The Washington Post

Thursday kickaround:

*Soccer received quite a spread on the front of the print edition this morning with Tracee Hamilton’s column about D.C. United’s investment group and Matt Breen’s feature on Olympic-bound U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn.

*From this day forth, my nickname for the DCU investors is FC Machete. (Jason Levien’s machete reference at the news conference was a gem. Thank you, sir.) Other finalists: Thohir Squared and Buzzard Point Wanderers. I welcome additional suggestions.....

*From Toronto FC’s 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, a breathtaking display of leaping ability by rookie Darren Mattocks and a dramatic late header by Terry Dunfield.

*The U.S. Open Cup final is set after Sporting Kansas City won at Philadelphia, 2-0, and the Seattle Sounders routed Chivas USA, 4-1. Kansas City will host the title match Aug. 8 at Livestrong Sporting Park, aiming to end the Sounders’ three-year reign. Seattle is the first team to advance to four straight finals since the 1930s.

*No official word yet, but it’s looking increasingly likely the U.S. World Cup qualifier Sept. 7 at Jamaica will be another pay-per-view production from the same rights holders, Traffic, as the Guatemala away match in June. Reminder: Host federations control TV rights and sell them as they see fit.

On top of substantial on-site production costs, ESPN is not planning to pay Traffic for the rights (beyond what it’s already paying as part of its contract with the USSF for home qualifiers and friendlies). Not for a semifinal-round away match at 9:30 p.m. ET on a Friday night during a busy time in the sport world. Other outlets could step up, but that seems unlikely.

Efforts by all parties involved (USSF, Soccer United Marketing, ESPN) seem focused on ensuring each of the 10 final-round matches next year is accessible to a broader audience — assuming, of course, the Americans advance.

Rest assured, the USA-Jamaica match in Columbus on Sept. 11 will be shown by the ESPN family. The public ticket sale begins next Tuesday.

*The kickoff time for the USA friendly at Mexico on Aug. 15 is now set: 7 p.m. at Azteca Stadium, which is 8 p.m. in the Eastern USA. ESPN2, Univision and will carry the match.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.


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