Greetings from Kingston. My first visit in about eight years. Before I head out to explore.....
*The new FIFA rankings are out, with the United States moving up three slots to No. 33 and Friday’s opponent, Jamaica, advancing six places to No. 60.
The USA has 10 victories, no losses and eight draws all-time against the Reggae Boyz but has settled for four ties in World Cup qualifiers in Jamaica, with just one goal scored (Brian Ching).
The Americans were scheduled to arrive late today in Kingston but changed their plans and won’t touch down until Thursday, just 30 hours or so before kickoff at National Stadium.
*Two MLSers, Colorado’s Omar Cummings and Vancouver’s Darren Mattocks, were on the local TV show “Football GPS” last night discussing Friday’s match. Despite being a first-year pro, Mattocks already has a big following in Jamaica.
*Reggae Boyz Coach Theodore Whitmore discusses his decision to not recall striker Marlon King from Birmingham City.
*Ticket prices for Friday’s match: 1,500 Jamaican dollars ($17), 3,500 ($39) and 5,000 ($56). They didn’t go on sale until two days ago, but a big turnout is expected nonetheless.
*With an Indonesian money man now in the investment group, it didn’t take long for D.C. United to mine a prospect from Asia: Indonesia U-21 Andik Vermansyah is reportedly coming to Washington on trial.
*Is anyone going to stop the Columbus Crew (4-0-2 surge)? Probably not the New England Revolution, which is winless in 10 straight (0-7-3)? The Revs will try anyway tonight at 8 p.m. in Foxborough.
*The NASL is going to a split-season, starting next year: late March/early April through July 4 and then late July/early August through Nov. 2. Home-and-home among all clubs in each season, with the champions meeting in Soccer Bowl in the fall. If the same team wins both seasons, the side with the best record over both campaigns will advance.