Welcome to another edition of Total 90: The American Football newsletter. Before we dive into the news, I'd like to remind you all about the new and exciting Total 90 mailbag. Post any football-related questions to my bulletin board or send them along via email. Remember, any and all questions are welcome, not just those regarding American football.
Now, onto the news from the week.
Trinidad and Tobago managed a shocking 2-1 upset victory over the United States in World Cup Qualifying. Dwight Yorke slotted home a penalty for the Soca Warriors in the 79th minute that proved to be the winning goal. Charlie Davies scored the lone goal for the Americans.
Luckily, the US team had already clinched first place in their qualifying group and a slot in the final round of qualifying. US coach Bob Bradley decided to take the opportunity and give his young players a shot, putting out a team with eight different faces from the team that thumped Cuba 6-1 on the weekend.
Jozy Altidore was by himself up front, which may explain the lack of offense during the matchup against T & T. Bradley also got a look at a midfield featuring DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu, and Freddy Adu. If Edu and Adu keep getting caps, they could form a very potent attacking and holding midfield combination for South Africa 2010.
There is also plenty of MLS expansion news to report. Seven cities have placed bids to land one of the two expansion teams for 2011. Ottawa, Portland, and St. Louis seem to be the four cities at the back of the pack right now because Montreal, Vancouver, Atlanta and Miami have some very notable backers.
Phoenix Suns' point guard Steve Nash is part of a group hoping to bring MLS football to Vancouver. The family of Liverpool co-owner George Gillett is hoping to land a team in Montreal. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has submitted a bid as well. And last but certainly not least is FC Barcelona, who would love to see MLS return to the city of Miami.
Let's take a quick look at these three options. Gillett, Blank and Nash have the potential to bring a new demographic of fans over to MLS. Nash could attract the basketball crowd while Gillett, through his ownership stakes in NASCAR and the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, could tap into those respective fan bases. Blank could potentially bring NFL money and marketing techniques into MLS. Barcelona would add another partnership with a foreign team to MLS, partnerships that have so far had negligible effects on the league.
MLS has also had to deal with the ugly spectre of racism recently. DC United goalkeeper Louis Crayton had to be restrained after a fan of the Houston Dynamo allegedly shouted, "Hey, you're a monkey, go back to the jungle" at him. The fan has been banned from attending Dynamo games until further notice.
For more on racism in football, check out Salaar Shamsi's article from a week ago.
Lastly, some playoff spots have finally been snapped up. Currently, five teams have clinched a spot in MLS' postseason. Columbus, Chicago, New England, Houston and Chivas will all be printing postseason tickets. Kansas City and New York sit in the remaining two playoff spots with identical records and goal differentials.
They control their own destinies, but New York faces the tougher road as both of their remaining games are against playoff teams.
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