• With the World Cup set to begin Thursday, FIFA on Wednesday is scheduled to announce whether the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by Morocco or a joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada. The odds are better for North America than Morocco, but given FIFA’s penchant for out-of-left-field choices, it seems to me that Morocco should be the favorite.
• With no United States at the World Cup, the impact of missing players on MLS teams will be lessened. Nineteen players from the league will play at the World Cup – three from Mexico and six each from Panama and Costa Rica (including Minnesota United’s Francisco Calvo), as well as two from Peru and one each from Egypt and Sweden. That may not sound like a lot, but outside the big five leagues in Europe, only Turkey is sending more non-domestic players to the tournament.
• This week Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt unveiled his Austin, Texas, stadium plan, which would put the stadium next to a shopping center in Austin’s northern reaches. It’s hard to see why MLS is willing to throw away a loyal Columbus fanbase and the USA’s first soccer-specific stadium for a location that’s nowhere near Austin’s downtown, but is very near both a Wal-Mart and a Discount Tire. Perhaps I just don’t understand the business of soccer.