The U.S. World Cup loss to Iran Sunday not only ended
the team's chance to advance to the second round, but also
the chance "to grab the interest of average sports fans and
to give any kind of boost to attendance in the second half
of the Major League Soccer season," according to Jere
Longman of the N.Y. TIMES. Longman: "This was a game that
was penciled in as a win. Instead, the Americans lost one
of the most significant matches in the history of U.S.
soccer. ... The [USSF]'s stated hope of winning a World Cup
by 2010 seems hopelessly premature" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/23).
END OF THE WORLD? The U.S. media continues to examine
the U.S. World Cup performance. In K.C., Chris Cowles writes
that the "blame for the U.S. team's failure should be shared
by everybody from the [USSF] hierarchy down to the leaders
of [MLS] who, like the federation, truly believe they are
producing the caliber of players the United States needs to
play at this level" (K.C. STAR, 6/23). Also in K.C., Bob
Luder asks, "Now, the question is, what becomes of the
growth of the 2 1/2-year-old MLS?" (K.C. STAR, 6/23). In
Hartford, Jerry Trecker writes the loss "will surely mean
soccer will find it harder to get mainstream media attention
in the United States, a high price for U.S. Soccer having
made significant errors" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/23). In
Baltimore, Lowell Sunderland: "As humiliating as Sunday's
loss was, one of the things it means is going back to the
drawing board, something Americans historically have been
good at. And U.S. soccer architects have lots to work with"
(Baltimore SUN, 6/23). In DC, William Gildea: "The American
way is to accomplish immediately -- build it, sell it, build
more of it, sell more of it. But soccer can be developed
only over decades or chunks of centuries" (WASHINGTON POST,
6/23). In Raleigh, Caulton Tudor: "Where soccer goes from
here in the United States will be one of the interesting
sports developments over the next several years" (Raleigh
NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/23). But in Boston, John Powers writes
that U.S. Soccer "knew" that it "would be a coup to even
survive their" World Cup pairing group (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/23).
RATINGS DOWN: All World Cup TV ratings are "down
sharply" from '94. The two U.S. matches broadcast on ABC in
'94 earned an 5.8/18 and a 7.8/20, compared with 4.3/12 and
4.8/12 this year (DAILY VARIETY, 6/23). Pilson
Communications President Neal Pilson: "Soccer has a secure
niche. It's just not the niche soccer would like to be in.
The public has voted with their TV clickers; soccer has to
work harder to make people familiar with its stars." Grey
Advertising's Jon Mandel: "I didn't know soccer even had a
future on American TV. And the Cup games without the U.S.
don't draw anything" (USA TODAY, 6/23). In L.A., Mike Penner
notes USSF President Alan Rothenberg's claim that U.S.
Soccer is "moving forward." Penner: "What we have here,
soccer fans of America, or at least those of you who haven't
sworn off the sport for the more personally rewarding
experience of supporting U.S. rugby, is a failure to
communicate" (L.A. TIMES, 6/23). In Baltimore, Milton Kent:
"After his jingoistic prediction [of a U.S. win] ... have we
finally heard the last of ABC's Brent Musburger as a serious
player in sports broadcasting?" (Baltimore SUN, 6/23).
WORLD CUP NOTE: ABC's Gillian Findlay reported on
Iranians' reactions to their World Cup win over the U.S.:
"There was no gloating, no 'Down with America.' In fact,
the only sour note came in a message from the country's
supreme spiritual leader, who called the Americans arrogant
opponents. ... It was, however, somewhat of a struggle to
get our report past the censors" (ABC, 6/22). CBS's David
Letterman, to his audience: "Ladies and gentlemen, please
settle down. You sound like an Iranian sports bar." More
Letterman: "I watched the game, and it's kind of
aggravating, ain't it? And I'll tell you the worst part.
It was embarrassing how Iran used the big soccer match to
promote their new fall TV shows" ("Late Show," CBS, 6/22).