Thursday Afternoon Roundup

What better than a Thursday afternoon run-down of the latest and greatest in soccer stories, especially now that the World Cup field has been set.

Without further ado, let’s quickly delve into the field of 32 nations who will be battling for the World Cup next summer. First, view this article that details when and how each nation qualified. Next, play around with this world cup simulator to see the potential scenarios for the group draw. For the uninitiated, note that it is highly likely that the U.S. will be drawn into an extremely challenging group. The U.S. will be paired with a team from the pot of seeded nations, the pot of non-seeded European teams, and the pot of non-seeded African and South American teams (plus France). Here’s hoping for Switzerland, Algeria, and Bosnia!

On a more optimistic note, Forbes published an article on the franchise value of each MLS team with accompanying annual revenue and operating profit amounts for each franchise. Since Forbes’ last franchise valuations that were performed in 2008, the average MLS franchise value has increased 178% to $103 million. The Seattle Sounder who joined MLS in 2009 for an expansion fee of $30 million are now the league’s most valuable franchise at $175 million. All recent evidence points to steady growth for the burgeoning sports league, still under twenty years old by the way.

Finally, the following article from Sports Illustrated profiles Portland Timbers’ coach Caleb Porter, who has orchestrated the league’s most impressive turnaround this season. The Timbers will be competing for a spot in MLS Cup in the second leg of their match with Real Salt Lake (though they trail 4-2), and Porter has been the catalyst of the Timbers’ overhaul. I have always been a fan of Porter, and this article does not disappoint, as it highlights his tenacity, knowledge of the game, and supreme confidence. He is one of the brightest young minds in MLS and is a strong candidate to coach the USMNT in the future.

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