I took a bite out of Ives earlier for his sissboombah over what some have quite rightly called a glorified exhibition match and a waste of everyone’s time.
While Roma’s game against Liverpool FC in Boston yesterday was also a glorified exhibition match (although in this case it doesn’t pretend to be otherwise), the symbolism with regard to the development of US soccer and the growing importance of MLS is far, far richer than Chris Pontius’ skill in a pointless game against some Chelsea oldsters.
For one, both teams, who share a long and glorious history, are currently owned by Americans John Henry (LFC’s Fenway group) and Thomas R. DiBenedetto (Roma’s principle shareholder, also a member of the Fenway group). John Henry also owns the Boston Red Sox, whose stadium Fenway Park was built in 1911. It is one of the most important sporting landmarks in the United States, and was converted into a soccer field yesterday in which 37,000 people watched the teams play.
Who scored the opening goal? Michael Bradley, son of the former US mens national team coach, former Major League Soccer player with the New York MetroStars, and a brand new Roma player, one of only three Americans to have played in Serie A.
You want an idea of America’s growing influence in football? Here it is.