I don't expect a good crowd for the U.S./Barbados match. Some of that is no doubt due to the opponent - quite a few fans came out to cheer the U.S. versus Argentina. It's different for a country ranked hundreds of places below that.
But I think LA will get blamed as a bad venue for national team games, which I don't believe it is. People here really like soccer and come out for games.
This is Lakerland, though. This year more than ever, the city is crazy about the purple'n gold. It's not just because it's versus the Celtics, or that the Spanish-speaking community loves Pau Gasol, it's a fever. Laker car flags are everywhere.
Kobi may support soccer as his childhood pastime, and he's friends with Becks, but his team is doing theU.S. team no favors. It doesn't matter that there's plenty of people in Los Angeles to fill the Staples Center and the Home Depot Center many times over. In LA, people will be watching on TV as the do-or-die game goes on. I've already turned down invites to several Laker parties.
It's a conflicting coincidence, but it's probably one that will cause LA to lose future qualifying games to other cities.