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The U.S. stumbles in World Cup Qualifying, and more

By Nick Barbaro, Fri., Feb. 8, 2013

The USA stumbled out of the gate in World Cup Qualifying Wednesday, losing 2-1 at Honduras in the opening game of the final group stage, after taking a brief lead in the first half through Clint Dempsey. Like all U.S. road games, this one was available only on al Jazeera's beIN Sport, so I didn't see it, but early reports were that the U.S. had little possession and less offensive rhythm. Ah well, it's early yet. Next up in the 10-game "hexagonal": Costa Rica at home March 22, then at Mexico March 26. Those games should tell us a lot more about the Yanks' chances for Brazil in 2014.

Soccer at South by Southwest: No soccer movies in the SXSW Film lineup this year, but the other branches are picking up the load, with two soccer-related Interactive panels, plus two music acts with recent football ties. "The Sports Tightrope: Balancing Your Content" features Richard Clarke, managing editor of Arsenal Media Group in London, discussing how a major sports team must also be a digital and social media organization. "Who Got Game? Brits vs. Yanks Football Showdown" has Mark Ward of Tottenham Hotspur facing off with Chris Heydt of Social@Ogilvy over which brand of football is doing better at engaging its fans with social media. Later in the week, Music gets in on the act with Istanbul rockers Gripin, who recently composed the new anthem for Turkish champs Galatasaray and played at their championship celebration, and São Paolo hip-hop artist Emicida, whose "Zica, Vai Lá" video featured Brazilian soccer idol Neymar. See www.sxsw.com for details.

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