VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It looks like American sports fans have finally come to appreciate an aspect of soccer that has long been a subject of scorn: the scoreless tie.
Fox's broadcast of Friday night's goalless contest between the United States and Sweden drew an average audience of 4.5 million viewers, with a peak audience of 6.4 million during the dramatic final minutes of the second half.
That's the biggest audience for any soccer game in Fox history. It almost doubled the previous record of 2.6 million for the 2011 UEFA Champions League final between Lionel Messi's Barcelona and Wayne Rooney's Manchester United.
Philadelphia is No. 12 in the ranking of top local markets for viewership of the two United States group stage games so far. The top five are D.C., Richmond, St. Louis, Baltimore and Hartford.
Colombia's big moment
Colombia's 2-0 upset of France on Sunday brought a much-deserved spotlight on wonderfully-named forward Lady Andrade.
It's a far cry from the last time Andrade was in the global game's spotlight. In a game against the United States at the 2012 Olympics, she delivered a cheap-shot punch to the face of American forward Abby Wambach:
FIFA's woman of the people
The lavish lifestyle enjoyed by FIFA's top brass has been well-documented by now. Even before U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch's indictments of power-brokers on racketeering and fraud charges last month, the organization's reputation for big expense accounts was no secret.
So it was refreshing to see a woman in an official FIFA navy blazer sitting in coach class on a flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver early Saturday morning.
To be fair, the organization has many employees – and even more volunteers – who don't get to live the high life. But plenty of soccer fans would gladly take that kind of humility from president Sepp Blatter and other executives.