LoudFor almost as long as the Rochester Rhinos have been around, there have been debates over the volume, the content, and the frequency of interruptions by the PA system at home games. People in Cary, NC are even calling the in-game entertainment the "Rochester Effect".

Maybe it's just the Rhino fans that I interact with, but the issue does seem to be boiling a little more given the move to PAETEC Park and the fact that the Rhinos are more in control of all aspects of game presentation than ever before. So, I started asking some questions.

I sent Rhinos President Frank DuRoss an e-mail asking if he'd like to come on to Kick This! and talk about it and maybe give an update on the Real Salt Lake story. Frank said that Rhinos Executive Vice President Matthew Ford was the man to talk to about the PA issue and that there is no news on the Real Salt Lake front.

So, I sent a request to see if Matthew Ford could come on the show to talk about the PA. Unfortunately, Matthew can't make it this week, but he sent me a very detailed e-mail going over some of the things that they are doing behind the scenes to try and make sure that the game experience is what as many fans as possible want.

The Rhinos are working on an on-line survey for season ticket holders to try and get their opinion on a variety of things, including the PA issue. They are also planning on having a town hall meeting where fans can voice their concerns directly to team management.

Personally, I think these are two really good ideas. This will help them figure out whether the concerns over things like the PA are something that concerns the vast majority of fans or whether it's just the feelings of a passionate and vocal minority. It will also show the fans that feel like the team isn't doing anything, that they are taking steps because they will be visible.

I have been assured that they team has been trying to adjust the balance between everything that the team has done in the past and moving towards making the anti-PA people happy. Personally, I have noticed a reduction in the frequency and the placement of some of the stuff. For instance, the country kareoke is no longer done during play like it was earlier in the season.

But like with most hot button topics, opinions are like certain parts of the anatomy: everyone has one and they all stink.

Brian McBride retires from international play


Maybe it was the timing of the announcement, but I'm a little surprised that Brian McBride's retirement from international play hasn't gotten more play. For me, Brian McBride has been a more important player for US Soccer than Claudio Reyna has.

I know Reyna's European career has opened the door for more Americans abroad. But, I think McBride's play for the US Men's National Team has been more important than Reyna's. McBride scored the winning goal versus Mexico in the 2002 World Cup. McBride was a key player throughout that run, whereas Reyna missed the Portugal match and was never at full strength in that tournament.

Maybe it's just the pure blood and guts that McBride has played with over the years as a target forward. Maybe it's the fact that he has been hit with so many elbows in aerial battles that he has plates in his head. But, McBride is the guy that will leave the biggest boots to fill as the US team looks forward to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

What's going on in Colorado?

The Rapids are 7-1-3 in their last 11 home matches.

So, you would think that they wouldn't have too hard of a time selling tickets, right?

Apparently not. On Wednesday evening, the Rapids drew just over 4,200 fans for their league match versus the Houston Dynamo. That same night, the Montreal Impact hosted the Seattle Sounders and drew over three times as many fans.

I know the Rapids are building a new soccer specific stadium and by all accounts the franchise is on stable ground. But, those numbers just don't look right to me.

While their average is over 13,500, 45% of their attendance was from two of their eleven games. They had huge attendance bumps on the 4th of July (w/ the huge fireworks display) and when they had a doubleheader with Club America playing afterward.

Take those two games away and they are averaging a little over 9,000 fans per game.

Add in that new stadiums in Dallas and Chicago haven't meant huge boosts at the gate and you have to start wondering if the move to soccer specific stadiums will save MLS. I know most people feel like they will, but with numbers like some teams are getting this year, you have to wonder when the time is to hit the panic button.

Rain, rain go away.........

Hopefully I'm wrong, but given the monsoon I drove through this morning, I'm not expecting a strong crowd this evening when the Rhinos take on Seattle.

The good news is that the weather is supposed to break in the late afternoon to the early evening, so hopefully the fans will be out in force tonight!

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to news@soccersam.com. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.