Photos: Nicolae Stoian
In 2010, we embarked on a new journey. Our league debut was nationally televised. Our home opener drew nearly 35,000 fans. Then, while we waited for the opening of our new stadium we began an extended string of away games that demonstrated what can only be described as the season-long woeful state of our away form. A magnificent home debut in our new stadium was soon undermined by persistent questions about the state of our defense and the competence of our goalkeeper. Yet we struggled onward, finishing the home season with a magnificent victory over our main rivals, the New York Energy Drinks.
Our of season began with what some have described as missteps: not protecting Shea Salinas in the Expansion Draft, then protecting Chris Seitz when Salinas was taken by Vancouver, only to see Seitz taken in the Re-Entry Draft. Now, Brad Knighton has been waived.
Still, as we look forward to the start of our second season, there is great promise to be seen. Off the field, we have acquired a shirt sponsor—long, and internationally, associated with soccer—with deep pockets and a strong commitment to our success. We have drafted a young goalkeeper with great promise. To mentor that promise, while at the same time ensuring stability and experience in the present, we have signed a goalkeeper with a long and impressive international career. To buttress the new stability between the posts we have made moves to strenghten our defense. We continue to develop young talent for the attack. And new signings are yet to be made that will further provide the talent and experience necessary to make us stronger.
My fellow soccer fans, it gives me great pleasure to report—with no hesitation or reservations—that the state of your Philadelphia Union is strong.
In the wake of Brad Knighton’s departure, this piece on the Union website looks at how Faryd Mondragon and Zac MacMath will help each other. Even they describe Knighton as being “abruptly waived.”
In case you missed it, Jonathan Tannenwald reports that he has received “confirmation from a source in Germany that FC Nurnberg striker Marek Mintal officially has turned down the Union’s contract offer.”
The Shin Guardian has ten minutes with Brian Carroll. The highlight for me is Carroll’s description of Peter Nowak’s training regimen: “Well, I think the way he trains his squad creates a lot of competition which brings a lot of sharpness everyday. The fitness level that he creates with his team from player one all the way down to the bottom, has them the most fit they can be and it’s usually more fit than other teams. Just skill and tactics that he employs for the formations he wants to play, put the overall team in the best position to get a result and that’s what you takeaway.”
Andrew Jacobson is hungry. And sporting a new hairdo.
Too early to speculate about how the Union will fare in 2011. Apparently not. This power ranking places the Union at tenth in the league.
Aside from a small number of premium Field Level seats, individual and group tickets for the home opener against Vancouver have sold out. The only way to attend the game now is by purchasing a full or partial season ticket plan.
The Meet the Team event scheduled for tonight at the stadium club at PPL Park has been postponed due to the weather. I’m not sure about today’s training session.
Chivas USA have a new shirt sponsor: Corona Extra.
How Portland Timber coach John”He’s a Goofball” Spencer relaxes his players.
Here’s a preseason primer on the Galaxy.
Thierry Henry’s goal for 2011 is clear: to win the MLS Cup.
In more Energy Drinks news, Ze Roberto is not joining the team.
This piece argues that MLS should strive to be more fan friendly, not more family friendly.
ESPN is reportedly behind a move that would bring teams from the Australian A-League, Japan’s J-League, South Korea’s K-League and MLS to play a tournament in Hawaii.
Montreal Impact will join MLS in 2012. Here’s a look at what they are doing to get ready. (Your fun fact for the day: when the Philadelphia Fury of the old NASL folded operations in Philly in 1980, they moved to Montreal where they became the Montreal Manic, which, it must be admitted, is probably not the most encouraging of names.)
With US Soccer denying the present NASL sanctioning as Division 2 soccer in the US, here’s a look at why MLS needs the NASL almost as bad as why NASL needs MLS. More on what’s going on with the sanctioning of NASL and USL Pro League here.
After assisting Carli Lloyd’s goal in the first half, Amy Rodriguez of the Philadelphia Independence sealed the USWNT 2–0 victory over China on Tuesday with a second half goal to give the team the Four Nations Tournament championship. New Independence signing Megan Rapinoe came on in the second half.
Here’s a profile on recent Philadelphia Independence draft pick Teresa Rynier, who graduated from Connestoga Valley High School in Lancaster County.
The WPS is abuzz with the news that expansion team WNY Flash have acquired five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta after picking up her contract from the now defunct FC Gold Pride, who inherited that contract from the now defunct LA Sol. Questions remain about how exactly the Flash will pay the cost of her salary, reportedly in the $500k range. Maybe the Flash will simply go bust, just like every other WPS team Marta has played on. More on the signing here.
For some insight into what the hell they are thinking at WNY Flash, here’s an interview with team president Alex Sahlen.
Soccer America wonders who should play in the upcoming USMNT friendly against Egypt.
Brad Guzan will be at Hull for a little while longer.
Sky Sports match commentators Richard Keys and Andy Gray have apologized for sexist remarks they made about a female referee over the weekend. While admitting the “probability or possibility” that he, like Gray, will be fired, Keys says “dark forces” have conspired against him.
Three women who have held high positions at Sky Sports describe a corporate culture that looks down on women. They also describe Keys and Gray as bullies who are hated by their crew.
Lionel Messi has been fined for dedicating a goal to his mother, the naughty boy.