Here are some morning tweets as the Union get ready to come home:
“Last practice of preseason then counting down the hours till we get on this flight…I packed my bags yesterday I’m ready to go,” Sheanon Williams tweets from Greece.
“nice practice despite the rain and the wind,the guys are looking every day better, getting prepared to pack and return back home!!!!,” Faryd Mondragon tweets from Greece.
“last practice in greece, teams lookin like a champ, here we come mls..dont be scurred,” tweeted Ryan Richter.
The Shin Guardian has some season predictions. One contributor thinks the Union will be “The Most Surprising Team”: “…Philadelphia has improved tremendously in the offseason. The attacking talent is still there…and the team added quality veterans…They should push for the second or third spot in the East, but that still may not be good enough for the playoffs.”
But two other contributors pick the Union as the “Team That Will Sizzle, Than Fizzle.” Says one, “The Union might score a lot of goals this year…but defensively they will be horrible, and all that will save them will be one GK who is slightly too old, and another slightly too young.” Says the other, “Oh so much potential, but when they start leaking goals, play more defensive and tire in the Philly summer humidity of Nowak’s haranguing, I’ll be telling you I told you so.”
The Examiner has the Union finishing in third place in the Eastern Conference behind the Energy Drinks in first and DC in second.
Philly Union Talk says “Nowak’s Silence Makes You Wonder.”
The Union website has a profile of Ryan Richter, who said on being signed by his hometown team, “This was my goal since I started playing so I have a lot of emotions, but it can’t be the end. It’s still the beginning of the season. Being signed is just one thing I want to accomplish. Now I’m ready to move forward and hopefully just keep getting better and try to make an impact.”
JP Dellacamera talks about his new broadcast partners, Taylor Twellman and Bob Rigby.
A very gracious Andrew Jacobson says of being traded by the Union, “It wasn’t too painful, to be honest. I think it worked out perfectly for everybody.” He explains, “They sat me down and were really nice about it. They let me know what was going on and everything…You know, they tried something last year and they didn’t like what they saw. Changes are made constantly. Things didn’t go as well as they hoped so changes needed to be made.” He said of the Union, “They have a lot of great stuff going for them. They have a great stadium, a great fan base and a great coaching staff. As long as they keep that going, I think they’ll be fine. I really do wish them the best.”
ESPN wonders where Michael Orozco Fiscal might be. “The Mexican club hasn’t placed Orozco on the roster on its website, but Union coach Peter Nowak said in a news conference last week that Orozco had returned to Mexico. It was a strange announcement by the second-year MLS club’s coach…[Orozco Fiscal] hasn’t been with San Luis…No indication he will be any time soon.”
Joanna Lohman has a new post up on her blog. She talks about her love of the preseason, what it means to be on the Independence, a.k.a. “a Cheesesteak,” the competitive spirit on the team. “I have heard the saying that it is important to love what you do and do what you love. As a member of the Independence organization, I can honestly say, that we are given the chance to embody this credo.”
The Independence Facebook page has pictures up from Lohman, and roommate Lianne Sanderson’s, recent appearance on NBC’s The 10! Show.
Adrian Healey will join John Harkes as the lead broadcaster for ESPN’s MLS coverage.
US Open Cup winners Seattle will face MLS Cup winners Colorado tonight in the Community Shield. Apparently, there is no national broadcaster.
A preseason “friendly” between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City was abandoned with about ten minutes left to play after a “dirty” two-footed tackle from KC’s Roger Espinoza on RSL’s Javier Morales resulted in a bench clearing brawl. The referee apparently incorrectly red-carded KC’s new designated player, Omar Bravo. Bravo then returned to the scrum of players and kicked Morales in the head.
Bucking current stadium-naming trends, the new stadium in Kansas City will be named Livestrong Stadium, which means the team will give money Livestrong for the use of the name, rather than the other way around.
The Timbers have surpassed 12,000 season tickets sold and have expanded their season ticket cap to 12,500.
The Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge kicks off today as Columbus Crew face New England Revolution. The Carolina Challenge Cup continues with DC United against Chicago Fire and Toronto FC facing Charleston Battery.
The USWNT will face Iceland in the Algarve Cup final today at 12pm.
The USMNT drops one position in FIFA’s ranking to no. 19. France moved up to no. 18.
The Third Annual Kicking & Screening Soccer Film Festival will be held July 20 – 23, 2011 at the Tribeca Cinemas in New York City.
Dorchester player-manager Ashley Vickers was given a red card for violent conduct after he tackled a streaker who ran on to the pitch during his club’s away match to Havant & Waterlooville. “I’m dumbfounded and speechless,” said Vickers. “My only thought was to get hold of him so we could get on with the game. I managed to grab him and bring him to the ground, and the funny thing was the stewards actually thanked me for it.”
The New York Times takes a look at the Royal Shrovetide Football Match—actually two matches, one played on Shrove Tuesday (better known as Fat Tuesday in the US) and Ash Wednesday—the folk football games at Ashbourne, England. The first recorded mention of the game at Ashbourne dates back to 1253. Less then 20 traditional folk football games still take place in England. Contrary to what FIFA would have you believe (China, my ass), it is games such as these that are the origin of soccer, not to mention rugby, American football, Gaelic football, and Aussie Rules. You can watch footage from the 2010 games below. Part One is mostly the lead up to the ball being thrown into the crowd to start the games (“turning up” the ball). Part Two features more action, including some fine river play.