Photo: Nicolae Stoian
A plethora of stories in this morning’s Inquirer and Daily News, both of which have full page spreads on the Union:
Speaking about Vancouver’s very impressive 4-2 home opener win against Toronto last Saturday, John Hackworth tells Marc Naducci, “That ‘expansion team’ stuff is thrown out the window at this point. If you look at it, and that score came against a natural rival like Toronto, that was one impressive performance.”
Carlos Valdes admits he’s a little nervous about his first game in front of the home support. “I am excited, but I feel a lot of responsibility because it is my first game in front of the fans, and I want to start out well.”
Carlos Ruiz tells Kerith Gabriel he’s a different man than the guy who left MLS in 2008. “In soccer you never stop learning and when I went away I have learned a lot from my mistakes in the past. All I want is to show my teammates, the coaching staff and the fans of Philadelphia what I can do on the pitch. I don’t care what people say about me anymore; I am here to score goals and help my team win…I have a lot of experience playing in this league. I am a goal scorer; it’s what I was brought here to do. If I do my job well, my teammates, coaches and the fans here in Philadelphia will see that and embrace it. It’s what they need and deserve.”
Shea Salinas tells Marc Narducci he’s sorry his knee injury will prevent him from being in Philly to play on Saturday. “I have a lot of friends in Philadelphia who I would like to see and a lot of memories, and it would have been great to play in front of the Philadelphia fans again.”
In the article, Salinas also gives an idea of what the Union can expect from Vancouver. “We play a very aggressive style of soccer and press teams when they have the ball, and we don’t sit around. We go straight to the goal, and it’s awesome to play that way.”
Zack MacMath and Omobi Okugo will miss the home opener after being called up to represent the US in the CONCACAF U-20 championship. MacMath says, “Being away for the home opener and a couple of big games will be tough, but I will be following it every day and checking in with the guys. I also realize that it will probably be best that I get some games in.”
Paul the Stray Ferret, a contributor to Philly Union Talk, picks the Union to win on Saturday.
In Goal.com’s head-to-head preview of Saturday’s game, the Philly guy has the Union winning 2–0, the Vancouver guy has the Union winning 2–1.
From the Union website, Kyle Nakazawa talks about getting the start in Houston. “I feel like I’ve been working hard so I wasn’t that surprised. But I was equally happy and satisfied to be there.”
In another piece on the Union website, Nakazawa talks about the work he did to improve in the offseason. “I knew I had to be fit to give myself the best chance possible here. It also helped me mentally prepare for this season.”
Thorne Holder talks to the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian about his and fellow countryman Keon Daniel’s time with the Union. “It’s challenging but both of us are working hard and doing our part to impress the coaching staff and earn our spot in the team. We’re really anxious about our chances and the club and the fans are excited about the coming season.”
The Sons of Ben are profiled in an article on MLSsoccer.com. Says Sons of Ben president Bryan James, “We’re trying to do it bigger and better than last year.”
Has the application by the Union to trademark “DOOP,” first reported two weeks ago by The Brotherly Game, resulted in discord between the club and the Sons of Ben? Union Dues and The Brotherly Game pick up on some tweets on Thursday (first, second) from Sons of Ben president Bryan James, with more opinion from Union City Blue, who note the Union have apparently also applied to trademark “Zolo.” “DÜP” has been floated as an alternative to “DOOP.” As of Friday morning, James was still using #DOOP in tweets.
You can now sign up for the Union’s 4v4 and 6v6 indoor tournament, scheduled for April 2 at YSC Sports in Wayne.
The Union has announced that the Harrah’s casino in Chester is “the official post-game party location after all Union home games.” To get to Harrah’s from PPL Park, head north on Route 291 and make a right after the prison.
Hassli says last weekend’s win was the most beautiful day in his career.
Vancouver is focused on keeping the momentum going as they enter “into the maw of Philadelphia.”
Vancouver’s radio play-by-play guy and their youth team coach talk about the excitement generated by the team.
World Soccer Reader previews the 2011 Independence.
This report from Fox News Latino says MLS is on the verge of overtaking the NHL as the fourth most popular sport in the US, in part due to shifting demographics.
MLS is once again the most diverse major sports league in the US.
David Beckham will wear the captain’s armband for LA Galaxy for the first time in three years.
Soccer By Ives reports that USA v Spain on June 4 at Foxboro Stadium is now official.
Jozy Altidore answers the question of whether he left MLS too early for Europe.
Brad Guzan reportedly will not be available to play for the US in the Gold Cup.
Footy on the Telly™
Friday, March 25
Spain v Czech Republic 5pm on ESPN2
Saturday, March 26
Wales v England in Cardiff 11am on ESPN2
Philadelphia Union v Vancouver Whitecaps 4pm on 6abc
Mexico v Uruguay 4:30pm on Univision
Portugal v Chile 5pm on ESPN Deportes
USA v Argentina 7pm on ESPN2, Univision
Sunday, March 27
Scotland v Brazil 9am on ESPN2
Tuesday, March 29
Germany v Australia 2:30pm on ESPN2
England v Ghana 3pm on FSC
USA v Paraguay 8pm on FSC, Telefutura
Mexico v Venezuela 10:30pm on Univision