Daily news roundups / Featured

Friendly draw, FIFA follies, CONCACAF crisis, more news

The fallout from the ongoing corruption scandal at FIFA continues with the interim CONCACAF firing American whistle-blower Chuck Blazer only for the CONCACAF website to post an announcement saying the firing contravenes confederation rules. Meanwhile, efforts to postpone the election for the FIFA presidency are voted down with FIFA’s senior vice-president calling England’s FA “pirates.” Before we get to all of that, here’s what is going on in Philly.

Union

Nearly 1,400 were on hand at Reading’s Don Exeter Stadium to see the friendly between Reading United and the Union. The match ended in a 1–1 draw. Gabriel Farfan scored a header from a Justin Mapp cross in the 45th minute. Reading and Old Dominion University midfielder Chris Harmon equalized from distance in second half stoppage time.

Mondragon didn't play in the friendly but he and his son Paolo were on hand to watch the game. I love this guy.

The Union lineup in the first half was identical to the lineup against Toronto save for Zach MacMath replacing Faryd Mondragon.  The second half saw wholesale changes with only MacMath and Kyle Nakazawa remaining in the lineup. FC Delco and Union academy midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin and Reading United’s Matt Baker and David Rodriguez, who all featured in the Union reserves’ scoreless draw with Toronto Reserves, appeared for the Union in the second half of the friendly.

First half: MacMath; Williams, Califf, Valdes, Harvey; Nakazawa, Carroll, G. Farfan, Mapp; Le Toux, Mwanga
Second half: MacMath; Richter, Gonzalez, Baker, Rodriguez; Nakazawa, Pfeffer, McLaughlin, Torres, McInerney, Agorsor

More power rankings. At MLSsoccer.com, the Union move up four spots to third. At both ESPNsoccernet and Goal.com, the Union move up three spots to third. Strangely, at WV Hooligan, the Union remain at 6th in WV Hooligan’s rankings, one spot below the Energy Drinks, who dropped two spots to no, 5.

Vote Faryd Mondragon for Save of the Week.

Justin Mapp is named SBI’s Player of the Week.

Writing for MLS Talk, Earl Reed says the Union offense clearly is “not the three-headed monster that we imagined.”

The Union Dues looks at the Union attack and tactics and the season so far.

Eagles VP for Marketing Tim McDermott talks to 610WIP about the Union v Real Madrid game at the Linc. “We’re very honored, this is a big deal.” Topics also include movies, this thing called “likes” on Facebook. It is slowly dawning on the wider sports media that this soccer thing is, you know, kind of big.

Independence

The Independence is working with the embassy of the United Arab Emirates to host that country’s Women’s Soccer Program for a visit this summer.

Joanna Lohman pens an ode to the fans.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders get out of Pittsburgh with a 4–2 win.

The always informative Home Grown Hopefuls column at the Brotherly Game looks begins with info on the Union reserves 0–0 draw with Toronto’s reserves and continues with how FC Delco and PA Classics fared over the weekend.

US

Despite falling on a holiday weekend, the ratings for Saturday’s Champions League final nearly doubled from last year’s 1.0 rating to a 1.8 rating.

Ticket sales for the USA v Spain game on June 4 have topped the 57,500 mark.

Elsewhere

The knife waving at CONCACAF continues with interim president Lisle Austin, an ally of the suspended crook and now former confederation president Jack Warner, issuing a announcement saying American whistle-blower Chuck Blazer has been “terminated as general secretary of CONCACAF with immediate effect,” accusing him of, among other things, “gross misconduct of duty and of judgment” and “grossly” insulting and defaming “every member of the Association of the Caribbean of the CONCACAF by stating categorically that each member association is under investigation for bribery.”

But wait! Soon after, a statement was posted on the CONCACAF website titled, “UNAUTHORIZED ACTION TAKEN VERSUS CONCACAF GENERAL SECRETARY; BLAZER CONTINUES AS CONCACAF GENERAL SECRETARY.” The statement says,

“This attempted action was taken without any authority. Under the CONCACAF Statutes, jurisdiction over the General Secretary rests solely with the CONCACAF Executive Committee which has taken no action.”

The statement concludes, “Chuck Blazer continues as CONCACAF General Secretary and with the full authority of his office. The Confederation continues its normal operations including the Gold Cup commencing on June 5th at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.”

So that’s that, then. Not so fast, sports fans! Austin told the Trinidad Express on Tuesday night that he does have the authority to fire blazer and that the statement on the CONCACAF website is “not only the fruit of illegal actions on the part of Mr. Blazer who is no longer the General Secretary, but is tantamount to trespassing since, the unauthorized use of CONCACAF’s services and equipment by non-CONCACAF staff is unlawful.”

He continued, “I can assure you that this is my final statement on this matter, I will not allow myself or this organization to (be) dragged into a tit for tat war in the public domain. The reputation of this organization has suffered immensely over the last two weeks.”

Meanwhile, back at FIFA headquarters, Sepp Blatter says all 208 member nations will vote for who will host the 2026 World Cup rather than just the 24-member executive committee. He also “suggested” a committee would be set up to examine FIFA’s corporate governance and recommend changes, saying “We have been hit and I personally have been slapped. We have made mistakes and we will learn from this.” Just like all of those tomes in the past, right Schemp, I mean, Sepp?

Before that announcement, the motion to postpone the election for FIFA’s president—for which Sepp Blatter is running unopposed now that his only rival, Mohamed Bin Hammam, has been suspended on suspicion of bribery—was voted down 172 to 17. Blatter will be re-elected later today.

The England FA led the calls for postponing the election. FIFA’s senior vice-president, Julio Grondona of Argentina, said England “is always complaining” and called them “pirates.” He added, “Yes, I voted for Qatar, because a vote for the US would be like a vote for England, and that is not possible. But with the English bid I said: Let us be brief. If you give back the Falkland Islands, which belong to us, you will get my vote. They then became sad and left.”

The Guardian’s David Conn looks at the orchestrated attacks on the England FA by Blatter allies.

Theo Zwanziger, the head of the German soccer federation, has renewed calls for an investigation to be made into the vote for the 2022 World Cup. “There is a considerable degree of suspicion that one cannot simply sweep aside,” Zanziger said, “and I would expect that awarding this World Cup under these conditions needs to be re-examined.”

In Brazil, “concerns remain with regard to airport operations and capacities, as well as transport infrastructure” in preparations for the 2014 World Cup. Stadium and other preparations are “mostly” on schedule.

Just in case you thought football corruption only exists at the international level, 16 arrests were made in Italy for a match fixing investigation that included an attempt to spike the drinks of an entire team with sleep medicine. Among those arrested is former Lazio captain and Golden Boot winner Giuseppe Signori.

Man, I can’t wait for Saturday.

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