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“Our job is to get the solution”

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Union

Marc Narducci writes on the fact that teams seem content to come to PPL to play for a draw given the effectiveness of the Union’s backline. “It’s a tactic and the way they chose to play, and you have to respect that,” Faryd Mondragon told Narducci. “Our job is to try to get the solution and find a way to break all these defensive tactics.”

Will the Union be able to breakout? At the PSP, it is a question of “logical lineup” (win) versus “probable lineup” (draw). In the head-to-head preview at Goal.com, the Philly guy sees a 1–0 win for the Union while the Chivas guy sees a scoreless draw.

In the latest edition of his weekly column, Kerith Gabriel first gives much deserved props to Sheanon Williams. But, given the Union’s all-too-evident offensive woes, Danny Mwanga’s views on the subject of not starting more regularly might be more pressing:

“Obviously it’s tough. As a player, you want to start, you want to get in every game. But whenever the coaching staff puts someone ahead of me, I use it as motivation to prove I deserve to be there instead. At the same time, I trust the coaching staff to put out the lineup they think is best for the team. I just want to be able to provide whatever the team is going to need. Whether that is coming off the bench or being on the bench supporting the team. Of course if I was healthy, yeah I feel I am ready to start every match, but the coaching staff has to make that decision, not me.”

Your a good man, Mr. Mwanga.

More from Mwanga and the revolving offense. “I mean, it’s been happening since the beginning of the season, so it’s something I’ve been dealing with. Every time you go into a game, you expect a different lineup. I’m just trying to prepare myself for it…Obviously as a player you want to start every game. But at the same time, if you’re put in a position where you don’t start, you’ve just got to change your mindset to be that player coming off the bench, to bring that energy.”

Amobi Okugo on his return to the pitch on Wednesday, “Oh my goodness—there was a little rust. I think I had too much excitement. Once I settled down, I thought I did well. My teammates helped out, told me to settle down. Once that happened, I felt comfortable.” Rusty? Peshwa—you were fine! You only missed—what, four games—and we’re all happy you are back. It’s not like you haven’t played in two-and-half years, or something.

Chivas rookie defender Zarek Valentin grew up in Lancaster and expects some 200 friends and family may be on hand when his team plays the Union on Saturday. While admitting that, in college, he wanted to play for the Union, Valentin said, “Getting closer to the draft, I wanted to go to a team that would suit me the best so I could get a chance to play, and I knew that Philly had a solid back line at the time. I wanted to come to Chivas, who are a young up-and-coming team with faith in me. So in the end, it worked out absolutely perfect.”

Real Madrid has released their 25-player travel roster for the upcoming summer tour. Among those on the roster are Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Kaká, Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas.

The US Soccer Development Academy Playoffs begin this morning at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX. Union-affiliated teams from PA Classics and FC Delco will be competing in the U-16 tournament. In the U-17 tournament, teams from PA Classics and Players Development Academy will compete. Check out the latest Home Grown Hopefuls column from the Brotherly Game for the skinny.

More on Wednesday night’s scoreless draw against Kansas City from ASN Philly plus a lovely rant from Unholy Union.

More Villanova at PPL Park nonsense

The door to American football at PPL Park is now wide open: Villanova and the Union announced on Thursday that the “Battle of the Blue Trophy”—the annual contest between Villanova and University of Delaware—will take place at the home of the Union on November 19. Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said, “We are honored to be building a long term relationship with such a world class university and are very excited about our partnership and the future.”

Some will say, what’s the big deal, it’s only one game and, anyway, it is in the off season. Others will say the only thing that matters is the right to make more money. Even if one could reasonably believe that this is just a one off, might I suggest this article from the Washington Post about the long-lasting damage gridiron football does to a soccer pitch, not just from play, but from the scores of players, officials, coaches and staff trampling up and down the gridiron sidelines, otherwise known as “the field of play” or “wings” of a soccer field. As for claiming that the recognition of a desire to make more money by hosting more events somehow makes for a superior argument, well, bite me. All I care about is a superior pitch. For my soccer team. The one the PPL Park was built for. And since me complaining about this will have as much effect as me complaining about Nowak’s player selection, you may as well get used to it. And, yes, by the way, the Union pitch looked like crap for the RSL game following the Rugby 7 tournament. (Interested in a reasoned discussion on this topic? Read this April article from the PSP’s Dan Walsh.)

Independence

Spanish international Veronica Boquete joined the Independence only a few weeks ago but her impact has been immediate. Boquete was just named WPS Player of the Week for Week 11, the first time an Independence player has been so honored this season. “Vero has settled in quickly and is growing in confidence,” said Independence head coach, Paul Riley. “She is smart, crafty, clean on the ball, and understands the game down to its final detail. I think she has been an important ingredient in the Independence getting some momentum going into the break. She is already a fan favorite, and her ability on the ball alone makes her worth admission.”

Independence rookie Lauren Fowlkes was one of 24 honored with the 2010-11 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards

Local

Reading United ended the four-game home shutout streak of Jersey Express with a 3–1 win. Christian Barreiro, Lasse Sohrweide and Sean Peckham each tallied a goal to bring Reading within one point of first place Long Island Rough Riders.

On Wednesday evening, Ocean City registered their first win of the season with a 2–0 victory at Brooklyn Knights. Byron Carmichael and captain Terry Gibbs both scored to bring the OC’s record to 1–4–4.

The Reading U-20 women’s team defeated Ocean City’s women’s team on Thursday night 6–0, Ocean City only being able to start nine players. The Reading women are now 4–1–0 on the season.

MLS

Thank you Seattle for defeating New York 4–2 last night. 46,505 on hand? Very nice.

Charlie Davies isn’t talking about the diving, but DC United assistant coach Chad Ashton had this to say: “That’s a forward’s job. It’s what he’s supposed to do. To me, it should affect the league taking a look at ‘Hey, we need to do a better job with regards to the decisions we’re making on the field.’ It’s what forwards get paid to do, and their job is to try and find a goal no matter how they do it.” Ah yes, it is not the player’s fault if he cheats, it is the ref’s fault for being fooled by his cheating.

USA

The US faces Mexico in the Gold Cup final on Saturday. On Thursday, it was the one year anniversary of The Landon Donovan Goal. GO USA!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUTgoKNqxxo&feature=related[/youtube]

Soccer America previews the Gold Cup final and numbers the success of the tournament.

The Women’s World Cup begins on Sunday morning when Nigeria plays France and host nation Germany faces Canada. The US begins play on Tuesday against North Korea. Read the PSP’s WWC preview from our newest writer, Allison Frank.

Elsewhere

The head of the panel set to hear an appeal from Mohamed Bin Hammam to overturn his suspension from FIFA while an investigation into whether he attempted to bribe his way to the FIFA presidency has recused himself. Larry Mussenden, a former Bermuda government attorney general and current head of the Nermuda soccer association, had earlier given evidence against the now departed crook Jack Warner so leading the Bin Hammam investigation would present a conflict of interest.

Bahrain’s main opposition party says that Mohammed Hubail, a member of the national team, has been sentenced to two years in jail for participating in anti-government protests. More than 150 athletes, coaches and referees have also been suspended for their alleged involvement in protests.

The Croatian football federation has been fined $80,000 after Croatian hooligans engaged in violence, invaded the pitch, made racist chants and displayed fascist flags during the country’s 2–1 win over Georgia on June 3. UEFA says Croatia faces expulsion from international competition if hooliganism continues.

Leeds United stand by their one-year ban of a 63-year-old grandmother who participated in a pitch invasion at the end of the club’s last game of the season.

Footy on the Telly™

Friday, June 24
Jamaica v France (U-17 World Cup) 4pm ESPN3.com
Japan v Argentina (U-17 World Cup) 4pm ESPN3.com
Mexico v Netherlands (U-17 World Cup) 7pm Galavision, ESPN3.com
North Korea v Congo (U-17 World Cup) 7pm ESPN3.com
Wilmington Hammerheads v Charleston Battery (USL PRO) 8pm FSC

Saturday, June 25
Czech Republic v Belarus (U-21 Euros 3rd place) 9am ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com
Spain v Switzerland (U-21 Euro final) 2:30pm ESPNU, ESPN Deportes
Uruguay v England (U-17 World Cup) 4pm Galavision, ESPN3.com
Canada v Rwanda (U-17 World Cup) 4pm ESPN3.com
Flamengo v Atletico Mineiro 5:30pm GolTV
D.C. United v Houston Dynamo 6pm Telefutura
Colombia v Senegal (friendly) 6pm ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com
San Jose Earthquakes v Los Angeles Galaxy 6:30pm FSC
USA v New Zealand (U-17 World Cup) 7pm ESPNU, Galavision, ESPN3.com
Czech Republic v Uzbekistan (U-17 World Cup) 7pm ESPN3.com
Philadelphia Union v Chivas USA 8pm 6abc
USA v Mexico (Gold Cup final) 9pm FSC, Univision, univisionfutbol.com

SUNDAY
Nigeria v France (Women’s World Cup) 9am ESPN2, ESPN3.com
Germany v Canada (Women’s World Cup) 11:30am ESPN, ESPN3.com
Chicago v New York 2pm ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com
Avai v Fluminense 3pm GolTV
Burkina Faso v Ecuador (U-17 World Cup) 4pm ESPN3.com
Panama v Germany (U-17 World Cup) 4pm ESPNU, ESPN3.com
Brazil v Ivory Coast (U-17 World Cup) 7pm ESPNU, Galavision, ESPN3.com
Australia v Denmark (U-17 World Cup) 7pm ESPN3.com

Monday, June 27
Japan v New Zealand (Women’s World Cup) 9am ESPN, ESPN3.com
Mexico v England (Women’s World Cup) 12pm ESPN, ESPN3.com

11 Comments

  1. I don’t follow the Independence as closely as I’d like, but, for a team in 2nd place, in a league with 6 teams, you’re telling me no player from the team made the league’s best-11 for the first ten weeks?
    Is it really just a matter of no stand-out individual performaces or is the choosing of these best-11 teams coming from a lousy source?

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Mainly, I think, it is that Amy Rodriguez (who won player of the week three times last season) has spent the bulk of the 2011 season with the USWNT preparing for the World Cup and hasn’t been able to train much with the Independence. The Union are 15 games in and Justin Mapp is the only player to be so honored, interestingly enough, also for Week 11.

      • I misread, I thought it was the first time an Independence player was named to the best-11 rather than the POTW. That makes more sense

    • Mike Servedio says:

      A lot of it has to do with how the Independence plays as well. They are one of the deepest teams in the league, and are willing to move players in and out of the line up based on who is in form. They have 9 different players with goals this season. Where as the team from Western NY and the team from Florida have shallower teams with bigger stars (Marta, Christine Sinclair, Abby Wombach…).

      Come check out a game some time, the soccer is really quality stuff.

  2. Ed,

    For what it’s worth, I am WITH YOU 100% on the Villanova @ PPL Park… thing, for lack of a better word. When I saw the PPL Park pitch on TV (at Fado) for the RSL match, I immediately thought of this whole scenario and how it would most likely permanently affect our pitch. And so it goes…

  3. I would much rather see a concert at PPL park instead of football or rugby games.

    • For the record, rugby 7s is the least impactful form of rugby to a playing surface, yet it STILL messed up the pitch something fierce. The destruction from a full 15s match/tournament would be substantially worse. Yet neither really compare to the damage done by football. This is sad news indeed.

  4. Dan Walsh says:

    I’ll note that I’m not quite as confident in my argument supporting American football at PPL Park as I was when I wrote it. Just saying.

  5. def against the football filled future of ppl.

  6. Could they use a temporary sod field for tackle football while still protecting the soccer pitch underneath? I’m sure this would be a very expensive option. Could the big light racks that RBA have been using to keep the shady side of their pitch healthy be an option?

    I’m not happy with the decision to have tackle football played on the Bermuda grass of PPL Park, but the PPL Park grounds crew surely has the tools necessary to ensure the pitch is perfect for First Kick 2012.

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