Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz
Wednesday’s press conference contained much talk about the future of the club. Here are some talking points, beginning with Peter Nowak on:
Consistent lineups: “It’s not that we are saying everything is fine. All we are saying is that having a starting lineup consistent, 11 guys, maybe two substitutions or three guys, you cannot win the championship with 13 guys. You have to have guys that are going to provide cover.”
Being a championship-quality team: “As much as I want to convince you that we have a championship team, we don’t. We’re very close, but we don’t. We still need to get more understanding of what it takes to be a very good team. There’s a very thin line between being good and very good. That’s the part that we need to make additional steps toward that.”
What needs fixing: “We know that the backline is pretty thin. We knew that from the beginning, and tried to shift players here and there, and that’s important for us. We need to adjust that and make a couple of moves there…I believe we have good players in the midfield. We need to look into it to give a little more competition.[The forwards] need some help as well as some competition. I always believe that players in the same position will give you more that you expect, so we are looking towards making a bit more competition in the group.
Inter-squad competition: “The group will be better off to know someone is breathing heavy and will keep you on your toes. I think that is important even for guys like Sheanon Williams and Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan.”
Le Toux playing up top: “He proved he’s dangerous up top. I don’t think it’s more of an issue to move him around…What’s the issue? He played there from the beginning with Carlos (Ruiz)…But there’s a problem with him being on top. We’ve got to get the pieces together to make sure he’ll be having some help.”
Sebastien Le Toux spoke on where on the field he wants to play: “I like most to play on top. Sometimes my team needs me more in the midfield. I’m trying to be a good teammate, and I will play in the midfield to help my team win games. Sometimes I have to do it. I tell Peter, ‘I want to play on top.’…Like I said, I’m a team player and I just like to be on the field.”
Danny Califf talked about roster changes: “If there’s a possibility to add a piece to the puzzle that’s going to help our team, the coaches are going to make that decision. Steps will be taken…I think we’re going to improve, even if you just say, ‘We’re going to have the same guys.’ We will get better next year than we were this year. There was a lot of shake-up. I don’t think there’s going to be as much shake-up. I hope not.”
Some tweets from Wednesday’s Union press conference, courtesy of Chris Vito of the Delco Times:
- “Peter Nowak said there are no major injuries that will require off-season surgery.”
- “Califf said he’s spending part of the off-season in Hawaii. Le Toux said he’s headed for ‘Miami, baby. South Beach.’ His words, not mine.”
And this tweet from Kevin Kinkead: “No word right now on Danny Mwanga’s generation adidas status, might know in about a week.”
In last weekend’s edition of SportsWeek, Kerith Gabriel writes that, despite the disappointment with the way the season ended, 2011 was anything but a failure. In the article, John Hackworth is quoted at length describing the incredible effort made by the young Union team and the plans for the future.
“We could field the same exact team next year and find ourselves in a similar place. We have a lot of talent on this club, but we are looking at a few guys we feel can get us over the hump and get us to the next level, because we are confident that this is a corps good enough to make a run at the championship next season.
“This is not to take anything away from what our guys accomplished this season. The heart and work ethic of this group is far and away the best in the league, which is a lot to say when you are working with such a young group [average age 24.8 years]. But we as a franchise are looking not only to continue in developing young talent, but also remaining one of the best teams in the league. That’s what generates fan interest and continues to grow our sport, especially in a city like Philadelphia.”
On a lighter note, Le Toux said at the press conference that he has decided to share his Fair Play award with Danny Califf. “I would like to share it with him. Danny didn’t get any red cards this year and I think he should be rewarded for that. I’m pretty amazed about that, so I’m going to share my Fair Play Award with him this year.” Califf responded with a laugh that Le Toux doesn’t get called for many fouls because “he’s a buck-25, soaking wet.”
LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez has been named MLS Defender of the Year. He is the youngest player to receive the award.
Following last week’s firing of coach Steve Nichols, New England have promoted Brian Bilello to replace Sunil Gulati as president. Michael Burns is the new general manager and will oversee all technical issues.
Ah, there’s nothing like starting off the day with some New York PinkEnergyCowsDrink bashing. And when it comes to bashing, Soccer America’s Paul Gardner has got the stuff.
Lee Ngyuen is on the verge of signing with MLS. If he does sign, his destination will be decided by a weighted lottery.
The free agency window for WPS opened on Wednesday at 12pm.
USL president Tim Holt talks about the trend of W-League teams affiliating with MLS clubs. The W-League is the sister league to USL’s PDL.
No. 4 Temple and No. 5 La Salle face off tonight in the first round of the Atlantic 10 men’s soccer championship in St. Louis.
Casey Desederio, the grandson of Philly Soccer legend Walt Bahr, is profiled in this piece that is interesting not only for Casey’s story but for its look at one of the great family dynasties of American sport. Casey’s younger brother Mike is part of the Union’s academy system (I think he plays for PDA).
Check out PSP’s preview of Friday’s USMNT friendly with France, penned by one Eli Pearlman-Storch.
Following the news that Landon Donovan will remain in LA to prepare for the MLS Cup final rather than travel to Europe with the USMNT for the upcoming friendlies, ESPN looks at his changing role on the team.
With Hope Solo looking to further her dancing career, Val Henderson will join fellow Philadelphia Independence goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart at the USWNT training camp ahead of the friendly with Sweden in Phoenix on November 19.
ESPN has won the rights to broadcast Euro 2012 in the US.
Sid Lowe writes after Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the Golden Boot last Friday for being Europe’s top scorer last season that he still cannot escape comparisons to Lionel Messi.
Five European club-based Chilean national team players have been dropped from the squad after turning up for practice with hangovers.
England will be able to wear poppies when they play Spain of Friday, after all. FIFA will allow the players to wear black armbands featuring an image of a poppy.