Photo: Earl Gardner
MLS is scheduled to release the 2012 schedule today at 2pm. We’ll post the Union schedule as soon as it is available.
Who will the Union play in their home opener? After using some logic based on what schedule details are already known (the Union open the season at Portland on March 12, play in Chicago on March 24, play in Toronto on May 26 and September 15 while playing host to Toronto on July 7), The Goalkeeper writes, “I would not be surprised if it is against the New York Red Bulls, the Houston Dynamo or David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy.”
The Yanks Are Coming’s look at the defenders called up for the USMNT U-23 camp says, “Philadelphia Union right back Sheanon Williams has been most impressive amongst the right backs so far.” Damn straight! World, meet The Sheanomenon.
In a post at MLSsoccer.com looking back at some standout season stats we learn that Brad Davis led the league in chances created (118), followed by David Beckham and the Union’s Sebastien Le Toux.
Opta tweeted on Wednesday, “23 – Philadelphia Union used only 23 players in 2011; fewer than any other team in MLS. Simple.”
The Union are hosting a series of indoor tournaments for boys and girls youth players. Registration details are here.
This just in from the Department of Awesome, Tasha Kai has re-signed with the Independence.
Swedish website Expressen.se reports that Reading United alumni Billy Shuler will sign with Hammarby, the team now coached by former U.S. international Gregg Berhalter. (You can read a crappy translation of the report here.) SBI notes, “Schuler joins Virginia’s Brian Span as NCAA players who have bolted for professional deals overseas. Span signed with another Swedish club, top-flight outfit Djurgardens.”
The Reading United website has a Q & A with Reading alumni C.J. Sapong.
Penn State forward Maya Hayes was named Philly Soccer News Women’s Player of the Year. Hayes, along with teammate Kori Chapic, was called up for the USWNT U-20 camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA earlier this week.
Villanova’s Jami Kranich was also called up for the USWNT U-20 camp, as was York, PA’s Casey Morrison, who plays for Boston College.
Enzo Martinez (North Carolina) has signed a Generation adidas contract. SBI reports that offers were also made to Creighton fullback Tyler Polak, South Florida striker Dom Dwyer and UConn centerback Andrew Jean-Baptiste. “The offers are considerably lower than the type of GA contracts MLS has handed out in recent years, which, coupled with the fact the players have a day to accept or reject the offers, could lead to all three players passing…MLS has made the decision to try and rein in spending on Generation adidas players, and reduce salaries in an effort to save money the league can use to sign Homegrown Players to bigger contracts. The league sees its future in signing more MLS academy players and after years of overspending on Generation adidas players, MLS has decided to do some belt-tightening.”
The Toronto Sun says letting Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane go out on loan makes LA Galaxy and the Energy Drinks look “like a pair of North American minnows internationally.”
MLS Talk wonders what’s going on with the Energy Drinks.
The Washington Post reports that MLS is negotiating to sign 15-year-old Junior Flores.
Pitch Invasion has a great read about the league’s font problem. Yes, I am a design nerd.
Defenders Omar Gonzalez and George John have left the USMNT camp “in order to deal with club-related matters.” Speculation suggested both may be going out on loan or transfer away from MLS and on Thursday morning FC Nurnberg announced, where Timothy Chandler plays, that Gonzalez was joining the club on loan through the middle of February (crappy translation here.). Seattle’s Brad Evans and Jeff Parke have replaced Gonzalez and John at the USMNT camp.
It was Landon Donovan’s debut return with Everton but Tim Howard stole the headlines when he scored with a wind-blown clearance from about 100 yards out. The Guardian reports, “Adhering to the goalkeepers’ union rules, Howard refused to celebrate. ‘I feel for him. I have been beaten by a goalkeeper before and it is quite awful,’ he said.” Donovan went the full 90 but Everton lost to Bolton 2–1. Howard becomes only the fourth goalkeeper to score a goal in the Premiership. Brad Friedel is also on the list and, like Howard, his goal came in a losing effort.
Jermaine Jones has been handed a eight-week suspension for deliberately trying to injure another player. He will miss six games.
US Soccer Players has a bunch of stories to watch for in 2012.
Walt Disney and Comcast have announced a “Long-Term, Comprehensive Distribution Agreement That Advances the Successful Multichannel Business Model.” Of particular interest to soccer fans, “Comcast also obtained rights to air certain content from ESPN3…on Comcast’s Xfinity Sports Entertainment Package.”
Former ESPN commentator and the new face of Fox Sports soccer coverage Rob Stone says Fox have “made everything about the sport a priority and it’s exciting to be involved.”
From the Department of We’re Not Making This Up, the Royal Mint has released a new 50p coin that explains the offside rule to commemorate the 2012 Olympics. No word yet on whether match officials will use the coin for the coin toss at the start of each game.
Luis Suarez has issued a qualified apology but not one directly to Patrice Evra.
Did you know that at least 5 percent of the work being done to prepare stadiums for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil must be done by prisoners? Now you do. Each prisoner gets one day off their sentence for every three days of work.
The Israel Football Association has docked the Beitar Jerusalem club two points after it club supporters made racist chants every time Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Nigerian-born Israel international striker, Toto Tamuz, touched the ball in a recent match between the two clubs.