Photo: Nicolae Stoian
In an interview on MLSsoccer.com’s ExtraTime Radio podcast, Sebastien Le Toux tells Union fans who are angry that he was sold to Vancouver that it is important that they continue to support the Union: “To have you in the stands—it is always great to play in front of you and all of the guys who played with me are wonderful players and they need you…Continue to come and don’t be mad [because] one guy is not in the team. Thanks to you, not to me, but thanks to you, because you are the ones that make the difference…Continue to come and support your team.”
In the first power rankings of the 2012 season at MLSsoccer.com, the Union are ranked at No. 13, falling seven spots from where they finished in 2011. “Maybe Peter Nowak, Nick Sakiewicz & Co. have a master plan,” it says, “But we can’t figure it out.”
Jeremiah Oshen writes at SB Nation, “Nowak has spoken extensively in recent weeks about how he’s building for the future. In MLS, though, the future is usually now. The league is structured in a way that teams allows teams to quickly turnaround their fortunes and rarely calls for long-term rebuilding projects. Maybe Nowak is planning to do something unheard of and keep this team together for 5-10 years…More realistically, though, the best-case scenario involves Nowak being forced to blow up this team again as the various Generation Adidas contracts start to hit the Union’s books and the best players start to draw interest from overseas. Maybe he’ll successfully rebuild the team when that time comes, too. But this was already a team capable of winning now. He appears to have given up that chance.”
Peter Nowak is pleased with how training camp is going. “The first three days they were buzzing, they were very good. The group was excellent. Of course, they’re going to get tired, you know? There’s a lot of work that needs to be done this week from different perspectives.”
How will that work get done? Nowak explains,
“In Florida we’ll try to individualize the training, going over formations, positions – getting down the singular stuff that’s important for them to understand. In the second camp, we’re going to try to glue this together and make it look like a team. I think the forwards, the young strikers especially, we’re going to put an emphasis on that, work on that. The back line is very stable and experienced. Then you go to the midfield line where you have a lot of creativity, and the strikers – we’ll see. We’re going to put a lot of emphasis on working individually with them, be it left wing, right wing, central striker and so on. They’ll know what to do and we’ll get this thing together.”
Danny Califf says of the group in camp, “I think coming in and meeting these guys and seeing their personalities, I’m definitely not nearly as worried as I was coming in. I think the guys we’ve brought in are quality individuals and they’re going to make our team stronger. I’m excited about it.
Jack McInerney is feeling good. “I think really my overall game is better. I’ve gotten some games with the Olympic team and I was playing 90 minutes a lot. I trained all off-season while guys were on vacation. I think I can use it as an advantage in the preseason and into the regular season. I’m excited for the season.”
Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy, noting that while the Union’s young forwards “will buzz around plenty,” says, “Production in front of goal, however, represents another matter entirely.” McCarthy believes if Peter Nowak “can scrape together the money somehow, he’ll probably want to throw it in the direction of an established goal poacher to offer at least one fixed element in an attack that sees players pop up in all sorts of different spots.”
One veteran forward who has been linked to the Union is Lionard Pajoy. An article on the website of Colombia’s top flight says Pajoy is stuck in that country because of problems securing a visa to the US. You can read a crappy translation here.
The just traded Kyle Nakazawa says of recent Union events, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I know there’s a lot of changes, and, you know, I was one of those players going out. But I think the situation worked out well for me.” He says of his move to LA Galaxy, “Happiest couple days of my career so far. You know, I couldn’t be happier — being back home, playing in front of family and friends, and, of course, playing for the defending champs, a great organization. I couldn’t be happier,” adding, “I was happy for what happened in Philadelphia. It was a good two years. But like I say, I couldn’t be happier to be back home playing here.”
Union assistant coach/goalkeeper coach Rob Vartughian explains that the business of scouting young talent is year-round work.
The Brotherly Game wonders who the next free kick taker for the Union will be.
“I’m very peaceful now, I had to say what I had to say because it was important for me to make sure people knew what really happened to me,” Le Toux says in in the ExtraTime Radio interview, which includes discussion about the trial/tryout/visit to Bolton, being told not to come to the pre-training medicals after his return from Bolton, his desire to remain in Philadelphia, the lack of communication from the club when he attempted to secure a new deal, and his appreciation of the fan support in Philadelphia and his teammates.
Shane Evans writes at Goal.com of the Le Toux business, “The reality is, whether popular or otherwise, deals like this are made all the time in the sports world and take time to sink in. Le Toux may be leaving Philadelphia to play in the far away city of Vancouver but the impact he made in the city in two short years will never be forgotten, not for all the allocation money in the world.”
MLS Reserves looks at what is known about the events leading up to the Le Toux transfer and sees several red flags that suggest to the author that there was logic in letting the fan favorite go.
In a report on the Le Toux deal, the Vancouver Sun takes a swipe at Nowak for blowing off a meeting with reporters last season. “We dutifully made the 20-minute drive, waited more than an hour and then discovered he wouldn’t talk to us after all. Nice guy…But Nowak is paid to win games, not make friends, and feels the allocation money in the Le Toux deal – which must be substantial – will help him build a better club.”
Ocean City Nor’easters will be holding their final tryouts for the Super Y-League and Pre-Super Y-League 2012 summer teams on the weekends of March 10th & 11th and March 25th & 26th. Click here for more details.
In more Ocean City news, the club recently gained nonprofit status.
This DC United blog notes the signing of Albanian goalscorer Hamdi Salihi and concludes, “With the Philadelphia Union offloading their best player, and with the New York Red Bulls being the New York Red Bulls, D.C. just became a major force in the MLS Eastern Conference.”
Goal.com looks at Vancouver’s glut of forwards.
Montreal are not short on experience. “Collectively, there is 86 years of Major League Soccer experience among the 35 players on the Impact’s training-camp roster.”
Looking at the WPS season cancellation and the league’s troubles with Dan Borislow, this legal writer notes the need to follow your own contracts.
The season suspension from a St. Louis perspective, former home of the Athletica, which folded in 2010.
The USMNT will play Canada in Toronto on June 3. It will be the final tune-up match before the start of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying. On June 8 the US is at home against Antigua and Barbuda in Group A, while Canada travels to face Cuba in Group C. The match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.
USWNT coach Pia Sundhage has issued a 28 player training camp roster ahead of the friendly in Dallas against New Zealand on Feb. 11. I’d list the players that are connected to the Philadelphia Independence but it’s just make me sad.
The promising, and well-traveled, U-23 defender Gale Agbossoumonde has gone on loan to NASL side Carolina Railhawks.
The Huffington Post looks at the evidence that the riot in Port Said that left at least 74 dead was part of the ongoing political troubles in that country. Some have suggested that it was an orchestrated attack by pro-Mubarak elements against Al Ahly supporters, whose members were very active in the protests that led to the downfall of the Mubarak regime.
Three Egypt internationals who are also Al-Ahly players have retired from the game following the riot.
Former USMNT coach and now coach of the Egyptian team Bob Bradley joined a protest march in Cairo following the violence in Port Said.
After accusing Sepp Blatter of “dictating” world football, former UEFA president Lennart Johansson says the FIFA president must step down.
Soccer America’s Paul Gardner does not think the proposal to be considered by the International Football Association Board, the games rule making body, to abolish the automatic red card for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity—that is, a red card for doing so in the penalty area—is a good idea. Some consider the resulting triple penalty of a team being reduced to 10 men, penalty kick, and subsequent player suspension is too severe.
A judge in Brazil orders workers who are building a World Cup stadium in Recife back to work after they went on strike one week ago.