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Freed Keon! Everybody’s happy! More news.

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Philadelphia Union

What a difference a week makes. The headline for last Tuesday’s news roundup? “Saddest day for me:” Sebastien Le Toux confirmed he had been traded to Vancouver a day after Faryd Mondragon’s return to Colombia was confirmed and WPS announced that it had cancelled the 2012 season.

Today’s leading items?

The very welcome news of Mwanga’s return from Aston Villa and Daniel’s return from the administrative hell that is US Immigration was tempered by the news that 2012 Supplemental Draft picks Tom Brandt and Brandon Zimmerman “have not been invited to remain” with the Union, which means the remaining Supplemental Draft picks midfielder Antoine Hoppenot and midfielder/forward Krystian Witkowski are still with the team in Orlando. Hoppenot will hope to avoid joining Brandt and Josh Walburn on the list of local Ivy League draft picks that never made it out of camp.

For those who are wondering if Daniel faces the prospect of an international call-up any time soon, Trinidad and Tobago did not advance out of the second round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup so you won’t have to worry about that. T & T U-23s face Mexico’s U-23s on March 23, Panama’s U-23s on March 25, and Honduras’ U-23s on March 27. Daniel, as far as I know, is not one of the senior members on the squad (yes!) and, anyway, the qualification tournament is in the US (yes!).

Freddy Adu says, “I’m 100 percent healthy and 100 percent in with everything here…I haven’t felt this good since I joined Philadelphia. I wasn’t 100 percent since Day One. On top of that ankle, I was having little problems that not a lot of people knew about.”

Peter Nowak says of Adu’s form when he joined the team in 2011, “He didn’t play as expected. Some people drew their own conclusions and thought maybe he didn’t care.” Nowak says of how Adu is looking in camp, “He looks very good. I was very impressed with his work ethic. He’s sliding, tackling people. He’s not afraid out there.”

Most of us have seen no more of Josue Martinez than highlight reels. Martinez says of himself, “I’m fast, I’m always trying to get inside the box, I can move with the ball really well, and I’m trying to support the team constantly. Mainly, [my goal during preseason is] to adapt to the team and get along with my teammates.”

US Soccer Players has a thoughtful look at the Union’s recent moves that suggests the club is deploying a new model of team development in which “MLS teams can turn their developmental model into a profit center.” The author concludes,

“However that pans out, the task at hand in Peter Nowak’s hands is a major fundamental change in how we view an MLS soccer team. If Nowak succeeds, Philadelphia will be more the richer down the road while maintaining a squad that gets better with each successive year.

“If he fails, it will be an exercise and cautionary tale on how not to dismantle a team for the sake of a youth movement. With that in mind, in less than a week Philadelphia has become the club risking the most in 2012.”

The Union join the Flyers and the 76ers in becoming the first teams to implement Paciolan’s new Uptix ticketing platform. “The solution will enable Paciolan-powered venues to pre-sell merchandise and concessions value loaded on bar-coded event tickets. This creates a “cashless” and improved in-venue experience for fans, and increases game-day revenues for venues.” Paciolan “is the leader in venue enablement, powering ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions for leading organizations across North America” and “is a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor.” Oh, corporate babble.

Local

Budget cuts resulting in the Philadelphia School District decision to shut buildings on weekends and close earlier on weeknights will affect youth indoor soccer organizations such as Fairmount Soccer.

FC Delco and Haverford School, and former Union trialist, Jeremiah White is no longer trialing with New England. Villanova’s Kevin Garcia, a 2012 Supplemental Draft pick, is also no longer on New England’s preseason roster due to an already planned return to the university. New England, like DC, has a preseason roster that it releases to the press? What a novel idea.

Taylor Racioppi (PDA Clash; Ocean Township., N.J.) has been called up for the US U-15 Girls’ mega camp.

MLS

Sebastien Le Toux started and played 45 minutes in Vancouver’s 1–1 draw with Seattle in a scrimmage on Monday. Le Toux said after the game, “It’s always great to be a part of a new team. So far, it’s been great. My new teammates welcomed me very well and I feel comfortable to play here and the new coaching staff is great, too…I’m glad another team like the Whitecaps really wanted me.”

Apparently the scrimmage was quite nasty with ten cards, including a straight red, and a punctured leg.

“Doing the math in MLS is like running blindfolded down a dead-end alley,” says Soccer America as it tries to unravel the mysteries of everyone’s favorite player in the transfer market, Allocation Money.

With Fox no longer involved with MLS thanks to the league’s move to NBC, how does MLS take advantage of the national broadcasts of Premiership games to promote American professional soccer. If you are DC United, you buy ad time during the Premiership broadcasts.

In more DC United news, with only five weeks remaining until first kick, the club appears close to reaching a deal to play another season at RFK Stadium. Hooray!

In the long term, the move could be good for Baltimore.

So, you get the chance to interview the guy in charge of the league schedule. In this the first season of the new unbalanced schedule, why would you then throw a bunch of softballs and produce this disappointing piece of fluff?

WPS

Former Washington Freedom president and GM Mark Washo says internal strife has also played a factor in WPS’ woes. “When I was involved,” Washo says, “in terms of the decision making, a lot of times when there were differences of opinion, they were left to linger and fester, which made it even more challenging.” An inability to reach common ground on such fundamental issues as player salaries, sponsorships, front-office staff and travel expenses prevented WPS from growing its product. As a result, the league was never able to organize a long-term business plan.

US

What do you think of the way Fox has been handling the national live broadcasts of Premiership games? This author argues they are not good enough for a variety of reasons: “What’s needed is a break. A new coverage model that doesn’t have to deal in difference or unnecessary comparisons, but instead does the hard work of moving the Premier League into mainstream sports discussion in the United States.”

Elsewhere

Oh, the woes of being a ref.

Believe it or not, Barcelona was hesitant to sign Lionel Messi.

9 Comments

  1. You mention Brandt and Zimmerman being released, and then that Hoppenot is still presumably around. Is Krystian Witkowski still with the team?

  2. still hate the unbalanced schedule. ugh

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      I thought it would some how settle on me but I hate it more and more every time I look at it. Absolutely terrible idea.

      • Give it until the end of the decade. By then, there will be 20 teams and the league should be stable enough to support a 38 game schedule. I’m not a fan of it either, but it’s a temporary necessary evil.

  3. Just a note, overage players not allowed in qualifying process for U-23 so that won’t be a problem.

  4. Do the Union feel like explaining his absence? I guess not. Thank god Nowak said one whole vague sentence about it months ago. Typical great communication.

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