Daily news roundups / Featured

Nowak pleased with preseason, the Williams deal, Okugo & Adu in US U-23 win, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Peter Nowak says, “I think we have been working on some really good stuff in Florida. Now it’s just a matter of improving. Now it’s working on fitness, formations and getting guys ready for the season. Because of the Olympic qualifiers, it’s kind of hard to determine what our set lineup with will be.”

Nowak continued, “It’s a little bit of a tricky situation. We know who potential defenders could be, the goalie, midfielders. The strikers are still an open book. It’s difficult to say this name or another. We still have a couple games to play and we’ll see what will happen in Portland.”

While the amount of Sheanon Williams’ new contract remains unknown—Nowak says only that “He will have a secure future with us”—Williams indicated via conference call on Wednesday that the contract runs until 2015. “I’m extremely happy with what I got,” Williams said. “The contract runs through 2015 and it gives me some stability.”

The 700 Level weighs in on the new Williams deal. “We’ll never know whether the Union would have been in a position to extend Williams’ contract had they not traded Le Toux. However, the decision to sign him to a new deal should, to some extent, allay some of the concerns Union fans had about their willingness to spend money.”

The Inquirer’s Marc Narducci continues his campaign to turn Williams into a midfielder and asks him if he’s been “moving up” in spring training. “I don’t want to get into specifics,” Williams said. “I am naturally a defender and am comfortable back there. We have been working on a lot of things.”

Amobi Okugo went the full 90, and Freddy Adu started and registered two assists during 67 minutes of play, in the US U-23 match against FC Dallas on Wednesday. The U-23s held on for a 2–1 win despite finishing the game with nine men. Match highlights are below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX5gCHr8_lA[/youtube]

In case you missed it, the Union waived Nizar Khalfan on Wednesday.

Also, here’s a piece on Brian Carroll and his doppelganger, Greg Jordan.

Pennlive.com has some background and video of newly-signed backup keeper Chase Harrison.

PSP is fortunate to have some fantastic photographers. All of us also admire the work of Philadelphia Union photographer Gregg Carroccio, the subject of this informative Q & A.

In this look at MLS representation on the USMNT, the Union comes in at tenth on the list of MLS teams of “Most Present/Future US Internationals.”

From the Department of Second Guessing, FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer says, “From an individual player standpoint, for me there were two major breakout players in 2011. The guy who exceeded expectations the most was Andrew Jacobson. Bought off the Philadelphia Union scrapheap for practically nothing, the Californian was put into his natural spot at central midfield to great results.” Sigh. Jacobson scored the lone FC Dallas goal against the US U-23s.

MLS

Chicago Fire have terminated their affiliation with Chicago Fire Juniors and sued the youth soccer league for violating a licensing agreement through the unauthorized use of team trademarks.

Why would you build a stadium that does not have stands behind one of the goals?

The San Jose Planning Commission has voted unanimously to turn down an appeal lodged against the development permit awarded to the Earthquakes that is necessary for the team’s plans for a new soccer specific stadium to go ahead. More here.

With the uncertainty surrounding New York Cosmos bid to become the 20th MLS team, Orlando City has emerged as a viable candidate. More on the story here.

ESPN commentator Adrian Healey talks to Prost Amerika about how MLS is perceived around the world. Healey believes MLS is a top-ten league. “I would say it’s right in the mix now with something like the Dutch Eredivisie in terms of the talent, the standard of play and the infrastructure,” Healey says. The only thing it doesn’t have yet is a history and a body of work, but that is coming.”

USsoccerplayers.com says the league schedule is too complicated for both new and existing fans. “MLS has a habit of crowning every game as the next big moment, yet they continue to undercut the importance of following the League game-by-game while frustrating their existing fans.  Instead of setting itself apart in the American sports landscape by creating a unique brand of simplicity, transparency, and accessibility, this League opts for complications.”

Givemefootball.com looks at MLS players who could make the move to the Premiership.

38-year-old striker Eduardo Sebrango becomes the only pre-MLS Montreal Impact player to receive a contract with the club.

Poor DC United fans. Not only does their team play in a crappy stadium, now they’ll have to listen to John Harkes do color commentary during game broadcasts.

Women’s soccer

Five-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Marta has signed a new contract with Swedish club Tyreso for an undisclosed amount. The Brazilian, who played five seasons in Sweden with Umea before moving to WPS, says, “The goal is to win the Swedish league this year and play Champions League next season. I enjoy being in Sweden. It is my second home and I have very good memories from here.” Marta, who was reportedly making as much as $500,000 a year in WPS, a salary figure some have argued was part of the league’s financial troubles (two of the three WPS teams she played on folded), said she could have made more money signing with another team but “money isn’t everything.” Two former Philadelphia Independence players, former Western New York Flash teammate Caroline Seger and Veronica Boquete, are also on the Tyreso roster.

Sky Blue FC has announced their player pool for the upcoming ten-day tour of Japan. Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra says, “As a whole, the roster is comprised of players who were going to be on our team this season, as well as players from last year and others from additional WPS clubs.”

US

Ricardo Clark has been loaned from Eintracht Frankfurt to Norwegian club Stabaek.

The Footy Blog wonders if qualitative analysis is the key to increasing soccer’s popularity in the US.

Eric Wynalda gets some love from his hometown paper.

Athleticbusiness.com wonders if the longer Academy season is good for US soccer.

Elsewhere

Two San Diego high school teams, Crawford and La Jolla, met in the playoffs in a match that ended in a 3–3 draw. The teams then went through 21 penalty kicks before being called for darkness. La Jolla won the game the next day on the 50th PK.

Major Indoor Soccer League’s Rochester Lancers say Allen Iverson won’t have to practice with the team if he agrees to play for them at $20,000 a game, $5,000 a goal. “If practice is not a part of the agreement, then we’ll find a middle ground,” Lancers Vice President Rich Randall tells Goal.com. “It is humorous and it always comes up with Allen Iverson.” Are there really that many people in Rochester who want to see Iverson “play” indoor soccer?

A nonprofit company that owns three housing projects in Portland is building a futsal court so that neighborhood kids won’t have to play in the street.

FIFA’s Task Force Football 2014 has called for more on-field handshakes to improve the game’s image and foster sportsmanship.

London’s Olympic Stadium is not up to Premiership standards. London Assembly member Andrew Boff says, “The Olympic Stadium is a white elephant and they now have to spend money to stop it being a white elephant. The problem here is the stadium was never designed for football. We’ve seen the results of really bad planning; really shockingly, awful decisions made during the planning stage before the [Olympic Park Legacy Company] was around. They have been handed a real mess to sort out.”

Speaking of the Premiership, the amount of debt the Glazers have loaded on to Manchester United is now more than £500 million. That’s more than $785,389,256.

You can watch United host Ajax today at 3pm in Europa League on GolTV. Athletico Bilbao hosts Locomotiv Moscow at 1pm.

Jonathan Wilson looks at the resurgence of the back three in Italy.

Following the broken ankle Valencia midfielder Éver Banega received when it was run over by his own car, Sid Lowe looks at the history of bizarre injuries that have plagued players in Spain.

13 Comments

  1. After reading the Portland futsal article wanted to mention that a great Futsal tournament took place during the weekend in Wildwood, NJ. The best teams from the NE competed to win a spot in National Futsal championship to be held later this year in CA, to win beautiful trophys, and just to have fun. The competition at this annual event was just excellent!
    /
    More about the tournament can be found here: http://www.northeastfutsalchampionship.com/
    /
    The ‘American Futsal Academy’ from Warminster (which fielded many excellent local players) won most of the age brackets!!! More about this Academy can be found here: http://americanfutsalacademy.com/

  2. I have to say that I’m tired of people complaining about the MLS schedule and comparing it to schedules of leagues in other countries. I don’t know about soccer in Russia, but no other league has travel distances like in the US. There is no comparison in the wear and tear on the body for the teams making 6 cross country trips a season. The unbalanced schedule means that teams are only making half as many trips across the 3 time zones and that in itself makes it a good thing.

    • You know first kick is on a Monday or there are periods where we 3 games in 10 days and if you buy a franchise on the wast coast travel is a part of the price of doing business. I hate this schedule.

  3. Anyone else see that Adu had a PK attempt saved during the U-23 men game yesterday? Now that Le Toux is gone, who is our go to PK taker?

  4. So Adu assisted on both U23 goals and by all accounts shows very well as the CAM that the offense goes through in the 4-3-3 they play.
    Chances Nowak plays him on the wings or as striker more than CAM this season? I’d say around 100%.

  5. Richie The Limey says:

    Adu will always look good in scrimmages – when it means something and the intensity gets turned up he gets exposed for what he truly is. A lightweight, one-trick pony.

    That is why he has more clubs than Tiger Woods.

    • Which is why he was the best US player in the gold cup final? Against Mexico. You are right that he is good at certain things and bad at others, but so are most players. If used properly, he can be a star this year.

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