Photo courtesy of Ethan Erickson/Portland Timbers
Is it power rankings roundup time already? Soccer America has the Union at No. 17. The Union are No. 15 at the Toronto Sun and The Sports Network. At ESPN and ProSoccerTalk the Union is at 14th. SI has the Union at No. 11. The Bay Area News Group does their rankings by conference and has the Union at sixth in the East.
Peter Nowak said after Monday night’s loss, “I think that the first half was a good thing for us. I think the crowd does do a good job of going for 90 minutes. I don’t think we should be affected by it. I just think we should do better on our pressure.”
He adds, “After we scored, instead of dropping a little too far, we should go a little bit more forward and try to pressure a bit harder. This part was too easy and we didn’t…If we can hold them for another five, 10 minutes, I think we have maybe a different game…This is a learning process. I’m not disappointed in anybody.”
Nowak also says, “I don’t think we did that poor. We made it difficult on ourselves. (We need to) be disappointed and we need to go back and work. We should have pressured harder. If we can hold up more we can get a different game. This is still a learning process for us.”
When asked what kind of tactical changes might be expected against Colorado on Sunday, Danny Califf said, “I have no idea about next weekend. I wish I could look into the crystal ball, but I can’t.”
Philly Union Talk’s match report concludes, “All we know is what we’ve always known. The Philadelphia Union needs two things it has always lacked: cohesion between its players, and some consistent sense of strategy to inform their shape. Both of these things have been true for going on three years now. Everything else concerning the quality of the team is still up in the air.”
The Brotherly Game’s match recap describes the Union as “tentative and reactionary.”
The Union Dues match report says, “With all the offseason moves the beginning of the season was bound to be a little messy…[T]here weren’t many teams that really looked good this weekend. Unfortunately the Union did not have a weak opposition to cover up the bad performance with a good result.”
Before naming Porfirio Lopez their “Anti-Man of the Game,” World Soccer Reader says, “The jury is still out on Lionard Pajoy, but at some point Peter Nowak has to find a way to get Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney involved somewhere, doesn’t he?”
USA 10 Kit says, “Everyone needs to stop and give Peter Nowak a second – it’s only a game into the year. Sure, Nowak, along with the Philadelphia management, probably made the wrong decision sending Sébastien Le Toux to the Vancouver Whitecaps, but the Union need time to gel…To judge this team now would be ridiculous, so let’s wait a couple weeks.”
Freed Keon says, “It’s good to be back. It’s good to know I’m back, playing in front of [Union fans]. They are so passionate…Last year was a learning experience in the league. This year I’m hoping for big things and I’m hoping to carry this team as far as possible.”
In this very interesting article about the growing Union fan base, Nick Sakiewicz says, “I don’t think we are getting the casual sports fans, but nor do I think we need to. We are selling out our stadium with soccer fans, and I still believe there are many more soccer fans we are not getting.” The article notes that a study by the Wharton School of Business commissioned by the Union found that of the 7.5 million people in the Union’s television market, 3 million are soccer fans. Winning over the attention of those who are still focused on European and other leagues seems like a smart strategy to me.
The Union comes in fourth in this ranking of the league’s highest total salaries. The ranking appears in an ESPN The Magazine article that argues “the DP rule is separating the league into haves and have-nots.”
From the Department of We’re Over It, the Goalkeeper reports that Sakiewicz says that kerfuffle in Costa Rica was no big deal. Ed Farnsworth can report that PSP never thought it was.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste, the 19-year-old rookie defender who deflected Gabriel Gomez’s free kick into goal and then scored a goal of his own three minutes later, describes the emotions of starting his first MLS game.
Brad Knighton tells the Vancouver Sun of playing under Nowak, “Peter is a different character, unlike anyone I’ve ever been around. He has his way of doing things and it’s not the way most people would agree with but he has been effective in some instances.”
In case you missed it, Kerith Gabriel tweeted on Monday that he has confirmation that Real Madrid will be returning to the Linc this summer. No word yet on whether that means the Union will have another away game at home or if Real will be facing European opposition such as, say, Chelsea.
Former Penn midfielder Christian Barreiro is on trial with Harrisburg City Islanders after being cut by New York Red Bulls in February.
NBC Sports’ ratings for MLS coverage on Sunday was a disappointing 82,000 viewers and a 0.07 rating. This is nevertheless a 21 percent increase from Fox Soccer’s average.
The Goalkeeper has quotes from a press conference with Don Garber and President of Programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network Jon Miller.
The Guardian has the article I’ve wanted to write since I first heard the phrase “soccer mom.” I will quote at length:
After more than 15 years and the loss of countless hairs while watching the good name of soccer being dragged through the mud as part of a phrase that sums up everything soccer isn’t supposed to be, I’ve been compelled to lash out against this ruinous phrase.
I detest the soccer mom.
No, that’s not right. I detest the phrase soccer mom. I hate what the phrase soccer mom has come to imply. I hate the careless willy-nilly usage of it. I hate the laziness inherent in its application. I hate the idea that in the US, the phrase soccer mom has been appropriated to mean (almost exclusively) white, middle-to-upper class, suburban women with children who may or not play soccer. I hate that the phrase paints with broad strokes an entire group while simultaneously leaving out multiple millions of mothers with soccer-playing children who don’t meet the very narrow definition concocted by a few political strategists. Why should that subset of a subset be the only women graced with the title soccer mom?
More than anything, I rue that the aspect of suburban life used to identify the demographic is soccer. Not because I don’t like that there’s a group of women marked by their connection to the sport, even though not all of the women so haphazardly labelled soccer mom are actually soccer moms but because the phrase, by virtue of who it has come to mean, embodies so much of what’s wrong with soccer’s place in American culture.
In a “what we learned” post following the conclusion of the first weekend of league play, SB Nation concludes, “[O]ne thing was crystal clear: the Western Conference dominated their Eastern brother in the opening week. But we expected that, right?” Teams from the East lost five of the six games against teams from the West over the weekend.
Here’s a roundup of post-First Kick player signings
The LA Times warns that rapid expansion and an over-reliance on foreign players “could be worrisome.”
Soccer America’s Paul Gardner writes that if rich guys finish first, be prepared for a dreadful final.
Castrol has not only renewed its sponsorship of MLS (as well as US Soccer and the Mexican National Team), it has increased its ad spend.
Mobile Sports Report says MLS is embracing this newfangled social media thing.
Former Montreal Impact player David Testo, who last year came out as gay, says he hopes that his sexuality is not the reason why he has not been able to find another club to play for. Testo recently joined the advisory board of the new You Can Play project started by Philadelphia Flyers’ scout Patrick Burke.
Women’s Pro Soccer
Paul Riley, who coached the Philadelphia Independence to two WPS Championship finals and received two Coach of the Year honors along the way, will lead the NY Fury in the WPSL in 2012. “All energies are go in 2013,” says Riley, referring to the planned return of WPS next year. “But I want to coach in ’12 and the players wanted to play.” The NY Fury is essentially the team that was the Independence reserve team and will include players from the Independence and Sky Blue senior squads. Riley says among them will be at least three players from the USWNT senior squad.
Former Independence forward Carrie Patterson is among the five new signings announced by the WPSL Elite League club New England Mutiny.
In more Elite League news, Boston Breakers will be moving from Harvard stadium to Dilboy Stadium in nearby Somerville, MA for the 2013 season.
Yael Averbuch, now with Russian club Rossiyanka, describes the different style of play she’s encountering in Europe.
Caleb Porter says there are U-23 players abroad that he would like to have in the Olympic training camp ahead of the CONCACAF qualifiers later this month that have not been released by their clubs. “We’ve asked for their release and, in several situations, invited the players into camp. At this point, we have not gotten their release so we need to certainly keep our options open until March 20th…At the same time, we always knew this was a possibility…and prepared with alternates.”
Tony Taylor, a striker who plays for Estoril Praia in Portugal, was named the 20th player on the U-23 roster on Tuesday.
The USWNT U-20s defeated Canada 2–1 on Sunday to win the CONCACAF Championship. The team will be participating in the U-20 World Cup in Japan beginning on August 19.
John “Clarkie” Souza, a member of the US team that defeated England in the 1950 World Cup, died on Sunday at the age of 91.
On Monday came the announcement that Ricardo Teixeira, the corrupt plutocra—I mean the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation and head of that country’s World Cup organizing committee had stepped down. Shed no tears, FIFA issued a statement indicating that Texeira would remain on FIFA’s executive committee so he’ll still have access to the gravy train. Anyway, the man who will replace him is Jose Maria Marin, perhaps best known for pocketing a winners medal at a U-18 championship this year.
From the Department of Embarrassing On-Going And Ultimately Futile Feud That Is Nevertheless Kind Of Funny, Maradonna mocks Pele for comparing himself to Beethoven. “If Pele thinks he’s the Beethoven of football then I’m Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and the Bono of football, because I have so much passion…Pele has said he’s the Beethoven of football. I’ve never heard any Beethoven music in a match so, as I’ve told you before, anytime he takes the wrong pill he comes up with a crazy statement…Pele may have taken the morning pills at night time, so he should make sure he takes the right pills. In fact it would be better if he changed his doctor.”
On TV today: In UEFA Champions League action, Chelsea vs Napoli on Fox Soccer and Real Madrid vs CSKA Moskva on Fox Soccer Plus, both at 3:45pm. In CONCACAF Champions League play, it’s Santos Laguna vs Seattle Sounders at 8pm and Los Angeles Galaxy vs Toronto FC at 10pm.