Photo: Earl Gardner
US Soccer announced on Tuesday that Sheanon Williams has been added to the 20-player U-23 roster for the Olympic qualifiers, which begin on Thursday against Cuba (8pm, Universal Sports Network, mun2, CONCACAF.com). Williams joins Union teammates Freddy Adu, who was named captain of the team on Monday, and Amobi Okugo. Adu and Williams are two of four players on the roster who have appeared in both the U-17 and U-20 World Cup tournaments. The team will face Canada on March 24 and El Salvador on March 26.
Chris Vito notes that the Union could be without Williams for as many as the next two games.
A roundtable discussion at US Soccer Players about what has been learned so far from the MLS season notes “a real lack of creativity in movement and runs off the ball throughout the League” before adding,
“Philadelphia, in particular, were atrocious in that regard. Playing Colorado at home and up a man late, their deeper lying players pushed forward in possession but the players ahead of them were stagnant in the final third. The results were predictable balls over the top which tended to end up as goal kicks or in the keeper’s hands, making it fairly simple for Colorado to play bunker and counter the rest of the way.”
Dave Zeitlin says, “Through two games, it’s become apparent that Lionard Pajoy is the top dog in the Philadelphia Union’s revamped attack. Now the question is who will emerge as his second-in-command.”
More power rankings (brace yourself): At ESPN, the Union drop from 14th to 17th. “So far, nearly all of Peter Nowak’s offseason moves have backfired,” ESPN says. At SB Nation, the Union drop from 15th to 16th. “Every week, it looks more and more like Peter Nowak’s offseason tinkering has sabotaged this team, at least in the short term. This week he benched captain Danny Califf. This could get ugly.” SB Nation affiliate Sounders at Heart’s explanation of how they voted concludes, “Peter Nowak’s side is a disaster. ” Man, do we need a win on Saturday.
MLSUK.com has a match report on Sunday’s loss.
Ending on a positive note, viewership of Sunday’s game on NBC Sports Network was up 51 percent from the previous week’s FC Dallas v New York match.
Chicago Fire Watch
It looks like the Union will not face the Fire’s new signing, German international Arne Friedrich. “This weekend I will not play for sure but I’m excited to play and I will get fit,” he tells Chicago Fire Confidential. “I haven’t played for five months since my last game at Wolfsburg so three weeks maybe and then I’m fit.”
The Shin Guardian recommends Old City Coffee to its readers in this look at the coffee offerings in MLS cities.
The Vancouver Sun wonders why Sebastien Le Toux has had only one shot on goal from open play in the first two games of the season.
The Guardian has five things learned from the weekend’s games.
Toronto FC captain Torsten Frings could be out for as many as six weeks from a strained right hamstring.
Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks suffered burns to right arm and shoulder while making dinner. No word on what he was cooking.
Thanks to endorsement deals, David Beckham’s $41.5 million earned in 2011 is second only to Lionel Messi, who earned $43.5 million in 2011. Some $3 million behind Beckham is Cristiano Ronaldo.
The cop who arrested Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric and defender Warren Creavalle outside of a nightclub in the beginning of February is suing them, along with the team, forward Will Bruin and midfielder Alex Dixon.
Women’s Pro Soccer
Former Philadelphia Independence players Nikki Kryzik and Tina DiMartino have signed with Paul Riley’s New York Fury. Brittany Taylor, formerly of Sky Blue and who the Independence was about to sign before the cancellation of the 2012 season, has also joined the Fury.
In a very informative interview with ESPN, Hope Solo says she wishes she had remained playing professionally in Europe. “It was a difficult decision to move back to the States but I wanted to do my bit to really help promote the game and grow the sport in America. It was never the same, though. I never felt the same passion for the game in the States and there were a lot of headaches, a lot of obstacles to overcome – it didn’t just run itself for the love of the game because soccer is not the No. 1 sport as it is in Europe. It was tough and though I tried to do the right thing, looking at things now with the league suspended and many of the teams I have played in folded, I wish I remained in Europe.”
Sky Blue FC lost 2–1 to INAC in the first game of their Japan tour.
ProSoccerTalk.com explains why the US Olympic qualifiers are taking place in Nashville.
In case you missed it, ESPN did a Q&A with Jurgen Klinsmann. Don’t worry, there’s no rift between him and Landon Donovan.
Lionel Messi scored a hat trick—his eighth of the season—to top the 57-year-old record for the most goals scored by a Barcelona player, previously held by Cesar Rodriguez. Messi has now scored 234 goals for the club. Goal.com rounds up some of his numbers.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has defended the spending of $12.7 billion in preparations for the 2014 World Cup.