Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz
It seems someone has made a PSP app. Who knew?
Look for PSP’s Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union match preview later today.
While Danny Califf and Peter Nowak told reporters that they had put the “miscommunication” flap behind them at a meeting earlier in the week, Nowak indicated at Wednesday’s press conference that Califf’s status for Saturday’s game in Chicago was still uncertain. Now, a “source close to the situation” tells the Brotherly Game that Danny Califf has been left off of the Union’s travel roster for Chicago. A Union spokesperson tells PSP that “the 18 man roster is not revealed until one hour before the game when line-ups are due.” In the meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for today’s injury report, due to be released by the league tonight.
Discounting the possibility that he is injured (Califf says he isn’t), or has lost his job based on performance (the defense as a whole was shaky against Portland and the Union let in three goals when he was benched against Colorado), SB Nation speculates that, if the Brotherly Game report is true, Califf is simply in Nowak’s doghouse. “The exact reason for this is unknown, but Nowak has shown a clear dislike for players that don’t fall into line. It’s quite possible that Nowak is upset that Califf contradicted him last week and now he’s being punished. If this is the case, the Union have to be looking to move Califf.”
ProSoccerTalk asks, “Is it possible that Peter Nowak’s Philadelphia Union could replace the Red Bulls as the designated drama depot of Major League Soccer’s beleaguered Eastern Conference?” Ugh.
Kerith Gabriel has an informative interview with Sheanon Williams. Of being called up for the Olympic qualifiers team Williams says, “I was shocked.”
Williams tells Gabriel that he understands fan frustration with the team’s poor start:
“This is Philadelphia and I know people’s expectations are always high here when it comes to sports teams. In our case, especially after coming off of last year, it has to be a shock to see us struggling. So you know I understand their frustrations, but it’s a long season. We still have what, 32 games left? It’s definitely not the end of the world. I could see if we were 15 games in and were 0-15, yeah, there would be cause for concern. I think that we’re in a good spot; we are trying to find form and things will turn around.
“You look at teams last year that started off poorly, a good case is Kansas City and how they managed to turn it around and almost made it to the finals last year. I can tell you I’m not worried and no one within our locker room is worried.”
While acknowledging Williams’ absence presents problems for the Union, Danny Califf nevertheless praises his teammate. “Sheanon has been a huge part of our team for the last year-and-a-half, so it’s going to be a big hole for us to fill. But it’s an incredible opportunity for Sheanon. He’s got to go. Hopefully he gets a chance to play. He’s been, if not the best, one of the best right backs in the league, so I think he deserves a shot at playing in qualifying and going to the Olympics.”
Chris Albright is ready to start in Williams’ stead. “My mentality coming into this year, regardless of Sheanon being called in, was to be ready when called upon. Having the experience with being in a lot of different situations and on different teams, that’s sort of what’s asked of you as a professional. If you’ve learned your trade good enough over the years, you should be ready.”
Diego Gutierrez and Peter Nowak both praise former teammate and current Chicago Fire coach Frank Klopas. ““He brings a lot of passion and is an icon for the soccer community in that city. He really loves the team and really loves the community and is a part of Chicago history,” says Gutierrez. “We know his team will be prepared as it always is. But our boys are going to be prepared as well.”
Nowak adds, “He was always the kid of Chicago.”
Klopas confirms that Gonzalo Segares and Sebastián Grazzini will both be fine for Saturday’s game, which is the Fire home opener, and that new signing Arne Friedrich will not play.
Here’s a look at Paolo Tornaghi, the 23-year-old Italian goalkeeper who made his debut for the Fire last weekend in Montreal and is minding the posts while Sean Johnson is with the US Olympic qualifiers squad.
Goal.com says as the Union “takes its currently chaotic setup on the road” that “A third straight defeat to open the season would only exacerbate the tensions in the Union camp as Nowak attempts to right the ship over the next few weeks.” Goal.com goes on to predict a Chicago win. “The prospect of Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro mounting raid after raid behind the Union defense won’t calm the jangling nerves in Philadelphia.”
Union Dues previews the match and predicts a Union win.
USA at Olympic Qualifiers
Joe Corona scored a hat trick and Freddy Adu an absolutely cracking goal in the USA’s 6–0 win over Cuba. Look for our match report later this morning.
Caleb Porter, pointing at the shaky start to the game and some soft midfield play, says the result was not good enough. “It’s a good start, but we need to be better. So I think that’ll be the message, and the nice thing is I don’t even need to harp on that because they know it. These guys have very high standards. They know what they’re capable of.”
Adu says of his goal, “As soon as it left my foot, I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I just hit that as clean as you could hit it, and luckily it was on target and to the corner as well. Definitely one of the best goals I’ve scored.”
Big Apple Soccer says Adu is finding his form with the U-23s.
Amobi Okugo came on in the 64th minute to help shut things down, a role, this report says, he did “well with a few exquisite challenges and some smart distribution.” Okugo says, “My job was to come in late in the game, hold down the fort, make sure everyone in front of me was organized and just keep the ball moving.”
Sheanon Williams did not appear in the game.
In the other qualifying game of the day, Canada and El Salvador played to a scoreless draw.
The US next faces Canada on Saturday (7pm; Universal Sports, mun2, UniversalSports.com, CONCACAF.com).
Widener University has been given a $200,000 grant by the US Soccer Foundation to operate the Soccer for Success program in Chester.
Tottenham will play LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls in July.
Houston opens their season with seven away games as they wait for the opening of their new stadium. So far they’re 2–0.
Fulham embraces the “Team America” nickname. A piece on the club’s website begins, “While our Premier League rivals are only now just discovering the delights of America’s top league, it’s fair to say that we’ve been unearthing its hidden treasures for 13 years.”
Women’s Pro Soccer
Paul Riley’s New York Fury continue the Philly connections with the signing of Independence defender Estelle Johnson and 2012 WPS Draft pick Jasmyne Spencer. Riley says, “We will try to re-create our Philadelphia culture in New York. We have a good mix of top class players and youthful exuberance so I’m hoping the mix will be a good combination for success.”
Sounders Women continue their string of high profile signings, adding Megan Rapinoe to a roster that already includes Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux. Rapinoe, and presumably her USWNT teammates will be available for four to five home games and one away games.
Fabrice Muamba’s family express their gratitude for the support they have received but remind everyone that he faces a long road to recovery.
Brazil sports minister Aldo Rebelo says not to worry about preparations fro the 2014 World Cup. “There are two ways of looking at this problem. The way the Brazilians see the challenges and the way the Europeans see them. It’s not a conflict of information or a division, there is a certain conflict of cultures. The Europeans don’t quite understand the culture of the tropics.”
Real Madrid have announced plans to build a $1 billion holiday resort in the UAE. The resort is expected to open in 2015.
The Guardian has a fascinating feature length story on Abraham Klein, one of the greatest referees in the history of the game.
This piece about Carlos Ruiz’ dream for Guatemala to qualify for the 2014 World Cup manages to omit any mention of the Union. Why would that be?