With Sheanon Williams returning to the Union, Chris Albright may return to the bench (though… who knows). But the local lad remains a great spokesman for the Philly soccer scene. “In my mind, this is the best soccer community in the country, hands down. I know from where I grew up playing the devotion people in the inner city have to soccer, and it obviously spread into the suburbs. I’ve always known the potential was here. It just took a vision, proper ownership and a stadium to get people to come. It’s a wonderful environment.”
Speaking of players who embraced the city, Jordan Harvey looks set to start when the Vancouver
LE TOUXS Whitecaps drop by PPL Park on Saturday. First choice left back Alain Rochat is undergoing treatment on an injured knee and Harvey is next on the depth chart. “I have a lot of good memories and it holds a really good place in my heart,” Harvey told the Vancouver Province. “I’m looking forward to seeing some old faces and the fans that are so rowdy. It will be fun to see the reaction.”
Asked about his good friend Danny Califf, Harvey responded, “Reading the articles and speaking with him, it’s interesting to see what’s going on.”
Nothing cuts to the emotional core of a tough loss like the reaction of a 19-year old fan, and that’s exactly what Jack McInerney was when the US Olympic team crashed out of qualifying. ““I didn’t say anything,” the Union striker said. “I was just staring at the TV. It was hard to believe.”
The Brotherly Game says the right midfield role is, “still an unconvincing one for [Freddy] Adu despite his goal and three assists in his three starts during Olympic Qualifying.” Considering that it’s the only role in which he has been even moderately effective in the past few years, let’s hope it becomes convincing fairly soon.
The Goaltender believes Adu just needs to keep a strong mental approach: “Just because Adu is played on the right wing instead of in centrral midfield shouldn’t be a barrier to working hard and finding ways to express his skills. The level of talent in MLS, for as much as the league has improved, still is such that Adu can have plenty of space to create from anywhere if he wants to.” The Union, unfortunately, haven’t created space for their skill players in the final third for over two years now, so Adu’s going to have to look pretty hard for those gaps.
The best lede of the day award goes to Andy Jasner, who begins his article on the Union’s bounce-back hopes by writing, “The Philadelphia Union are keenly aware of what has transpired over the first three matches in an 0-3-0 start to the 2012 MLS season.” Whew! Good to know someone is aware of what transpired because the rest of us couldn’t tell what the heck was going on out there.
Conor O’Grady defends Zac MacMath, writing that the young goalie is not that similar to Chris Seitz. “[Seitz's] tension, nerves and occasional sheer panic were visible from the Commodore Barry, and opponents knew it. Not so with MacMath. At least not so far, anyway.”
Apparently MLS is outdrawing Ligue 1 in France this season.
Bruce Arena has the answers for US soccer: ”We need to have new leadership, a fresh way of doing things. Usually it’s a new coach. But maybe it’s time for new leadership and new concepts as well. Who knows? But I think we’re making progress, regardless of this result.”
Chuck Murphy knows why the US team was bounced from the Olympic qualifiers: “There we see how many of the players, all of them highly skilled, have been coddled for most of their athletic lives.” Murphy specifically targets the incident when Terrence Boyd left the field bloodied after some shenanigans around the top of the El Salvadorian box. “I’m not asking for them to throw a punch and take a red card with a one goal lead and time running out. I am asking to see some pluck. It was absent in Nashville.” And in response to Freddy Adu and Mix Diskerud’s complaints that they were bitten during the match, Murphy says, “Guess what? Sometimes teams who want to win will kick, claw and bite.”
ESPN says that the Olympics have to be kept in perspective. “If this batch of youngsters flourishes regardless of its Olympic setback, Monday night’s events will be quickly downgraded from calamity to afterthought.”
Goal.com previews tonight’s Champion’s League match between Toronto FC and Santos Laguna.
Chelsea continued their renaissance with a 1-0 win at Benfica while Real Madrid broke down a stout APOEL defense in UEFA Champion’s League play. AC Milan and Barca face off today in the marquee matchup of the quarterfinals. Munich and Marseille are also on the schedule.
And today wouldn’t be awesome unless Mario Balotelli was doing something random. This time he dropped in on the press conference introducing Inter Milan’s new head coach. Balo no longer plays for Inter, but he happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to release some of his pent up crazy. Dude is amazing.