Look for the Philly Soccer Show podcast with guest Sebastien Le Toux later this morning.
The Union had a live feed of Peter Nowak’s weekly press conference on Wednesday on the club website, which is the first time that’s happened as far as I can remember. But instead of what he had to say about how the club would handle Vancouver, the big story was his reaction to a question about what he thought the atmosphere would be like at PPL with the return of Sebastien Le Toux. After first asking whether the question was serious, Nowak sarcastically replied, “Maybe confettis, maybe parade, maybe banners. I don’t know,” before adding, “I’m not worried about this thing whatsoever.”
If isn’t worried, he did a poor job of showing for, after the press conference, he approached the Inquirer’s Marc Narducci, the reporter who asked the Le Toux question, and initiated what was described as a “boisterous back-and-forth for more than 20 minutes.” (The press conference was shorter than that.) At one point, Nowak reportedly said, “Get over it, man. This isn’t good for anyone.”
Nowak said to Kerith Gabriel of the Daily News of the Le Toux talk, “I am sick of this ‘face of the franchise’ crap. You know who is the face of the franchise? Our fans who come every week to support us, the team. They are the face of this franchise. That’s who we play for. Not some individual player. I’m not dumb, I know fans loved [Le Toux] and will cheer him, but at the end of the day, it’s about the team, our team, and that’s where the focus should be.”
Nevertheless, when asked if he would reach out to Le Toux on Saturday, Nowak said, “Why not? Of course.”
Brad Knighton tells the Vancouver Sun that he expects the fans will warmly welcome back Le Toux. “Sebastien was obviously the fan favorite there. They saw that Sebastien was the franchise player and his goals and assists speaks for itself.” He says that he, Le Toux, and Jordan Harvey—who is expected to start—are all excited to return to PPL Park.
Le Toux tells ESPN that he thinks the former Union trio will get “a nice reception” from Union fans. “I understand them, and they are great fans. I know, of course, they’re going to cheer for their team for all the game, which is what they should do. But I think there will always be big respect between us as players and them. We gave our best to this team when we played for them, and I think the respect will be mutual.”
Le Toux admits the return is “is going to be a bit weird. This time, I will have to be careful to go to the right locker room.”
In non Le Toux-related news from the press conference. Nowak said, “Danny Califf is good to go.”
Nowak expressed concern that Freddy Adu was coming off of playing three games in five days and said that a decision about whether he would play on Saturday would be later. With the Union looking at two weeks off after Saturday’s game, it might not be unreasonable to think Adu is going to see some time on Saturday.
Carlos Valdes, whose been wearing the captain’s armband in Califf’s absence, says, “I think that right now it is extremely important to be united.”
Vancouver news outlet The Province suggests “it was a tough tackle from Union defender Carlos Valdes that was the start of all [Atiba] Harris’s problems.” Harris played three more games after Vancouver visited PPL Park at the start of last season before undergoing surgery for a torn miniscus. ““It was a rough game but, at the same time, it’s just soccer and I’m looking forward to going out there and contributing. I’m not holding any grudges. But it doesn’t hurt winning.”
The Bearfight Brigade are organizing Operation 4-Love to show support for Danny Califf at Saturday’s game when the game clock reads 4:00.
More power rankings: The Union are at No. 18 at the Sporting News, where they lead off the “Falling” section of the report. They’re also at No. 18 at ProSoccerTalk and MLSTalk. Writing, “It just keeps getting worse for Philadelphia,” MLSsoccer.com also has the Union at No. 18. ESPN has the Union at No. 16, as does SB Nation, who says of the team, “They’ve been Nowak-ed.” Bleacher Report has the Union at No. 19 and says, “From bad to worse.” Sounder at Heart also has the Union at the bottom of the table. At least I think it’s the Union. Instead of the team’s name, “Nowak” is the entry.
The Union once again figure in ProSoccerTalk’s Weekly MLS Panic Quotient, but the commentary is somewhat tempered. “Three ‘Ls’ in three matches spells trouble anywhere, but it can be absolutely brutal in notoriously demanding Philadelphia. On the other hand, everyone knows it’s a young club. Three Olympic team reinforcements are arriving. Plus, every MLS club hits a skid here and there over a long season. Nowak just has to convince his young men that their slide just happened to occur right off the bat.”
While Nowak indicated at Wednesday’s press conference that the decision about whether Freddy Adu will play on Saturday has yet to be made, Bleacher Report names him one of ten players to watch this weekend in one of their slideshow thingees. “Adu is a very emotional player. He thrives and shines off anger and frustration.”
Jack McInerney describes his reaction to the elimination of the US from Olympic qualification on Monday. “I didn’t say anything. I was just staring at the TV. It was hard to believe.”
Earl Reed of MLSTalk looks at the Union’s tactics against Chicago and why playing 3 at the back. Can’t say I agree with everything but I relish tactical discussions.
Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher thinks soccer in the US is a big deal. “I went to see the Galaxy and they were playing some team from Philadelphia, and it was real, d’you know what I mean? And the fans were all great, and it was a great atmosphere.” Thanks, Noel, I think.
The City Islanders played Temple to a 0–0 draw in a preseason scrimmage on Wednesday.
Jersey Shore Boca defeated Go Soccer SC 5–4 on PKs after playing to a 1–1 draw in the New Jersey State USASA championship on Saturday, ending Go Soccer’s three-year reign as state champions. Boca will face the winner of the upcoming match between Massachusetts champion Battery Park Gunners and Eastern New York representative Greek American on April 22 for a berth in the US Open Cup.
Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark has been fined and suspended for three games for the homophobic slur he directed toward a ball boy.
The Houston Chronicle notes that Clark, who has accepted the league’s punishment and vows to learn from the incident, was Colorado Rapids Humanitarian of the Year in 2009 and is actively involved with charity organizations.
The Chronicle also notes that MLS “has not curbed or even spoken out against the tradition of fans screaming a vulgar Spanish gay slur each time the opposing goalkeeper takes a goal kick. A group of Dynamo supporters has embraced the tradition, which originated in Mexico and is common at many MLS stadiums.”
The league’s decision to pull video of Clark’s interaction with the ball boy posted by fans on YouTube for copyright violation has resulted in criticism from Public Citizen. “There’s no question that the clip was taken from the copyrighted telecast, but there can also be no doubt that the fan is protected by fair use in posting a 20-second clip from a 90-minute game. MLS responded with an abusive DMCA [Digital Millenium Copyright Act] takedown notice that caused the YouTube clip to be removed – an overreaction that boils down to attempting to deny the fan his right to free speech.”
Deadspin asks “Which Sports Leagues Care If You Call Someone ‘A Fucking Faggot?”
Danny Califf isn’t the only central defender who’s been benched. Just ask Seattle’s Jeff Parke, who was a regular starter last season and hails from Abington.
It was handbags after Toronto drew 1–1 with Santos in CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday night. Monterrey
MLS has joined the World League Association as a founding member. I wonder if they’ll get a cool scarf in the mail.
While the MLS All-Star game is taking place at PPL Park on July 25, Liverpool will be playing Roma at Fenway Park. Now that’s why I call good scheduling.
Stephanie Cox becomes the fifth USWNT member to sign with Sounders Women.
Former Independence striker and 2011 WPS MVP Veronica Boquete says Marta is her role model.
The fallout from Monday’s Olympic qualification knockout continues. ESPN looks at why the US failed. Goal.com has a post-mortem. Fox Soccer says the result is the byproduct of larger issues. ProSoccerTalk wonders why the US had so much style but so little substance. USA Today wonders what went wrong. Top Drawer Soccer says US Soccer needs to stay the course. Jurgen Klinsmann defends his system in the wake of the loss.
ProSoccerTalk says Freddy Adu’s “erratic body of work in this tournament will be among the lasting talking points.”
ProSoccerTalk notes that Caleb Porter’s contract, which was never permanent, is set to expire on April 30 just in case the US failed to qualify.
Goal.com reports, “El Salvador U-23 players felt disrespected when they viewed their names penciled in above the printed names of U.S. team players on what they believed were boarding passes prior to their charter flight from Nashville to Kansas City for the knockout phase of Olympic qualifying.”
Cuban player Yosmel de Armas may have defected during the qualification tournament.
Brazil’s lower house of Congress has passed the bill FIFA says it needs to
take over the country during the organize the 2014 World Cup.
A proposed hotline for whistleblowers to expose match fixing will be extend to exposure of FIFA corruption.
Goal.com looks at how soccer-related violence still plagues the South American game.