Photo: Earl Gardner
Much of the discussion at Peter Nowak’s Wednesday press conference centered on the tinkering with the lineup. Nowak made it clear that he believes it is wrong to call such moves shuffling. “The term shuffling is an overhaul of the lineup from week-to-week and that’s different than what we’re doing. You try to find the way that will inject life and enthusiasm into the lineup instead of just knowing the first 11. That’s not the way we work and how we find out about these youngsters. The core, we know. But with the rest, we like to see who can be there, that’s why we give them a chance. You get the chance, you step in – this is your chance. If not, we’ll wait…What if we say, ‘OK, let’s take five games.’ If another player is better in training three-days later, are you going to stick with the original route or give that player a chance?”
He continued, “It’s not like I am just switching guys and messing up the whole idea of how we play, but we look at what pieces we can add that will change the dynamic without destroying the structure of the core.”
Of this core he elaborated, “As we said from the beginning, the roster is a tree and you have the branches. We have this core of eight or nine players that know will change over the season, so we’ll have options. We don’t do it to mess around with how we play.”
He said further, “It’s important to let these young pieces know that they have talent we believe in, and, if they work hard, they will find the field…It’s a process; it’s one you do now to see who is going to stick. Look, when we do lift an MLS Cup at the end of the day, you want to have 15 to 16 guys look back and say they helped us do that. Not 12 guys. It’s not how it works, and it’ll never be how I operate.”
Nowak seemed to indicate further that Gabriel Farfan may start at left back ahead of Porfirio Lopez. “He’s accustomed to the position. It’s not just because we’re throwing the people over there to fill out the gap. We believe he can contribute this way or another. It’s a good situation. When I say he grabs the position by the horns and runs with it, I think he’s one of those guys that likes to play. I think he’s a guy who contributes very well to the team for the past seven months, eight months.”
Nowak said that Carlos Valdes, who has taken some nasty hits to the head, and Freddy Adu should both be fit and fresh for the match against Columbus on April 14. Krystian Witkowski continues to recover from a concussion suffered in training two weeks ago.
One thing that is clear is that the Union offense needs someone to step up and be a playmaker. Keon Daniel says he can be that man.: “I think that’s for me to take on my shoulders. I’m experienced enough… it’s time for me to shine.”
Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes and Danny Califf talk about the need to stay focused and sharp during the bye.
The Union website has a piece describing Nick Sakiewicz’s participation in a trade delegation to Europe last week led by PA governor Tom Corbett in which presenting Union jerseys to business and political leaders in France and Germany served as an icebreaker. “The language of soccer is spoken by every country in the world and bonds all nations and cultures,” said Sakiewicz.
The Union’s Season Ticket Loyalty program has been nominated for a TheStadiumBusiness Award. “The one-of-a-kind program,” reads an announcement on the Union website, “is nominated alongside organizations such as Manchester United, Brighton & Hove Albion FC, the Kalmar Football Club in Sweden and the Major League Soccer National Sales Center.
Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor and its Front Row Marketing subsidiary will organize the Trophée des Champions featuring the winners of France’s Ligue 1 and the French Cup July 28 at Red Bull Arena.
Reading United will play its home games at Albright College’s Shirk Stadium in 2012. The team had played at Exeter Township Senior High School’s Don Thomas Stadium since 2005. Shirk Stadium features a main grandstand that seats 3,000 spectators as well as locker rooms and training facilities at field level and a stae-of-the-art press box. The team plays its first home game on May 12 against New Jersey Rangers.
Ocean City Nor’easters have three new players with US National Team experience at the youth level, Nicholas Bibbs, Markhus Lacroix, and Tyler Miller.
Harrisburg City Islanders’ Sainey Touray makes Soccer America’s list of USL players to watch.
Upper 90 talks with the City Islanders’ new signing Garret Pettis.
La Salle senior men’s soccer player Nick Dundon and senior women’s soccer player Melissa Sanger have been named Scholar Athletes of the year.
Real Salt Lake defeated Montreal 1–0 thanks to a PK.
After twice taking the lead in the first half, Toronto rolled over against Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League to lose 6–2, thanks to defensive slip ups, a couple of penalty kicks, and a sharp Santos attack.
Toronto keeper Stefan Frei, who was not available for Wednesday’s game, is out for six months after surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left ankle.
Jordan Harvey gets a feature at MLSsoccer.com.
In case you missed it, the league has launched a YouTube channel, KickTV.
Could MLS be looking to build a stadium on New York City’s Pier 40?
Yael Averbuch describes the recent stint she and former Philadelphia Independence players Leigh Ann Robinson and Kia McNeill spent with Rossiyanka in Russia wasn’t exactly a smooth experience.
Hope Solo arrived in Seattle on Wednesday to begin training with Sounders Women after returning from USWNT duty in Japan. “The end goal is to really help build the game here in a city that I love,” she told reporters. “That’s my ultimate goal, and hopefully win some games, as well — maybe a championship.”
Herculez Gomez is on fire.
Jurgan Klinsmann’s teleconference on Wednesday touched on a number of issues including the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, concerns that US players are getting less playing time in MLS, Caleb Porter’s future and what was learned from the Olympic qualifying disappointment, youth development, and more. US Soccer has a transcript.
Stuart Holden is back with Bolton, although he is weeks away from being able to play and looks unlikely to be available for the USMNT this summer.
ESPN looks at what was learned from the USWNT games against Japan and Brazil in the Kirin Challenge Cup.
The US U-17s opened Group B play at the 40th Mondial Minimes tournament with a 4-0 win against United Arab Emirates.
Telemundo and Mun2′s coverage of the Olympic qualifying semifinals was ratings gold.
Univision will launch Univision Deportes this weekend in a move “to attend to the ‘insatiable appetite’ of the Latino audience for soccer.”
Benfica says they will lodge a protest to the Portuguese Football Federation after losing to Chelsea on Wednesday. “Whether we were there (in Lisbon) or here (in London), we were not allowed to eliminate Chelsea,” said Benfica president Luis Felipe Vieira, “Surely everyone saw what happened here. It is evident that this is a business and that there was no desire to see Benfica go through. Refereeing has reached a scandalous point.”
From the Department of Pointless, Goal.com breaks down the foul called on Milan’s Alessandro Nesta that resulted in Barcelona’s second penalty kick goal on Tuesday and says the ref made the wrong call.
The Guardian looks at the disparity in fines handed down by UEFA and asks why remarks about referees seem to cost more than, say, racist chants by fans.
Hundreds of protestors briefly caused a halt in construction at Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, site of the 2014 World Cup opener. The protestors protesters were demanding an end to evictions caused by World Cup projects.
Big Soccer’s Dan Loney lays out the complicated thoughts I’ve had about the passing of Giorgio Chinaglia better than I ever would have done.