Daily news roundups

Dreaming Raul, more news

Philadelphia Union

The Union announced on Monday that Wednesday’s friendly with Schalke will be Raul’s last appearance with the Bundesliga club.

An article from the Department of Stop It You’re Just Getting Our Hopes Up — I mean MLSsoccer,com — wonders if the atmosphere at PPL Park might help “help Philly land Raul”.  Noting that many in Europe are ignorant of what is going on in MLS, Danny Califf says in the article, “I think the more that he sees how good the league is and how good the facilities and the fans and all that stuff are, that’s certainly going to pique his interest.”

In article from the Department of This Is So Crazy It Just Might Happen — I mean the Daily News — Kerith Gabriel makes a convincing case for why Raul coming to Philly is a real possibility. “Does the game against the Union give the team the first crack at enticing Raúl not just to MLS, but to Philadelphia? Without question,” writes Gabriel, who notes, “There seem to be some parallels between Raúl’s situation and the manner in which the Union acquired Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón in early 2011.” As always, money will be key.

Kevin Kinkead has a Schalke scouting report.

CSN Philly’s “Resident Doop-meister” Dave Zeitlin’s Inside Doop column notes the continuing “lack of creativity, activity or general ideas in the offensive third.”

In the latest Power Rankings, the Union drop to No. 15 at Goal.com, which describes them as a defensively sound team that cannot score from the run of play. Soccer America has the Union next to last in the league. Bleacher Report also has the Union at No. 18, saying “Sebastian [sic] Le Toux’s finishing is sorely missed in Philadelphia.” The Bay Area News Group has the Union a No. 9 in the East, saying, “Strong defense and Zac MacMath don’t add up to victory.” Directing attention to “only one weak shot on goal,” ESPN drops them from No. 13 to No. 15 while Sporting News takes pity and only drops them from No. 13 to No. 14.

Philly Union Talk abandons the laughs for some thoughtful commentary as Conor O’Grady’s match report for Saturday’s loss in Seattle notes the Union’s obsession with a Barca-style possession game is not working.

“The Union are trying to win games (or at least survive them) through a markedly less competent attempt at the same thing—possession, passing, patience—except that they can’t maintain possession even with 37 midfielders on the pitch, they pass with mediocre accuracy to players who aren’t pushing forward, and all too often their patience just looks like a lack of confidence. The U tries to walk the ball into the net in much the same way Barca does, only unsuccessfully.

“Since last season, when a new goalie and a much-improved back line allowed the Union to eke out wins via good defense, Nowak & Co. have abandoned their earlier dedication to attractive, attacking soccer that didn’t always get results but always made a Union fan proud. This was a significant departure from the 2010 season when it looked as though, win or lose, the team would err on the side of valor.”

Union Dues says a sign of life is needed from the Union against New York on Sunday because none was evident against Seattle.

Unholy Union describes the Union as “A big stinking pile of potential where you have to stop and ask, ‘What is it that will turn this ship around.’”

Rothbury Road Productions will soon be releasing a documentary on the Sons of Ben, for which they posted a teaser clip on Vimeo. At first anyone could watch it, but now you need a password.

Local

Michael McCullion of Jersey Shore Boca discusses the team’s upcoming US Open Cup appearance tonight at 8pm on the Feuerstein’s Fire blog radio show at MLS Talk.

 The Temple men’s team has released their 2012 schedule. Opening day is Aug. 31 against James Madison University.

MLS

In news of this summer’s World Football Challenge, LA Galaxy will host Real Madrid on Aug. 2. Chelsea will play Paris Saint-Germain at Yankee Stadium on July 22 after playing Seattle on July 18. Other matches include Chelsea v AC Milan in Miami on July 28 andReal Madrid v Juventus in Las Vegas on Aug. 5. Another East Coast match on Aug. 8 featuring Real Madrid and Juventus (fingers crossed for the Linc!) could soon be announced.

The Star-Ledger says the Red Bulls recent success in the absence of its star players “defies explanation.”

Robbie Keane has been selected for Ireland’s Euro 2012 roster.

Columbus have signed former Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall, he of the red card in last season’s Union away game in LA.

Seattle’s shutout win against the Union gives them a goals-against average of 0.38, which is what you get when you allow only three goals in eight games.

Minnesotans hopeful for an MLS expansion team will rejoice after the new Minnesota Vikings stadium bill passed in the state’s House of Representatives on Monday.

Women’s Soccer

With the first game of the WPSL Elite League season coming on Thursday, season previews have started popping up. Our Game Magazine.com is scratching its head over the fact that the Philadelphia Fever, whose first game isn’t until May 20, has absolutely no connection to the Independence. Noting its reliance on college players, the author concludes, “I have a feeling this team might see a few games pass before any positive results.” Soccer 365 says of the Fever, “It’s hard to see this team as a playoff threat but again, like ASA Chesapeake, they are building for the future and have a definite plan.”

Both previews note that Leanne Champ has joined the Fever. Champ played for England in the 2002 U-19 Women’s World Cup. At the club level, the defender has played for Milwall Lionesses, Arsenal Ladies and, most recently, Chelsea Ladies and USL W-League’s Pali Blues.

SoccerNation.com looks the “interesting business model” the Elite League provides for the future of women’s professional soccer in the US, one of “low cost fees, grass roots growth, a community-oriented approach.” WPSL president Jerry Zanelli says, ‘We want to make professional women’s soccer sustainable. We want the league costs to be at a price that is affordable for owners. Overspending is ridiculous. The fees for the Elite League will be a fraction of the cost of the WPS. We want teams to survive and for this to be a long-term investment of time and effort so we can all enjoy steady growth.”

US

On Monday, the US U-17 women’s team defeated Mexico 3–0 off of a hat trick from Summer Green to claim the Group B title ahead of their semifinal match agaisnt Panama at the CONCACAF U-17 World Cup qualifiers. Post-match quotes are here.

Free Beer Movement has some history on Archie Stark, the Bethlehem Steel player whose 70 goal single-season world record was broken by Lionel Messi over the weekend.

Elsewhere

UEFA has set its refereeing agenda for the Euros, which includes “punishment for mobbing the referee, as well as for incidents of mass confrontation.” Good, I hate that.

What happens when the chicken crosses the endline? Wigan stay up, Blackburn go down.

28 Comments

  1. Getting Raul would be a disgusting, painful move for us. First of all it doesn’t do a damn thing to address the biggest problems on this team; the coaches. Raul wouldn’t come here to enlighten these morons, he would come here to play in their ill-advised formations with their ill-advised game plans.
    Second of all, he would block our young players even MORE. The only thing this team has done these past two years – all while feeding us BS about wanting to build on youth – is bring in old players to eat up minutes while the youth sits on the bench. And this is in ADDITION to the ridiculous handling of youth anyway.
    Third of all, he would demand big money, and 100% of Union fans would rather have had that money go to a raise for Le Toux than to a pre-retirement vacation for some spanish guy most of us have no attachment to.
    Fourth of all, the NY and LA way of bringing in aged stars to anchor their team is the ANTITHESIS of what the MLS should be doing (and did you hear NY is in talks with Zambrotta and Nesta?!?! – trust me I have a whole separate rant saved up for that), and I don’t want to stain the Union with a move like this. The MLS tries so hard to tie the hands of young American nationals, and MLS rosters by adding in a ton of ridiculous rules and regulations, yet they allow crap like this to happen , blind to the fact it makes the MLS look worse.
    From, James

    • DarthLos117 says:

      +1

    • Simmer down Rudeboy. First off Raul isn’t coming to the Union, What Soccer press there is in the city needs SOMETHING to write about that is remotely positive and that hasn’t been written before. This will pass and isn’t worth blowing a gasket over.

      Aside from that don’t think it is necessarily a horrible thing that a couple of aging pros come to the US. Lets face it more soccer fans in the US care about the EPL than the MLS. And say what you will David Beckham DID bring a lot of international and mainstream attention to the League. And when he has been healthy Thierry Henry has been doing the business for the Red Bulls. And no matter what you think the cornerstone of the league at this point will be developing new players hence the Generation Addidas and the Homegrown player rules.Simply because most teams can’t afford a ton of DP’s. So giving casual and Euro fans an opportunity to see a couple of players that they admired from Europe won’t be the doom of the league. (as if having a winning pedigree and experience is a horrible thing)

      I will admit the rules allowing teams like NJ/La to accumulate a million jillion DP’s is some kind of bullshit though.

    • Well, for a guy who made $4M last year, and a team that wouldnt double down on a striker making $200K, tough to see the twain meeting. I have yet to see the Union demonstrate they have the resources that LA/NY do. Hell, even what SEA/VAN can offer, so it’s not much to worry about.

      Though I think your statement that Raul would block the youngsters more is ludicrous. As if any of those guys could one day develop into Raul. The hope is one day we might get an MLS All Star out of them, but an all time Champions League scorer isn’t blocking. It’s a godsend.

      As for MLS bringing in veterans, I disagree (though not on the silliness of MLS’ rules). Henry is currently 2nd in goals, Beckham and Keane helped bring LA a Cup. Sounds like a winning strategy. MLS tried early on to go w/o foreign talent, and no one came. A few brand names sprinkled throughout rosters drives attendance until the league can truly compete.

    • I agree with most of your basic arguements, however, I would argue that the theoretical signing of Raul benefits the club in several key ways.

      First, his arrival would be give the fanbase an instant injection of positive energy and go a long way to bridge the enthusiasm gap that has developed this season. This past off-season was the winter of discontent with the departure of three of the most beloved faces to ever wear blue & gold for the young franchise. Pauno, Mondy and Seba walking out of PPL Park left a massive void that has yet to be filled with their Latin America import replacements. Raul’s arrival would signal the opportunity for the fans, the technical staff and Union players to reboot what is still a young and salvageable season.

      Second, while his addition to the club would certainly limit minutes for some in our young corp of players, what an opportunity to learn how to be a professional footballer from a man who has done and won it all. Our boys lack leadership and have yet to prove they know how to win at the professional level. Having captained for club and country, Raul’s leadership and the winning mentality he would surely bring with him will only help our young prospects on the training field, in the locker room and on matchday.

      The benefits of such a high profile addition as Raul would need to be weighted against the almost certain large hit to the team’s payroll as well as the ripple effects that the signing would have on the team’s roster committments. Factor in other things like ticket sales, merchandising and increased exposure for our club and you have a critical decision that only the Union bosses can make.

      • snugsmac says:

        I agree, if it is possible I think pulling out all the stops to make it happen would do alot more good then bad for the club. Hey, it is not our money, so go spend it.

  2. I’ll be very surprised if we see Raul play.
    Also thing we can get a cheaper striker who is much better than Raul.

  3. snugsmac says:

    To think that we will land a multi-million dollar striker is two things:

    1) A great teaser and a secret ploy by the team to sell tickets to the friendly

    2) Total bullshit – how in God’s name do we expect to sign a guy that gets paid more then the rest of our team combined? AND a guy who’s salary would dwarf LeToux’s summer deal. Not gonna happen.

    This is one of those nice things to talk about when you team sucks.

    I do disagree with James above in the fact that Raul would INSTANTLY make our team into a playoff contender and possibly more. How you can say that a world class player could ever hurt your team on the field (not long term crap) is beyond me.

    And I totally disagree that the older big name players are hurting the league. The MLS sucks, let’s face it, they need all the help and media exposure they can get and guys like Henry, Keane and Beck’s provide that…and some pretty good play. These guys are in their 30’s not 40’s.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      MLS sucks? No, just some teams. Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan and others went back to England and showed they were still legit Premier League players. After a subpar season in MLS, Tim Ream has gone there and instantly slid into an EPL starting lineup. MLS isn’t the EPL, but it doesn’t suck either.

  4. In the off-chance that Raul is signed, he’d put us over the limit on international roster spots. I can think of a couple guys who I’d like see gone once the transfer window opens … Lopez and Pajoy come to mind, unless they have a 1-year guaranteed contract at the least.

  5. In terms of the MLS and DPs, while yes they help the team they are on, they don’t help the league nearly as much. Sure, maybe for the first few games ESPN will (gasp!!!) actually mention the new signing in passing. Maybe a few casual sports fans will tune in to see the fuss. But then the excitement will die down. And what did the league gain long term?
    I still have no idea why the league isn’t worried about Creating.Soccer.Fans. That should be their goal. As always, ESPN never shows the MLS, you can’t even call in to talk soccer on a sports talk radio, and most Americans degrade and disrespect soccer and it’s players. Yet bringing in some aged stars for instant gratification is what they are trying to do?

    • Its not like it is the ONLY thing they do. Right now they seems to have a somewhat good formula. Creating great atmosphere in site specific arenas, Increased TV coverage developing, new players via homegrown and and Generation Adidas and the occasional big money DP. It wont usurp Football or Baseball any time soon but for the first time in a while the MLS is looking up.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Agreed. To add to that, NBC Sports’ great coverage and broader access to viewers gives another option for viewers, and the main NBC channel will show a few games later this year. Slow growth has been the MLS model, and they’re on the right track.

        As a side note to James, the ESPN game of the week is often getting a better time slot this season. The Union-Red Bulls will be on ESPN2 this Sunday afternoon.

    • So ESPN’s MLS game of the week doesn’t count?
      How about when 610 finally gets their Union-centric show up and running … think you can call in then?

    • This is where you are wrong. The goal of MLS is not to “create” soccer fans. The goal of MLS is to convert soccer fans into MLS fans. International soccer is far more popular than MLS in this country.

      MLS has two potential growth strategies:

      1) Get people who don’t like soccer to start liking soccer and particularly MLS brand.
      2) Get people who already like soccer to start liking MLS brand.

      Your argument is to pick the more difficult strategy. The reasonable strategy is to focus on bringing already existing soccer fans to MLS. Although MLS has a major handicap because the level of play is much worse than in major European leagues, it has an advantage in that you can support your club locally and provides a far more communal experience, which is part of sports.

      Incidentally, MLS spent years trying to follow your strategy (by “Americanizing” football) and it was a collosal failure.

      Bringing a player like Thierry Henry or Raul in (one of whom has dominated the league, the other of whom indisputably will also be a star) accomplishes two things:
      One, it improves the level of play (NEWSFLASH: Danny Mwanga will NEVER be as good as Raul is now) which makes the league more palatable to soccer fans.
      Two, it provides more marketable names that give existing soccer fans a reason to check out MLS. If Raul comes here there will likely be people who have the bad judgment to be Real Madrid supporters who will want to tune in to see him. Some of them may stick around. That’s how you grow a league.

      There are millions of soccer fans in this country who don’t watch MLS. Getting them to buy in is how the league grows, and I’ve yet to hear a logical argument that DPs don’t do this.

  6. DarthLos117 says:

    I will not be going to the Shalke match.

  7. I think it’d be fun. Should we bake Raul a cake tomorrow so he likes us better?

  8. snugsmac says:

    Note to SoB’s,

    Please make up a stupid chant to pay homage to Raul…no kidding

    To even say that getting a guy like him on the squad would hurt in any way, shape or form is ridiculous….in my humble opinion.

    I may have over indulged when I stated earlier that the MLS sucks, what I meant to ask was are we this elite league who doesn’t need world class players who are 3-5 years past their peak?

    I actually enjoy many of the MLS clubs, mostly Western teams right now. The Union, god love them, are just kind of painful to watch right now…certainly could use a spark up front, or screw a spark how about a whole FIRE!!!

    DOOP

  9. Is there any way to see the Schalke friendly on line? Anybody know of a site that will stream it?

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