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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.