Photo: Earl Gardner
Two things for Union fans to look forward this Tuesday, the expected announcement of the Bakary Soumare signing and tonight’s Open Cup match.
Going into tonight’s US Open Cup quarterfinal match, I have one burning question for you: Who will fill in for the suspended Carlos Valdes if Sheanon Williams cannot play? Valdes is rightly receiving notice for his performance on Saturday, including being named to ProSoccerTalk’s Team of the Week.
You can buy tickets to tonight’s match here or at PPL Park. The game will also be streamed live at http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/live from 7:30pm.
Dave Zeitlin says the Union “aren’t happy” about having to play Harrisburg City Islanders, a Union affiliate. Zeitlin also writes, “Who has the edge in this one? It shouldn’t be a question and yet somehow it is.”
How will the Union approach this game? Amobi Okugo says, “We’re going to play the way we’ve been playing. They are a physical team that has done very well against MLS teams. We’ll be at home so we’ll look to that as an advantage and play as we have been playing the past couple weeks.”
Kerith Gabriel reports that Gabe Farfan says, “They have a really good team.” Raymon Gaddis says, “We can’t take Harrisburg lightly.” Jack McInerney says, “We are taking this tournament very seriously and we know they are, too. But this is a chance for us to get our first trophy and with the season we’ve had, it would be a great way for all of us to continue to build confidence.”
Brian Carroll agrees, “We know this is a very talented side we’ll be facing. They have a lot of talented young players who are out to prove themselves against an MLS club. We know we’ll have to be prepared and I’m sure we will be.”
Harrisburg is coming off of losses—and long bus rides— to Orlando City and Charleston in league play. City Islanders coach Bill Becher says, “I think the guys will respond. I think we have the right kind of group with the right kind of attitude and we’re going to come out and we’re going to play. I think we’ll give [the Union] everything they want. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to win the game.”
An article on the FIFA website says that Harrisburg “have made it somewhat of a routine to dispatch of MLS clubs,” noting that the USL PRO team has eliminated “at least one MLS team in five of the last sixth editions” of the tournament.
Former Union player and current City Islander Morgan Langley says, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to be able to go back and play against my old club.”
Langley says, “I wouldn’t say I’m out for vengeance or anything like that, but I have a chip on my shoulder like any player going back to play a team that released him.”
Chris Vito’s interview with the former Union player reveals more about communication in the Nowak era. Uncertain of his future with the club, Langley tells Vito that numerous calls to Nowak went unreturned. Langley finally found out he had been released after a friend saw an announcement on Facebook. Langley says of John Hackworth and Rob Vartughian, “I liked those guys. They always treated me with class, and the front-office people behind the scenes. Great people. That’s why it’s not a vengeance thing.”
JT Noone isn’t interested in revenge. “I just go out the same way every game and play my game. It’s not on my mind. Not at all.”
There are three other Cup games going on tonight and TheCup.us has previews.
Antoine Hoppenot has been named SBI’s Rookie of the Week.
Hoppenot said of his goal on Saturday, “That was unbelievable. I can’t even describe it. I hit the post last weekend and I really wanted to get one tonight. The fans are fantastic. I’m happy I could score one for them, even though it was the fourth one. I’m happy I got to hear them Doop it up for me.”
The rookie is quick to point to the help his teammates have given him. “I might not have the accolades of some of the other guys, but I came in and they treated me as one of theirs. They gave me the confidence that I could play at this level.”
The Guardian says that, after Saturday’s performance, “The next stage will be to add some discretionary discipline about when to go and when to stay, and also to manage the formation in a way that routinely stifles the opposition when out of possession.” My goodness, I love reading about the Union in the Guardian!
Drew Epperley writes at SB Nation that it is simple changes made by John Hackworth that are making the difference for the Union.
JP Dellacamera looks back at Saturday’s big win.
Philly Union Talk says after the victory over Kansas City, “We’ve learned that the 4-3-3 is the formation for us.”
Reading United head coach Brendan Burke says of his team’s three-game winless streak, “We just haven’t played well the past three games. That’s all I have to say.” If you missed it, check out PSP’s match report from Sunday’s draw with Long Island Rough Riders.
Some 52 goals were scored in league play last week. Sit back and enjoy:
Sunday’s Cascadia derby between Portland and Seattle had the highest overnight ratings for a regular season MLS match on ESPN/ESPN2 since 2001.
Former Philadelphia Independence goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc has been selected for the Canadian Olympic team.
The first of a series of posts at Grantland about the future of soccer in the US begins with the high school debate.
The England vs. Italy game on Sunday drew the highest ratings yet for ESPN for the tournament and was just short of the network’s broadcast of the Yankees vs. Mets match shown later that evening.
The German soccer association has been fined $31,200 after fans displayed a neo-Nazi banner during the group stage match against Denmark.
A soccer fan in China has reportedly died after staying awake for 11 straight days to watch the Euros.
Grant Wahl looks at the four remaining teams in the tournament.