Photo: Robert McBride
In the spirit of celebrating soccer in our fair city that is at the heart of the All-Star Game—not to mention the excitement that accompanies the opening game for the USWNT at the Olympics—PSP is pleased to announce that we have decided to go with the bare minimum of Nowak coverage today. So, outside of a few items in this news roundup (we’ll warn you when it is coming), today is essentially Nowak-free. Enjoy the day as Philly and Chester become the center of the US soccer community and we’ll see you down at PPL Park tonight. Regular service will resume tomorrow.
You gotta love that giant soccer ball.
Antoine Hoppenot speaks for all of us when he says in this piece at MLSsoccer.com from Dave Zeitlin,”We think it’s the best stadium in MLS, so we like that it will be thrust into the national spotlight like this. It’s fantastic for the stadium, it’s fantastic for the team and it’s fantastic for the city of Philadelphia.”
Carlos Valdes talks about his appreciation of Philly fans when he describes his excitement to be playing in the All-Star Game. “It is my first experience so I just want to live this experience, enjoy this moment and play in the PPL Park where we usually play. It’s very comfortable for me and I can feel the emotion from the people, the Philly fans.” More on Valdes here.
What was Michael Farfan’s reaction when John Hackworth told him he had been selected for the All-Star team? “I kept asking if he was joking or not.”
Ives Galarcep says the 2012 All-Star team “is as stacked an all-star team as the league has ever put together,” adding, “Credit for that goes to DC United head coach Ben Olsen, who set out to build a team that was actually constructed like a team and not just a collection of attacking players.”
How important is the All-Star Game? Kyle Beckerman says, “Soccer people understand what’s going on…We’re all competitive people and we know the box score is going to go around the world. People are going to see the score line. We’re all in this to build Major League Soccer and soccer in this country and in order to do that, we need to get some results and put on a good performance.”
Sporting News takes a look at how the All-Stars are preparing for tonight’s game and the tough decisions the coaching staff have to make about who plays and how much they can be played. More on the topic from Goal.com.
Kevin Kinkead has a nice article on the Union website in which players talk about how much they like PPL Park and are enjoying being able to spend time in the City. Coming from opposition teams, they know how loud PPL Park can be and are looking forward to the crowd being on their side tonight.
ESPN looks at the All-Star snubs.
The writers at MLS Reserves all predict a high scoring affair, and they all predict a Chelsea win.
Using a game simulation powered by “the football engine that will drive FIFA Soccer 13,” EA Sports predicts a win for the All-Stars that is finished by penalty kicks. That’d be fun.
John Smallwood uses the All-Star Game to discuss the problem of keeping top US players in the US. Noting that only five of the players on the All-Star team are under 25 and only three were on the USMNT roster for the last qualifier, Smallwood writes, “That’s not a strong representation for a league whose marketing strategy urges fans to see America’s future stars develop here.”
The Goalkeeper has a number of brief interviews involving various All-Star Game participants to check out.
Union Dues has a brief history of the All-Star Game.
Before tonight’s game, the BearFight Brigade will be hosting a Celebrity/Guest BearFight Open Challenge in Lot B at 6:45pm. Word on the street is that it could include some very special celebrities so stop on by. At 7pm, the All-Star BearFight begins.
The Delco Times has an article on Tuesday’s playground build at Chester’s Discovery High School, a project made possible by MLS WORKS, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, KaBOOM!, and AT & T, not to mention the hard work a many volunteers. Look for our photo essay on the project later this morning. In the meanwhile check out this video from the build.
The USWNT begins group play against France at the Olympics today at 12pm on NBCSN. Look for our review of the USWNT in past Olympics and preview of the current tournament later this morning.
The Soccer Wire previews the USWNT campaign.
Yanks Abroad has five reasons why “guys should watch the USWNT at the Olympics.” As if you need to be told.
Cbcsports.ca looks at the tournament participants and says the time of US dominance may be coming to an end.
Here’s a look at the team from an Indiana angle.
While we’re talking Olympics, David Beckham says he’ll have a role in the opening ceremonies and that he’ll be returning to Britain in between his MLS duties to attend events throughout the Games. “I’ll be going back and forward but I’ll definitely be trying to get to a few events.”
In the spirit of celebration, we decided to share with you a photo we received last week from Lori Bilyou, the Sons of Ben member who recently wrote an article for PSP about following the Union while being stationed in Afghanistan. PSP reached out to the Union after the article was published to see if we might be able to send her something in thanks for her service. Union communications manager Aimee Cicero told us not to worry about a thing and soon after Sgt. Bilyou received a Union jersey that had been autographed by the team.
Lori said in an email to me about receiving the jersey, “It’s awesome! I still can’t believe it! You really made my day! It was such a surprise and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I just can’t stop smiling.” I let her know that all credit was due to Aimee Cicero, her staff and co-workers, not to mention the Union players. So, in this day of celebration, I would like to personally celebrate Lori, Aimee and the Union for giving me another reason to be proud to support the team. Jungite aut perite.
OK. Here comes the Nowak news…
Chris Vito spoke to Clifford Haines, one of the attorney’s representing Nowak in his suit against the Union. Haines says the Union have not established cause for Nowak’s firing. Speaking of the various reasons listed in Nowak’s letter of termination, Haines says, “They (the Union) have listed other things that Peter has alleged to do. And even if he did them, we do not believe they’re enough to justify his firing.”
Haines tells Vito the suit is a “declaratory judgement action” and says that while the two sides are divided, “there have been efforts to resolve this, but it’s a product of disagreement of parties…The nature of this lawsuit is such that this should move relatively rapidly.”
How rapidly, you ask? Haines tells the Brotherly Game, “The court won’t decide on a date until they hear that the Union have read over the lawsuit.”
The Union issued a press release to the media that read, “The team disputes the allegations in complaint and will vigorously defend against the lawsuit.
The Philadelphia Union have become the first MLS club to become an “soccer ally” with gay4soccer.com. In doing so, “They are boldly agreeing to a pledge similar to the charter every English Premier League team signed last winter, to combat homophobia and transphobia, and make soccer a more inclusive place for the LGBT community.” Well done, Union, well done.
Did you know that when Union assistant coach/goalkeeper coordinator Rob Vartughian was the starting goalkeeper at North Brunswick High School in the mid-1990s, Tim Howard was his backup? Vartughian talks about his path to the Union in this piece from the Star-Ledger.
Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Tom Mellor’s two goals in two games earned him a place on the USL PRO Team of the Week. Lucky Mkosana received an honorable mention.
Chicago have been busy during the All-Star Game break, signing Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald as a DP from Belgian club Beerschot AC. Also, Chicago has loaned Uruguayan forward Federico Puppo to Defensor Sporting Club for the remainder of the season.
In international club friendly news, Columbus defeated Stoke 2-1, Lyon bested Montreal in PKs after finishing tied at 1-1. Local lad Andrew Wenger scored the goal for Montreal. Montpellier crushed Kansas City 3-0. Colorado sunk Swansea 2-1. LA and Tottenham drew 1-1 while Portland and Aston Villa drew 2-2 and the Clarets then won on penalty kicks.
Gareth Bale, who scored the goal for Spurs, had withdrawn from the Great Britain Olympic team because of injury. Sepp Blatter says he could face a FIFA ban if the FA chooses to lodge a complaint against him for playing during the Olympics.
Soccer America’s Paul Gardner examines the issue of pre-judgement, “Which is a fancy word for bias…a deplorable referee mindset that, at the moment, is being encouraged by FIFA and the other high soccer authorities: When in doubt, call the dive.” Unfortunately, much of the discussion revolves around bias in TV commentators rather than on the pitch.