Photo: Paul Rudderow
When the crowd begins filing out of the stands 15 minutes before the final whistle, the home team isn’t putting on a good show. And John Hackworth knows it.
Hackworth said after the game, “This was an extremely disappointing match by the Philadelphia Union. It’s not the kind of performance that is acceptable to us in any way, shape or form. That said, I take some responsibility for that result as well. I don’t think our team was ready for Chicago in the first and, clearly, that’s my responsibility.”
He added, “We didn’t come out with the same energy we’ve shown in past games. We didn’t move the ball and we didn’t dictate the game early. Despite that, we went up a goal. But to give up two goals that late in the [first] half, it can’t happen.”
The players defended their coach to take responsibility for the loss. Amobi Okugo said, “He can’t guard the guys on the field that scored, so I don’t know how it’s Coach Hack’s fault. I thought he did a good job preparing us for the week. He gave us our assignments. He gave us the tendencies of the players on the field. I don’t know how it’s his fault. We didn’t come out to play to the best of our abilities.”
Sheanon Williams added, “I don’t think it’s Coach Hackworth’s fault. We as players have to come prepared. Two goals in less than five minutes right before the first half is unacceptable. We have to do better.”
Maybe it was the lineup? The absence of Valdes, Gaddis at left back, Garfan in the midfield, Daniel up top—things looked unusual on the roster card. Brian Carroll said, “You know, there’s really no excuses that you can take out of this. We had a group good enough to win, and for whatever reason we just weren’t able to play our best and get that done tonight.”
Williams said, “No one is happy in this locker room and we all know this wasn’t acceptable tonight. It’s more important than ever for us to come back to work and do everything we can to turn this around and right this. This was not a good performance by our club and I don’t think it’s indicative of who we are. I know we will all come back and work extremely hard to get this turned around.”
Bakary Soumare made his Union debut on Sunday. He said, “It was good being out there playing 90 minutes. I’m a little rusty obviously, but I felt good, my knee felt good, no pain and fitness-wise I was OK. Obviously it takes a little bit of time to get used to the way the team is playing, but overall I think it was OK.”
Hackworth said of Soumare, “I was really proud of Baky, because that’s the first time Baky’s played in a long time, and there is no substitute for getting game rhythms.”
The Union believe they’re still in the playoff hunt. Hackworth said, “I’m not ready to toss in the towel. We’ve been a really good team these last 2 months. I am going to back to work and try to sort out our problems and get ready for next week.”
Soumare said, “You’ve just to go to be able to string together a few wins. You’ve got to go on a streak and, next thing you know, you’re back up there with everybody else,” adding, “The window is closing, but it’s not closed yet.”
Zac MacMath said, “I don’t think anybody thinks we are out of the playoff picture. All of us are looking forward to next weekend and getting three points back.
Chandler Hoffman insists he got a touch on the own goal and Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson agrees.
Harrisburg City Islanders postseason hopes became a little bit dimmer when they lost 2–1 on the road to Richmond Kickers on Saturday. Richmond scored first in the 13th minute then gave Harrisburg the equalizer a minute later courtesy of an own-goal from Yomby William. William atoned in the 78th minute when he scored the winner off of a corner kick.
Greg Jordan, on loan to Harrisburg from the Union, was not with the team so he could attend the funeral of former teammate Kirk Urso.
The Goalkeeper wonders if Saturday’s Real Madrid v Celtic friendly—announced attendance was 34,018, the lowest attendance for a soccer match at the Linc outside of the Union game vs Dallas in 2010 and USWNT games—was one summer friendly too many.
Here’s some more on the proposed sports facility that will involve Celtic.
The La Salle men’s team has started training for the new season.
The Union remain in ninth place in the East after their 3–1 loss to Chicago, who move up to fourth place. The Union’s opponent on Saturday, DC United, drops to fifth place after losing to 2–1 to Kansas City, who move into first place with the win. New York moves up to second place after defeating Houston, who now are in third, 2–0. Montreal moves into sixth place with a 1–0 win over eight place New England. The match between last place Toronto and seventh place Columbus was postponed so that the Crew could attend the funeral of Kirk Urso.
The New York Post reports that a deal for a new $300 million stadium in Queens is almost complete.
The Olympic flame now extinguished, attention in the US now turns to the question of another women’s professional league. As CNN puts it, how long will the latest women’s soccer honeymoon last?
Nutmeg Radio writes, “In the United States, there’s a euphoria that swirls around the U.S. women’s national team during major tournaments that is difficult to comprehend, especially when juxtaposed against the relative lack of euphoria that exists between tournaments.”
Fox Sports says, “This is a harsh reality.”
Heather O’Reilly says, “There’s a little bit of uncertainty right now.”
Hope Solo says of the lack of a professional league, “If I sit back and think about it, it’s bothersome. I do get a little bit angry that there is no season.” She adds, “We filled Wembley Stadium and you’re telling me there is no league to play in?”
Abby Wambach said, “Having a professional league is going to be really crucial for the continued development of our team so we not only can stay on top, but we can keep pushing the envelope. All the other leagues in the world are doing that. That’s why their national teams are even better, because these players are getting more experienced.”
However, national team players looking toward a new pro league in the US may be disappointed. Thomas Hofstetter, the president of Sky Blue FC, one of the teams that is backing the as yet unnamed league that was announced last week, says, “We’re talking teams with budgets of well under $1 million. If you want to build a professional league in the U.S., it has to grow organically. It’s all about staying power. Our goal is to have national team players, but it’s all about budgets. We hope they would play in a new league, but they might not.”
Hofstetter adds, “People have to realize it’s not about the players. For me, it’s about the teams, about building a long-term sustainable soccer league for women. It might mean that this generation of players might not reap the benefits for the league. It’s just how it is.”
ProSoccerTalk notes that, instead of a coordinated rollout, the press release announcing the new pro league was released at 12:26am the day of the gold medal match. “Amongst what should be their target audience – those crucial, potential customers who’ll need to be converted to make the league more viable than WUSA or WPS – the league failed to make an impression, good or bad. Announced while most of their potential customers slept on Thursday, the new league is neither on the radar nor below it.”
Women’s soccer aside, ProSoccerTalk notes that “starting a league in this country is damn near impossible.”
By the way, with some 4.35 million viewers, the women’s gold medal match was the most watched event ever on NBC Sports Network. Additionally, 1.467 million streams on NBCOlympics.com made it the most streamed event in Olympics history.
The Guardian has the five greatest moments for the US women at the Olympics.
Those “Greatness has been found” t-shirts the team put on after the final whistle of the gold medal match? Many were not impressed.
As was the case when Japan defeated the US in the World Cup final, Twitter and Facebook once again saw plenty of racist comments when the US defeated Japan in the gold medal match. As the International Business Times writes, “Consider this a public service announcement. Please stop being dumb on Twitter. If not for yourself, then for your fellow Americans.”
And then there’s this moron.
Jurgen Klinsmann announced on Sunday the 23-player roster for Wednesday’s friendly with Mexico. Ten players are from MLS, six play in Mexico, and seven play in Europe. Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Carlos Bocanegra were not called up, and neither were Chris Pontius or Eddie Johnson.
Altidore scored a brace against Ajax over the weekend.
The New York Times catches up with Wembley FC.
Referee Christian Fischer says he will take legal action against Benfica’s Luisao after the player knocked him down during a friendly over the weekend. The match was abandoned after the incident.