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“You’ve gotta finish”: Roundup of reaction to Union draw, more news

Photo: Barb Colligon

Philadelphia Union

It was a unified refrain from the Union locker room after Saturday night’s drab scoreless draw with New England: “Frustrating.”

John Hackworth said, “There were really some opportunities to jump on this game and would have opened it up a lot and it I think it would have been a much different second half, so it’s frustrating. A frustrating night.”

But Hackworth is also encouraged:

“I think if you look at our record and you look at the way we’ve played, we’ve had some difficulties scoring goals, but I’ll take our soccer any day,” Hackworth said. “I’m encouraged by that. I’m encouraged by the way we’re playing. We just have to continue it, and the last part is that we have to execute. We have to take our chances.

“There are some growing pains here, for sure. And as well as we play sometimes, we make some bad mistakes. (There are) little places where we need to be more mature, more disciplined, we lose our heads in moments where we make bad decisions and that’s growth. We have to mature to get better.”

Sheanon Williams said, “Like the stats show, they didn’t really have much and we had a lot (in the first half). But you can pass the ball around all you want and if we don’t score goals, then it means nothing. So, we just have to work on getting a bit more dangerous and finishing off our opportunities. It’s good that were making opportunities. Now we just have to make sure we finish them.”

Amobi Okugo said, “It’s frustrating (not scoring). I feel like it’s coming, it’s coming. But I still have to make up for my own goal, so I’m still trying to get a goal whenever I can. But it’s unfortunate because you’re getting closer and closer, so your just hoping it’s going to come sooner or later or whatever to help the team to get a win.”

Nick Sakiewicz said after the game, “You’ve gotta finish.”

The draw was the ninth time the Union have been shut out this season and their sixth winless game in a row. The Union have shutout opponents seven times, four of which were wins. The game was New England’s tenth game in a row without a win.

More recaps and match reports from PSPMLSsoccer.com, the Union website, CSN Philly, the Revolution website, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Telegram & Gazette, MassLive.com, Philly Soccer News, New England Soccer News, New England Soccer Today has a match report and player ratings, SBI, ProSoccerTalk, Goal.com, Examiner.com, Sports Network, The AP, SB Nation Boston, The Bent Musket, The Brotherly Game, Philly Sports Live,

Here’s a postgame quote sheet.

The SB Nation recap consisted of three sentences. “It finished 0-0. It was bad. Nobody cared.”

ProSoccerTalk wrote, “this was 90-plus minutes all of us would love to have back.”

MLS UK says the Union have made a “huge mistake” in removing the interim manager tag from John Hackworth.

Local

The La Salle women’s team, in Seattle for the Husky/Nike Invitational, had a tough time at the tournament, losing 2–0 to Washington on Friday and then losing 3–0 to No. 20 ranked University of Portland on Sunday. They next face Seton Hall in the Villanova tournament on Friday at 1:30pm at Villanova.

University of Penn’s women’s team defeated Temple 2–0 on Sunday.

Look for our men’s college soccer roundup later in the week.

Reading United will be hosting a bus trip to PPL Park for the last game of the season on Oct. 27 against New York and made this nifty video to promote it:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK2DwceyY_U[/youtube]

If you’re interested in tickets, click here or call 610-376-2100 Ext. 228.

MLS

In Eastern Conference play, No. 1 Kansas City extended its lead over No. 2 New York, who had the weekend off, to four points with a 2–1 win over last place Toronto. Chicago Fire moved into third place with a 3–1 win over Houston, who are now in fourth place. Columbus moved into fifth place with a 2–1 win over seventh place Montreal. DC dropped to sixth place with a 1–0 loss at Real Salt Lake. The Union remain at No. 8 after their 0–0 draw with ninth place New England.

If you’re someone who prefers to think of the standings in terms of a single table, the Union are currently in 17th place, level at 26 points with No. 16 Colorado with two games in hand, and one point behind 15th place Portland with one game in hand.

Danny Califf says he’s “running out of things to say” after Chivas USA’s 4–0 loss to San Jose. ““I’m running out of ways to explain how we’re giving up four [expletive] goals on a regular basis.”

Grant Wahl looks at the breakout season San Jose’s Alan Gordon is having.

Is Swedish international Christian Wilhelmsson about to join the Galaxy?

Women’s Soccer

USWNT coach Pia Sundhage will not be renewing her contract with the team, which was set to expire on Nov. 30,  so that she can return home to coach the Swedish WNT. She will be leaving after the friendly against Australia on Sept. 19.

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said of finding a replacement for Sundhage, “I’m sure there are a lot of names out there. We will set up a search committee like we did last time and we’ll announce that in the next couple of days. Then we’ll start the process pretty quickly. We have the luxury of games coming up that aren’t qualifying games. She’ll be with us for some of those. She’s got a great staff around her. There’s not a short-term time constraint.”

The first match of the Olympic gold medal winning USWNT’s “Fan Appreciation Tour”—an 8–0 win over Costa Rica (quote sheet here)—was an opportunity to discuss the future of women’s professional soccer in the US. The players themselves recognize their own part in seeing that a new league is formed. Abby Wambach says in an article at the New York Times, “I’m not getting any younger. At the end of the day, I want to leave a legacy, and part of that legacy is to build a sustainable professional league.”

Megan Rapinoe says, “We have the 10 victory tour games and I think the national team will always be popular, but the height that it is at now is going to be hard to sustain fully, in terms of bringing that right into a league. So there has to be more than just the national team hysteria.”

Gulati says, “What we’ve been talking about and looking at is a different economic model – a model that is sustainable. We’ve been talking with a number of people, stakeholders in the game, people that have had professional teams in the past, people that run professional leagues now at different levels, players, so I think if you see something come together it will be a very different economic model. Sustainability is far more important than getting it started.”

Jeff Kassouf has more on Sunhage’s departure at SI and Goal.com.

Fox Soccer has an overview of some of the issues facing women’s soccer in the US.

HispanicBusiness.com talks to Amy Rodriguez, who makes clear that she hopes to play pro soccer in the US rather than overseas.

The US U-20 WNT will face Nigeria in the semifinals of the Women’s U-20 World Cup on Tuesday (3am, ESPNU, ESPN3).

Here’s a look at Del Ran native and Cabrini College standout Kara Hinkelmon’s time with the Philadelphia Fever.

US

Jurgen Klinsman has named his 24-player roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers on Sept. 7 and Sept. 11 against Jamaica. As was expected, Landaon Donovan and Michael Bradley, both of whom are injured, are not on the roster. Clint Dempsey, who had no participated in pre-season training with Fulham before being signed by Tottenham on Friday, is on the roster.

One player not on the roster is Time Ream. Despite earlier reports, Klinsmann clarified that Ream was only part of the preliminary roster.

Klinsmann says the US will go for “maximum amount of points” against Jamaica. That’s encouraging.

ProSoccerTalk has some initial thoughts on the US roster.

You will recall the stir that resulted when Klinsmann said that US players needed to be tougher. Jozy Altodore says, “I understand where he’s coming from—you have to make it harder for teams to beat us…I don’t think he’s saying we need to be nasty, just that we have to have this intensity. As people, we can be great guys off the field, but when we step on the field we have to be tough. That doesn’t define you as a person, but on the field we don’t have to be nice guys. I don’t mean stepping and guys and things like that. But people have to understand that we’re here to win and make a statement. We have a ways to go.”

The LA Times says that Dempsey’s success in England is a big part of why US players are getting more respect there.

Dempsey’s move to Tottenham makes him the highest-paid US player ever.

US U-20 player Cody Cropper has signed with Premiership side Southampton.

US Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore answers questions about the soon to be launched U-13/14 academy program.

Elsewhere

Cristiano Ronaldo refrained from celebrating after scoring two goals in Real Madrid’s 3–0 win over Grenada. “The people know the reasons why I didn’t celebrate the goals. I don’t do so when I am feeling sadness. It was due to a professional motive. The appropriate people inside the club know why I’m sad. I won’t say anything more.”

The Guardian has ten talking points from the weekend’s Premiership action.

The FA has announced that Nike will replace Umbro as England’s new kit designer beginning in the Spring of 2013.

10 Comments

  1. If you watched Southampton almost tie/beat ManU yesterday then you would have seen how a young team is put together; not just with young kids but also with some older players who are proven goal scorers. We need results. Development is for the amateurs and our youth teams. Agree with MLS UK.

  2. I’m amazed by the quotes. If you go to 2010 you’ll get the same quotes…. “its coming”…”were playing well”… blah, blah, blah. They all just need to be quite at this point. Say something to the effect…. “were not doing well… were at the bottom… were at the bottom for good reason…. hopefully in the preseason we can get our act together and get some more talent on the field.”

    • Saying “We suck.” Doesn’t really sell tickets.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      Yes, we said that in 2010 … and we looked pretty good in making the playoffs in 2011, then Nowak went and dismantled the whole team. Not sure where your point is valid. Sadly, this ISN’T the same team we heard those things with in 2010.
      It’s funny (in a sad way) perhaps our three biggest leaders and most important players on the team last year, were unceremoniously dumped by Nowak during the offseason/early in the year. Assuming Nowak was sane, they woulda helped transition the youth on this team seemlessly. Mondragon with MacMath, Le toux with Jack/Mwanga, Califf with Okugo/Soumare. It was set up pretty damn well.
      But the end of the Nowak era reset our timeline … it’s as simple as that.

      • They Union never played well. Nowak or no Nowak. They got lucky in 2011. They had a great defense, and manage to squick a few goals in begining of the season. But the team never played well. Each season is pretty much the same. In a way you are right. Because each season the Union seems to rebuild the team and start over. There not building they are constanly in rebuilding mode (and constanly refusing to spend money on talent).

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        Sure. That’s more what is going on. I remember when we first started out, we had all these good draft picks, all this young talent. At the end of 2010, Le Toux and Mwanga were really looking good, the future with those two looked bright. Jack and Okugo had a good rookie year, that offseason we would get Mondragon and steal the Farfans.
        Somewhere along the line it got derailed. I just don’t want Hackworth getting the short end of the stick right away, he inherited a broken team and a broken locker room.
        And just because Hackworths MO seems to be building through youth – which is what we heard from Nowak in 2010 – doesn’t mean we should discard Hackworth right away.

      • not sure you meant to use that word in that context but yes, it is true that the play of this team does sometimes squick

  3. I hope that the minimal list of comments here and in the match review are indicative of the holiday weekend, rather than a loss of interest in the team. I was, with everybody else, less than thrilled with what I watched on Saturday, but there were some high points. Freddy Adu looked like he was engaged for most of the match, whether it was due to his new position or what. The multiple shots that still didn’t find the neet are beginning to remind me of a basketball team’s shooter on a bad streak- sometime they will begin to fall. (And we didn’t see any of the wild stuff that we had to watch the last couple of games, with Gomez sending the ball 180 feet into the air straight across the field rather than on goal, or any shots into the 23rd row of the bleachers.) Control of the ball again seemed to be a strong point, but I agree with Sheanon’s quote. Control WITH AN IDEA about what you will be doing with it. Frankly, at times it seems like the individual Union players have a fear that they will be either asked to do something with the ball or that they will be forced to answer for a bad shot. As a result, we see late passes in the box instead of finishing shots, or we see the ball carried into traffic and turned over, rather than anything creative or offensive minded. Is this still a leftover from the Nowak regime? Are they thinking that there is a downside to being aggressive? Negatives: again, defenders and defending mids are carrying too much of the offensive burden; early giveaways that actually didn’t cause or lead to a goal by some dumb luck; an awful defensive breakdown in the first half that had a free ball going through the box without a Rev player able to get to it; and a goalkeeper on that same play that was well out of position and ddin’t even seem to reposition himself as the ball squirted through.

    Let’s think positive: no breakdowns on set pieces for a change; multiple shots that are actually finding the range of the goal; a phenomenal corner kick awarded to corner kick conceded ratio for most of the game; and a time of possession edge that might actually be useful if it was more focussed on the buildup to an attack instead of ownership of the ball for its own sake.

    A mixed bag, but exactly what I would expect from a young team. Lots of work to do, but lots of upside. Let’s see what happens with the playoff countdown, and the addition of a target striker or other size of some sort.

    • I have not been commenting much because I try to keep my comments positive, although it’s difficult. I’ll continue to try to find positives and/or humor wherever I can.
      *
      Regarding the addition of a target/DP/proven striker: based on the offensive abilities of the current Union squad, the addition of a single player would do little to improve things, as it would effect the simplest tactical adjustment by any opponent. Such a striker would find himself marked so closely as to be nearly suffocated, and it would fall to the rest of the offense to score, and we can see how well that’s working out.

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