Thanks to a beauty of a free kick goal from Herculez Gomez, the US defeated Jamaica 1–0 and are now tied at the top of their qualifying group with two matches remaining (Oct. 12 at Antigua & Barbuda, Oct. 16 against Guatemala in Kansas City).
Gomez waved off Jose Torres from taking the free kick. “I pulled rank on him. It was his side, but I felt it was my distance. He’s got a great touch for free kicks over the wall, but I felt, maybe from that distance, I could give it a little more power. Luckily enough, it went in.”
Carlos Bocanegra said of the win, “That’s important because we have fate in our own hands. Now, we don’t have to rely on other teams to help us out. That’s the biggest thing about tonight.”
Jurgen Klinsmann said, “We’re trying to tell the players, let’s not waste time, let’s not waste points. We wasted points in Jamaica, and it was really important that they understand that we get down really serious to business tonight. And they responded well.”
He added, “The team did really well. What you saw the first 30 minutes was outstanding. The only thing missing was scoring goals. Posts, unfortunately, don’t count.”
Klinsmann made sure to thank the fans. “That crowd out there in Columbus gave us tremendous support, a tremendous atmosphere. That pushed the players. Every one of us really appreciated that. That was fantastic.”
Gomez said, “Guys fed off the atmosphere. We were hungry for this one.”
Steve Cherundolo and Graham Zusi combined well, particularly in the first half.
Did the win come down to “a horrendous goalkeeping mistake“?
Kyle McCarthy says there’s plenty of room for improvement but the win should at least calm some nerves.
Post game quote sheet here.
MLSsoccer.com’s Armchair Analyst has three things that were learned from the win.
You will recall the article we linked to on Monday that said Philadelphia-born forward Marcus Tracy has been training with the Union. On Tuesday, Lauren Lee Brophy, manager of sports communications for the league, tweeted that Tracy had been signed by MLS and his rights would be made available by the weighted lottery system on Thursday. This was soon confirmed by a report on MLSsoccer.com. According to the 2012 Roster Rules and Regulations, “The team with the worst record over its last 34 regular season games (dating back to previous season if necessary and taking playoff performance into account) will have the greatest probability of winning the lottery. Teams are not required to participate in a lottery.” Clubs have until the end of today to confirm whether they will participate in the lottery.
The 25-year-old Tracy, winner of the 2008 Hermann Trophy, returns to MLS after three seasons with Danish club Aalborg BK, where he struggled for playing time, making only 15 appearances as he dealt with knee tendonitis in both knees. Tracy enters the lottery system because Houston Dynamo, which originally drafted him in 2009, no longer holds his rights, which expired after Tracy did not play in the league for two years.
At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin has a very interesting article about the Union youth movement that provides some insight into John Hackworth’s ideas about the future of the club. Hackworth says, “When we started this three years ago, the idea was to develop players and to develop a club and a culture and a style of play that could be recognized as ‘Philadelphia Union.’ And there are pros and cons to that because when you have young players, those players are inexperienced, naïve and not at their full potential yet. So there are growing pains that come along with that.”
Hackworth believes that, with patience, those growing pains provide young players with opportunities to improve themselves and the club. “In the last three months for sure, we’ve seen some young guys really step up and start to develop and come into their own. And the great thing about that is—while it’s tough to go through some of those growing pains—when you get the other side of that, there will be some exceptionally good players and our team will be significantly improved. I know that if we’re patient, we’ll be rewarded for it long term.
The problem becomes how to keep the young core together long enough for the club to see the rewards of its patience. Hackworth says, “The Philadelphia Union ownership has not said, ‘Hey, this is what we want to do—we want to develop players and sell them on.’ That’s part of the business and if an opportunity comes up like that, fair enough. But right now, we want to make sure our team develops, gets better and comes back and puts itself in a position to compete.”
Hackworth’s comments come in the context of the first appearance by Union players on the 24 under 24 series. On Tuesday, Freddy Adu came in at No. 19, Sheanon Williams at No. 18. The articles contain sections in which anonymous technical directors and coaches describe what they like and where they want improvement. Which section do you think is longest for each player?
Two interesting stats from the articles: Adu is tied for fourth for the number of “big chances” at 15, behind Landon Donovan (18), Felipe and Patrick Nyarko (17). Only two players under 24 have more successful open-play crosses than Williams’ 13 (Ashtone Morgan – 20, Andy Najar – 14).
Zeitlin has another interesting article looking at how Hackworth’s assistants, Rob Vartughian and Brendan Burke, have been dealing with an increased workload. Hackworth says, “I think both of those guys have done a fantastic job. It wasn’t an easy situation to step into and it’s not something we would have wished for. But, at the same time, they did what they needed to do and they wore the many different hats assigned to them. And I’m really proud to say I think we’ve actually been working pretty efficiently.” It’ll be interesting to see who comes in to share the workload in the offseason.
The Union move up one spot in MSLsoccer.com’s power rankings to No. 14. “Seems like John Hackworth is determined to build around Jack McInerney and Michael Farfan, which is probably the right choice. It may mean scrapping the 4-3-3, however, since both players seem like they’d fit better in a 4-4-2.”
The Union will be holding its annual blood drive on two dates this year, Sept. 22 and Sept. 29, (6am to 4pm on both days). Donors will receive “a commemorative, limited edition co-branded 2012 Philadelphia Union and American Red Cross scarf and T-shirt” as well as a coupon from Dunkin Donuts for a free pound of coffee. Donors must register in advance online or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
Michael Lahoud will appear this evening at the Delaware County Literacy Council to mark International Literacy Day from 5pm to 7pm. If you cannot attend, the Delco Times will be live streaming the event as a special edition of their ‘Live From the Newsroom’ show.
Harrisburg City Islanders forward Yann Ekra played in DC United’s Reserve League match against Montreal Impact on Tuesday. While DC lost 2–0 to the visiting Impact, Ekra nearly tallied when he ripped a shot past the keeper in the 23rd minute, only to see his shot bang off of the crossbar. There was a lot of that going on yesterday.
If you live in West Philly, Clark Park Youth Soccer is looking for volunteer coaches.
The Union can count on a fight from Toronto on Saturday. TFC head coach Paul Mariner says, “This is the final push for us. I want to win every single game we go into. There’s none of this winding down garbage. If anything, we want to ratchet it up because we don’t want to be in this position. It’s embarrassing. I completely understand how the fans feel. It’s up to us to put it right.” Toronto play Chicago tonight.
The Montreal Gazette says MLS “has developed the quality of US football to a standard now where players earning a quid locally could quite easily compete with—and, if the conditions were right, perhaps defeat—a team made up of ‘exports.’ This is a major signal that the league is prospering the sport both at a grass-roots and professional level.”
More on the lawsuit from former DC United player Bryan Namoff against his former club that alleges he suffered permanent traumatic brain injury after his head coach and team doctors ignored his concussion symptoms.
Djibril Cisse says he would like to finish his career in the US.
Paul Riley, the former coach of the Philadelphia Independence, says he has been contacted by US Soccer about the vacant head coach job at the USWNT. Riley says he is one of several candidates, who he believes include Tony DiCicco, Jill Ellis, April Heinrichs, Illinois associate head coach Marcia McDermott, Penn State head coach Erica Walsh and current U.S. youth national team coaches Steve Swanson and Albertin Montoya. Riley, who says, “I’ve got a lot of ideas I think I would bring into the program,” believes that whoever is chosen for the job, it is imperative that he/she work to help get a new professional league established.
“Finding great players in this country, I think, is easy, there’s loads of them. All different ages. And I think putting a national team of players together is not the hardest thing to do. But we need a league for these kids. We need them playing ten months a year, not playing three months a year, four months a year. So I’m hopeful that this league will be key in the whole [national team] program, whoever takes over.”
More from Riley here.
Former Philadelphia Independence midfielder Joanna Lohman, now with DC United Women, gets a locals profile from Wheaton Patch.
Following the release of the much anticipated report by the independent panel into the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster that resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans, British Prime Minister David Cameron has apologized before Parliament for the failures that led to disaster and subsequent efforts by members of government, the police and the media to shift blame onto Liverpool supporters. Speaking before the Hose of Commons, Cameron said, “With the weight of the new evidence in the report it’s right for me today as prime minister to make a proper apology to the families of the 96…On behalf of the government, and indeed of our country, I am profoundly sorry that this double injustice has been left uncorrected for so long.”
The report can be viewed at the Hillsborough Independent Panel website.
Liverpool MP Steve Rotherman has called for a verdict of accidental death to be quashed as the families of the victims will now push for a verdict of unlawful killing.
ProSoccerTalk has links to the BBC-produced documentary about the tragedy.
Jens Lehmann is being considered as the German blind soccer team’s goalkeeper at the next Paralympic Games in 2016.
Well-known crook Jack Warner, at it again.