Photo: Dan Gorman
Well, Friday was a lot of fun. First the Sebastien Le Toux press conference and then the Jeff Parke signing.
At CSN Philly, Dave Zeitlin says of the acquisitions of Le Toux and Parke, “In making these moves, the Union not only picked up two very talented soccer players to make their roster better heading into the 2013 season. They also sent a signal that the new regime, directed by the far more reasonable John Hackworth, values things like loyalty and integrity. It also values where a player wants to be and what fans care about. Refreshing, isn’t it?”
Le Toux said at Friday’s press conference, “I hope to stay here forever because it’s the club I love to play for. I’m very, very happy. There’s no other way to describe it.”
Nick Sakiewicz said, “We want to let the fans know that we heard them loud and clear when Sebastien left. We really listened hard to what the fans wanted here in Philadelphia, the type of team they wanted on the pitch and type of players they wanted in this organization.”
Hackworth said at the press conference that Le Toux will be used as a forward. “It’s the position he has been most successful at. It’s truly the position that we needed. We can adjust tactically and take advantage of that, but we were missing a piece. Sebastien fills that. He epitomizes what we want to do as a team, his work ethic, his competitiveness, just the fact that our fan base expects us to go out every single game and outwork our opponents. I don’t think there is a player in the league that does that better than Sebastien.”
More on the press conference from the Delco Times.
Simon Borg says of the Le Toux and Parke moves, “One is an adopted Philadelphian (Le Toux). The other is born-and-bred hardcore Philadelphian (Parke). But they both will feel just the same amount of pride playing inside PPL Park. The Union may be heading into only their fourth season, but they already have players who are ready to fight to the end for the jersey. Now all Hackworth has to do is harness that pride and translate it into a playoff berth.”
Parke said of signing with the Union, “It is a dream come true to be able to come home and play in front of my hometown fans and the Union faithful.”
Hackworth, who described Parke as “one of the best center backs in our league,” explains why the team moved for Parke in a letter to Union fans.
“First off, we truly believe that players who want to be here are vital to the future of our team. We feel that they will not only perform better on the field, but that it will raise the level of everyone in our locker room. Secondly, while we liked the fact that we were young and accepted that last season, we knew that we needed to add experienced players, both on the field and off. Again, we think that “experience” will improve both our team and the young players that are still so important to this club and its future…Still, why add a center back? The reasons are numerous, but depth in the most important reason. In addition, adding depth at a key position like center back allows us some versatility in other positions on the field. It is no secret that Amobi Okugo was really good for us as a center back, but having the choice to play him in the midfield as well, will give us a dimension that we lacked previously.”
At the Daily Doop, Kerith Gabriel writes that eh Parke signing “just made the Union back four a dominant force akin to the one in 2011” but notes, “when speaking of the back line now given the names on the roster…who’s the odd man out?”
At ProSoccerTalk, Richard Farley, who calls the Parke acquisition “an extravagant purchase” and a “curious move,” and opines “Philadelphia is better with him but don’t need him.”
Sporting News says Parke presents the Union with “an intriguing defensive surplus.”
Sounders co-owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer said of the Parke trade, “Sometimes family trumps soccer, and in this case, we were able to help Jeff get closer to his family.”
Sounder at Heart speculates that the amount of allocation money the Union handed the Sounders for Parke “is likely to be at least $75,000.”
Noting that “Rarely do franchises admit to a huge mistake by doing something to reverse it.,” John Smallwood says, “If Major League Soccer were at the level of the other major sports in Philadelphia, the Union reacquiring forward Sebastien Le Toux on Thursday would be the equivalent of Cliff Lee returning to the Phillies, Allen Iverson returning to the Sixers or Jeremiah Trotter re-signing with the Eagles.”
More on the Le Toux return from MLS Talk, who says “PPL Park should return to more of a 2011 feel come the New Year.”
Following the Le Toux press conference and the Parke signing announcement, the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft took place. The Union passed when their turn came to make a pick but Hackworth said, “Look for us to make some additional moves this week in the second round of the re-entry draft…I have a good feeling that we will be able to make another positive step forward, but you will just have to trust me on that one.”
Danny Cruz talks about his father, an army reservist who just received notice that he’ll soon be heading to Afghanistan for his fifth tour.
According to the American Outlaws Philadelphia Chapter Facebook page, “Philadelphia and PPL Park have officially submitted a bid to host a WC Qualifier.”
Union Dues has their end-of-the-year awards.
Want to be an assistant equipment coordinator? The Union are hiring.
The Washington Post profiles Reading United alumni, and New Hope native, Steve Neumann, who scored the first College Cup hat trick in 19 years in Friday’s semifinal. Neumann’s Georgetown team lost Sunday’s final 1–0 to Indiana.
Neumann tells MLSsoccer.com that Graham Zusi is his MLS role model.
West Chester United defeated Cavalla FC 2–1 to advance to the Eastern Pennsylvania US Open Cup qualifying tournament final. The other semifinal match between United German Hungarians and the Predators was postponed.
In indoor soccer action, Harrisburg Heat fell 9–8 to the visiting Cincinnati Kings.
The lone pick of the Re-Entry Draft was Maicon Dos Santos by Chicago.
MLS expansion in Jacksonville, Fla.?
Lisa Cole will return as the head coach of the Boston Breakers in the as yet unnamed women’s professional league. Cole coached the team to the championship in last year’s WPSL Elite league.
Vancouver Whitecaps have pulled the plug on their W-League team.
The US women’s team defeated China 2–0 on Saturday.
Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller’s 40 year old record of 85 goals in a calender year with two goals against Real Betis on Sunday. Muller said, “My record stood for 40 years – 85 goals in 60 games – and now the best player in the world has broken it, and I’m delighted for him. He is an incredible player, gigantic.” Here’s video of each goal.
Goal.com reports, “The Council of Europe is holding a meeting on Dec. 19 to discuss the way that FIFA has been governed under current president Sepp Blatter.”