The Union’s preseason is now clearer with the release of the schedule of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. On Saturday, Feb 9, they’ll face Orlando City SC at 6pm followed by Columbus Crew on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 1pm. After playing an exhibition game in Jacksonville against an as yet unnamed MLS team on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7:30pm, they’ll face Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3pm, which makes for three games in four days. The tournament concludes on Saturday, Feb. 23 with a Championship Day in which the time of the Union’s game will be determined by their place in the tournament standings. I have no reason to say this but I wouldn’t be surprised if a game is added to the Union’s preseason schedule somewhere between Feb. 16 and Feb. 23.
Sporting Kansas City, DC United and Montreal Impact are also playing in the tournament and it seems reasonable to conclude that one of those teams will be the Union’s opponent in the Jacksonville exhibition game. We shall see.
At ESPN, Doug McIntyre tips PPL Park as one of the top five sites to host one of the US qualifiers in the Hexagonal. It’s one of those articles you can only read with a subscription so here’s the text:
“With a June 7 qualifier in Jamaica (and a rumored friendly against Germany in Washington D.C. five days earlier), an East Coast-based training camp ahead of the busiest stretch of 2013 is a near certainty. That doesn’t mean the Yanks have to play Panama in the same part of the country, but with just four days to recover from the trip to Kingston, minimizing travel ahead of the match will help. The Philadelphia area is home to enough U.S. diehards to provide the desired home-field advantage at PPL Park, and the Americans have had success against Los Canaleros in the City of Brotherly Love before, eliminating Panama from the 2009 Gold Cup at Lincoln Financial Field.”
Pretty cool. And the article is illustrated with a photo of the Sons of Ben in action.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation will be hosting its inaugural “Cocktails and Cleats” celebration on Wednesday, March 13 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Tickets are only $175. For more information, email email@example.com.
Was that Union owner Jay Sugarman at Wednesday night’s 12-12-12 benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy relief?
Reading United will be counting down their Best XI moments of the 2012 season today on the team’s Facebook page with the No. 1 moment being revealed on Dec. 31.
Bridgeton, NJ native Tim Santoro has been appointed head coach of North Carolina State University’s women’s soccer team.
The New York Red Bulls have released Rafa Marquez. Insert joke here.
Marquez is reportedly going to Liga MX side Club Leon.
Justin Mapp has re-signed with Montreal Impact.
Brad Davis, Adam Moffat, Tally Hall and Tyler Deric have all signed contract extensions with Houston Dynamo.
Kansas City has picked up Ike Opara from San Jose in exchange for a second round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
Portland has signed Ryan Johnson and Milos Kocic from Toronto in exchange for Joe Bendik, the No. 3 overall pick in January’s SuperDraft, and an undisclosed amount of allocation money.
Sporting News profiles José Luis Sanchéz Solá, the newly appointed head coach of Chivas USA.
Chivas USA has traded its second place position in the allocation order for Portland’s third position “and either a 2013 international roster spot, or a second-round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft should the Timbers acquire one.”
Union Dues has five US players who are currently playing abroad who could use a move to MLS.
Footiebusiness.com reports on a Turnkey Sports poll that finds “MLS sponsors were correctly identified as such by the league’s fans at a higher rate than the companies’ rival brands across all categories.” The article says this is because “Unlike fans of the NFL, MLB and other mainstream sports, fans of Major League Soccer have real concern about their league and its place on the sports landscape…This personalized relationship to the sport lends itself to these same fans taking an interest in the corporate entities that keep the league solvent.”
There is now an official MLS in Queens website.
On Wednesday, Chicago Red Stars announced their coaching staff for the inaugural season of the new women’s professional league. Rory Dames, who joined the team in 2011, will remain as head coach. What an unfortunate last name for a women’s soccer coach to have.
The USWNT defeated China 4–0 on Wednesday night in Houston. Abby Wambach scored two of the goals, bringing her goal total up to 150 with the national team.
Clint Dempsey has been named the 2012 Futbol de Primera Player of the Year.
The German football federation have handed Jermaine Jones a four game suspension after he received a straight red card over the weekend, labeling the US international a “Wiederholungstaeter,” or “serial offender.”
At the Copa Sudamericana final in Brazil on Wednesday, Brazilian side Sao Paolo was up 2–0 at the half over Argentinian side Tigres when a scuffle began between the teams as they were leaving the pitch. Tigres says that they were then attacked by 20 police officers in their locker room, including two who pointed pistols at the team. Tigres refused to come out of the dressing room for the second half and Sao Paolo was awarded the championship trophy. The World Cup ought to be fun, right.
Speaking of the World Cup, Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of the Qatar 2022 supreme committee, has promised that fans will be kept cool when that country hosts the World Cup, which is scheduled for when temperatures in Qatar can reach up to 105°F . “They will be physically cool and they will be cool in every sense.”
Boca Juniors Fan Day in Buenos Aires on Wednesday saw the streets filled with Boca fans. Fighting between fans and police broke out as night fell and dozens were arrested.
Yesterday we linked to a report that said the Zambia Football Association would present evidence that Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972, thus topping both Lionel Messi and Gerd Muller’s 40 year old record. Now, Brazilian club Flamengo is saying that Zico scored 89 goals in 1979. Meanwhile, Messi scored two more goals on Wednesday to bring his 2012 total up to 88.
FIFA has dropped its latest bribery case against Mohamed Bin Hammam after finding no new evidence.
When Udinese played Genoa away on Monday, they had one fan in the traveling support section. Here’s his story. (H/t @TheRiverEnd.)