Photo: Courtesy of DC United
In front of some 1,700 fans, the Union played to a 1-1 draw against DC United in a scrimmage in Deltona on Wednesday night. Chandler Hoffman scored for the Union in the 39th minute with an assist from Don Anding. DC equalized from a penalty kick in the second half after Greg Jordan fouled a DC player in the box.
John Hackworth said after the game, “We gave up the penalty, which was unfortunate, but it was a really good exercise for both teams, and it’s nice to be able to do this in this kind of an atmosphere. Overall, we’re not going to walk away thinking that we played fantastic, but that’s what these games are for.” The Union meet DC United again on Saturday in their final game of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic (1pm, philadelphiaunion.com/live)
Hackworth is the guest on the latest SBI podcast (interview starts at 10:15). He says the team is confident yet humble looking ahead to the start of the new season. Hackworth says the Sebastien Le Toux-Jack McInerney pairing has been the best in preseason. Hackworth also says that no progress has been made on finding a club to take Freddy Adu off the Union’s hands and admits that Adu’s salary and his taking up a roster spot has a big impact on what the team is able to do in the near-term and building toward the future. (For more Adu “news,” see below.)
In case you missed it, the Union announced on Wednesday that recent signings Alex Mendoza and Damani Richards have been cut. More on this from PSP, Philly.com, Delco Times, Goal.com, PennLive.com, Philly Sports Live, and Brotherly Game.
On Wednesday evening, a tweet from a Sounders beat reporter Don Ruiz revealed the news that Union SuperDraft pick Stephen Okai was now training with the Seattle club and was on the roster for that night’s Desert Diamond Cup match against New York.
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said of Okai, “He was a guy that we liked on our combine, so we figured that we still had some days here. We’re going to need some numbers to make our game work on Saturday, so we wanted to bring him in and take a look at him and see if what we saw at our combine is something that he has as he steps up and plays against MLS competition.”
- Dave Zeitlin’s preview at MLSsoccer.com says it’s “not out of the realm of possibility” for the Union to make the playoffs. “But for that to happen, the veterans will need to stay healthy and the young players will need to make steady improvements throughout the year.”
- Zeitlin has also put together a depth chart that features a possible (hopeful?) 4-3-3 led by McInerney, Casey, and Le Toux up top. The team’s two biggest weaknesses: lack of wingers, finishing.
- WV Hooligan thinks the Union will be a quiet contender and is just a few trades away from being a playoff team.
More Adu rumors! At Goal.com is an article that provides little more than what everyday informed speculation has already provided regarding what’s going on with Adu. Alex Labidou says a “source with knowledge of Philadelphia’s situation” has revealed that “MLS clubs are basically asking for Adu on a free transfer and want the Union to foot some of his reported $500,000 annual salary.”
Just a few sentences later, Labidou quotes the source as saying of Adu, “He refused to take a pay cut (on a guaranteed deal)…[but] his salary is not an issue, teams find a way to make the numbers work…Philly would probably take a hit to diminish their cap hit; the problem is teams know he is on a high number.”
So, is Adu’s salary an issue in unloading him or not? Or is the issue something else? The source says, “I think teams are afraid to bring Freddy in because of the way Philadelphia portrayed him…they made him look like a problem…Freddy is a good kid, he needs tough love but he’s not a problem in the locker room at all from what I’ve heard.”
Adu’s agent, Richard Motzkin, said “Yes” when asked by Labidou whether MLS or foreign suitors are still inquiring about Adu, which is good to know. When asked whether Adu will still be a Union player on opening day, Motzkin said that is still “to be determined,” to which you can be forgiven for thinking “Uh huh.”
Deltona mayor John Masiarcyzk says the Florida town is working on plans to build a multipurpose stadium that, in addition to hosting events throughout the year, would be the preseason home of the Union.
We really appreciate the recognition that the Union have brought to this area. There has been a buzz in this town about the team and we are honored to have this be the preseason home of a great professional franchise. We have plans in place to provide a permanent preseason home for the club for many years. These aren’t plans that are set in stone as of now, but they are being discussed…We have a great relationship with the Union and they have been more than accommodating and helpful during their stay. It’s become something I believe our residents can rally around and look forward to.
USL announced new roster rules on Wednesday that will allow USL PRO teams “to carry as many as five academy players on their rosters in USL PRO competition.” The announcement continues, “Additionally, MLS teams affiliated with USL PRO clubs will be able to use the academy player slots for their own academy players.”
The id2 National Selection tour of Spain on Feb. 28-March 11 will include matches against academy teams from Barcelona and Real Madrid. The id2 team includes Andrew Aprahamian (D, Penn Fusion), Josh Burnett (M, PDA), and Kyle Gruno (D, PDA).
DC United have acquired Carlos Ruiz via the league’s allocation process. DC head coach Ben Olsen said of Ruiz, “We will get Carlos fit and see where he is…What does he have left? We’ll see. I’m excited to have him.” Ruiz is expected to arrive at DC’s camp in Florida today and begin training on Friday. Be interesting to see if he makes it into the match against the Union on Saturday.
In the Desert Diamond Cup, undefeated Seattle defeated New York 2-0. Real Salt Lake scored twice in the final three minutes of the game to defeat New England 3-2. Real and Seattle will meet in the Cup final on Saturday.
New York have signed midfielder Johnny Steele.
MLS executive vice president for competition, technical and game operations Nelson Rodriguez says that goal-line technology is unlikely to arrive in the league until 2015.
At Goal.com, Kyle McCarthy looks at the league’s disciplinary process.
Doug Quinn has stepped down as CEO and president of FC Dallas. Quinn has been on administrative leave since being charged with spousal abuse in New York in November.
Robbie Keane and Morrissey are cousins? Who knew?
The USWNT will play Netherlands at Kyocera Stadium in The Hague on April 9. They play Germany away on April 5.
The US has qualified for the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship thanks to Costa Rica defeating Haiti 1-0 on Wednesday evening. The US and Costa Rica, also in the quarterfinals, play a now meaningless final group match on Friday (6:30pm, FSC).
The series of Centennial articles at the US Soccer website continues with a look at Jimmy Ford, who earned one career cap with the US team that toured Scandinavia (and featured 5 area players) in 1916.
CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb says plans are still in he works for a CONMEBOL Centenary Cup tournament to take place in the US in 2016 that would also involve the US, Mexico, and four other CONCACAF teams.
The opening game of the Gold Cup will be a double header featuring Mexico at the Rose Bowl on July 7.
Spurs supporters in a Lyon bar were assaulted by a group of balaclava-wearing attackers ahead of today’s Europa League game.
A 14-year-old Bolivian boy was killed after being struck by a flare during a Copa Libertadores match between San Jose and Corinthians. A dozen Corinthian’s fans have been arrested in connection with the death.
Here’s a look at the “Vigilant Eye” video surveillance technology that has been developed following calls in Germany for more effective measures to clamp down on hooligan activity inside of stadiums.
Suspected match-fixer Admir Suljic was arrested in Milan on Wednesday following his arrival on a flight from Singapore.
The Guardian looks why match-fixing and bribery are endemic in China.
Some 200,000 counterfeit soccer balls originating in Chaina have been seized in Brazilian port of Santos.