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Union start USOC play on May 28, moving on from KC, Hoffman happy, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union will commence play in the 100th edition of the US Open Cup when they enter the third round of the tournament on May 28. US Soccer announced on Tuesday a number of format changes to the Cup tournament, including the largest field of competitors ever, a big increase in prize money for the winner, and the elimination of any bidding for hosting rights for the semifinal and final. All home sites throughout the competition will now be determined by random coin toss. For more on the format of the 2013 US Open Cup, check out The Cup.us.

In case you missed it, the Union announced on Tuesday the signing of longtime trialist Matt Kassel.

Also announced was the date of the annual friendly with PDL partner Reading United, which will take place on Friday, June 7 at 7pm at Don Thomas Stadium in Reading.

Sebastien Le Toux said of Saturday’s loss,

I think it’s important to learn from this but also to wipe it away and get ready for Colorado. If we go on the road and get the three points, it will wipe away a lot of the disappointment here…We have to forget about the loss to Sporting and push ahead. I know myself and all these guys in here will come back strong and ready to play. We want to wipe away the bad taste and turn it around Saturday.

Le Toux comes in at No. 6 in the Castrol Index Weekly Top 20. After Le Toux, the next five highest ranked Union players on the Full Index are Michael Farfan (52), Gabriel Farfan (53) Keon Daniel (99) Sheanon Williams (100), and Brian Carroll (115). (I don’t know why Le Toux is listed at No. 6 in the Top 20 and No. 7 in the Full Index.)

In Tuesday’s Daily Doop, Kerith Gabriel reports that the team spent a portion of the morning training session reviewing tape of Saturday’s loss. Union assistant coach Rob Vartughian said,

I think in an honest moment we were happy with what we did for the first 35-40 minutes of the game and we are building on those positives. But we made a lot of mistakes in the second part of the game and we reviewed those today and are going to work on correcting them…Look, they’re the ones that have to go out and play the game. We want there to be some back and forth. We want to see if they see the same things we do and have them involved in the process of how to fix the mistakes.”

Fellow assistant Jim Curtin repeated a theme that has been communicated by the coaching staff for sometime: Competition within the squad is fierce and no one’s starting spot is guaranteed.

[T]he message is that guys are competing for spots, and there are guys that have had very good games against Kansas City and there are guys that maybe didn’t have their best, so there is going to be competition, which is good. We have a deep team and we’re going to have guys that step up.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin looks at Saturday’s performance from Ray Gaddis, who received an honorable mention in MLSsoccer.com’s opening weekend Team of the Week, and says “Gaddis was certainly better than Zusi’s stats might indicate.” While you debate that statement, here’s a big question for Saturday’s game against Colorado: Does Gaddis start again at left back against Colorado?

Kevin Kinkead looks back over the history between the Union and Colorado. In case you were wondering, Ismail Elfath will be the referee for Saturday’s game.

On the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has a great Q&A with former Union forward and new Union color man Alejandro Moreno about his move from the playing field to the broadcast booth and back to the Union. Moreno says taking the color commentary job with the Union was an easy decision. Aside from being able to work with and learn from JP Dellacamera, Moreno says,

Also, I have a home in the area. When I was here with the Union I expected to be here for a long time, for whatever reason that did not work out…but I kept my home here and I knew it was a possibility for me to come back at some point. It made sense for me to come back to the Philadelphia Union because this is a place I did not want to leave in the first place.

NJ.com on Union homecomings.

ProSoccerTalk has picked up on the River End’s show of support for Robbie Rogers in Saturday’s home opener and features a photo from PSP photographer Earl Gardner.

What’s that you ask, are there any more power rankings? But of course! At MLSsoccer.com, the Union come in at No. 17 which, the article helpfully notes, is down two spots from where they finished in 2012. ProSoccerTalk says they’ll avoid a “rush to judgement” wait until next week for their first power rankings, the spoilsports.

If you are a Twitter user, follow the Union’s new @TheUMatchday account for matchday updates.

In case you missed it on Saturday, here’s the Bethlehem Steel tribute film the Union made.

Kerith Gabriel reports that, less than a week after it’s unveiling, sales of the new Bethlehem Steel-inspired third kit have already surpassed those of the white third kit the club released two years ago.

Local

Readers in the Scranton area may be interested to know that a new team is forming with the intention of competing in the the Keystone Conference of the National Premier Soccer League. Open tryouts for the Electric City Shock will take place this weekend at Riverfront Sports.

Former Reading United man Evans Frimpong is apparently impressing with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

MLS

Chandler Hoffman, traded to LA by the Union last week, says of being with the Galaxy, with whom he trained while at an All-American at UCLA, “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” Bruce Arena says of him, “We know Chandler. He’s been around for a couple of years, from his UCLA days. Good young player. He’s going to have to get adjusted to us, but he fits right in. He seems comfortable here. I think as the season goes along, we’re going to see him make progress.”

It looks like injury news could be harder to come by. The Washington Post’s Soccer Insider Steven Goff tweeted on Tuesday, “Days of #MLS making injuries public every Tuesday and Friday are over. Disclosure a day or two in lead-up to individual matches only.”

Houston Dynamo defeated Santos Laguna 1-0 in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal off of a fine goal from second half substitute Brad Davis in the 89th minute. More on the game from Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy.

Seattle face Tigres UANL away tonight in Champions League play (10pm, FSC).

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle has an extensive interview with Don Garber.

The Guardian has a great interview with Marcus Hahnemann.

Barring any setback, New England’s Saer Sane should return to the squad sometime in April. Union fans will remember Sane from the screamer he scored against the Union last season on July 29.

At the Shin Guardian, Steve Fenn does an analytical breakdown of what the departure of some big name players from LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, and Sporting Kansas City might mean.

Records show that MLS was the single largest spender on lobbying efforts in New York City in 2012. The league spent some $1.7 million lobbying for the proposed stadium in Queens, spreading the expenditure through five different lobbying firms.

US

SI, The Equalizer and ProSoccerTalk preview the USWNT at the Algarve Cup. The US begins play today at 9am against Iceland, which will feature former Philadelphia Independence and longtime PSP favorite Holmfridur Magnusdottir. All of the US matches are available for pay-per-view from iN Demand, UStream, Avail-TVN, DIRECTV, and DISH.

The US U-17 MNT has been drawn into Group C along with Guatemala and Haiti for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which will take place April 6-19 in Panama City. The U-17 World Cup will take place in the United Arab Emirates from Oct. 17-Nov. 8.

Empire of Soccer looks at the US performance in the CONCACAF U-20 championship tournament and says that, after only two years, the MLS academy system is already benefiting US Soccer.

USsoccer.com checks in with former USMNT midfielder Rick Davis.

Elsewhere

We’ve all known it was coming but the announcement from the Fox Sports Media Group on Tuesday that the new Fox Sports 1 network signals the end of the Fox Soccer, if if that end has not been officially confirmed. The new network will launch on August 17 and will include coverage of, among other sports, the UEFA Champions League, the CONCACAF Champions League, the FA Cup, as well as the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The new network will be available in 90 million homes upon its launch, making it the the biggest sports network launch in the history of cable television.

FIFA is “worried” about the progress of stadium construction and renovation ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Lesbians have reportedly been banned from Nigerian football.

Martin Rogers looks at the scourge of laser pointers being directed at players during games and concerns that they could begin to appear more frequently in the US.

You can have a sculpture of Lionel Messi’s left foot for only £3.5 million. Did I mention its made of pure gold?

UEFA Champions League play continues today at 2:30pm with Paris Saint-Germain vs Valencia (FSC, Fox Soccer2Go) and Juventus vs Celtic (Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer2Go).

9 Comments

  1. I like the idea of starting Gaddis, it is obvious that we aren’t getting a true left back anytime soon. But I only like it if we start Saomare and move Okugo up to mid. Having Okugo provide cover for Gaddis. Means we have and inexperienced left back and Lahoud in the midfield and that is a net loss even though we move Garfan further up the field.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I don’t mind Gaddis at LB either. He had his struggles on Saturday (very costly) but, on the whole, I think that he played a good match. Zusi is very good and difficult to mark. Gaddis showed real hustle and he jump started a few nice Union possessions. I just wish he could hit an overnight growth spurt.

    • I like Gaddis, but I don’t think his playing style would go over well in Colorado. I could see him getting completely gassed early in the game from playing in the altitude.

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    Honestly, I don’t care who starts… although I wouldn’t mind Gaddis. I just want 3 points. No ties… no moral victories… 3 points.

  3. I suspect Gabe would not have Fared any better against Zusi, but it’s hard to say. I think Ray deserves a few more starts there.

  4. I am very unhappy with Hackworth’s lineup for the KC game, but the one thing I was happy about was starting Gaddis and pushing Garfan up to the midfield. Gaddis is only a sophomore, and he’s switching sides, and though he made mistakes on D, he also made some really nice runs. I wouldn’t want to discard him based on one game. More troubling is that Garfan was fairly invisible. But that may be positional rust too.

  5. I never understood why teams in any sport are made to disclose an injury report. You’re essentially telling the other team about weaknesses in your squad. I find it hard to believe that guys don’t key on other players’ injuries. Sure, it’s probably more prevalent in football, but injuries can be taken advantage of in any sport.

    • Probably for betting and things like that. You need to know whose real hurt/not hurt if you are making bets or buying tickets to the game.

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