Photo: Paul Rudderow
“Crunching.” “Nasty.” “Ugly.” The injury to Brek Shea, only two days after he scored the game-winning goal for the US in the Gold Cup final, that resulted from a rash challenge from Matt Kassel in the first half is the main talking point in much of the coverage of Tuesday night’s friendly between the Union and Premier League side Stoke City.
Shea said after the game, “My knee, it is throbbing a little bit, but I don’t really know. I’ll go to the doctor, find out tomorrow, get an MRI. Look, I mean the defender was going for the ball. I tried to put my body in front of his. Slide tackles happen, some good and some bad. I have done worse to other people so I am really not mad at him at all. I am obviously pretty upset right now though because I was excited to get back with Stoke and get ready for this season.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes’ assessment of the injury was more blunt. “Yeah he is going to be out for a number of weeks at least. Obviously we hope it is nothing more serious, but certainly he looks like he has done damage to his knee ligaments.”
Hughes said of Kassel’s tackle, “I thought it was a very, very poor challenge by the boy. What the hell he was thinking of, I have no idea…(Shea is) disappointed, I think we all are, because it was a poor challenge. You don’t expect that. It’s a friendly game. You need to protect your fellow professional. And I don’t think the guy did that. Don’t know who he was. Maybe he was trying to make a name for himself, I don’t know. He went the wrong way about it.”
Hughes continued, “We have been waiting a while to get Brek back here, and up until the injury he looked very bright, very dangerous and appeared to have a real understanding of what his role was on the left hand side of midfield…He will go for a scan tomorrow, but we know that we will definitely be without him for a number of weeks. It looks fairly serious, but fingers crossed it isn’t anymore serious than we already know it is.”
A remorseful Kassel said, “Obviously I didn’t mean to go in and hurt the guy. I’m friends with the kid. I was just completely going for the ball, and things unfortunately happen in the game. Tonight, unfortunately he got hurt. There was no intent at all. I wish him all the best and I apologize for the tackle.”
Matthew De George notes that a tweet from Kassel to Shea that aid, “@BrekShea sorry for the challenge man didnt mean to hurt you! All the best moving forward my brotha!!” has since been removed.
There wasn’t much more to say about the friendly which, in the first half, was for Union fans an opportunity to see a number of players who don’t see regular minutes in league play. Unfortunately, those players almost to a man did nothing to impress, Antoine Hoppenot being the only exception that really comes to mind.
Hoppenot said of the game, “It’s a good experience for all of us. It’s a good chance to test yourself. It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to get the win but it’s something we can build on.”
Not that there weren’t things to be impressed about in the game, notably the size of Stoke’s players. Said Aaron Wheeler, who after assisting the game winning goal against Vancouver on Saturday and played as a central defender in the friendly and isn’t exactly a short guy, “To be honest, I was quite shocked when I first saw their team. I don’t think they had a player in the first half that stood less than six foot. They were just big physical specimen; I didn’t know they made them like that over there.”
Match reports from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia Inquirer, Delco Times, CSN Philly, The Press of Atlantic City, Philly Soccer News, Union Tally, Brotherly Game, Stoke City, ThisIsStaffordshire.co.uk, MLSsoccer.com, Soccerway, 90soccer.com, Sports Mole, and Goal.com.
We also have video of John Hackworth’s postgame press conference, locker room interviews with Ray Gaddis (watching the 5′ 9″, 151 lbs Union defender muscle 6′ 2″ 187 lbs Kenwyne Jones off the ball was one of the highlights of the second half), Michael Farfan, Antoine Hoppenot, and a postgame quote sheet.
From Kansas City, Jack McInerney says of being a part of the All-Star team, “It is kind of just something that has happened so fast. I’m just taking it all in one day at a time. I never even really dreamed of being here.”
McInerney explained that his recent time with the USMNT has helped him fit into the All-Star team. “Obviously it is a little different, but when I was with the national team a lot of those guys were there too. I got to know them pretty well then and it has been an easy transition into this. I’ve grown some new friends and hopefully I’ll stick with them.
Antoine Hoppenot received an honorable mention in MLSsoccer.com’s Team of Week.
Vote Conor Casey for top MLS performer for the month of July.
More power rankings! At Soccer America, the Union move up one spot to No. 5. ProSoccerTalk keeps them at No. 6. At MLSsoccer.com, the Union remain at No. 8, albeit with dark shadows: “This team seems poised to put together a run now that all the pieces are in place, but are just one backline injury away from being an afterthought.”
Zac MacMath comes in at No. 7 in the latest Castrol Index Weekly Top 20 Performers rankings. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Jack McInerney (No. 2), Conor Casey (No. 17), Sebastien Le Toux (No. 51), Amobi Okugo (No. 52), and MacMath (No. 53).
Former Union defender Michael Orozco Fiscal has signed a new contract with Liga MX club Puebla.
Harrisburg City Islanders forward Lucky Mkosana has been named USL PRO Player of the Week. Morgan Langley and Matthew Bahner received honorable mentions.
Harrisburg plays Phoenix Wolves tonight in Arizona (10:30 pm, USL Live).
Reading United defender Damion Lowe and midfielder Jason Plumhoff, and Ocean City forward Dwayne Reid, have been named to the PDL Eastern Conference’s All-Conference team.
Penn Athletics notes that sophomore central defender Alex Murphy was part of the Lehigh Valley United team that won the McGuire Cup on Saturday.
The Pennsylvania Roar, the new Major Indoor Soccer League team that calls Reading its home, was officially unveiled on Tuesday.
Tonight’s All-Star Game against Roma kicks off at 9 pm (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, UniMás).
Kansas City.com talks to Roma and USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley ahead of tonight’s game.
ProSoccerTalk wonders if it is time for the All-Star Game to dispense with international opponents and return to the East vs. West format.
Columbus Crew has a new owner, the Precourt Sports Ventures.
Some re-branding may be in order. Said new chairman and investor-operator of the Columbus Crew Anthony Precourt, “We’re going to leave no stone unturned. I can’t tell you yet. I love the name Columbus Crew. I love the colors. The badge, might take a look at the badge. We’ve got to see about that, though.” Definitely look at the badge.
Former Crew owners the Hunt Sports Group will continue to be involved in the league through their ownership of FC Dallas.
At Goal.com, Kyle McCarthy says the Crew sale bodes well for the team and the league.
At ESPN, Roger Bennett writes “American soccer fans are a self-critical bunch with a remarkable willingness to wallow” and considers how such constant self-loathing obscures real gains made by MLS and US Soccer. The article includes a new phrase coined by Jimmy Conrad, “the Freddy Adu-ification of talent.” Conrad says, “We have to stop desperately crowning guys who turn out to be crap…Instead of letting these guys develop, we place them on a pedestal too quickly, and the only way is down.”
Tim Cahill is unlikely to be available for New York when the Union travel to Red Bull Arena on August 17. On Tuesday, it was announced he had suffered a torn PCL against Real Salt Lake on Saturday and is expected to be out 3-4 weeks.
Will Landon Donovan be with LA Galaxy in 2014? He says, “We will see. I’m open to whatever happens. I haven’t made any decision yet. If there are offers, I will analyze them and see what happens.”
The Kansas City Business Journal on the evolution of MLS stadiums.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson wants his city to join forces with efforts at nearby Elk Grove to combine forces to bring a MLS franchise to the Sacramento area.
In tonight’s midweek games, fourth place Western New York host eighth place Washington Spirit (7:05 pm, livesportsvideo.com) and third place Portland hosts second place Sky Blue with both teams currently level at 31 points (7:30 pm, YouTube).
Megan Rapinoe has been named NWSL Player of the Week.
The Kansas City Star has a good read on efforts to ensure that FC Kansas City is more than a passing memory.
The Iceland Football Federation isn’t pleased that Aron Johansson has announced his intention to play for the US.
US Soccer press officer Michael Kammerman confirmed to Yanks Abroad that the federation has petitioned FIFA for a change of national association for the young forward.
Jurgen Klinsmann said of Johansson, “We are excited that Aron has chosen to pursue his international career with the United States. We have been in contact with him for the last several months. He is a great young talent with a bright future, and we look forward to introducing him to our team as soon as possible.”
Sportslogos.net has a look at the jerseys the USMNT wore in the Gold Cup final, which, in an homage to the misspelling of Chris Wondolowski’s name on his jersey in the opening game against Belize, had a “W” on the inside of the jersey behind the US Soccer crest.
ASN has a tactical analysis of how the US defeated Panama in the Gold Cup final.
A coin toss at US Soccer headquarters in Chicago has determined that the winner of the semifinal match between Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake on Aug. 7 will host the US Open Cup final on Oct. 1. The final will be broadcast on Goal.TV, which means basically no one will be able to watch the game on TV.
Human Rights Watch warns that Manchester City’s ownership by Sheikh Mansour al-Nahyan, a member of the family that runs Abu Dhabi, allows the country’s rulers to “construct a public relations image of a progressive, dynamic Gulf state, which deflects attention from what is really going on in the country.”
The Guardian reports, “Liverpool have issued members of staff with a list of ‘unacceptable’ words and phrases in their efforts to combat all forms of discrimination at Anfield.”