Photo: Paul Rudderow
Amobi Okugo has been named to SI’s Team of the Week.
For those who had questions about the Union’s game plan against the Red Bulls, here’s what Empire of Soccer’s Dave Martinez had to say:
Credit coach John Hackworth and the Philadelphia Union. Only two other teams have been able to draw the Red Bulls at home this season, and none have shut them out since the third week of the season (a 0-0 draw against DC United).
How did he do it? A dominant side at home, New York were halted and frustrated by a wise Philadelphia Union strategy despite holding over 65% of possession throughout the match. Clogging the middle of the field and eliminating the interior passing lanes, Hackworth took both Fabian Espindola and Thierry Henry out of the game while forcing New York to play through their weakest links – the wings.
It was a winning formula for the Union who came out of Harrison feeling very much the winning side at the end of this confrontation.
Noting that possession isn’t everything, Martinez concludes, “For their part, the Union made the most of their opportunities and nearly took the lead on a pair of occasions in the second half. Overall, the Red Bulls had only a slight shots lead on Philadelphia, 11 to 10. Their shots on target were even at three a piece. Of those, it was a Sebastian Le Toux shot that rang off the cross bar which was the nearest either team could come to scoring.”
Following the weekend’s results, sportsclubstats.com pegs the Union as the fifth Eastern Conference team to qualify for the playoffs. They have the Union’s playoff chances currently at 72.6 percent.
ProSoccerTalk on three teams that struggled in 2012—Portland, Colorado, and your Philadelphia Union—that are now on the verge of the playoffs.
It’s almost time for the MLS 24 under 24 list. The Shin Guardian has published its votes, with Amobi Okugo at No. 6 and Jack McInerney at No. 14.
Union Dues has closed shop to join The Brotherly Game.
The Brotherly Game looks at how former Union players did in last week’s games.
New Hope native and Reading United captain Steve Neumann has been picked as one of MLSsoccer.com’s Top Ten college players to watch.
More details on the shooting of former Harrisburg City Islanders player Jason Hotchkin in West Chester early on Sunday morning. Hotchkin was reportedly accompanied by former City Islander Moffat “Mo” Odour and two women before an altercation with another group resulted in him “being shot several times in the arms, legs and back.” Hotchkin remains hospitalized in stable condition.
Landon Donovan says he’s open to a move abroad when his contact with the LA Galaxy expires at the end of this year. Saying, “we have received offers from teams in different countries that are intriguing,” Donovan continues, “I am still going to speak with the Galaxy and see how they value me and see where they want to go, going forward, but I am really open in a way that I haven’t been before in the past.”
Soccer America looks at how parity makes for an intense playoff race.
In expansion news, Orlando City SC says it’s average attendance of close to 8,000 fans per game shows that soccer is “gaining steam” in Central Florida. The Sacramento Press suggests buying Chivas USA and moving the team north. Fancy Kentucky as the home of a MLS franchise? Some folks in Louisville do. And one writer thinks that MLS wouldn’t work in Winston Salem, at least if past history is any indication of future success.
Really FC Dallas? Really?
Lauren Holiday, nee Cheney, has won the league’s first Golden Boot award with 12 goals over 18 games. She also led the league in assists with 9.
Looking back over the just finished regular season, The Star-Ledger’s Frank Glase says the NWSL is on solid ground.
Equalizer Soccer reports, “Mexico’s soccer federation has not committed to another year of subsidizing players for the National Women’s Soccer League and won’t unless individual franchises can show they have interest in the players, according to Mexico women’s national team coach Leonardo Cuellar.” The deadline to commit to another year has been pushed back from Aug. 16 to Sept. 10.
ESPN will air its documentary on the 1999 Women’s World Cup winning US team tonight at 8 pm.
With the news that Steve Cherundolo is undergoing another knee surgery, Soccer America says his likely absence at the 2014 World Cup will leave a hole in the US defense.
The Kansas City Star has some more background on talks to make Kansas City the home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Sporting Kansas City CEO Robb Heineman said, “There haven’t been serious talks, but we’ve contemplated it in the past. Once the national training center is under development, it’s probably a conversation to revisit. We’ve dabbled in it in the past, but nothing serious.” My two cents: The benefits of a central location for US Soccer’s National Training and Coaching Development Center are not enough to make Kansas City a sensible location for the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Adweek looks behind the scenes of genesis and making of NBC’s very funny An American Football Coach in the Premier League ad campaign with Jason Sudeikis as the wonderfully named Ted Lasso.
The Guardian reports, “The opening weekend of Premier League fixtures marked an all-time low in terms of the number of Englishmen beginning games at the start of a season. A Guardian study shows two-thirds of those on view in the first round of fixtures were foreign nationals, highlighting the falling number of homegrown players in the top flight.”
Gamers will be interested to read mcvuk.com’s account of the origins of EA Sports’ FIFA franchise. You will not be surprised to learn that the American headquarters didn’t have high expectations for what has become the most successful video game in the world.