US Open Cup
DC United pulled a Wigan and defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 for the US Open Cup championship in the 100th edition of the tournament. DC held on for the win after Lewis Neal — who signed with DC in 2012 after trialing with RSL and failing to win a contract — scored his first goal of the season just before the halftime whistle. It is DC’s third US Open Cup title and first trophy since last winning the Open Cup in 2008.
Match reports and recaps from US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com, the Washington Post, Black and Red United, the Salt Lake Tribune (1), the Salt Lake Tribune (2), Deseret News, KSL.com, RSL Soapbox, Soccer America, ProSoccerTalk, the Guardian, SI, SBI, Goal.com, AFP, and the AP.
I’m not sure if Union fans should take solace in the fact that they were knocked out of the tournament by the eventual champion two years in a row or should be ticked off that they were defeated after playing so terribly against a DC team that is utter crap.
Zac MacMath and Amobi Okugo have been named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week. The announcement says MacMath was “simply unbeatable,” and Okugo “looked every bit the veteran” in the win over Kansas City.
MacMath came in at No. 2 in the Castrol Index Weekly Top 20 Performers rankings. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Jack McInerney (No. 8), Conor Casey (No. 22), MacMath (No. 25), Sebastien Le Toux (No. 42), and Amobi Okugo (No. 47).
Vote MacMath for Save of the Week!
At the Union website, Kevin Kinkead has a closer look at the numbers from Friday’s win over Kansas City.
You can win two bus and game tickets to travel to the game in DC on Oct. 12 with the Sons of Ben as part of the Union’s “The U Thank U” October promotion.
Tickets are available for the Army-Navy Cup at PPL Park on Nov. 8.
Several area players are among the 26 called up for the US U-15 GNT camp that will take place Oct. 5-12 at the U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center in Carson, Calif. They are goalkeeper Evangeline Soucie (PDA; Milford, N.J.), defender Kaitlin Higgins (PDA; Andreas, Pa.), and midfielders Alexa Ferreira (PDA; Warren, N.J.), Shea Moyer (FC Revolution; Wyomissing, Pa.).
At US Soccer Players, J Hutcherson has a history of the MLS playoff format.
At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald talks to USL PRO president Tim Holt, a graduate of Radnor High School, about how the first year of the partnership with MLS has gone and possible future developments.
Top Drawer Soccer has an interesting look at how parity in MLS leads to tactical similarity. In view of the Union’s win last Friday, this passage is of interest:
Possession metrics are grossly overrated, a fact that is seeping out of the analytics community with increasing speed. The ability to hold possession is only as useful as the key passes and shots on target it cultivates. But they are still valued in tandem with the fruit they produce. The only stat that ultimately matters is goals, and the value of two entirely different avenues of getting to the same place is purely academic. A counter-based team that scores 2.8 goals per game is no less valuable than a possession-based team that scores the same amount.
Ah, to average 2.8 goals a game.
Yesterday we linked to a report that said a deal was close to being finalized that would see David Beckham own a MLS team in Miami. The Miami Herald reports, “Meanwhile, a London-based investment group led by Italian financier Alessandro Butini made its pitch for MLS-to-Miami official on Tuesday, partnering with the University of Miami School of Architecture to develop ideas for a viable soccer-specific stadium, and launching a website — MIA4MLS.com — to drum up fan interest.”
Speaking to reporters at the US Open Cup final in Utah, Jurgen Klinsmann made it clear that the MLS schedule will have no bearing on who he calls up for the last to World Cup qualifiers. “It is absolutely no issue for us. We see the busy schedule MLS is going through, but it makes no difference. This is World Cup qualifying. We want to end it on a very high note. We are going to call in the guys we believe in.” Damn straight.
Klinsmann, who is expected to announce his roster on Thursday, said that Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones will be in camp but that John Anthony Brooks and Michael Braddley, both recovering from injury, will not.
At ASN, Brian Sciaretta talks to Danny Williams about how he is settling in at Reading.
US Soccer has announced that The New York Times’ George Vescey has been named this year’s recipient of the Colin Jose Media Award.
Greenpeace activists abseiled from the roof of Basel’s stadium during yesterday’s Champions League match against Schalke to unfurl a huge banner protesting Russian oil company Gazprom, a tournament sponsor and sponsor of Schalke. Russia continues to detain some 30 members of Greenpeace who were attempting to scale an Artic Sea oil platform run by Gazprom two weeks ago.
Reuters reports, “Despite widespread speculation that FIFA will vote to switch the dates of the 2022 World Cup on Friday, soccer’s world governing body will probably delay making a decision and instead set up a task force to analyze the huge implications of moving the tournament from the searing heat of the Middle East summer.”
FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce tells Reuters in the Reuters report, “We will discuss when the World Cup will be held (and) we will also consider the plight of immigrant workers in Qatar whose harsh living and working conditions made headlines last week.”
Interestingly, the report quotes a “close observer of FIFA’s inner workings” as saying, “And it is too simplistic to say it all comes down to what Sepp Blatter wants. He wanted the World Cup to be held in the United States…His strategy from day one was to say we cannot play in June and July. By doing that he has sent a subliminal message, or perhaps not so subliminal, which is: ‘Why did my colleagues vote for Qatar? – I did not vote for them’. But while he says the World Cup cannot be played in the summer, he also knows that changing the dates could cost FIFA one billion dollars.”
The New York Times on Sepp Blatter, “the consummate player” in FIFA politics.