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Looking for video and a complete transcription of Wednesday’s press conference? PSP’s got you covered.
After saying the club had decided not to appeal the red card shown to Fabinho, John Hackworth said that the absence of the Brazilian and Sheanon Williams means that “No matter how you look at it, we’re gonna have to change some things, we’re gonna have to move some people around…some guys are gonna have to play a role they haven’t previously played for us.”
When discussing defensive options throughout the course of the season, Hackworth has generally demonstrated a willingness to discuss extreme possibilities, such as forward Aaron Wheeler playing at center back. The latest occurrence was him mentioning Sebastien Le Toux as an option to fill in for Sheanon Williams at right back. “Sebastien and I were joking about it on Saturday night that he grew up as a right back, he came to MLS as a right back, and that would be an option.” Settle down, people, settle down. (Why do I feel like I remember a game this season in which Le Toux moved to the backline late in a game? Or am I just going crazy?)
Hackworth said that Michael Lahoud is “an easy choice” to play at right back but he’s still struggling with an ankle injury.
More on Hackworth’s comments about roster possibilities at the Delco Times.
Zac MacMath said of Saturday’s game, “I think D.C. is our biggest rival. All of our games against D.C. are always tough, physical battles. Especially going into RFK, we have to be prepared mentally and physically.”
Hackworth said in the press conference that DC have “some roster issues due to call-ups and injuries.” How bad is it? Defender Dejan Jakovic and midfielder John Thorrington are both out for the rest of the season with injury. Defender Ethan White is also expected to not be available with a knee injury. Additionally, Dwayne De Rosario is unavailable for DC after being called up by Canada. Black and Red United has a post recounting the team’s injury woes and another post suggesting a possible lineup to face the Union.
Head coach Ben Olsen said, “I’ve got a couple of things to think of: I’ve got injuries now, so I am juggling and it’s not like I am putting next year’s starting team with maybe one different player. Now I am changing a bunch of guys because of injuries. So I am tinkering with that. I want to see guys that haven’t gotten a lot of minutes this year. There aren’t many of them, but one or two guys I need to see in real games and give them a chance because I have to make [roster] decisions” for next season.
Olsen added, “I want to win. We want to get out of that this funk we’re in in the league. It’s not a healthy way to continue with all of these losses…We don’t want to talk about [league records] too much, but it’s real. We don’t want to be that team. That is part of this equation. If that ends up happening — again — it’s been a bad season. If it’s been the worst, it’s been the worst.”
The DC United website has an interesting — and long — post recounting the various connections between its players and the Union players.
Brian Carroll will play his 300th MLS game when the Union face DC, the club at which the Union captain began his career. Well done, good sir, well done.
Wednesday’s press conference began with a question about Hackworth’s thoughts on the “longest-tenured coach in Philly pro sports” silliness that began this week with the firing of Flyers head coach. Hackworth replied,
First answer is that I think it doesn’t matter at all, it’s completely irrelevant. Especially with how long it’s been — it hasn’t been very long.
The second answer is that it does piss me off, to be very clear, but it’s not about me. I think it’s incredible that in this day and age, in the world we live in, with how popular our sport is, that in a city that says that it is, you know, such a sports town, to say, “Nah, it doesn’t count as one of the top professional sports.” I think that’s crazy.
Amobi Okugo said of the “controversy,”
“It’s crazy. Soccer’s still growing. Maybe if we make the playoffs and the other teams stay on their downward spiral like they have been maybe we’ll get more recognition. I’m not wishing bad on the other teams but if we make the playoffs and do make a little run, it might get us a little more recognition. But in the meantime, we’ve been like the little stepbrother that no one cares about. Philly loves winners. If we win, we’ll start getting some more recognition.”
Union Tally projects what the Union, and the other Eastern Conference contenders, will need to do to clinch a playoff spot. Two wins in the last three games ought to get it done.
In SBI’s power rankings, the Union move up two spots to No. 9.
Brotherly Game rounds up how former Union academy players are doing in college play.
Temple’s Robert Sagel has been tapped by TopDrawer Soccer.com as one of five freshmen who could be in line for a US U-20 MNT callup. The TDS article is behind a pay wall but an article on the Temple men’s team website has the gist of things.
In midweek Eastern Conference play, No. 3 Houston and No. 2 Kansas City played to a 0-0 draw.
In other midweek contests, Seattle was thumped 4-1 at home by Vancouver with Whitecap’s 18-year-old rookie Kekuta Manneh becoming the youngest MLS player to score a hat trick. Seattle has now been out-scored 9-2 in the last two games. San Jose edged out Colorado 1-0 thanks to a 69th minute goal from Chris Wondolowski. It was his league-leading seventh game-winner this season.
Sources tell the Washington Post that DC United head coach Ben Olsen and general manager Dave Kasper are both expected to keep their jobs despite the team looking at setting a new league record for the fewest wins in a season.
AFP reports, “Interim Republic of Ireland manager Noel King has rejected a request to release captain Robbie Keane from the squad after Friday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier in Germany.” You will recall the report we linked to yesterday that said the LA Galaxy had requested the early return of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane from international duty so they could be available to play in next Wednesday’s league match against Montreal.
SBI has a breakdown of how each MLS team has been affected by international callups.
NYC FC have hired the Droga5 ad agency to help grow the club’s brand before it begins league play in 2015. Adweek reports, “Droga5 will help NYC FC with work like fan activations as the nascent team builds its brand.” Fan activations?
US Soccer chief Sunil Gulati said at the Leaders in Football conference in London that FIFA will have to make changes before the US bids for another World Cup. “Would we be interested in bidding for 2026? The procedures would need to be very different to what they are now. If the critical issue is taking it to new lands, then tell us in advance, because we won’t bother. The rules need to be clearer and tighter. And the process needs to be better…We’d want more clarity on the bidding and the whole process. For instance, is there going to be a system of rotation, or not? This needs to be established well enough in advance so people know. Also, my personal view is that it should also be a public vote. And the technical report should matter in some concrete way; otherwise, it’s an unnecessary expenditure of funds and time.” More on Gulati’s remarks from NESN.
What do you think about the possibility of a combined USA-Mexico bid for the 2026 World Cup? It’s buried in this report from Reuters, but Liga MX head Decio De Maria said in a panel discussion at the Leaders in Football conference that if the US bids in 2026, they should “Do it with some Mexican cities there.”
Asked if the US would follow the lead of Australia and ask for compensation for the failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup given all of the controversy surrounding Qatar being awarded the hosting rights, Gulati said, “We have not discussed it.”
Tim Howard will be the USMNT captain for the remaining two qualifiers.
DaMarcus Beasley said of the upcoming qualifiers and November friendly against Scotland, “These type of games, especially going away to Panama, are a good test for us in a different kind of atmosphere. The kind of style they play is a little bit different from ours, so all that’s going to help. And then we play in Scotland against a good strong team and a good European opponent. These are games that are going to end our 2013 pretty well and if we can get good results in these last three, four games of the year, that’ll set us up going into the big January camp and moving forward into the spring.”
At the Daily News, John Smallwood on the roster opportunities over the final two qualifiers.
Mondelez, the food conglomerate that makes Oreos, is the new snack food partner of US Soccer (and, incidentally, Chivas USA). Stephen Chriss, the company’s senior director of consumer engagement and marketing services for North America, said of the deal, “This is so much more than a business deal – it’s the start of a movement to help our great brands connect soccer, community and snacking in a way that makes consumers stand up and cheer.” What was that, Stephen? I couldn’t hear you because I was consuming while standing up and cheering. Oh, brother.
At SI, Grant Wahl on Bob Bradley, Egypt’s “American Pharaoh.”
Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the chairman of the group set up by FIFA to evaluate the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, said the 2022 tournament in Qatar should be held in May and June. “If we played it in May and June it could start on May 20 and finish on June 19 when it would be warm but not like it is in the heat of July. The Champions League final could be on April 30.”
Sri Lankan Vernon Manilal, a former member of FIFA’s executive committee, has been given a lifetime ban for corruption.
AC Milan say they will fight the Serie A sanction that means the upcoming match against Udinese will be played behind closed doors at the San Siro. AC Milan were sanctioned after discriminatory chants were heard during their loss to Juventus on Sunday, the second time the club was so sanctioned this season. Tougher regulations passed over the summer by the league mean that a second sanction results in full stadium closure. The new regulations have prompted concerns that the actions of small groups could have disastrous effects for the average fan.