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News from Union draw, MLS Euro-like schedule could happen as early as 2014, USMNT, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

John Hackworth said after the 1-1 draw in DC, “I’m really proud of the team in the second half. They came out and did everything possible to salvage a point. But at the same time, I’m a little disappointed on the whole performance. I like to look at our performance. When we perform well, I’m OK, but that was not a good performance by the Union tonight.”

Hackworth said of Jack McInerney’s goal, “I’m really happy for Jack. For him to come off the bench and get a goal, to get the monkey off his back—an important, a really important point for us on the road. It’s great for Jack.”

McInerney said of the goal, “Amobi was going up with, I think, [Daniel] Woolard and I screamed ‘Leave it’ – and half the time they don’t do it but, thank goodness, he listened.”

Six of McInerney’s 11 goals have come with 15 minutes or less to play, three of which were scored at or after the 90th minute, each of which salvaged a point for the Union. Interestingly, those three 90th-minute-plus goals came in 1-1 draws against the Eastern Conference bottom feeders, two against Toronto and one against DC.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game on the road in Montreal, Hackworth said, “The thing right now—that game is going to be huge. Going into this game, we controlled out own destiny a little bit, and if the results keep going the way they are right now, we don’t control our destiny and that’s disappointing.”

What kind of changes might be expected? McInerney said, “I don’t know if we really need to make any changes. We’ve won two games and a tie. Those are good results, and especially where we’ve been and the injuries we’ve had and the situations people have been put in. I think today was a decent result. A win would have been better, but we just need to keep battling and doing what we’ve been doing lately, and the results are coming.” I’m hoping Jack was just too modest to say that one change that would be good would be for him to start.

Brian Carroll said, “We’ll probably need at least one win out of the last two to have an opportunity [to advance to the playoffs]. But things are tight and we have to do everything we possibly can to find a way to get on to the next stage of the season. I have confidence in the group that we have that we can go out there and find a way.”

Carroll said of playing his 300th MLS game, “It’s cool. I like the fact that I’ve been able to accomplish it, but a win would have been nicer.” Yep.

As was plain to see, if DC United could finish, they would have put the game to bed well before McInerney’s equalizer. United coach Ben Olsen said, “We’ve seen this before. You’ve got to go get the second goal and be classy enough to have the composure with the final ball to finish off games.”

Match recaps from PSP, PhiladelphiaUnion.com, Philadelphia Inquirer, Delco Times, Delaware OnlinePhilly Soccer News (1), Philly Soccer News (2), Brotherly Game, Washington Post, Black and Red United, MLSsoccer.com, SBI, Goal.comThe Sports Network, Sports Mole, UPI, and The AP. Also, CSN Philly and Goal.com on McInerney ending his 133-day goal drought and The Delco Times on the hope that McInerney can continue to score. Goal.com also has a post on how the Union weren’t celebrating the last-gasp draw.

Starting with McInerney finally scoring again, Pro SoccerTalk continues,

Bigger picture, the game wasn’t a great postseason audition for Philadelphia. In their defense, the Union came in short-handed, a situation that got worse when Sebastian Le Toux, pressed into service at right back, had to leave with a plantar fascia problem. Still, D.C. United is a terrible team, and although DeLeon’s long-range strike was a shot-in-the-dark, you’d think a playoff-caliber team would have enough to overcome that setback.

But that’s the big question about Philadelphia: Are they really what we think of when we say playoff-caliber team? When you see a team dependent on Conor Casey — one that seems to rely on their opponent’s mistakes rather than an ability to win games on their own — it’s hard to see Philadelphia as threat. Tonight’s game at RFK illustrated that. If Philadelphia can’t do more to distance themselves from a team with only three wins, are they going to be more dangerous in the postseason than New England or Chicago?

With Saturday’s draw seeing the Union once again below the line to make the playoffs, the odds makers would seem to share PST’s doubts. SportsClubStats.com now has the Union’s playoff chances at 33.7 percent, down from 65.8 percent after the win over Toronto.

Just how damaging Saturday’s result was to the Union’s playoff hopes is evident from a look at the results involving other Eastern Conference contenders. Fourth place Montreal (46 points) continues to struggle, losing 1-0 at home to seventh place New England (45 points), their third home loss in a row in a five-game winless streak. The 1-1 draw against last place DC (16 points) sees the Union (46 points) in sixth place. The draw was also enough for Kansas City to clinch a playoff spot. Chicago’s 3-2 road win over Dallas moves them into fifth place on 46 points. In other words, had the Union gotten the full three points against an opponent they should have defeated, they would be in fourth place behind Houston.

Despite being level with Chicago — and Montreal — on points, the Union are in sixth place because their 12 wins are one less than Chicago’s 13. Montreal also has the same number of wins as Chicago but also has played one less game than both Chicago and Philadelphia. The competition rules and regulations page on the MLS website says, “When two or more teams are tied in the standings on points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss), the following tiebreakers will be used in the sequence below, until one team ranks ahead of the other(s):

  1. Most Wins
  2. Goals For (See column labeled GF on www.MLSsoccer.com/standings page)
  3. Goal Differential (GD)
  4. Fewest Disciplinary Points
  5. Road Goals
  6. Road Goal Differential
  7. Home Goals
  8. Home Goal Differential
  9. Coin Toss (2 teams) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)”

Montreal’s road game against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday is now bigger than ever for the Union. With next Saturday’s evening fixtures including New England hosting Columbus, and Chicago hosting Toronto, the Union will likely need more than a point when they face Montreal on Saturday afternoon. Past history isn’t encouraging as the Union are 0-2-0 in Montreal, being outscored seven goals to three. Of course, until two weeks ago, the Union were winless in Kansas City, being outscored two goals to five for a 0-2-1 record.

From Friday afternoon, The 700 Level’s Steve Moore breaks down Ray Gaddis’ defending of Toronto’s Robert Earnshaw during that 87th minute breakaway.

Local

Willingboro, NJ native and Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Friday, along with Joe-Max Moore.

The start of Atlantic 10 play did not go well for the struggling St. Joe’s men’s team. On Friday they fell 2-0 at home to St. Bonaventure before falling 3-0 at home to Duquesne on Sunday. The women’s team had a better weekend, defeating George Washington 2-0 away on Sunday.

The La Salle men’s team fared much better, topping Duquesne 3-1 on Friday before besting St. Bonaventure 2-1 on Sunday.

The La Salle women’s team’s 19-game A-10 unbeaten streak ended on Friday with a 1-0 loss at George Washington. On Sunday the team drew 2-2 with VCU.

The Drexel women’s team earned their first conference victory of the season, defeating Hofstra 2-1 on Sunday. This followed a 1-0 home loss to Northeastern on Friday.

The Temple men’s team drew 1-1 with South Florida on Saturday. The Temple women’s team fell 3-1 at UConn on Friday.

The Villanova men defeated No. 22 St. John’s 2-0 at home on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the women’s team drew 1-1 with their counterparts at St. John’s on the road.

The University of Pennsylvania men’s team drew 0-0 at Columbia on Saturday. The women’s team fared better, defeating Columbia 1-0 and are now on a four-game unbeaten streak that includes three wins in a row.

The University of Delaware men’s team defeated Charleston 1-0 on Sunday and are now undefeated in the last seven games. The women’s team drew 1-1 with Hofstra on Friday before defeating Northeastern 2-0 on Sunday.

MLS

At the New York Daily News, Frank Isola reports that, according to “a league source,” MLS is “inching closer to adopting a European-like schedule that could be implemented by the start of the 2014 season.” The report continues, “The plan, which has the full support of FIFA, the sport’s governing body, would have the MLS season begin play in either late July or early August and include a six- to eight-week winter break. The championship would either be played in late May or early June.”

Characterizing the report as “rumors,” MLS executive vice president of communications Dan Courteman tweeted that the timing of the 2014 season “will be very similar to the current season.”

Sunday’s 1-0 win over the visiting Seattle Sounders saw the Portland Timbers claim the top spot in the Western Conference. Seattle, third in the Western Conference and now on a three-game losing streak and winless in five games, can still clinch a playoff spot with a win in either of their final two games.

New England’s Saer Sane suffered a dislocated ankle and broken tibia in the 18th minute of the Revolutions 1-0 win over Montreal.

The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns have endorsed the same-sex marriage initiative in Oregon. The Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes reports, “Officials from Oregon United for Marriage say this marks the first time that any major professional sports team has supported a ballot measure to legalize gay marriage.”

This just in from the Department of Hmm, Red Bull is reportedly interested in adding a Premier League team to their portfolio of clubs, which, in addition to New York, currently includes teams in Austria, Germany, Brazil, and Ghana.

US

It took a little longer than most of us would have liked to get the scoring started, but the USMNT defeated Jamaica 2-0 on Friday in their last home game of the 2014 World Cup qualification cycle. Match recaps from PSP, US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com, ASN, Goal.com, SBI, Kansas City Star, Empire of Soccer, Reuters, The AP, plus this postgame quote sheet.

Player ratings from Soccer America, ASN, Goal.com,

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle on the message Jurgen Klinsmann way conveying — “a short, sharp shock” — to Landon Donovan when he was subbed out of the game at the start of the second half.

ASN’s Jon Arnold on how the US subs provided the jolt the team needed after a underwhelming first half.

ProSoccerTalk explains the oddly early start time for Friday’s game. It’s all about TV scheduling and ESPN now having a Friday night prime time college football package.

With the victory, the US claimed the top spot in the Hexagonal for the third straight cycle. They also were undefeated and allowed no goals during their home games in the campaign.

Several changes have been made to the USMNT roster ahead of Tuesday’s last Hexagonal game in Panama. The press release said, “Landon Donovan (ankle) and Jermaine Jones (knee) have been released due to injury concerns. Matt Besler and Tim Howard have also departed as part of a planned rotation of players.” Sean Johnson joins the team for Howard. What do you think, will Donovan be fit enough to appear for the Galaxy when they host Montreal on Wednesday?

Look for our preview of Tuesday’s game in Panama later this morning.

The final USMNT game of 2013 will be played in Vienna against Austria on Nov. 19, marking the first tie the two teams have met since 1998. On Nov. 15, the US faces Scotland in Glasgow.

Fox Soccer notes a milestone for the American Outlaws supporters group, which was founded in 2007. On Thursday night, they announced their 100th chapter.

Noting the atmosphere at the game in Kansas City, the San Francisco Chronicle concludes, “Toto, we are not in a soccer apathetic country anymore.”

Elsewhere

Fox has signed a five-year deal to broadcast the Bundesliga. Unfortunately, the deal doesn’t kick in until the 2015-16 season because the largely unavailable GolTV has the broadcast rights until then.

Remember when Mexico was supposed to be the king of CONCACAF?

Colombia qualified for the 2014 World Cup with a dramatic come-back draw against Chile in which they were down 3-0 before finishing the game at 3-3. Carlos Valdes, on loan from the Union to Santa Fe so that the defender could better prepare for playing for the Colombian national team, did not feature in the match. With Colombia now qualified, it’s probably a pretty safe bet that Valdes won’t feature in the 2014 Philadelphia Union either.

Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland also qualified for the World Cup in Friday’s games.

Did Cristiano Ronaldo intentionally get himself a yellow card during stoppage time in Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Israel so he could skip Tuesday’s game against Luxembourg?

From Patrick Johnson at Reuters, a look at how “Syria’s national football team are hoping continued success on the pitch can give their compatriots small reason to cheer.”

FIFA has announced that tickets for the U-17 World Cup that begins this week in the UAE will be available for free. ProSoccerTalk considers if this is a cautionary tale about the risks of staging a major international tournament in the Middle East of a reflection of the fact that future stars don’t have the same drawing power as actual stars.

19 Comments

  1. I can’t wait for a day when articles like the SF Chron article stop appearing. The patronizing tone adopted in many MSM outlets only furthers the notion that soccer is some kind of novelty.

    • Hmmm… I didn’t read a patronizing tone in it. I did, though, read a tone that was aimed at more of a novice to soccer than the diehard fan.

  2. “The plan, which has the full support of FIFA, the sport’s governing body, would have the MLS season begin play in either late July or early August and include a six- to eight-week winter break. The championship would either be played in late May or early June.”
    .
    Ugh. I may have to rethink my season tickets if this is the case. I have no desire to sit in Chester in November, December, January, or February. Even with a 6-8 week break, there will be games in at least two, and probably three, of those months.
    .
    And those winter games in NE, Montreal, Toronto, and Chicago will sure be a load of fun, too.
    .
    I understand the desire to align better with the international calendar, but who thinks playing games in North America’s winter is a good idea?

    • and does anyone want to watch Casey play a match after Thanksgiving?

    • just kidding I actually support the change

      • Purely for aligning with the FIFA calendar, or is there another benefit to it? Because really, I think games in many of the league’s cities will suck hard because of the weather: Philly, DC, NY (x2), NE, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, KC, Columbus. That’s half the league. Then throw in the potential winter weather in Colorado and Salt Lake City.
        .
        Even if the games get played, I can’t see playing in below-freezing temps as something that would lead to attractive soccer. So… why would this be a good move for MLS? (No snark in that question. I know my writing can sometimes come off that way; seriously curious what the benefits would be that would outweigh the impact of the weather.)

      • I guess it makes sense if it goes hand-in-hand with an expansion of teams in the Southeast. You could have most of the December-February games in Houston, LA, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, etc. and then the June-August games in the northeast.
        That’s the only reasoning I can see. But if they do announce this change for next year, I’m asking for a refund on my season tickets.

      • I’d also have to consider asking for a refund on my tickets, really. I can’t believe sitting in PPL park in those winter months is going to be any fun at all. And while future expansion might allow the league to play funny with the schedule, that’s as many as 7 years away. And, I really can’t see cold-weather teams being very happy about having to play all their winter games on the road, much like warm-weather teams probably wouldn’t ilke having the bulk of their summer games on the road.
        .
        I’m just not seeing how this can be a good change. If the goal is aligning with the FIFA calendar, then there are other ways to do that most years.

      • I support the change to align with the FIFA calendar. I think we would need an eight-week break starting with Xmas or the weekend after Xmas. I think PPL park would be more pleasant in Nov/Dec than it is in Jul/Aug

      • Maybe it’s because I love summer and despise winter, but I’ve never had a problem with PPL park in July/August. And I can’t imagine sitting there when it’s 25 degrees and sleeting / snowing.
        .
        I don’t see aligning with the FIFA calendar to be that big of a chore with the current March-December timeline, really. Once you hit 20 teams, go to two conferences – East and West – and have two 5-team divisions in each conference. Play the other 4 teams in your division three times each (12 games); play the other 5 teams in your confeence twice each (10); play the 10 teams in the other conference once each (10), and you get a nice, tidy 32 game schedule. With 2 fewer league games and the use of mid-week fixtures, you can easily work around the FIFA calendar most years.
        .
        With fewer league games, teams could either emphasis the US Open Cup more, or add in international friendlies to fill the extra weeks to keep the money rolling in.

      • I approve of this schedule just so I don’t feel like a complete ass for bringing a scarf to a game in August.
        Also I hate the summer and often in bouts of heat delirium have plotted to extinguish the accursed sun in a bout of nihilistic spite.

      • Totally agree with Sieve, I look forward to taking my Union STH scarves out of plastic and using them at PPL.

        One positive for this move is that adult beverages stay nice and cold during those cold weather months.

    • Fully opposed. It’s a non-starter for Toronto, Montreal, New England and Chicago, as well as possibly New York, Philadelphia and others. The international calendar is actually a calendar designed by the traditional western European powers. Others have adopted it often out of pressure and often rather foolishly. Look at Russia’s schedule now. It’s ridiculous.

  3. I encourage you to click on the links recapping the La Salle Mens Soccer team’s weekend and put Jason Plumhoff’s name in your memory banks.

    Look for Plumhoff to be a sleeper pick in the upcoming 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Jason was named to the PDL’s All-League team for 2013 and stood out for Reading United this past summer. He’s a tireless worker and his service in dead ball situations is better than anyone on the Union’s current roster. Think Brad Davis and that sums up Plumhoff pretty well.

  4. Man, I really like Sere Sene. I think he is a good player, but damn he has the worst luck.

  5. My first thought on the new schedule is yippee – something to get me through the teaching year. The second thought was , damn, that will really cut into my tailgating experience. I don’t mind freezing my ass off to watch soccer, but sitting in a parking lot trying to keep warm is no fun.

  6. I’m curious to see how Montreal handles the midweek game in LA. They’re dependent on a lot of older guys — I wonder if they leave, say, di Viao and Nesta at home to rest for Philly, and assume they’re gonna lose in LA anyway? Or do they think they can beat the Union with their tank half empty?

  7. John O'Donnell says:

    So, I’m reading the main reason for changing the schedule is that the Playoffs on TV might get better ratings in May. This makes a little sense as they might do better against the NBA/NHL playoffs, than the NFL regular season. From a Union stand point, they should finish the project around the stadium, so we can walk from a bar instead of a tailgate.
    Now the real call is two months of really cold weather or really hot weather. I got to say I’ll hate the break and somehow we go from three months off, to four months. Is this plan B to prevent the 28 game season?

  8. Pingback: Power rankings, the weekend’s clinching scenarios, league schedule, USMNT news, more

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