Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz
Zac MacMath bluntly assessed the Union’s 2013 season by saying, “We weren’t good enough to make the playoffs.”
Jack McInerney said, “A couple of finishes or stops here and there, and we’re easily in the playoffs. We let ourselves down, we wanted to win and we wanted to make it to the playoffs. That was our first goal…We just let ourselves down, we didn’t really learn from last year, although last year was much worse, we got better this year, but I think going forward, we’re good enough to be in the playoffs and we have to get results.”
In the final power rankings of the season at SI, Avi Creditor says of the Union, who finish at No. 13, “Ultimately, the club just did not do enough against high-caliber opposition during the season to merit a playoff place. However, there are plenty of legitimate building blocks on that roster to believe 2013 was a step in the right direction.”
Zolo Times says of Saturday’s loss to Kansas City, “I struggled this year understanding what motivated Hackworth’s lineup decisions. I am now even more confused.”
I missed this but on Sunday, Portland’s Diego Valeri passed Sebastien Le Toux for most assists with 13. Merde.
Chris Albright, who describes walking onto the pitch at PPL Park as a hometown guy representing his hometown team as the highpoint of his career, isn’t sure what the future will bring now that his playing career is over but hopes to remain in some capacity with the Union. “We’ll see what’s on the horizon. I’d like to [stay]. I’m hopeful we’ll get something solved.” If Moreno isn’t back next season to do color commentary for Union broadcasts — and I certainly hope he is — does anyone else see Albright stepping into the broadcast booth?
Penn’s Stephen Baker was named Ivy League Player of the Week, Philly Soccer Six Player of the Week, and named to CollegeSoccerNews.com’s National Team of the Week, for his two assists, game-winning goal performance in the comeback 3-2 overtime win over Yale on Sunday. Freshmen Matt Poplawski was named Philly Soccer Six Rookie of the Week. Baker has previously played for Reading United.
Penn hosts No. 9 Penn State at 7 pm tonight at Rhodes Field.
Joining Baker on CollegeSoccerNews.com’s National Team of the Week is South Philly’s very own Darius Madison, who scored both goals in the University of Virginia’s 2-0 road win over No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday. It was Notre Dame’s first loss of the season. You can watch the goals here.
Georgetown’s Steve Neumann continues his strong senior season.
PDA’s Cameron Harr leads the US Soccer Development Academy U-15/16 age group with 14 goals after a hat trick in the 4-0 win over Continental FC Delco over the weekend. Philadelphia Union Academy’s Kevin Carvalho and Colin Brezniak each have seven goals.
The New York Red Bulls players have dedicated winning the Supporter’s Shield to head coach Mike Petke. Tim Cahill said, “I remember at the start of the season when the big name managers were touted about to bring success to this football club but this guy (Petke) is the heart and soul. He knows what it is to be a New York Red Bull.”
At ESPN, Alex Labidou on the prospect of New York going all the way.
Also at ESPN, Jason Davis on Portland’s “rich, but ultimately championship-less past,” one in which winning isn’t everything.
ProSoccerTalk has playoff predictions, rounds up some stats on playoff participants, and also argues (rightly) that too many teams make the playoffs. You can view the broadcasting schedule for the playoffs here.
At SI, Avi Creditor has playoff storylines.
At Goal.com, Seth Vertelney on Houston, the team no one wants to play in the playoffs.
Fulham manager Martin Jol says of reports that Clint Dempsey could go on loan to the team during the MLS offseason, “It’s unbelievable speculation, which is nice…I never talk about players, especially when they are not here.”
Reports out of Canada say that Martin Rennie has been fired by Vancouver. An official announcement is expected today.
Fullback Richard Eckersley has been let go by Toronto.
Real Salt Lake have signed a 10-year shirt sponsorship deal with “nutraceutical” marketer LifeVantage worth $30 million.
The San Jose Earthquakes have become the fourth MLS franchise to start a PDL club, joining Chicago, Portland, and Vancouver. The Union, New England, and Seattle each have partnerships with existing PDL clubs.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says of Brek Sea’s hopes to go on loan in order to get playing time and make it back onto the USMNT, “My priority isn’t to get Brek into the U.S. World Cup squad. My priority is to get him ready to play Premier League games here, and we are working on that every day. He has been talking about going out on loan, and if he can get into a decent club at a good level it would benefit him and us. If we feel an opportunity presents itself, and it would be good for Brek to go out and play games, then we’ll look at it. But up to this point we haven’t seen anything that we think will help.”
At SI, Brian Straus argues how the proposal from Michel Platini that the World Cup field should be expanded to 40 teams is about increasing political and financial capital. “The World Cup represents the most effective carrot and stick available to soccer’s power brokers. By controlling access to the planet’s most popular sporting event, FIFA bends governments, national federations, media and sponsors to its will. For individual countries, hosting or competing is a matter of significant pride, not to mention millions of dollars. The World Cup is a marketing vehicle, a political tool, an agenda and an ego trip.”
The Times reports that Platini’s plan has been met with “cautious enthusiasm by FIFA’s executive committee, with the emphasis firmly on the cautious.”
CSKA Moscow president Evgeny Giner says Yaya Touré made up accusations that CSKA fans racially abused him in last week’s Champions League game. “Yaya Touré invented it all. The [UEFA-assigned] delegate did not hear anything. The inspector did not hear anything. There was no hooting from the stands. CSKA…has enough black players ourselves. What kind of racism?…I do not even want to discuss why Yaya Touré did that…God will judge him. Granted, in the championship of Russia, there were times when bananas flew onto the field, which is unacceptable.”
Giner then suggested that the controversy is just a case of sour grapes. “The British can not put up with the fact that they did not receive the 2018 World Cup. The British are constantly coming up with something: that in Russia the pitches are in bad condition, then the stands behave disgracefully racist. It is very frustrating.”
Meanwhile, La Liga club Elche has denounced its own fans for racially abusing Granada’s French defender Allan Nyom on Saturday. A statement on the club website said, “The club repudiates in the strongest possible terms the racist chants directed at the player Nyom that came from one very small section of the crowd. In fact, after the incident, Elche CF called via the public address system for an immediate end to the behavior and ordered that it not be repeated, as actually happened.”