Daily news roundups

Union in Florida, draftee & trialist list narrows, reports of new Union assistant coach, more

Photo: Vincent Nogueira’s farewell at Sochaux. Courtesy of Sochaux

Philadelphia Union

The Union arrived in Florida for the start of it’s preseason camp at the Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex in Deltona on Sunday. On Tuesday, there will be a scrimmage of two 30 minute halves against the New England Revolution followed by a 90 minute scrimmage against the University of North Florida on Saturday at 6 pm. Both games are at the Dewey Sports Complex.

The Union preseason camp includes 24 players on the active roster and 9 draftees and trialists. Draft picks Luca Giminez and Alex Sweetin are not among those listed but Andre Blake, Richie Marquez, Kevin Cope, Robbie Derschang, Aodhan Quinn, and Pedro Ribeiro are with the team. Kevin Kinkead reports that Yann Ekra is also not with the team. Four trialists are with the team: Fred, Mike Seamon, Brian Holt, and Clésio Bauque. More trialists could come into camp as the preseason continues.

Here’s the Union’s current active roster as listed in a press release issued on Monday morning:

Goalkeepers (1): Zac MacMath
Defenders (5): Fabinho, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Ray Gaddis, Ethan White
Midfielders (13): Maurice Edu, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira (pending receipt of P-1 Visa, International Transfer Certificate, and a physical), Keon Daniel, Michael Lahoud, Danny Cruz, Leo Fernandes, Matt Kassel, Cristhian Hernandez, Jimmy McLaughlin, Zach Pfeffer, Cristian Maidana, Corben Bone
Forwards (5): Conor Casey, Jack McInerney, Sebastien Le Toux, Antoine Hoppenot, Aaron Wheeler

Vincent Nogueira bade farewell to his fans at Sochaux on Saturday (crappy Google translation here). I’m not sure if he’s actually in camp with the Union yet.

Last Wednesday’s announcement that assistant coach Brendan Burke would not be rejoining the Union for the 2014 season caught many fans by surprise, coming as it did so soon after he had stepped down as head coach of Reading United in order to expand his duties with the club. On Saturday, the Washington Post’s Steven Goff tweeted that he was awaiting confirmation that the Union were about to hire former USMNT assistant coach Mike Sorber to fill the position. Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald posted an article soon after in which he said that “multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation” had confirmed Sorber would be joining the Union. As of this writing, an official announcement has not come from the club.

At CSN Philly, Ryan Bright looks at the concerns over the Union’s central defense with the departure of Jeff Parke. John Hackworth says, “We like what we see so far. The reality is that we’re still looking for a center back and if one of the guys here emerges and can play at a high level in this league, they will get the opportunity. Ethan [White], Kevin [Cope] and Richard [Marquez], we’re pleased with them right now. We’re still looking but we’ll have to evaluate as we go.”

White says of adjusting to the team after three seasons with DC United, “I know a few of the guys, so it’s not too weird for me. I know some of the guys from US National Team camp. Coming into a welcoming area, it’s pretty comfortable to me. It doesn’t feel too weird.We’re getting used to everybody. I know Amobi well and I played with him with the national team, we have a good base chemistry. That’s only going to get stronger. It just takes time.”

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has a good read on Ray Gaddis and the coaching courses he took at the recent NSCAA convention. The young defender explains that coaching helps him improve his own game. Gaddis also speaks of the rarity of his own experience of having a black head coach at both the club and college level.

The Tweets of the Week at ASN are all about Maurice Edu.

The Philadelphia Union Foundation’s second annual Cocktails and Cleats charity event will take place on March 12 at Vie. This year, Bob Kozlowski, the president of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame, will receive the foundation’s Building Block Award and Philly soccer legend and National Soccer Hall of Famer Walt Bahr will receive the lifetime achievement award.

Former Union man Michael Farfan made his Cruz Azul debut on Saturday, going 68 minutes in the team’s U-20 (?) squad’s 1-1 draw with Chivas de Guadalajara. Jose Villareal also made his debut and scored in the second minute.

Local

Reading United has released its 2014 schedule. The 14-game season under new head coach David Castellanos kicks off at home on May 7 against Jersey Express.

MLS

You can find news and highlights from preseason action on Saturday and Sunday at MLSsoccer.com.

The Seattle Sounders won the rights to Marco Pappa via the allocation process on Friday.

In the latest rankings of the world’s leagues from the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, MLS comes in at No. 49 out of 125, down from No. 37 in 2012. The rankings are determined by “all national (championship, FA Cup) and (inter)continental (confederations & FIFA club competitions) results of the clubs” in a given league, so MLS clubs will need to do better in the CONCACAF Champions LEague before there is significant improvement in the rankings. By the way, Spain’s La Liga comes in at No. 1 on the list and Mexico’s Liga MX is the top ranked CONCACAF league at No. 15. Costa Rica’s top flight is the second highest ranked CONCACAF league at No. 38, putting MLS at No. 3 in the region.

San Jose president David Kaval says the team is in “advanced conversations” with several potential shirt and stadium sponsors. “Some are considering both properties, and so we want to make sure that we get the right partner.”

Portland Business Journal has a look at the branding agency Fiction, which was responsible for the underwhelming new San Jose Earthquakes crest. Company president Scott Petersen says, “It’s a good opportunity to say this is what we’re capable of doing.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports, “A judge ruled Friday that Orlando has the right to take property needed to build a Major League Soccer stadium against the will of the owners.” You will recall that one of the properties contains a family-owned church but city officials say they are willing to negotiate further with the church owners before going to the courts. More on the story from WMFE.org and mynews13.com.

The Miami Herald reports, “As expected, David Beckham has exercised his option to buy a Major League Soccer franchise, and plans to bring his team to Miami, contingent on a viable privately-funded stadium plan, according to sources familiar with negotiations.” Beckham and Don Garber will be in Miami on Tuesday and Wednesday for a series of events including an invitation only reception on Tuesday night and a press conference the following morning. More from CBS Miami.

Plastics Today looks at shock-blocking technology developed by Mark Dodd, the first ever MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, originally designed for use in shin pads, that has been adapted for use in the caps of Major League Baseball pitchers. Ah, the things that turn up in a Google news alert.

US

The USMNT defeated South Korea 2-0 on Saturday in their first game of 2014 with Chris Wondolowski scoring both goals. Match reports and analysis from PSP, US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com, ASN, Fox Soccer, Soccer America, SBI, SI, ProSoccerTalk, US Soccer Players, Goal.com, The New York Times,  and The AP. Postgame quote sheet here.

Player ratings from ESPN, MLSsoccer.com, ASN, and Goal.com.

At SI, Brian Straus says Wondolowski strengthened his case for making the trip to Brazil with his two-goal performance. Soccer America says he still faces some stiff competition.

Jurgen Klinsmann said, “Seeing Wondo start the year 2014 with two goals was awesome. It’s awesome for him.”

At Goal.com, Keith Hickey says Klinsmann’s greatest achievement may have been in expanding the US player pool. Soccer America says a majority of the US team in Brazil could be MLS players.

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre has more info on the three World Cup warmup games the USMNT will play before heading to Brazil. According to the report, the US will begin the series in Stanford, Calif., against a yet to be determined opponent on May 27. The team will then play a yet to be determined opponent at Red Bull Arena before closing the series against Nigeria in Jacksonville on June 7.

On Friday, the USWNT defeated Canada 1-0 in their first game of 2014, with Sydney Leroux again tallying against the country of her birth. Match reports from US Soccer, The Equalizer, SBI, and ProSoccerTalk. Postgame quote sheet here.

Elsewhere

The Guardian reports, “Angry Brazilian fans broke into a World Cup training center and assaulted players and staff on Saturday in an attack that highlighted the security concerns facing teams in this year’s tournament.” Some 100 Corinthian “supporters,” miffed at the club’s recent form, used wirecutters to breech a fence before proceeding to assault players and coaches.

At Buzzfeed, a British soccer fan who has never watched American football before gives his take on the Super Bowl. My current favorite line is, “The approximately 105 substitutes run on and off the pitch without warning.”

Apparently, Pele was invited to become the place kicker for the New York Giants after retiring from the Cosmos.

15 Comments

  1. The Buzzfeed article is fantastic. The link to it is also broken ;)

  2. Is Michael Farfan under 20?

  3. Are You Smarter than the FO? says:

    Let’s rip off the TV show:
    .
    This team is pretty set at keeper, forward and defense (with more help needed at LB and CB). But midfield is a jumble. Five guys are set — like it or not — with Edu, Carroll, Nogueira, Maidana, and Ribeiro.
    .
    That leaves 3-5 slots for:
    Bone
    Cruz
    Daniel
    Fernandes
    Hernandez
    LaHoud
    McLaughlin
    Kassel
    Pfeffer
    Trialists
    .
    Don’t tell us what you want, but who makes the team, and who goes where. Harrisburg? International Loan? A great big open field where they can run and run forever? Take your best shot.

    • Pfeffer.
      Cruz… I am resigned to this fact
      Bone. They went out of their way to get him
      LaHoud. I think they like him as a squad player.
      Keon I guess… unless they deal him somehow.

    • McLaughlin and Hernandez to Harrisburg.
      .
      Bone, Lahoud, Pfeffer on the roster for sure.
      .
      My hunch would be one of Cruz or Hoppenot get traded. I’d prefer Cruz to go, but I suspect it’ll be Hoppenot since he’ll likely bring more back in return. So in that case, add Cruz.
      .
      Assuming we don’t count the two home grown loanees, I still have one slot left. That slot will be either Fred or Keon Daniel.
      .
      To throw a monkey wrench into that, though: I wouldn’t be surprised if Brian Carroll gets moved before the season starts. I don’t know if that means we get Fred and Daniel, or they just go with one less mid from the list, or some other option.

    • Union Roster – Bone, Cruz, Lahoud, Pfeffer & Keon.

      Lahoud is a lock because of his versatility. Keon is the most talented of this group, but being an international in a position where the Union are now deep makes him vulnerable. I could see them trying to send Bone to Harrisburg, but he probably wouldn’t want to go. If the Union could move Cruz, I think that McLaughlin would stay up.

      Harrisburg – Fernandes, Hernandez and McLaughlin

      Released – Kassel (he’ll go play for the Cosmos) & trialists.

    • Here’s the question, if Cruz, Keon and Lahoud (maybe bone too) are in front of him, AFTER the other 5 mids, would you rather Pfeffer be on the roster or with Harrisburg/on loan playing somewhere?
      .
      My hunch is that we will be in a 4-5-1/4-3-3 (at least to start the year. This means the subs will be Casey/Jack (whoever didn’t start), Cruz/Le Toux,/Hoppenot (bc this is still Hackworth) and then one more sub for whoever isn’t playing well of Edu, Maidana, or Nogueira (bc we all know Carroll isn’t subbing)
      .
      This leaves a lot of mids not ever seeing the pitch. Hackworth did not show a lot of creativity last year and we used a lot of the same players with a lot of minutes. In this case I might prefer Pfeffer AND Ribeiro play somewhere else right now so they can grow.
      .
      Great question btw, this really makes me think some kinda of trade MUST happen with a mid going for a def. My guess would be (in order) Keon, Hoppenot, Cruz, Pfeffer

  4. cruz azul is on fire. they are in 1st place in liga mx. marfan may not be in the 18 all season..

  5. Personally I’m fine with having Fabinho at LB for now. As i can recall, when Fabinho first came on the seen we put him at LB and he shined in that spot. He was very skilled on the ball and calm in the back and truly surprised teams when he would progress down the left side of the field creating offense and putting quality crosses in the box. I think keeping him in the LB position can be very effective since he can progress so well down that left side and I think its more of a surprise for other teams and more difficult to defend than having him in left mid. Plus now he has a whole season to get comfortable in that position instead of just half of a season.

    • His first appearance for the Union came as a sub at left mid. His second might have as well.
      .
      When they slid him back to LB, the problem wasn’t his ability to get forward; the problem was his defense. Gaddis was a far superior defender, even playing on the wrong side.
      .
      I mean, if you prefer playing Fabinho over Gaddis, that’s fine; it’s a valid option. Just understand that if that’s you’re preference, you’re essentially choosing offense over defense from a defensive position.

      • I think that may be the teams philosophy this season.

      • Fabinho offers a lot going forwatd at left back. I was at the tin can for the nil nil draw and he held his own defensively, but if we are going to play a 4 3 3 going forward his skill set is essential. Gaddis is a better defender but he is right footed. Maidana will pinch in. The overlap is essential.

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