Photo: Paul Rudderow
The Union return to league play at PPL Park on Saturday when they host Colorado Rapids (7 pm: 6abc, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick).
Union interim head coach Jim Curtin said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Vincent Nogueira, who has been recovering from a groin injury, will be available for Saturday. With Edu missing Saturday’s game while he serves a a red card suspension, questions once again surround the Union central defense. Austin Berry is healed from the rib injury that has kept him out of the lineup but is now dealing with a stomach bug. Curtin said Ethan White may be an option.
We’re tinkering; we’re looking at a couple of different options there. A guy like Ethan White is a real option now. Ethan has been very sharp in training. He’s been a guy that we’ve been trying to get a game now. He’s earned it from the way he’s performed in training.
Coming on the heels of Tuesday’s US Open Cup game, Saturday’s match against Colorado will be quickly followed by the Union hosting New York Red Bulls on Wednesday. At Delco Times, Matthew De George takes a deeper look at the balancing act of dealing with fixture congestion, suspensions, and injuries.
Brotherly Game asks fellow SB Nation blog Burgundy Wave three questions about the Rapids.
Curtin has confirmed the Union are about to acquire 21-year-old Jamaican striker Brian Brown. You will recall we linked to a report in Monday’s roundup that indicated that Brown would be coming to Philadelphia on loan through the end of the season. However, Dave Zeitlin reports, “The Union manager didn’t want to say on the record whether the deal was a loan.”
Brown trialed with the Union in June and seems to have been very impressive. Curtin said,
He’s a player that we’re excited about. We had him for a couple of weeks previously and he’s a goalscorer. So that checks a box in that regard…
He did very well and scored a bunch of goals in the run of play when we played 11 v. 11. He did well against our starting center backs and caused a lot of problems. So the alarm bells went off pretty quickly. You could tell he was pretty special around the goal.
Describing Brown as “probably best suited in a 4-4-2,” Curtin said of the young striker,
He can be a guy that jumps in a wide spot. He can play as the high guy by himself. He can do the Conor (Casey) role. He’s obviously not as big and strong, but he provides the threat to get in behind. A guy that can stretch the field is something we feel like we need right now because the higher he takes the center backs, the more space that gives a Cristian Maidana and a (Vincent) Nogueira underneath.
Cutin said he plans to ease Brown into the team, saying the young striker is “from out in the farmlands” of Jamaica and “his head’s spinning a little bit.” He said, We’re going to ease him into the process.”
Curtin also spoke about defensive reinforcements, notably the possible return of Carlos Valdes. Curtin said,
We’re cautiously optimistic with Carlos. We think that’s one that can get done. He’s a guy that knows the league very well. We’re hoping sooner rather than later. [Technical director] Chris Albright is working his butt off on that one. That’s the main target but we have a timeline and have to move forward if it’s not going to be Carlos.
Curtin confirmed our report from Sunday that the Union has also targeted Algerian national team captain Madjid Bougherra. Dave Zeitlin writes that Bougherra is “a backup plan” in the event that the Union cannot secure the return of Valdes.
A report from the Spanish language edition of Goal.com (crappy Google translation here) from July 8 says San Lorenzo, the Argentine club that Valdes is on loan to, has noted Curtin’s previous comments about the Union’s desire to bring Valdes back and so has “decided to settle the debt with the US club” in order to retain Valdes through the end of the year.
Regarding Michael Farfan, Curtin said the former Union man has been training with the club as a favor.
Mike gave me a call and told me about his situation in Mexico — how with them changing coaches, there’s always a craziness that goes on there with that process. He asked if he could train here for a couple of weeks. It’s a favor. It’s just to keep him going and getting him sharp. He wants to be around a team and get going before he goes overseas on some trials.
Curtin said further of Farfan, “I’ll never say never. He can come here and we can say, ‘You know what, we’re not letting him go anywhere’ and maybe we make a move. But that’s not the idea right now.”
The American Pitch considers Cristian Maidana’s impact on the Union.
Harrisburg City Islanders are on the road on Saturday to face Dayton Dutch Lions (7 pm, NSCAA TV, YouTube).
Harrisburg’s Neil Shaffer is excited about returning to the lineup after a month layoff following a hamstring injury.
Attendance at Harrisburg games is up 14.1-percent during the World Cup.
It’s a big match tonight down the shore as Ocean City Nor’easters host local rival Reading United at 7 pm. The first 150 people through the gate will receive a free retro Ocean City Barons scarf.
Reading United forward Brett Campbell has been named PDL Player of the Week after scoring 2 goals and 3 assists in last week’s pair of games. Shane Campbell and Alex Bono received honorable mentions.
The Penn women’s team has named seniors Haley Cooper, Clara Midgley, and Kaitlyn Moore as captains.
Penn men’s team sophomore striker Sam Hayward gets a profile piece from his hometown paper.
MLSsoccer.com on how Philly-native and Chestnut Hill Academy alum Dan Gargan has become a mainstay in LA Galaxy’s backline.
Mechanicsburg’s Bobby Warshaw writes at MLSsoccer.com on how “American players are the key to success in MLS.” Warshaw currently plays for Swedish club GAIS.
New York City FC have signed goalkeeper Josh Saunders. He’ll go on loan to the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions through the end of the year.
New York Red Bulls and Jonny Steele have mutually agreed to part ways. Steele leaves the club with six goals, eight assists, and no “h”s.
LA Galaxy have terminated the loan of Brazilian forward Samuel. With extreme prejudice.
Subscriptions to MLS Live have gone up 300 percent during the World Cup.
Following an incident at last week’s USL PRO game at Tampa Bay Rowdies in which 16 Orlando City supporters were ejected and four arrested, Orlando City has suspended the privileges (use of drums, flags, large banners, and so on) extended to The Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm supporters groups until the groups agree to abide by a new Fan Code of Conduct which follows MLS Supporter Group guidelines. The four people who were arrested have been suspended from all Orlando City games “pending the outcome of legal proceedings.”
The NASL is setting the goal of being a 20-team league by 2018, with expansion plans for Hartford, Miami, Canada, and especially the West Coast.
Canadian Soccer News reports that plans are afoot for the NASL to launch a seven-team league in Canada, “all affiliated with local CFL teams and playing in CFL stadiums,” by 2016. More on the news from SB Nation.
According to The Irish Independent, the US will play Ireland in a friendly in Dublin on Nov. 18. The US is already scheduled to be hosted by the Czech Republic on Sept. 3
In case you missed it, here’s Clint Dempsey’s appearance on the Dave Letterman Show.
Four Four Two has a good time hanging out with US supporters at the World Cup.
Cambridge University has looked at the three most used words in media coverage of each World Cup team. For the US, those words were determined, heroic, and courageous.
Soccer-related online shopping increased 280 percent in June.
Former US Soccer general secretary Hank Steinbrecher talks about some of the highlights of helping to grow the game in the US.
The World Cup concludes this weekend with Saturday’s third place game between Brazil and Netherlands, and Sunday’s final between Germany and Argentina. Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for times and channels, as well as the rest of the week’s live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio.
CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb wants more World Cup spots for confederation teams. “We’ve showed the world the quality of football that’s being played in CONCACAF. We’re very, very proud to have three teams out of four advance to the round of 16. It’s incredible representation from us, and it speaks well, not only of what’s happening in CONCACAF now, but of the future.” Currently, three teams from CONCACAF automatically qualify for the World Cup with a fourth team getting the chance to qualify via a playoff.
The Guardian reports, “The Brazilian police said they now consider Ray Whelan, the British senior director of FIFA’s official hospitality company arrested as part of a $100m ticket touting investigation, to be a fugitive.” Whelan reportedly slipped out of a hotel service door when police came to re-arrest him.
The BBC reports, “Brazilian federal police say that some 200 Ghanaians have requested asylum after entering the country on tourist visas to watch the World Cup. The Ghanaians say they are Muslims fleeing inter-religious conflicts in their home country.” Police expect another 1,000 Ghanaians to request asylum when the tournament is over.
The New Yorker has nine memorable World Cup moments.
The Guardian reports, “Egyptian football fans are in a fix: they are forced to choose between watching the World Cup final on a channel owned by al-Jazeera, an Arabic network seen by many Egyptians as an enemy of the state, or on an Israeli channel that broadcasts in Hebrew.”
The AFP reports that 9 were killed and 15 wounded when an Israeli missile struck the Fun Time Beach cafe in the southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday. The cafe was crowded with soccer fans who had gathered to break their Ramadan fast and watch the Netherlands-Argentina World Cup semifinal.
The Washington Post looks at the connections between the six Israeli men arrested for murdering Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khieder and the far right Beitar Jerusalem supporters group La Familia.