Photo: Paul Rudderow
Maurice Edu played 45 second half minutes in Wednesday night’s All-Star Game at centerback. We’ll see how the playing and travel time affect his availability for Saturday’s game at PPL Park against Montreal.
Edu said of the Union’s season,
I’m very excited. I was excited at the beginning of the season, I’ve always been confident in this group of guys that we have here and nothing’s really changed. We know it’s a long season. When we weren’t getting the results that we maybe thought we deserved, it was difficult but we still kept a positive mindset and now we’re starting to see the benefit and the rewards of the hard work we’ve put in. There’s still quite a bit of ways to go. We’re confident, we’re positive about what we can achieve this year. And the next few games that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to break down the rest of this season into small collections of games and just try and go from there. Put together a good run, get into the playoffs and see where we can go from there.
He said of the acquisition of Rais Mbolhi and the return of Carlos Valdes, “We’re all excited. Whenever you get fresh faces in, it livens up the group again. And these are quality signings, so we’re all looking forward to getting them into the group pretty quickly.”
More on Edu at the All-Star Game from before the game at the Union website.
At Soccerly, quotes from the KYW Philly Soccer Show podcast interview with Zac MacMath about his reaction to the Rais Mbolhi signing are the meat in Kevin Kinkead’s report.
At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin has more on MacMath’s reaction to the Mbolhi signing.
The AP reports, “Relegated Sochaux demanded on Wednesday to be allowed back into Ligue 1 in place of Lens after its northern rival again failed to meet financial requirements.” Sochaux is of course Vincent Nogueira’s former club.
Brotherly Game has the good, the bad, and the ugly from last Friday’s draw with Kansas City.
Fans can drop off school supplies “such as notebooks, pens/pencils, binders, paper, scissors, markers and rulers” at at collection points at Toyota Plaza and the Sons of Ben tailgate beginning two-hours before kickoff at the next two home games for the Philadelphia Union Foundation’s School Supply Drive.
Pedro Ribeiro scored his second brace in three weeks as Harrisburg City Islanders defeated New York Red Bulls Reserves 3-1 at Skyline Field on Wednesday night. Antoine Hoppenot assisted Ribeiro’s second goal with Jamiel Hardware’s unassisted tally adding to Harrisburg’s scoreline. With the win, the team moves into sixth place and extends their winning streak to three games. City Islanders host first place Orlando on Saturday night.
Head coach Bill Becher said of Ribeiro, “He’s a beast, man. He makes such a difference for our team. He can score, he holds the ball up, he does a lot of things well.”
At Penn Live, Michael Bullock has a great read on 15-year-old Christian Pulisic (Hershey, Pa./PA Classics) going to Borussia Dortmund on a five-year deal, “Once that hefty amount of needed paperwork is complete and the bureaucrats ultimately flash a thumbs-up.”
Pulisic scored in the US U-17s win over Colombia on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Copa Naciones de Mexico. Pulisic, who has scored in each of the four games the US has played for six goals so far, gave the US a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute before Colombia equalized in the 31st minutes. After a scoreless second half, the game went to penalty kicks, the US being perfect from the spot — Pulisic scored, as did Allentown’s Danny Barbir (who recently joined West Bromwich Albion) — to win 3-0 after Colombia missed its first three attempts. Bethlehem’s Kevin Silva started the game in goal but was replaced late in the second half by Will Pulisic, Christian’s cousin. The US next meet Ecuador in Friday’s semifinal.
The MLS All-Stars defeated Bayern Munich 2-1 in Portland on Wednesday night. Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring with a brilliant volley in the 8th minute before Bradley Wright-Phillips equalized with a great strike of his own in the 51st minute. In the 70th minute, Landon Donovan scored what proved to be the winner.
All-Star team manager Caleb Porter said after the win, “I thought we played good football. We played out of the back. We didn’t sit back or try to destroy the game. We scored two great goals and some of the sequences we put together were fantastic.”
Taking away from the All-Star’s win was Bayern manager Pep Guardiola’s refusal to shake hands with Caleb Porter after the win. Guardiola was apparently upset set by two tackles, the tipping point apparently being Will Johnson’s 89th minute foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger that the Bayern manager said left the World Cup star with an ankle injury. Yes, it is preseason for the German team, but most observers would believe that the challenges, while hard and foul-worthy, weren’t criminally reckless.
Guardiola said, “We were a bit upset because Basti is injured. Eight players [World Cup participants] came here 12 hours [flight] just to play this game and to play as best as possible. And we tried to respect the rules of the game and fair play and play as best as possible.”
He added, “Congratulations to MLS for this victory. I expect they [MLS] are going to invite us next year to make the revenge and I’m going to prepare a little bit better. Now we will be sure what’s going on, so we’ll prepare much better. Then we’ll do it. I hope our invitation is coming.”
Here’s Thierry Henry’s take on Guardiola’s unsporting behavior: “He doesn’t like to lose. That’s why he is who he is.”
Porter said, “There’s no reason for me to even talk about it. Coaches get heated and, certainly, you’ve seen me in games and there was so much good to talk about tonight during the game that for me there’s no reason to make that a story.” He added,
I thought the tackles that happened were unfortunate and wasn’t like I was happy about them, but there’s things that happen in a soccer game. There was no ill intent. I understand the frustration completely because they’re in preseason. I’ve been games in preseason with my teams and you do get sometimes wound up with things like that happen.…I understand completely why there was some emotion there, but we certainly didn’t mean to do anything negative in the game and we have the utmost respect for Bayern, their players, Pep – the guy is an idol of mine.
In the end, according to of all people US Soccer president Sunil Gulati, the coaches did eventually shake hands:
All good with Pep Guardiola and Caleb Porter. With them for nice handshake outside the locker room after the game. #MLSAllStar
— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) August 7, 2014
The fans showed their appreciation and respect for the Thierry Henry as he was subbed out of what may be his final All-Star game.
And in the aftermath of an All-Star Game — won or lost by MLS — come caveats.
Wednesday was the end of the summer transfer window. SI’s Grant Wahl reports Columbus thought they had “a handshake deal” to sign Mix Diskerud “only for his father/agent, Paal, to demand more money at the last second, according to multiple sources.” Posting on Big Soccer (?!?), Diskerud says Wahl “has made some erroneous statements.”
Meanwhile, Corner of the Galaxy has backed away from their earlier report that Sacha Kljestan was about to join LA Galaxy on loan. The team has a press conference scheduled for today that was widely assumed to about Kljestan joining the team.
Grammy-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco has been doing his part to convince Jermaine Jones to sign with Chicago.
More on Sacramento’s emergence as a serious contender for a MLS franchise, including a possible location for a downtown stadium.
Sacramento Business Journal has six questions about a possible franchise.
Coming on the heels of MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott saying it’ll never happen, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson says, to the surprise of no one, that he backs promotion/relegation. The article notes that Peterson has lobbied CONCACAF to award the NASL champions an automatic spot in the Champions League, something I find hilarious.
In Wednesday night’s games, first place Seattle (53 points) brushed aside eighth place Houston (18 points) with a 4-1 win. Second place Kansas City (41 points) dispatched last place Boston (14 points), 2-1. Former Philadelphia Independence forward Amy Rodriguez had a goal and an assist in the win, which guarantees KC a playoff spot.
At ASN, Brian Sciaretta talks to English-born Dom Dwyer about playing in MLS and the possibility of him one day playing for the US.
At Grantland, Noah Davis on the problem with summer friendlies in the US.
Reuters reports, “The International Champions Cup, the US based preseason tournament featuring leading European clubs, will be expanded to include a simultaneous competition in Asia next year.” Charlie Stillitano, chief executive of tournament organizer Relevent Sports, says in the report, “In the US we will not go above eight teams but we have opened up a sister company in Asia and the Guinness International Champions Cup will expand next year, most likely to Australia and China…It will be played in the same time, simultaneously, as the tournament in the US…The idea for the future is to perhaps have the winners of Asia to face the winners of the US tournament in September in Europe, perhaps at one of the team’s venues.