Daily news roundups

Power rankings rise, interplanetary funksmanship, City Islanders win, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

More power rankings! At SI, the Union move up three spots to No. 8: “Tranquillo Barnetta looked to be in top form and C.J. Sapong is arguably playing the best soccer since his rookie year. The impact both made in Philly’s 2–0 win over NYCFC exemplifies the variety of ways the Union can get the job done–Barnetta with deft skill, Sapong with pure strength.” At Soccer America, the team moves up one spot to No. 7: “The Union improved its home record to 3-0-0 with goals by two players long associated with other teams.”

Tranquillo Barnetta has been named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin quotes Maurice Edu on the national team buzz that is growing around CJ Sapong: “I think it’s well deserved with the start he’s had and the way he finished off last season. I think he’s put his name up there with the top strikers in this league. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. It’s not just the goal scoring but I think his overall level of play, the way he holds up the ball, the way he contributes defensively, his attitude, his approach to the game…He’s in the right state of mind and he’s a big part of this team.” More on calls for Sapong to be called up for the national team at Goal.com.

Darryl Dawkins Sapong is the guest on the latest ExtraTime Radio podcast (interview starts at 24:51). Asked about the planet Lovetron, Sapong laughs and then says, “Yeah, apparently it’s been coined as of late. I don’t know if NASA researchers have finally caught it on their telescopes, but, yeah, a planet I stay connected to, obviously [laughs]. I enjoy the streams of communication that transpire between me and that planet and, ultimately, its spreading the love, and spreading the love around me, so, yeah, shout out to Planet Lovetron.”

Asked if he practices interplanetary funksmanship as Darryl Dawkins once did, Sapong replied, “Oh yeah, for sure. Interplanetary communication is something that I pride myself on these days. You also got to throw in the transdimensional communication in there, as well [laughs].” Also, apparently Keegan Rosenberry cuts hair quite well. Funny interview that also has a good discussion on Sapong’s goal against NYCFC and what it meant to him, and more, including the national team talk.

Stateside of Soccer has a some “quickfire questions” with Sapong. The best response from Sapong:

SOS: How many goals are you going to score this year?

CS: 100,000

In a post praising Jim Curtin at the Union website, Matt Bodiford notes that with the win over NYCFC, “Curtin has won a franchise record five consecutive home games.”

In his weekly stat check column at the Union website, Chris Winkler notes, “The 4-3-0 start is the club’s best since 2011 when Peter Nowak’s team went 4-2-1. However, if the Union were to win on Saturday against San Jose, it will be the club’s best start through eight games in the seven-year history of the franchise.”

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta on why the Union are top of the Eastern Conference:

Philadelphia, on the other hand, had a very good draft to reshape the defense with Josh Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry. On top of that, C.J. Sapong has been a terror up top. Sapong has always had the talent so his success is not entirely unexpected, and the same foes [sic] for Chris Pontius, a proven MLS contributor.

All this was apparent in Philadelphia’s 2-0 win over New York City FC. Sapong’s strengths are a great fit for MLS and Tranquillo Barnetta has been able to make big plays. His assist on Sapong’s opening goal was skillful and a delight to watch. His freekick goal last weekend [sic] was a masterpiece.

Bethlehem Steel

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog considers if Taylor Washington will be on the bench for the Union against San Jose as a backup fullback with Ray Gaddis presumably starting for the suspended Fabinho.

Harrisburg City Islanders

Harrisburg City Islanders (10th in the Eastern Conference, 6 points, 2-3-0) bounced back from last Friday’s 3-2 home opener loss at FNB Field to Louisville City with a 2-1 home win over Orlando City B (12th place, 4 points, 1-4-1), the team they recently defeated 1-0 on the road for their first win of the 2016 season. Jose Barril opened the scoring in the 16th minute for his second goal of the season, with Shane Johnson netting the game winner in the 33rd minute after Orlando had equalized from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute.

Harrisburg is on the road this weekend to face Rochester Rhinos (7th place, 7 points, 2-1-1), the current USL champions. Recaps and reports on Monday night’s win at Harrisburg City Islanders, USLsoccer.com, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GameFlorida Today, WFTV, and The Mane Land.

Local

Pulisic!

Brittany Basinger (Penn State) and Tyler Lussi (Princeton) have been called up for the US U-23 WNT camp in Charlottesville, Va., May 1-7.

The Newtown Bee on the upcoming Soccer Night in Newtown benefit doubleheader in Connecticut on May 6. The night begins with West Chester United facing New York Cosmos B, followed by Reading United against Newtown Pride.

Registration for Ocean City Nor’easters’ annual summer camp program for Mini Stormers (3-6 years old) and Lil’ Stormers (7-12 years old) is now open. Weekly camps begin June 27 and run through August 5. “Every camper will get a Nor’easters season ticket as well as a soccer ball and t-shirt.”

MLS

DC United’s Fabian Espindola is out 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury.

Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath on the state of officiating in MLS: [T]oo many times, and I said this in the week, too many times the outcome of the game is by the people who are [officiating], not the people who are participating in it.”

Demolition has begun in preparation for the groundbreaking of DC United’s new stadium at Buzzard Point. Groundbreaking is expected to happen at the end of the year. More at MLSsoccer.com.

Portland-Seattle comes in at No. 48 in FourFourTwo’s rankings of the 50 biggest derby games in the world.

Residents of Elmont, New York staged a protest outside of the offices of New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s regional office in Hicksville to state their opposition to the New York Cosmos proposal to build a stadium at Belmont Park. Nassau County legislator Carrié Solages said, “There is no way a mega soccer stadium is even going to be filled with 25,000 people. We deserve better. This is about raising the standard of a community.” The story was first reported by Newsday but the article is behind a paywall.

US

From the Houston Dash: “Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain in Saturday night’s match in Orlando. An MRI scan this morning confirmed the injury…The expected recovery time for an injury of this nature is three to six weeks.” Lloyd said in the announcement, “The timing is not great but I’m confident that I will come back in peak condition. Rehab starts tomorrow and you’ll see me on the field soon.” More at Philly.comPhilly Soccer NewsSoccer America, Fox Soccer,  and the AP.

A commentary piece at the Wall Street Journal says the USWNT wage discrimination action is just a “a public-relations ploy to get a sweetened union contract.”  Allysia Finley writes, “Women on the U.S. national soccer teams aren’t paid less than men. They’re paid differently because the collective-bargaining agreements they have negotiated emphasize income- and job-security.”

Elsewhere

From The Guardian:

The 96 people who died at Hillsborough in 1989 were unlawfully killed, the jury at the new inquests into the disaster has determined.

The verdict represents a vindication for the bereaved families who have fought for 27 years against South Yorkshire police claims that misbehaving fans caused the tragedy – as well as against the 1991 verdict of accidental death.

The jury decided that the behaviour of Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough did not contribute to the dangerous situation that developed outside the grounds, rejecting a claim by South Yorkshire police which the families and survivors of the disaster have relentlessly denounced as a cover-up.

It could take up to a year for charges to brought. More at Liverpool EchoThe Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Sun (which has gone from this — and is still boycotted in Liverpool — to this, along the way), The BBC, PA Sport, and the AP.

The AP reports, “Michel Platini‘s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his six-year FIFA ban will also be attended by Sepp Blatter. Platini’s office said on Tuesday that Blatter has been called by FIFA as a witness. The case will be heard on Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland.”

Champions League semifinal first leg today at 2:45 on FS1: Manchester City vs Real Madrid.

20 Comments

  1. Anyone who is connected to Planet Lovetron is aces in my book.

  2. ebradlee10 says:

    We’ve had several “great drafts” since 2010 according to MLS literati at the time. It feels so good to have rookies on the first team making strong contributions.

    Fuck The Sun. #Justice

  3. I love that SI’s power rankings have the Union’s record at 4-3-3…

    • pragmatist says:

      Hmm…trying to decide if I would be ok with 3 straight draws…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Tough call since none of the next 3 will be easy. It seems the Union have had the better of San Jose recently but they seem to be playing well. LA will be a quick turnaround and long travel which is good for the Union but the Union have a bad home record against LA (one draw in 3 games, outscored 2-6). Then on the road in Montreal, it seems a draw would be acceptable.

      • pragmatist says:

        When you spell it out, yeah, I’d be fine with a point against all three. But 5 points out of that would be really nice…

  4. Thank you Alyssia Finley, finally some common sense on the whole payment matter.

  5. Funk rankings >>> Power rankings

    • Funk rankings:
      1. The original, Darryl Dawkins
      2. CJ sapong
      3. Andre Blake’s hair
      4. Everyone else
      5. BC (sorry BC)

  6. Never like to see anyone get hurt, but it looks like we’ll have a 4th (!?) string keeper and Fabian Espindola-less DC team at home on the 20th.

  7. Have you guys thought about a “Meet The Team: Bethlehem Steel FC” type article?

    I would love to learn about the roster and go down the list of who is a Union prospect, who is there for depth and ETC.

  8. If you haven’t… watch the 30 for 30 on Hillsborough. So well done. Glad justice is being served.

    • Not possible for another year though. And they are different types of players – Altidore and CJ would be your target types and Morris and Dwyer could be your speed options.

  9. These power rankings could be confused with the Andre Blake highlight reel.

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