Daily news roundups

Orlando tonight, USA faces Ecuador, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union begin a very difficult two-game road trip, part of a stretch of three games in eight days, tonight against Orlando City (7:30 pm: CSN, MLS Live, Direct Kick).

Jim Curtin said earlier this week, “I can’t stress enough, it’s one of the toughest places to go, it gets loud in there and, for Disney World being there, their fans can be, they can be…they get after you pretty good — to their credit, you know, they’ve made it a tough place to play. And they’re eager to get results now at home…we have to prepare to be the team that goes there and tries to play on our terms.”

Orlando head coach Adrian Heath said after his team’s win over the weekend, “Let’s hope it’s the turning point in the season. We got a win tonight and I think the confidence will set up nicely for Wednesday.” He said this week, “You have to go back a long way before we’ve lost at home [they have not lost at home since last July], and we’ve traditionally done OK against Philadelphia. But, they’re coming in probably with a different mindset than they have in the past. They’re top of the league, they’re full of confidence and it’s going to be a difficult game for us.”

Previews at PSP, Philadelphia Union (print, videogame notes), Philly.com (preview, report), CSN Philly, Philly Voice, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Pattison Ave, Prost AmerikaVavel, MLSsoccer.com, Orlando City (printvideo), Orlando Sentinel, Florida Times, The Mane Land (roundtable), Parramore Pundits, Soccer America, and MLSGB.

It’s official: The Union have sold Michael Lahoud to NASL-side Miami FC. In addition to $115,637.50 in guaranteed salary coming off of the Union’s salary budget, Taylor Twellman tweeted after the announcement the Union got $300,000 for the midfielder. More at PSP, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GamePattison AveVavel, Soccer AmericaBig Apple Soccer, and Empire of Soccer.

Vote Andre Blake for Save of the Week!

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin talks to Tranquillo Barnetta about settling in to MLS and the Union.

Power rankings! At MLSsoccer.com, the Union move up one spot to No. 2. At SBI, they remain at No. 5.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph rounds up news of Union Academy alumni.

The Philadelphia Tribune reports on the Soccer Play Day that occurred last week at Widener University sponsored by Chester-Upland Soccer for Success, of which the Philadelphia Union Foundation is a supporter.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Picking up on a report from lions4life.com, Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog notes Cameroon deployed Eric Ayuk as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Zimbabwe in Sunday’s 0-0 draw in U-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. The recap on the CAF website described the second round, first leg game as “a barren draw,” but said Cameroon was the better side in the second half. Cameroon hosts the second leg on June 10.

City Islanders

Playing in Lancaster on Tuesday night, the City Islanders defeated Toronto FC II 2-1, with former Union man Aaron Wheeler scoring the second goal. With the win, Harrisburg moves into 8th place in the Eastern Conference, knocking Bethlehem down to 9th place. Recaps at Harrisburg City Islanders, Lancaster OnlinePhilly Soccer News, and Toronto FC II.

Wheeler has been named to the USL Team of the Week for his two-goal, one-assist effort in the City Islanders’ 3-1 win over Bethlehem last weekend.

At the USL website, a good read on supporters culture in the USL.

Local

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reports the Philadelphia Fury — the semi pro team owned by Atlantic Futbol Factory owner Matt Driver that plays in the 10-team ASL, of which Driver is the CEO — wants to join the NASL. Playing at a “planned new stadium” at Rowan University, where the Fury hosted La Liga side SD Eibar on Sunday, is also mentioned as part of the aspirations of Driver and Florida-based consulting firm Global Fútbol Partners.

However, Tannenwald writes, “The potential ownership group isn’t entirely solidified yet, nor is there any official deal in place for Rowan to be the team’s home. So far, there have only been preliminary negotiations between the team and the university.” He continues, “The plan is for Driver to be joined by two groups of foreign investors. One is expected to be a Spanish team, which could be Eibar…The other is an as-yet-unnamed family in the United Arab Emirates – Dubai specifically – which will bring the big money needed for this NASL team to make a splash.”

For his part, Driver admits, “There’s nothing concrete…I haven’t gone to the NASL yet and said I would like to apply for a NASL franchise.” Nor, does it seem, have talks with an investor begun, from Dubai or otherwise. Stay tuned, I guess, because at this point there seems to be little more to the nearly 7,000 word story than acknowledgement from named sources that nothing is even remotely close to be signed (there is also no comment from a representative of LA Liga or Eibar, although a NASL spokesperson gives a no comment), and long passages of contradictory remarks from sources named and unnamed on a variety of topics, although much is said about a “vertical integration system” that seems primarily aimed at garnering larger transfer fees for ASL/NASL players through the LA Liga connection, not that this won’t stop some from swooning at what is now nothing more than a possibility.

Lehigh Valley United Sonic hosts Virginia’s Evergreen FC tonight at 7 pm in PDL play.

At Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski notes the Street Soccer USA Philadelphia Cup games taking place at the Art Museum on Saturday and Sunday after an opening ceremony on the museum steps on Friday at noon. Tournament spokesperson Samantha Fink tells PSP, “So far we have 32 adult teams, 12 corporate teams, 36 youth teams, and 16 homeless teams for a total of 98 and counting, which is 900 registered headed toward 1,000. To accommodate numbers we have extended to a fourth field, two on the apron and two in the oval.”

Villanova has announced its 2016 men’s soccer schedule.

MLS

Antonio Conte on leaving Andrea Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco of the Italy roster for the Euros: “When you make a certain choice and go to play in certain leagues, you do so taking it into account that they could pay the consequences from a footballing viewpoint.” Goal.com notes, “Despite Conte’s comments, the future Chelsea boss has called both players in to the Italy national team during their time in MLS. Giovinco last appeared for Italy in October’s Euro 2016 qualifiers and Pirlo played a pair of Euro 2016 qualifiers for the Azzurri in September.” Yahoo Sports calls Conte’s explanation “lazy.” More at Philly VoiceFox Soccer, ESPNThe Star and  The Guardian.

Finance & Commerce reports, “A workaround tucked in Minnesota statutes means the deep-pocketed group planning a professional soccer stadium in St. Paul will get a multimillion-dollar sales tax break on construction materials even without specific legislative approval.” MinnPost on what’s next for Minnesota United’s plans to build build a stadium in St. Paul.

MLive reports that, after getting an over capacity crowd of 7,410 in its first game at its new home, Keyworth Stadium, Detroit City FC general manager Donovan Powell isn’t too concerned about the possibility of MLS expanding to Detroit: “Professional soccer is out there. It’s looming. It’s happening. For us, we’re focused on this right here. It’€™s always been our goal to go to a professional league and, you know, we’€™ll get there. We’€™ll get there soon for sure. There’s other groups out there trying to bring professional soccer to the city and all we can do is focus on us at this point at Keyworth stadium.”

US

The US faces Ecuador tonight at 8 pm as part of its preparations for the Copa America (ESPN2, UniMás, Univision Deportes). Previews at PSP, SI, ASN, Soccer America, Goal.com, Pro Soccer Talk, World Soccer Talk, and Vavel.

Geoff Cameron will not be in the lineup tonight as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Looking ahead, Jurgen Klinsmann said this on Tuesday: “If you compare this Copa America with these 16 nations, compared to the 24 going into the Euros, then I almost think you have more quality in this Copa America than you have in this diluted, 24-team version of the European Championship.” More at MLSsoccer.com.

Klinsmann says the goal for the US is to reach the final four of the tournament. More at Soccer America.

How can the US replace Jozy Altidore?

Pulisic!

Landon Donovan says the USMNT will win the World Cup in his lifetime. Woohoo! USA! USA! USA!

Citing fitness issues following her recovery from knee surgery, Christie Rampone has withdrawn from the USWNT camp ahead of the friendlies against Japan in June.

The US U-17 BNT, coached by former Union head coach John Hackworth, plays South Korea today in the final of the All India Football Federation Youth Cup.

Elsewhere

The Copa America Centenario Local Organizing Committee has announced “only clear bags will be allowed into the 10 stadiums holding Copa America Centenario matches this summer across the United States.”

For those without cable, World Soccer Talk has a guide for how to watch the Copa America legally online.

Reuters reports, “More than 90,000 police, soldiers and private security agents will be deployed across France to ensure safety for the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Wednesday.”

From ESPN: “A German paper is looking for a successor for Paul the Octopus, who thrilled football fans all around the world by correctly predicting results at the 2010 World Cup, by asking fans to pick between a 10-animal list for their next oracle…including a chicken called ‘Kathe,’ a donkey called ‘Django,’ a cat, a one-eyed beagle, two dogs, a rabbit, an Ushant sheep called ‘Schmusi,’ a horse, and an Indian runner duck.”

At Goal.com, a roundup of the best and worst soccer songs ever.

22 Comments

  1. Pulling this over and streamlining a bit and reposting from yesterday…..
    .
    I just figured something out and it came like a thunderbolt to me while driving — so much so I pulled over.
    .
    I want to win the World Cup. As a child it is this tournament which captured my imagination beyond anything else I’ve ever seen and EVERY post I have made on this site for three years is an echo of that desire – a movement towards that gol. I don’t care about Supports Shields. I don’t care about Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. I don’t care about MLS Cup. None of it matters… if the mean is not shifted in the quality and standard of play it will never happen… it is no surprise or coincidence the greatest US World Cup team in 2002 was made up almost holistically of european internationals…. and since its inception, MLS and US Soccer has caused a regression of the standard individually and collectively- this is one part growing pains, one part organizational structure which is unbending and one proper payments to clubs for developing and incentivizing youth development and a large part to an old archaic way of running a business model (US Soccer) that cannot unify its vision, its philosophy, its plan…
    .
    This all comes as a tremendous relief to me because all I want is to develop a system capable of hoisting that one trophy ~ THIS is the GOAL….the Bazilians have had their time- the Europeans in various forms have had their time… We have the ability in this country to be the New Age of Soccer… the dawning of a new football world power and we can’t just exercise our might and muscle like in all other diplomatic manners… we have to EARN it and it can only be earned in a free and open market that allows — no demands that the best rise to the top while replacing those that cannot meet the standard and rewarding locally for producing quality players. This is democratic imperialism it is meritocracy and it is right…and the nature this great nation was founded under.
    .
    Every excellent nation that contends in major tournaments is made up of multiple, nay nearly completely filled with world class talent… and we are not within sniffing distance…as a matter of fact we are further away… Jurgen Klinsman sees it… Antonio Conte sees it yet — smear campaigns are launched against them for speaking out… by the MLS pocketed media members…
    .
    Every post I have made has been to the end of developing a culture and league with national team players playing at the highest level to win the World Cup…. This is the gol and since finally realizing this is why I post the way I post…I feel better…
    .
    I have healed myself and can view everything through this lens as such thereby putting it all to rest…. there is no more to say… UnionGoal has wrongly called me to task again last week and skulked away again last week… Adam and Jerome have disappeared and Thank You Sir from yesterday, needs to have lunch.
    .
    So in simple fashion going forward…as I have come to realize through the distinct absence of Alicat215 this year for banging his head against a wall… I am in a way signing off… intending for the discipline to read and occasionally muster a comment along the way.
    .
    Sincerely, el P.
    .
    .
    By the way… the Tannenwald article is excellent and gives me hope– as it is only through resting the power away from the mediocrity that is the MLS agenda – we can visit the greatness within us… I hope and pray this comes to fruition because with big money backing from abroad, maybe just maybe US Soccer will open the pyramid and give NASL first tier status at which point… we will truly be on our way… and IT IS ON.

    • Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

      Pachy, I don’t know whether to be happy for you or alert the authorities. On the one hand it is heart warming to witness someone finding such clarity and inner peace. On the other, you sound a bit like someone who’s just decided that self immolation is the answer.

    • John P O'Donnell says:

      The next time you’re rolling down the highway, you might want to roll up the windows as the carbon monoxide has had an effect on your vision quest.

      The USMNT 2002 team’s 23 players, 12 played in Major League Soccer and 11 played professionally in Europe. Altogether, 17 players on the U.S. World Cup roster had played professionally in MLS.

      JK’s 2014 team had 10 & 14, so less. I like JK but his last statement of setting the goal for the team to make the final four in Copa America is losing me. When the goal is finishing a mediocre fourth well that’s mediocre. The goal is to win and when the leader of the team doesn’t believe you can, he should step down and let somebody take the job that believes they can win. Please don’t give me the excuses of the player pool, they existed from the start and they’re not gone to change anytime soon. Like a local college basketball coach said “Winning is an attitude”.

      • pragmatist says:

        Yeah, that “Final Four” comment struck a nerve with me, too. Is he hoping we get participation trophies, too?
        .
        Aim high, JK, or get out of the way.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Across the board almost every member of that team was or had recently been playing in Europe save Pablo Maestroni who I believe never played abroad.
        .
        Many of the players were transitioning back to MLS I grant you but don’t tell me for one second that during the formative black hole years of the players development they weren’t overseas…. some played college and rolled some just rolled… I believe Jeff Agoos also did not play abroad as well- there is a reason that team played so well… Significant International experience. Simple.
        .
        You lured me out to defend my position for this post~~ well done today.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        Wouldn’t think of it but I would suggest you read this article as it’s quite good. Your memory is shaky. Players on the team came from the 1998 team that was a disaster. The players that helped push us through were kids. http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/soccer/worldcup/Looking_back_at_the_US_soccer_teams_historic_2002_World_Cup.html

        Oh, an Ernie Stewart was on that team.

      • Reyna – Sunderland
        Lewis – Fulham
        Moore – Everton
        O’Brien- Ajax
        Friedel – Blackburn
        Keller – Tottenham
        Berhalter – Crystal Palace
        Hjeduk- Bayern Leverkusen
        Stewart – Breda
        .
        .
        Shall I continue?

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        it is no surprise or coincidence the greatest US World Cup team in 2002 was made up almost holistically of european internationals…. and since its inception, MLS and US Soccer has caused a regression of the standard individually and collectively.

        Yes, please do because this statement is incorrect. And a twenty year-old Landon Donovan Received best young player for the tourney. The 2014 team had more players from Europe.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        Also since the inception of MSL the USMNT has never missed qualifying. Small thing I’m sure since we use to do it all the time…oh wait.

      • .
        To remain silent by no longer arguing, I acquiesce.

  2. It’s always a hoot looking over to the top right at the “Related Posts” section of PSP, because it generally comes up with stuff from prior years. For this article, the top Related Post is from September 2, 2014, and it’s titled, “Mbolhi, Valdes, Lahoud to miss TFC games with NT callups…”

    I do not miss those days. #amoreperfectunion

  3. RE: Tannenwald article

    I like the vision that Driver wants. My one problem though is with which he is enamored by the “suburbs” and specifically Glassboro. I am sorry but if the Fury truly wanted to compete with the MLS they need to build within the city and establish a community therein. I think it is crucial to capture the inner city and develop players from there. I don’t think MLS/Union do a good job of that right now.

    Other than that, it would be exciting to see how competition from the NASL would change the way MLS runs its operations.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      100%. I’ve argued for the North East.

    • I think a city-based team also has the ability to develop a stronger fan base. Imagine the Union playing in University City or Northern Liberties? The stadium would be so much more accessible to young people and immigrant communities. I think that’s been a potential achilles heal for MLS — It’s worked in getting the families to the stadium, but genuine urban locations would do better. If I had a lot of money to start an NASL team, I’d do it in city limits close to a good transit stop or two.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Not sure what Adrian Heath’s standard for “traditionally done OK” is but it’s hard to consider their record meets that standard whatever it is. Orlando has scored 1 goal and earned 1 point in the standings in 3 games against the Union. If I’m a coach, I wouldn’t put that in the same zip code as “OK”.

  5. How long does Landon Donovan plan on living?

  6. I will no longer waste time voting for save or goal of the week . . . the goal will go to an off target shot against San Jose that landed in the upper deck and the goal will go to a Penalty kick Wondolowski took at his nephews birthday party . . . which was saved. It’s as meaningful as the All-Star vote where 3 guys who hadn’t played a game in MLS were voted in.

  7. P.S. Kevin Kinkead was on Sirius with Jason Davis at lunch talking about The Union. I think it gets replayed at midnight if you can stay up past the game tonight. Or maybe Kevin will stop by at some point and he can summarize it.

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