Photo: Paul Rudderow
At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead considers where new signing Haris Medunjanin is likely to be on the field: “Medunjanin is a ball-moving number eight who should hopefully solve a lot of the problems the Union had down the stretch in 2016.” The potential starting lineup in the article is possibly the most exciting in potential as any any Union lineup has ever been.
At MLSsoccer.com, Greg Seltzer has some interesting observations about Medunjanin:
Though he typically enjoys a noticeable size advantage over opposing midfielders, Medunjanin’s feet are as nimble as you’d like. He has supreme technical skills, most notably with his first touch, close-quarter dribbling and distance shots.
While Medunjanin excels at sending the attack forward with pinpoint lead passes, he draws more attention as a very patient player of danger in and around the box. He can use the smallest of movements to gain space for a pass or shot, and those who don’t close him down often suffer at the whims of his tricky left foot. To boot, he strikes a nasty free kick…
Medunjanin is certainly not what one consider speedy, and this sticks out when he’s not on the ball. To that end, his defensive movement can be rather wooden…
While Bosnia’s central park depth has often forced him back into a defensive midfield role while on international duty, Medunjanin can do much more damage as either a deep-lying playmaker or an outright No. 10…
Philadelphia has picked up a player that can feed the offense and support it with skill as the late runner, much in the way that Michael Bradley did during his big season at Heerenveen. On a Union team loaded with eager runners, he should come in very handy. It’s certainly not too much to ask for him to notch a 5-6 goals and 8-10 helpers.
More insight at Bosnian soccer blog BurekBlog:
The Union seem to have a need at the playmaking midfield position and if that’s what they’re looking for – Medunjanin can certainly provide it. We won’t address his defensive capabilities (or lack thereof)…
As far as style is concerned, Medunjanin is a purely creative midfielder – preferably attacking. Do not expect defensive hustle, or neck breaking speed from him. The stamina might also be an issue but the positives are also there. An extremely technical player, Medunjanin has excellent control of the field, spacial awareness, and ball distribution skills. If his team can surround him with runners – especially on the wings, he could add a new dimension to a hard working team. Medunjanin’s strength is undoubtedly his technical skill and creativity, but on occasion, he can also score from distance…
Laziness can often be a problem with Medunjanin, as well as stamina conditioning, but again, if properly utilized, these problems can be circumnavigated.
Overall, at 31 Medunjanin will bring considerable experience, composure, and technical skill to this Union side.
Oguchi Onyewu had a conference call with reporters on Wednesday to discuss his signing with the Union (full transcript here at PSP). And while he accepts part of his role will be as a mentor of the Union’s young corps of center backs and a veteran leader for the team, he clearly intends to play: “I don’t ever join a team not intending to play. My ambition and my goal is to play every minute and every opportunity that I can. Whether that’s a reality in the season, because a lot of things happen, a lot of different games, competitions, injuries, little knicks and knacks here, but my goal is obviously to compete and I’ve never not been a 90 minute player. To answer your question in short, I’m here to make an impact and help the squad. And for me personally, that would be on the field.”
At US Soccer, Chris Pontius says of getting his first USMNT cap, “There was a lot of hard work to get to that point. It was incredible stepping on the field, putting the jersey on and I’m just grateful for the opportunity.
At Union Tally, Matthew De George reports on Keegan Rosenberry’s return to the Union after participating in the USMNT’s January camp. Rosenberry says, “It was a good experience. I was happy to be out there. Very honored to get the call and to be a part of it. Obviously disappointed not to be involved in the friendlies, but I think they’re in an interesting situation going into March with the friendlies. I just use it as motivation going forward.”
Philly Sports Network reviews the Union’s first week of preseason.
MLSsoccer.com notes the Unio’s new second jersey is now available for purchase.
Sons of Ben
The results of the election to fill to seats on the board of the Sons of Ben are in. Lauren Murray is the new Philanthropy Director and
Ashley Cunningham is the new Membership Director.
The SoBs have also announced the formation of two new committees, the Events Committee and the Game Day Committee:
Events: Meg Torpey, Heather Reppert, David Peart, Jessica Gusler, Sid MacLeod, and Frankie Sorrentino
Game Day: Trevor Machinia, Rob Migliaccio, Kenny Hanson, Erick Jusino, Paul Ethridge, and Mike Petrocelli
The announcement notes the committee members “won’t just be volunteers, they will have active roles in both what the committees do, and how they do it.”
Bethlehem Steel FC
Bethlehem’s preseason is officially open!
Harrisburg City Islanders
Harrisburg City Islanders have exercised the option on defender Jamie Thomas’ contract for his return this season.
NYCFC have signed 25-year old Finland international midfielder Alexander Ring from Kaiserslautern: “Targeted Allocation Money was used to acquire the player.”
The Galaxy have signed 33-year-old defender Jelle Van Damme to a contract extension: “Van Damme will occupy a Designated Player spot on the Galaxy’s roster.”
Toronto have re-signed midfielder Benoît Cheyrou.
NYRB head coach Jesse Marsch on the trading of Dax McCarty to Chicago:
I don’t think that the trade and the way it happened honored the relationship that I had with Dax, and the relationship the club had with Dax, and that’s the unfortunate part. When you look around the world when transfers are made, players have to agree to it and then there’s more control of what you do and where you go. Here it doesn’t work that way. That’s just the flat-out reality of our business…I wish the circumstances would’ve been different, everything from the timing around his wedding, to the manner in which it caught him by surprise. Yeah, I wish that there was a world we lived in that didn’t put him in that situation. I’ll take responsibility for it and I know that Dax harbors ill will about it and frustration, and I understand that. It’s an incredibly awful situation that he and I may never really have the relationship that we once had.
Former NYCFC man Frank Lampard has officially announced his retirement.
Is trouble brewing with Sacramento’s expansion bid, previously thought to be a sure thing? When the Sacramento bid was submitted ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, no mention was made of Sacramento Republic, the wildly successful USL team that has been at the center of the efforts to bring a MLS franchise to the city. The team soon released a statement that read in part, “We are just as surprised as our fans to hear that various news outlets are reporting that a bid was submitted to MLS for Sacramento which does not reference Sacramento Republic FC. If these reports are true, this is deeply troubling to us…If the bid submitted yesterday by Mr. Nagle did not include Sacramento Republic FC, it was in violation of our agreements and without our authorization; and we will take this up with the appropriate parties immediately.”
On Wednesday, the city’s MLS bid was plunged into chaos amid a dispute over control of its minor league team, Sacramento Republic FC, and the Republic FC brand.
Simmering behind the scenes for months, a rift between lead investor Kevin Nagle and Warren Smith, the team’s founder and president, erupted in public when Smith accused Nagle of violating his agreement with the club by formally submitting a bid to MLS that omitted the Republic brand. Nagle, however, said he doesn’t control the team or the rights to the Republic brand – and hasn’t yet been able to close a deal with Smith to secure control. That meant he had to submit the expansion bid without Republic’s stamp on it to meet a Tuesday deadline set by MLS officials.
Warren Smith is the majority owner of Sacramento Republic, while Kevin Nagle is the lead investor behind Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings, the group that submitted the Sacramento bid and is behind the plan to build a new stadium. Nagle says he does not own the rights to the Sacramento Republic brand and therefore could not include it in the bid. As Jeff Carlisle summarizes at ESPN, “Essentially, what is happening now is that for months, the two entities have been engaged in talks to merge, and they are haggling over the price.”
MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott downplayed the controversy on Wednesday: “From the league’s perspective, we should give those discussions time to play out. So I’d like to minimize some of the brouhaha and hysteria around this. I actually think it’s really straightforward when you take a look at it.” He explained, “The groups, at least from Kevin’s perspective, continue to want to be in negotiations about presenting a unified front and that is their ideal situation. From the league’s perspective, [the best option] is to allow that process and those discussion to continue. And I think that’s going to happen.”
Meanwhile, Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg has called for a meeting between the two sides to resolve the situation: “I am not going to allow a private business dispute to get in the way of what Sacramento deserves — a major league soccer franchise.”
Conspicuously absent in a roundup at MLSsoccer.com of comments from Mark Abbott on the 12 expansion bids are comments on the Sacramento and Raleigh/Durham-North Carolina FC bids.
In case you’re wondering, Abbott said the league remains “focused on finalizing a stadium deal in Miami.”
SI’s review of the expansion hopefuls continues with a look at Cincinnati.
ESPN has a review of the 12 cities making expansion bids.
The NWSL has announced a three-year deal with Lifetime to broadcast a weekly game on Saturday’s at 4 pm. As of this writing, details are still emerging about the new partnership.
CONCACAF has announced Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California will be the site of the 2017 Gold Cup final on on Wednesday, July 26. You will recall the Linc, which hosted the 2015 final, has been announced as the site of one of the knockout round games — will it be a quarterfinal or semifinal game? Stay tuned.