Daily news roundups

News roundup: Union fall in last preseason game, Elliott signed, new PRO guidelines, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union lost 3-2 against DC United in their preseason finale. They dug a 3-0 hole in the first half, and their comeback effort in the second half came up short. Watch the full replay here. Official recap here.

Despite 10 yellow cards, the Union left with no injuries and anticipate full health for the roster (with the exceptions of Yaro and Edu and possibly Fafa Picault) for the season opener. Onyewu and Epps had the two goals for the Union. Epps was interviewed after the game.

Kinkead provided his observations after the game. He questions whether the Union should be playing a more traditional 6 and who should be playing the 10 among other things. He also continues to push for the 3-5-2 on Twitter.

The Union signed 4th round SuperDraft pick CB Jack Elliott. Elliott played for West Virginia University and the South Florida Surf prior to being drafted.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders won 1-0 against Lehigh University in their first preseason game.

MLS

Former Union man Michael Farfan officially announced his retirement in order to pursue non-soccer activities. Best of luck to him in all his future endeavors.

PRO revealed four points of emphasis for the upcoming season: holding and pushing in the penalty area; acts of visual dissent; delayed restarts; and persistent infringement.

The Whitecaps traded F Giles Barnes to Orlando City for M/D Brek Shea. Charles Boehm has good analysis of this blockbuster made on the eve of the season.

DC United signed Canadian National Maxim Tissot. He came on as a sub against the Union, so he appears to be working his way in quickly.

LA Galaxy’s Ashley Cole is out at least a few weeks due to a calf strain.

The Columbus Crew are now sponsored by Acura.

DC United will be breaking ground on their new stadium today.

Orlando City held their first game on their new pitch.

FC Dallas had the largest victory of any MLS team in a CCL knockout round in their 4-0 whomping of Panama’s Arabe Unido.

NYCFC’s Mix Diskerud … maybe just take a look/read. He does not appear to be in agreement with NYCFC management.

Matthew Doyle has been updating his outlook for MLS teams all off-season. His latest on the Union: “No new additions, but here’s a new twist: Homegrown midfielder Derrick Jones has looked very, very good over the last three weeks, and the 19-year-old is very much in the mix for a starting job. He has the same kind of field-shrinking, nuclear athleticism that Jermaine Jones has put to such great use in MLS, and would be a pretty natural fit next to/in front of a more stationary player like Medunjanin.”

World Soccer Talk took a stab at predicting the final MLS standings, and have the Union dead last in the Eastern Conference: “The Union still have some very good young talent, but the beginning of the season has disaster written all over it. With the East improving, the Union might just have fallen behind.”

Around the globe

The USMNT U-20 has their second round group set at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, meeting Mexico and El Salvador. They need to place at least second in the group of 3 to qualify for the U-20 World Cup.

USA lost to Panama 6-4 in the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship. The USA goalie scored two nice goals.

Former England international Shaun Wright-Phillips joined USL side Phoenix Rising FC.

Manchester United won the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup) with a 3-2 win over Southampton.

Highlight of the day

Marcus Epps makes it 3-2 with a strong cut and low shot.

23 Comments

  1. I am saddened to hear of M.Farfan’s retirement. I wish him and his family the best.
    .
    Nifty poem by Mix. Not sure what it accomplishes besides showing he has other talents than footy.

  2. I bookmarked that absurd World Soccer Talk prediction article. Dead last? They’re going to feel pretty stupid when the Union finish 9th.

  3. I still really like Mix as a player. Think he could play in the “10” spot here.

    • As much as I like his creativity, I think the Union would have they same problem with him that NYCFC do…running defensively.

  4. “Epps and Jones were the only subs for the Union.”
    .
    The Union’s website also said this in their “Takeawys” article but wasn’t CJ subbed on for Simpson?

  5. Herbers at the 10 spot over the weekend was not terribly convincing (among many other players who didn’t make great arguments for themselves). This team may want to go out there and be a high pressing 4-2-3-1 but plays like it would be better off in a counter attacking 4-4-2. Whither Alberg? Why is he so low on Curtin’s list? I’m not saying it’s unearned, I’m just not sure why.

    Union dead last in the league? I think a result like that would depend on a lot of things falling through. Team still feels middle of the pack to me. But MLS is a real tricky league to predict. It seems every season there are teams that make runs that counter all expectation. I actually think DC looks really good, especially with Acosta, Sam and Nyarko in attack. They’re that good. It’s not just that Philly was poo
    r/lazy in defense on Sat. (though they were in that first half).

    • That was a neat accidental line break. Poor, poo — not far off.

    • I think last is more than possible. It seems to me the Union will have trouble scoring more than one goal on a consistent basis. There’s no real #10. Is the creativity going to come from the wings on a consistent enough basis to keep this team competitive?
      .
      So then it falls to the defense. Is anyone convinced the Union can hold teams to one goal or less per game? I said when Gooch signed that if he played significant minutes this season something has gone horribly wrong. There hasn’t been anything to dissuade me from this opinion. He looks slow and awkward going into tackles. Maybe moving to a 3-5-2 would offer some protection. Will JC actually try it? History and his own words put that possibility in doubt.

      • Yeah. I agree. There’s no way this team uses a 3-5-2. No. Way. This team does look like it can spread goals around the pitch, though. Medunjanin is going to score. Ilsinho will bag a bunch, too, this season. Bedoya, too can score. I think, despite the fact that there’s no natural goal scorer up top (jury still out on Simpson), this club has better goal scoring chops through the midfield than it has in a long time. Maybe ever.

        • I know there has been a lot of talk about the 3-5-2, especially after Kinkead’s article.
          .
          The problem I have with it is simply “who are the back 3”?
          .
          Marquez is a given but is not as comfortable on the ball to fit the system perfectly. Yaro would be a good fit but is injured. Tribbet is comfortable on the ball but pace is an issue, as it is for Gooch. Edu would fit perfectly but is injured and would be the #1 option next to Medunjanin in the midfield. Elliott needs time at BSFC. Trusty has been good enough to push for the 18 but wouldn’t it be too much to throw him out there in a system he has never played in as a teen? Wijnaldum could maybe play LCB but has he ever before in a 3-back? And he will need time to adjust to his new team and new league. I remember Gaddis playing as part of a 3-back late in games in season’s past but is even smaller then Yaro (also listed as the Union’s lightest player).

          • I’m going along the lines that you hide your slowest defender in the middle of the three (maybe I’m wrong with this and someone else can tell me). So from left to right, Marquez-Gooch-Rosenberry. I’d be fine with having a small player in the three if they are backed by Gooch and Marquez.
            .
            As is probably apparent, I have a great many concerns about this iteration of the Union. They seem a hodge-podge group where many pieces don’t fit. I have a hard time not seeing JC’s job in jeopardy by mid-season.

          • Sure, you can hide a player who lacks pace in it, but a 3-back also puts much more emphasis on defenders contributing to team possession. There needs to be an aspect of comfort on the ball, the ability to step into the midfield, and make the right pass.
            .
            I can think of 2 main ways that I have seen a 3-back set up recently:
            .
            Chelsea allow David Luiz to step forward from his center position to add an extra body in the midfield in possession and balance it out by flanking him with more responsible defenders like Cahill and Azpilicueta who tuck in to cover when Luiz goes on one of his walkabouts.
            .
            Spurs started with 3 at the back yesterday that featured Alderweireld flanked by Vertonghen and Dier, both of whom stayed wide and carried the ball forward on the dribble when give space to do so. Alderweireld is not as comfortable on the ball as the other two and so typically remained the deepest of the 3 until he had to come off with an injury.
            .
            .
            The only 3-back combo that I would feel confident in would be (L to R) Edu-Marquez-Yaro having it operate like the Spurs example and two of the 3 are injured and one of those two is potentially the best midfield partner for Medunjanin.

          • Spurs 3-5-2 is really more like a 5-3-2 with Walker and Rose (or Davies) called midfielders in the formation even though they are really just the wingers. So in order for the Union to play a system like that, they would need a back line of Tribbett, Gooch, and Marquez with Rosenberry and Fabhino on the wings as midfielders.

          • Just looking at the players I would agree with you about the 5-3-2 but with how high Spurs push their outside backs (even in a 4-man backline) their actual average positions were in the midfield – especially that game, they really jumped all over Stoke in the first half.
            .
            In any case, it is largely the same system, just semantics over the numbering of it.
            .
            Point I was making is that you need at least one defender to be able to step into the midfield and contribute to possession. With the three you named, Tribbet is likely the best on the ball but both he and Gooch lack pace. All a team would need to do is ask their striker to pressure Tribbet and the team would really struggle moving the ball forward (except for Route #1).

      • Maybe playing an actual defensive midfielder will help cover Gooch too?

      • Basically after 9 years we are back to square one. Let’s hope not.

  6. Last season I predicted the Union finishing on 45 points (and stuck with that through the fast start and slow finish).
    .
    For the 2017 season….(insert drum roll here)…
    .
    48 points. I was thinking as high as 52-54 in mid-January, but I now feel I’m being “optimistic” at 48.
    .
    How did I get there?
    POINT 1: I’m really excited about Medunjanin, Simpson, and (most definitley) Wijnaldum being on board. Also, I see an improved Ilson that’s going to be fun to watch AND productive.
    .
    POINT 2: However, I fear Yaro (still a BIG question mark at RCB when healthy) will barely see the pitch this season and I don’t see a decent replacement…UNLESS…They slot Edu there. Edu/Marquez could be a formidable pair.
    .
    POINT 3: I can’t believe there hasn’t been more (really any) discussion about this, but if John McCarthy is going to start 5-8 regular MLS games this season (pretty realistic) that is almost certainly 15-24 points right off the board. I cannot even optimistically see JMc coming up with 3-6 points in that scenario. That’s a concession this team won’t be able to afford. (It almost makes me want to go all the way back to 45 points.)
    .
    POINT 4: I’m pulling for him hard, but I’m worried Curtin (et al) will not improve the game day decision making. Two years ago I defended him because he didn’t have a “starting quality” 11 to begin with, ZERO choices on his bench, and a goalie mess for the ages. Last year, there were still more personnel challenges beyond his control, but the unwillingness to adjust his approach in the second half (of the season AND individual games) was worrying. This year…He’s got some pieces and he’s got to show he can get the most out of them.
    .
    48 points boys and girls. Not what I was hoping to be excited about, but I think that’s about all the excitement we can hope for.
    .
    Will be very interested to see the predictions/justifications others share this week.

    • I agree 48 points sounds optimistic and it looks like the amount of points will likely be lower than that this season. My feeling is based on a couple of factors: 1. Barnetta wasn’t replaced and there is no credible (at least on paper) playmaker on this team, as Bedoya and Herbers aren’t really #10, which leaves this team in the same creativity hole they were at the end of last season Perhaps worse sans Barnetta?. And 2. The only true defensive midfielders are Crevalle and Carroll with a young Jones that may be prone to irregularity.
      I don’t see how this team makes the playoffs this year, but I hope I’m wrong.

  7. I’d love to see PRO actually emphasize those four points of emphasis this season, but I predict PRO will prioritize them for the first 2-3 weeks of the season, fans and pundits will complain about too many fouls and cards, the league will quiely ask PRO to de-emphasize them, and by week 4 DCU and SKC will be back to their cynical ways as if nothing had happened.

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