Daily news roundups

News roundup: Sapong receives praise, Jones to U-20 World Cup, US Open Cup starts, and more

Photo: 215Pix

Philadelphia Union

The Union won thanks to a complete team effort.

Grades and analysis from Philly Voice’s Kevin Kinkead for this weekend’s game.

C.J. Sapong wasn’t the starter at the beginning of the season, but he has remained mentally strong, and he has been rewarded.

Sapong’s effort earned him honors as the MLS Player of the Week. His hat trick was the third in Union history.

The defense has improved recently, and part of that is simply getting more compact.

Derrick Jones was named to the U-20 USMNT World Cup squad. More at PSP.

Cool photo-article on how the Union prepare their grounds for each game.

Local

The Union Academy’s U-18 team has hit a rough patch, while the younger kids saw mixed results.

Derrick Jones’s route to the U-20 USMNT team started at Junior Lone Star.

MLS

The US Open Cup is starting. Here’s a guide to all 99 teams in this year’s competition.

MLSSoccer’s Power Rankings. The Union are up to 20th.

SI’s Power Rankings. The Union are up to 19th.

Looking to explain freak results? Start by looking at team schedules.

Sapong’s hat trick was the lead news item in SI’s recap of this weekend’s MLS action.

There were three signings at the MLS deadline: Blerim Dzemaili to Montreal, Jefferson Savarino to RSL, and Bernie Ibini to Vancouver.

MLS teams are too dictated by risk, writes Paul Tenorio. Good timing on that article – the author of Moneyball has a new book explaining why people are risk-averse and how it hurts sports teams.

Jermaine Jones is out a few weeks due to a knee injury, and he is unlikely to be back in time for the June World Cup Qualifiers.

An early MLS Best XI. CJ Sapong gets a mention for Breakthrough Player of the Year.

Is MLS heading towards a league of Haves and Have-nots?

Phoenix Rising received a visit from MLS in what must surely be a good sign for their expansion hopes.

Around the globe

It looks like the North American ploy to get an uncontested World Cup bid failed, as FIFA is set to accept other bids.

Liga MX is no longer part of the Copa Libertadores and is looking at a Cup competition involving MLS.

Juventus allowed their first Champions League goal since November 22, 2016, but it didn’t matter much as they moved on to the Champions League Final on a 4-1 aggregate.

Paul Pogba’s transfer to Manchester United is under investigation.

Racism continues to be a problem throughout Italian and European Football. FIFA President Gianni Infantino is upset with racist idiots.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee is undergoing major personnel changes but still won’t have any meaningful power.

FIFA’s women also don’t have any meaningful power, and the men in charge appear to want to keep it that way, voting a significantly less outspoken and knowledgeable candidate on to the FIFA Council.

Highlight of the day

The opening goal of this year’s US Open Cup, a nice free kick over the wall.

13 Comments

  1. I love the idea of an expanded MLS /Liga MX competition. Get it on TV and it could really help boost the fanbase for clubs in both leagues. I don’t know how you work to distinguish it from the CONCACAF CL — and I wouldn’t be against seeing some of the top clubs in Costa Rica, Panama, etc. joining a cup competition….

    • Jim Presti says:

      LIGA MX is already the most watched league in the US. It would be 100% in the best interest of MLS to have more matches – against better competition – on channels other UNIMAS and ESPNdeportes.
      .
      Gives something for these franchises to strive for other than grinding their way to a 6th place standing in the table, and then pat themselves on the back for “making the playoffs.”
      .
      CCL and the US Open Cup need better coverage, as well.

      • I think it only works if the MLS teams could hang with the Liga MX teams or it would just be a showcase for our inferiority like the MLS all star game.

      • The last five All Star game opponents were Arsenal, Spurs, Bayern, Roma, and Chelsea. And the “All Stars” won three of those games. Yes, the visitors usually play mostly bench players and are in their preseason and all that but I seriously doubt any MX team would look any better against that level of competition.

      • The real issue with facing Liga MX teams for MLS clubs is squad depth. A benefit of a new club copa america would likely be that MLS would be forced to get rid of financial and salary restrictions. In order to compete and win against Liga MX, MLS teams will have to add serious depth in order to be successful. And that will require significant cash.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Every weekend August through May is a showcase of inferiority. Nothing changes in MLS without serious investment.

    • A single elimination tournament between MLS and Liga MX would be fun. Have the top 18 teams in the supporter shield from the year before participate. Would ensure that teams play till the end, similar to the scare of relegation in other leagues.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        This would be great. Make it almost like the top 8 finishers in each league or something like that, would play in it. I don’t think the crap teams in either league deserve it. Of course MLS may have to get rid of the conferences and the unbalanced schedule but they should do that anyway

    • pragmatist says:

      This could also shed a bright light on MLS’ inferiority. It could spur spending around the league so we are not humiliated annually in the competition. Pride has a way of opening owners’ wallets…

  2. Jim Presti says:

    The FourFourTwo article on parity in MLS is interesting – and something that many of the readers here have been drumming on about. You will 100% need to spend to be successful in this league. Those 3 DPs are the difference makers [or should be] on each roster – everything else is just monopoly money doled out at the beginning of each season.
    .
    Sure you can misallocate your budget, but if you aren’t dropping at least $1M+ on all 3 DP slots, you’re basically hoping that you can sneak into the playoffs as the 5th or 6th spot. Maybe you can get on a hot strike and get a playoff run, but your franchise will never be a year-over-year success.

  3. No way FIFA was just gonna pass up all of those bribes and free trips just to award the US a World Cup.

    China probably would pony up a lot of cash over and under the table for a shot at the tournament.

    • I know your post was sarcasm, but Asian and European countries can’t host the 2026 World Cup, so it’s not likely China will pony up the cash. It’s more like FIFA are angling for Moroccan (the only other country I’ve read to be considering a bid) cash.

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