Daily news roundups

Union top Impact on PKs, BC on new mids, Chipotle, MLS & USMNT news, more

Photo: Courtesy of Montreal Impact

Philadelphia Union

The Union won its final game of the preseason in the Disney Pro Classic fifth place game on Saturday, defeating Montreal on penalty kicks after finishing regulation time level at 1-1. Jack McInerney scored in the 29th minute, assisted by Maurice Edu, before Marco Di Viao equalized in the 80th minute. Zac MacMath made two big saves at the start of the penalty kick shootout on Di Viao and Patrice Bernier.

Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot, Michael Lahoud, Richie Marquez, Pedro Ribeiro, and Sheanon Williams were all unavailable for Saturday’s game with injuries.

Here are the Union’s lineup and penalty kick results:

Zac MacMath; Fabinho, Austin Berry (Aaron Wheeler 80’), Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis; Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira; Cristian Maidana (Zach Pfeffer 85’), Sébastien Le Toux (Leo Fernandes 72’), Jack McInerney (Danny Cruz 72’)

PHI – Fernandes (scored)
MTL – Di Vaio (missed)
PHI – Wheeler (scored)
MTL – Bernier (missed)
PHI – Carroll (scored)
MTL – Bernardello (scored)
PHI – Nogueira (scored)

Match recaps from Philadelphia Union and Montreal Impact.

As of this writing, no word yet on any roster cuts made for Saturday’s roster compliance deadline. John Hackworth said last week, “One way or another, we will have to release guys we find really valuable. That’s the hard part of this job.”

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel talks to Brian Carroll about how the additions of Maurice Edu and Vincent Nogueira change his role on the field. Carroll says,

Theoretically, it makes my job easier, yeah, but at the same time we all need to come together and make this team the best we can. I think we’ll all make each other’s job easier and I know they will for me because in many ways they already have even this early in preseason. I am looking forward to continuing to work with them, getting better and growing with this new group of guys…

[Edu and Nogueira] cover a lot of ground so it allows me to focus on other responsibilities on the field. I don’t have to as much “chasing” or “dirty work” —  however you want to classify it. Hopefully, I continue to make their jobs easier…my job is helping us come together better and making us the best we possibly can game in and game out. With the inclusion of certain guys in the offseason there come greater expectations as a whole for this team. Now that has to translate onto the field and that’s part of my job to make sure it does.

John Hackworth says of Carroll in the article, “The players in front of him have allowed Brian to do what Brian does best. He’ll always do the work and has never shied away from that at all, but now he’s able to go about his job smarter and I think as all of our midfielders continue to build their relationships, I think we’ll see these guys really start to execute our offense a lot better – and much of that starts with BC.”

In a preview of the Union’s new season from the Sports Network, Andre Blake’s coach at Connecticut says of the rookie goalkeeper, “This is a not a joke, and I won’t say this lightly, so it should resonate with you. This is the LeBron James of goalkeepers. This is not a joke.”

Blake has been with the Jamaican national team since last Wednesday for friendlies against Barbados and St. Lucia. The team defeated Barbados 2-0 on Saturday — with former Reading United man Deshorn Brown scoring the second goal — but I have been unable to find lineups for the game to know if Blake saw minutes. Recaps from The Jamaica Football Federation, Jamaica Observer, RJR News and Nation News.

Jack McInerney comes in at No. 18 in MLSsoccer.com’s list of the top 20 goalscorers in the league.

Brotherly Game has five questions ahead of the start of the season.

Zolo Times previews the upcoming season and concludes, “There is a lot of promise in this team and the management has done all it can to put the club in a position to win. You can’t ask for more than that.”

In a report at Empire of Soccer comparing the price of supporters section season ticket prices across MLS, season tickets for the River End are the sixth most expensive in the league. DC United tops the list, followed by Seattle, LA, Portland, and Kansas City.

Sports Business Daily reports that Chipotle Mexican Grill has become “the official Fast-Casual Mexican Restaurant of MLS and 12 of the league’s clubs.” The Union are one of those clubs (does that mean Chipotle burritos will be available at PPL?). As part of the new partnership, Chipotle will sponsor a “Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game” in Portland during August’s All-Star Week. The SBD report says the Homegrown Game will “feature the top U.S. players on the rosters of all MLS clubs.”

According to a release from the Union, if you wear Union gear to area Chipotle Mexican Grilles on March 15, the day of the home opener, you can receive a buy-one-get-one deal.

Local

All of Harrisburg City Islanders 2014 games will be live streamed on the club’s new YouTube channel.

The City Islanders begin preseason training today.

In a review of the City Islanders roster at Penn Live, Derek Meluzio notes the departures of Sainey Touray (San Antonio Scorpions) and Lucky Mkosana (Tampa Bay Rowdies) and uncertainty of whether Yann Ekra will return to the club leaves big concerns about where the team’s offensive production will come from.

Doug Nevins, who in 1995 became the only Villanova player to be named Big East Defender of the Year, will be inducted into the Villanova Varsity Club Hall of Fame.

Billy Englishby has been named assistant coach of the Drexel men’s team.

MLS

In the other Disney Classic games, Toronto was defeated 4-2 by the Fluminese U-23 team. Following the Union vs. Montreal games, New York took the lead in the 80th minute before conceding an equalizer in the 86th minute to draw 4-4 with Orlando City. Both sides opted to forgo penalty kicks. In the championship game, Columbus thumped Kansas City, 4-1.

In the Carolina Challenge Cup, DC drew 2-2 with Seattle to claim the tournament title. Houston defeated Charleston Battery, 2-0.

In the Desert Diamond Cup, Chicago defeated the Chivas de Guadalajara Developmental Team 2-0 to with the tournament championship. Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake played to a 1-1 draw, while New England and Colorado played to a 2-2 draw.

Finally, in the Rose City Invitational, Vancouver finished top of the table with a 1-1 draw with Portland. San Jose defeated Portmore United, 1-0.

Player moves:

You will recall that the Union announced on Friday that PPL Park will host a World Cup warmup match between Greece and Nigeria on June 3 as part of Road to Brazil series organized by Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of MLS. The seven-game concludes at FedEx Field with a doubleheader that begins with Spain vs. El Salvador and concludes with DC United vs. Columbus Crew.

San Antonio Scorpions president Howard Cornfield says of the buzz surrounding a possible MLS bid from Austin, “What they do up in Austin is really irrelevant. We have to do our job and control what we can control. We’re interested in running an outstanding NASL franchise, and if the community continues to help push the momentum forward with a possible MLS team, the process will continue.”

Approval has been granted to build a new 8,000 capacity stadium for new USL PRO side Sacramento Republic, underscoring that city’s hopes of landing a MLS franchise.

US

Events surrounding Wednesday’s friendly against Ukraine continue to take a path of twists and turns. As you already know, the worsening political situation in Ukraine forced the game, originally scheduled to be played in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, to be re-located to Cyprus. On Friday, the Cyprus FA suspended all league games after a bomb destroyed the car of the head of the Cypriot referees’ association.

On Saturday, US Soccer announced that Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, and Tim Ream “had been withdrawn” from the US roster, Bradley and Diskerud for injury recovery, Ream due to the birth of a son. On Sunday, the federation announced the addition of Jonathan Spector to the roster. On Monday, Cypriot referees association secretary Marios Panayi said, “There is no reason for these fixtures not to take place. The absention of the referees was for the domestic fixtures. It has absolutely no impact on international games held under FIFA auspices.”

The Tampa Bay Times looks at Jurgen Klinsmann’s pursuit of Tampa-born Julian Green, who will be training with the USMNT before the Ukraine friendly but is currently ineligible to play for the US.

In a Google Hangout on Friday, Klinsmann underscored the importance of defeating Ghana in the first group game at the World Cup. Describing the game as “almost like a six-pointer,” Klinsmann said, “We basically start with a World Cup final against Ghana. We need badly these three points. If we get three points against Ghana, I think then that the confidence will rise, the guys will be pumped up, and they will be ready for Portugal and give them a real fight.”

At The New York Times, Brian Sciaretta looks at the rising stock of Geoff Cameron.

At The LA Times, Kevin Baxter has an interesting look at the task ahead of the young USMNT center backs Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez, who would be “the two most inexperienced center backs to play in a World Cup opener for the US since 1950.”

ESPN is kicking off its 100-day countdown to the World Cup by showing replays of six World Cup qualifiers from its vaults on ESPN Classic, including the US win over Panama in Seattle (1 pm), the Snow Bowl against Costa Rica (7 pm), and the win over Mexico in Columbus (9 pm).

The new US World Cup home kit is now on sale on the US Soccer website. Demonstrating all of the modesty and reserve one would expect, the kit release announcement from Nike says the kit offers “the best in performance innovation with a classic and bold new design” and “is the ultimate expression of American style and patriotism.” According to Nike creative director Martin Lotti, “The new kit clearly showcases the USA’s national pride and distinct sense of style, while also capturing the nation’s eternal optimism.” If you say so.

The US has been drawn in Group B with Germany, Brazil and China for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which will take place in Canada from Aug. 5-24.

ASN looks at the USWNT roster for the Algarve Cup, which gets underway on March 5 when the team faces Japan.

On Saturday, the US U-23 WNT defeated Japan 1-0 in their opening game at the Six Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain. The team faces Sweden today.

Sunil Gulati has been unanimous re-elected president of the the US Soccer Federation for a third four-year term.

At Goal.com, Alec Fenn has details on Freddy Adu’s underwhelming training stint/trial with Blackpool.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “A request from UEFA to change the so-called triple punishment rule has been rejected by soccer’s law-making body while a proposal to study the use of video technology also got short shrift.”

The IFAB also banned the display of personal messages on undershirts. FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke said, “From now on there can be no slogan or image whatsoever on undergarments even good-natured ones. This will apply from 1 June and be in force for the World Cup.”

The AP reports, “The Sao Paulo stadium which hosts the opening match of the World Cup will not be finished until less than four weeks before Brazil plays Croatia on June 12.”

A report from Reuters details the long list of World Cup-related projects in Brazil that have not yet been completed.

The AP reports, “Parts from the roof of a World Cup stadium in Brazil fell onto the pitch during a storm on Saturday, just hours before a regional championship match.” No one was injured.

More on the proposed “nations league” in UEFA that would replace the current system of friendlies from Sky Sports reports, who report, “The tournament is expected to see teams promoted and relegated with semi-finals and a final being played, as well as prize money and wildcard places at Euro 2020 at stake.” ProSoccerTalk has some good questions about how the proposed tournament could change regional competitions across the world, not to mention influence the decision making process of players who are eligible to play for different countries.

Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny has donated $800k to save an accordion factory in his hometown.

14 Comments

  1. new usmnt kits are awful

  2. Anyone else find it odd that the final roster isn’t announced on the deadline day? Is it because they have the “Meet the Team” event? It seems like this league is the only American/Canadian league that goes out of their way to hide information from their own fan base (preseason streams, roster decisions, player procurement rules, etc.) I think the cloak and dagger stuff needs to end, not necessarily to get new fans, but to satisfy the ones they already have.

  3. The article on Adu is brutal. Still makes me sad.

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