Daily news roundups

Quotes & notes from Hack’s presser, KC previews, local US Open Cup play tonight, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

With the team departing for Kansas City, John Hackworth’s weekly press conference was held on Tuesday by phone.

Speaking of tonight’s game in Kansas City (8:30 pm: CSN, MLS Live), Hackworth said, “I think it’s a good opportunity because you’re playing the best team in the league right now at their home. Pressure comes off of us in that regard because nobody truly expects us to get a result in Kansas City…The players are anxious to get back out there and try to rectify this.”

Much of the press conference focused on questions about Hackworth’s future with the team given its poor start to the season. Hackworth acknowledged that he has heard the boos and “Fire Hackworth” chants and believes it is affecting the team’s performance.

I certainly heard the fans on Saturday. It’s impossible not to hear a lot of the talk…The reality is that it’s impossible not to be affected by it, and I wouldn’t say me as much as maybe what it does for the players. I think with this position, you have to understand that ti’s going to be part of the business. For the players, though, it’s an entirely different thing because it can certainly have a negative impact on them, and to be honest, I think it has.

He elaborated,

I just think that we have a good locker room, we have a good team. I think the players believe in what we’re doing, and when I say they’ve been negatively impacted, I mean it’s hard for them to be in that stadium and have their total concentration be on putting their best performance when I think it’s a distraction. That’s just my own personal opinion, by the way. Again, I’m trying to make sure that they do that. That is not a concern at all on my end. It will be alright either way. The focus has to be on them and their performance.

Hackworth said of the mood within the team:

The first thing we did is we met as a team and said, “look, you cannot worry about anything that we can’t control.” Our job right now is to go out there and get a result. We played well in the majority of our games, and we just have to translate that into better results. We have to have better execution in both boxes. The players understand that. They know it. I think if anything, we’ve got to the point where the guys have been asked enough questions, they’ve heard the voice of the fans, and now they’re very adamant that, hey we’ve got to pull through this. We’re not going to get out of this until we find a way out of it, and that’s the feeling within the team now.

Hackworth affirmed that the hunt is on for a striker both within MLS and abroad:

I think you have to do both continually. You have to look in-league. If you can get a player in-league, you have that player available immediately. If you go outside, you bring a player in from overseas, you talk about the summer transfer window and you’re not going to have that player available until July 15. The reality is we probably have some true, tried and tested players in the league, but you’re not going to lure those top players away from the other teams. The summer transfer window opening up specifically in Europe is a really good opportunity for us to go and maybe find a player who’s coming out of contract, is a quality player that we feel can make a difference for us.

Other points of interest from the press conference:

  • Hackworth said he feels he has the support of Nick Sakiewicz and the front office
  • Austin Berry is likely to start again at center back
  • Brian Carroll is questionable for tonight’s game as he nurses a groin injury that saw him leave Saturday’s loss against DC at halftime
  • On Maurice Edu’s departure for the national team camp: “[W]e’ve had guys that have been waiting for their chances, waiting for their opportunity, and are ready to step in. We’re certainly going to have some tactical adjustments that we’re going to have to make, but you might see someone new in that central midfield role.”

More reports from the press conference from PSP, MLSsoccer.com, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philadelphia Daily News. Union Tally has a transcript.

Speaking after Monday’s practice, Hackworth acknowledged that the Union’s point total is the same that the team’s was when Peter Nowak was fired but pointed to differences in the mood in the locker room and on-field performance.

[Y]ou’re not seeing the typical problems that you would see in a team that is struggling as much as we are right now. Within our team, it is strange. I don’t think it is normal, but we’re still a pretty united group. We believe in each other. The work is good every single day. You can’t pinpoint that as a problem…Ours is result-based, for sure. It’s not even as much performance-based because we continue to play good soccer. We’re not in any way, shape or form getting outplayed by our opponents. Ours is at this point a mentality, technically, tactically, physically, we’re a team that is at least on par with anybody in this league, but the mental part to get us over that hump, to get a result and to get a result when we need it is clearly a problem for us.

Previews of tonight’s game from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Delco Times, Philly Soccer News, MLSsoccer.com, Brotherly Game, Sporting Kansas City, Kansas City Star, The Blue Testament, Soccer AmericaGoal.com, Stoppage Time Soccer, and The Sports Network.

Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald talks to Sporting KC’s Jonathon Feyerherm about the Union.

Fellow SB Nation blogs Brotherly Game and Blue Testament ask each other three questions.

Amobi Okugo comes in at No. 18 in the latest Castrol Index Weekly Top 20 performers rankings. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Andrew Wenger (No. 17), Amobi Okugo (No. 54), Leo Fernandes (No. 77), Maurice Edu (No. 78), and Zac MacMath (No. 101),

More power rankings? If we must. At MLSsoccer.com, it’s a three-spot drop to No. 18: “The bottom has dropped out.” At ProSoccerTalk, the Union drop one spot to No. 18: “It’s becoming far too easy. The Union can barely generate a decent chance, let alone score. If you score once, no need to take chances. No need to push for a second. Just .. wait.”

More on Maurice Edu’s call-up from Delaware Online.

Well, the Carlos Valdes loan program seems to worked out for the Colombian defender. He, along with former Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, have been named to Colombia’s 30-player preliminary World Cup roster.

Former Union man Chandler Hoffman, now with LA Galaxy, has been named USL PRO Player of the Week after a two-goal performance with LA Galaxy II.

Local – US Open Cup

Three area clubs are in second round US Open Cup play tonight:

According to Allentown Morning Call, Harrisburg’s visit will be the first time a professional club has played in the Lehigh Valley since Aug. 17, 1983: “The last pro game played in the Lehigh Valley took place in 1983 when the Allentown Stoners of the American Soccer League scored a 3-0 win over Jacksonville in the opening game in the best-of-three ASL championship series at Bethlehem School District Stadium. Jacksonville won the next two games in Jacksonville, and the Stoners went dormant the following January.”

In addition to US Open Cup play, more news arrives from Ocean City. Head coach Tim Oswald — the guest on this week’s KYW Philly Soccer Show podcasthas signed a three-year contract extension. The club has also announced the addition of several new players ahead of tonight’s game.

MLS

Player moves:

Orlando City president Phil Rawlins says of the club’s efforts to land Kaka, “Those negotiations continue and we continue to be interested in signing him. He continues to be interested in coming to us, so we’ll just let that play out over the coming months. We’ve really focused on insuring a world-class superstar.”

Crystal Palace will be embarking on a US tour this summer “with 3 matches in 3 different East Coast(ish) cities.”

NWSL

There are two midweek games tonight. At 8 pm, Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns (NSCAA TV, YouTube), followed at 10 pm by Seattle Reign vs. Kansas City (NSCAA TV, YouTube).

US

You can look at the preliminary rosters for the US’s group stage opponents — Ghana, Portugal, and Germany — here. Also, SI has a running tally of the rosters for all of the World Cup participants.

Explaining that he wants to “show the boss and show the coaching staff that I’m a guy they can count on,” Jozy Altodore says his mindset going into the pre-World Cup camp, “I’m only going to worry about what I can control, and that’s showing up to camp and giving everything I have in every session, and trying to be on that plane to Brazil because nothing is a given, nobody is guaranteed and I want to first get that done, and then, you know, you look at the rest later.”

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said of Jozy Altidore’s form with the club,

I don’t know if it’s when you feel that you are a main player. I don’t know if the pace of the game with the national team is different than England. I don’t, I don’t know. Something is, of course, not working for us with Jozy…He was always trying his best. Unfortunately, the goals didn’t come for him. But I am relaxed because if you see the power he’s got, if you see the shot — he can shoot, I can tell you that, because I see him every day. It’s just that momentum, that click that is going to be for him so important…But I’m quite relaxed with Jozy, to be honest. I’m one of the few. I know it’s difficult for a striker when he doesn’t score, but I like him. I like him. I like him as a boy and I like him as a player. He just couldn’t find the net. Sometimes it happens. You change clubs, and you cannot do it at one club for whatever reason.

ESPN writers discuss some of the questions surrounding the US team by position.

At SI, Brian Straus on “locks and uncertainties” for the final 23-player US roster for the World Cup. At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep looks at players “on the World Cup bubble.”

Also at SI, Straus has an excellent, must-read look at the hat trick scored by Bert Patenaude at the inaugural World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, the first in World Cup history. The article is part of a series looking at the ten most significant goals in US Soccer history.

At ESPN, Roger Bennett has something of a behind the scenes look at the making of the “Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil” documentary series. The first part aired on Tuesday night and, if that episode is any indication, the series will be excellent.

Elsewhere

The Europa League final between Sevilla and Benfica kicks off today at 2:45 pm (Fox Sports 1, ESPN Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go).

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the confederation’s plans to land the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup. Whether the bid will come from one country or from a partnership of two countries remains to be seen, but Webb stressed the necessity of the confederation getting behind a single bid.

From a CONCACAF perspective, our focus for the World Cup is 2026. We’re committed to that…That’s not about the USA hosting the World Cup, for us it’s about a confederation standpoint…CONCACAF was obviously hard done (by) when (the) rotation stopped, we were the ones who lost out because it should have been our turn after Brazil. When the rotation stopped, obviously it impacted us the most..,Obviously we believe our best chances is to put one member forward, one country forward, one bid forward, that gives us our best opportunity. CONCACAF has 35 votes and of course if you split those votes amongst ourselves you’re defeating the purpose.

More on the press conference from ProSoccerTalk.

The logo for the centennial edition of the Copa America, which will be hosted by the US in 2016, has been unveiled.

Forbes has projected winners and losers from the World Cup based on expected sneaker sales. Or something like that.

5 Comments

  1. I don’t remember what ended up happening with the Valdes loan situation. Can he be brought back after the World Cup? I know there was talk of this over the winter…

    • And while we’re talking about that country … Mondragon for coach?

    • I was wondering this too. It seemed like the main reason for the loan was to get into the WC picture, so will we get him back after the World Cup? End of season? I’d love to have him back.

  2. Mike Eidle says:

    Hackworth is starting to sound like Nowak when he was “forced by the fans” to trade Ruiz. If the players were really upset by the fans booing Hackworth it should have motivated them to score some goals to show their support for him. I know it’s not that simple – but to blame the fans not supporting him as an excuse for losing yet another game without scoring any goals is really lame.

    • you are adding a lot of extra baggage to what he said and making a lot of assumptions. first of all you assume that booing players motivates them to play better. second of all you are assuming that he is blaming fans for the poor performance rather than just pointing out that the players aren’t motivated by being booed

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