Daily news roundups

Notes from the presser and more Union bits, World Cup news from US camp and Brazil, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Some highlights from John Hackworth’s weekly Union press conference on Wednesday:

  • Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud are both available for the West Coast trip that begins against LA Galaxy on Sunday.
  • Hackworth said of the options available to replace Cristian Maidan, who is suspended for the LA game, “Leo, Pfeffer, Sebastien, those guys are all viable options right there. I would even throw Corben Bone into that mix.”
  • Hackworth said he believes the Union’s problems are a matter of execution: “Sometimes that’s tactical, sometimes that’s technical.”
  • Hackworth acknowledged the frustration within the locker room but said there is no sense of panic. “Panic usually starts when you don’t believe that you have guys on the field that are good enough. You start to really have these little in-team battles, you see that on the practice field a lot. We don’t have that right now. I’ve been saying that for several weeks. I think it’s easy for people on the outside to assume that some of those really negative aspects of a team are seeping in. Our guys deserve a lot of credit for the fact that that’s not happening with us right now.”
  • Despite his strong performances at holding midfielder over the last two games, Amobi Okugo is likely to return to central defense. “[W]e continue to struggle in our backline, so that’s where we have to find some stability.”
  • Hackworth also said it is possible that Sheanon Williams could be paired once again with Okugo at centerback.
  • Hackworth reiterated that the team is looking for reinforcements, which might mean some players currently on the roster will soon be gone. “We’ve said that publicly that we’re out there shopping. And any time you do that, there are guys within your locker room that, in the nature of this business, you’re going to have to expect that there will be a trade made, or that somebody might be released. Those are the hard, hard realities of this business. But more important, and I alluded to this earlier, is that our team and our organization, this club, is not accepting of where we are right now. We need to take action that puts us in a better place to be successful, both in the near future and in the long term. If we can find those kind of guys, and we can make those acquisitions, we’re going to try to do that.”

PSP has a full transcript and video from the press conference. More from the press conference from Delco Times and Brotherly Game.

Speaking of reinforcements, at Fox Sports, Kyle McCarthy looked at the Union’s need for new faces. “Pluck isn’t the problem right now. This group claws and scraps willingly for coach John Hackworth, but most of the selected options aren’t placed in spots where they can use that diligence effectively. The demands placed upon them given the absence of key pieces – this is a team still without proven linchpins in central defense or at center forward, after all – are simply too arduous…There isn’t anything wrong with asking one or two players to stretch from time to time as demands require, but the Union requires it week after week from several members of the starting XI.”

Austin Berry says of his fight to get back in the starting lineup, “It’s definitely been a challenge. But I think, personally, it’s made me a little better. In Chicago, I think maybe I was a little bit too comfortable because there really wasn’t anyone pushing for my spot. Here, I really had to earn that spot back. That in itself made me work a little bit harder, put some more time in and kind of get myself back.”

Amobi Okugo talks to SL10 Nigeria about his pride in being named captain while Brian Carroll was out due to injury. He says of the Union’s struggles so far, “We haven’t played to the best of our abilities thus far. Whether it’s mental mistakes late in the game or lack of focus when it comes to making crucial plays we haven’t done that.”

A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales for the game against Chivas USA in LA on May 31 will benefit the Michael Lahoud-supported Schools for Salone project.

At Brotherly Game, Andrew Stoltzfus has the good, the bad, and the ugly from the last three Union games.

Also at Brotherly Game, a look at Zac MacMath’s numbers.

The Sons of Ben recently brought some cheer to a young fan, nine-year-old Blake Groff, whose family home was recently destroyed by fire. Working with the Union, the SoBs presented Blake with a jersey signed by the team to replace the one lost in the fire, a personalized jersey, an SoB membership package, as well as tickets for Blake and his family to see last weekend’s game.

The website IrishCentral and the Consulate General of Ireland are holding a contest for kids ages 6 through 9 currently residing in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware to be player escorts for the Ireland team in the friendly against Costa Rica on June 6. (Why no New Jersey? I have no idea.) For more information, click here.

Local

At the CONCACAF website, Glenside-native and Temple grad Tony Donatelli gets a profile with a focus on the success he’s had in Canada. “He’s a Philadelphia son at heart, but Tony Donatelli has been at the center of some of the most exciting moments in Canadian soccer over the past nine years.”

The Press of Atlantic City reports, “The Pinelands Commission will allow Tuckahoe Turf Farms to go forward with organized soccer activities for an unspecified period of time while continuing to study the appropriateness of the events in an agricultural zone under deed restriction.

MLS

In Wednesday night’s games, DC (18 points) moves into second place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-0 win over now fourth place Houston 17 points). LA (12 points) moves into sixth place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 win over third place Dallas (17 points).

The draw for the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League will take place on May 28.

At the Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski takes a look at the Homegrown Player Rule.

DaMarcus Beasley said of rumors linking him to a return to MLS, “I have not spoken to any MLS team, I don’t know where that’s coming from. It is true that I’m looking to leave Puebla, I will say that, but as far as MLS, as far as any other country, any other team, I have not been in contact with anyone.”

Robinho to Orlando City?

The Las Vegas Sun reports that the Las Vegas City Council has voted to give a developer until Sept. 1 to come up with a financial plan for a soccer stadium to be built in that city with the aim of landing an MLS franchise.

NWSL

In Wednesday night’s games, seventh place Sky Blue (7 points) drew 3-3 on the road with sixth place Washington (10 points), and first place Seattle (22 points) drew 1-1 on the road with fourth place Kansas City (12 points). Second place Portland (14 points) defeated fifth place Western New York (10 points) 2-1 at home.

US

Maurice Edu likes the group of players at the pre-World Cup camp and believes the chemistry within the team will be key:

I think we have a good group again. I think last campaign, we had a good group in terms of how we came together on the pitch as well as off the pitch and I think its similar this time as well.

Obviously, it’s important to be skillful, be talented, be tactically sound and all of those things. At the end of the day, you can do all of that stuff, but how you perform on the pitch and whether you’re willing to do that extra running for the player next to you; those bonds and the relationships that have been built over the last four years are what’s going to help us along the way.

Obviously it’s going to be physically demanding, mentally demanding, but that willingness to go the extra mile for your teammates, that’s going to be key for us.

Jurgen Klinsmann believes Tim Howard is one of the top 5 goalkeepers in the world. “I think there is something special waiting for Tim [at the World Cup], that he hopefully makes that his special moment. I think he is consistent over years, years, years now in the Premier League. He I think was in the top three of the Premier League this year, and I look at him as the top five in the world, and that is kind of a moment to catch, so make that World Cup your World Cup.”

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle has more on Klinsmann’s comments on Howard as well as notes from Wednesday’s day of training. More notes at SI.

Aron Johannsson is beginning to resume full training with the team after dealing with an ankle injury. “The last few weeks I’ve been hurting, but Sunday [in AZ’s 3-0 loss to Groningen] I played 90 minutes and I felt all right. It felt good.”

DaMarcus Beasley says of Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin, “They’re great talents. They definitely deserve to be here. They hold their own in training. They can make this roster. That’s why they’re here. It’s not to give them experience. Experience for what? A two-week training?”

Fabian Johnson credits advice from his father for the versatility that has gotten him where he is today. “My dad just always told me to work on my weaker foot, so I’m almost full-footed. My father also always told me to do my best at every position the coach wants me to play. That’s what I do. Trying to do my best.”

Who will make the World Cup roster, Terrence Boyd or Chris Wondolowski? ASN’s John Godfrey explores.

Michael Bradley talks to FIFA.com.

At SI, Grant Wahl looks at the competition in midfield.

In an interesting post at the San Jose Mercury News that is largely devoted to how much the US players are enjoying their surroundings while they train at Stanford University, Eliot Almond writes,

Klinsmann declined to bring clarity to the biggest question surrounding the World Cup team: when he plans to announce the final 23-player roster. The deadline to trim the team by seven players is June 2.

“We’ll discuss that daily,” the coach said. “It’s part of our work. I don’t have a specific date in mind.”

He also sidestepped questions about whether he would name the team at one time or incrementally.

At Yahoo Sports, Martin Rodgers looks at how, compared to many of the teams preparing for the World Cup, the US is training in peace for the tournament without the intrusive glare of the media spotlight.

At Grantland, Noah Davis describes three different era of players for the US, starting from when the US qualified for the 1990 World Cup, and says we are in the midst of a progression into a fourth era. “Scintillating soccer, technical, tactical, and attack-oriented, played by young men starting for some of the biggest and best clubs in the world: This is what we have to look forward to. This is the future of the United States men’s national team, in 2016 and beyond. But first, we need to get through the 2014 World Cup.”

Will the US bid to be hosts of the 2026 World Cup? Speaking at the Leaders in Sport conference on Wednesday, Sunil Gulati said,

The answer is maybe. Maybe we’ll bid. Whether we get it or not is obviously contingent … We’re not going to bid unless the rules are changed. I’ve said this relatively recently. The rules of bidding and some of the other governance procedures at FIFA need to change. I’ve said that before I was on the Executive Committee, and I still believe it.

I could outline a number of those things, but we’re not prepared to bid if the rules don’t change. The technical reports need to mean more. As far as I’m concerned, there should be a public disclosure of votes.

There’s no reason, and the IOC made this change, that executive committee members, or in the next case all federation presidents, need to visit member countries to see if they have an airport, and on and on and on. It’s not normal, and customary gifts, there’s got to be a limit financially.

If that part of the process can change, then of course we’re interested in bringing the World Cup to the United States. Absolutely.

You can view video of Gulati’s comments here, as well as comments from MLS president Don Garber.

At ESPNW, Julie Foudy has a Q&A with new USWNT head coach Jill Ellis.

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “The final test event at the troubled World Cup stadium in Sao Paulo has been postponed because of concerns from local authorities. FIFA says a test match scheduled for May 29, a Thursday, has been moved to the following Sunday to avoid disrupting the city’s ”operational routine” on a working day.”

Following up on a report we linked to in Wednesday’s roundup, the AP reports, “FIFA said Wednesday it is not considering changing kickoff times or adding mandatory cooling breaks during World Cup matches, despite being sued by Brazil’s players’ union because of health concerns. FIFA said it spent nearly two years analyzing starting times for the tournament in Brazil and always took into consideration the players’ health.”

The Guardian reports, “Luis Suárez is due to have knee surgery on Thursday after suffering a training ground injury that has cast doubt on his involvement at the World Cup.”

Reuters reports, “Mexico’s World Cup squad will not eat beef during their preparations for the Brazil tournament for fear of testing positive to banned drugs in contaminated meat, coach Miguel Herrera said on Wednesday.” You will recall that five Mexico players tested positive for the banned stimulant clenbuterol at the 2011 Gold Cup, which Mexico officials blamed on eating tainted beef.

Herrera has also banned his players from drinking alcohol or having sex during the World Cup. “If a player can not endure a month or 20 days without having sex, then you are not prepared to be a professional. Let’s play a World Cup, we’re not going to a party.”

Reuters notes the arrival of the Ivory Coast national team in Dallas on Wednesday. In addition to the Ivory Coast, the Nigerian and Ghanaian national teams are also training and playing exhibition games in the US before the World Cup. Nigeria will be based in Philadelphia beginning on May 29 — and will face Nigeria at PPL Park on June 3 — before moving camp to Florida ahead of the friendly in Jacksonville against the US on June 7.

From The Department of I Think I’ll Wait For Netflix, a FIFA-backed film on the origins of the world’s football governing organization is getting its world debut at the Cannes Film Festival. The film sounds like a piece of propaganda, with the Guardian reporting, “The film cost a reported £19m to make, with FIFA said to have pumped £16m into the project, and flatteringly portrays Blatter, Rimet and Havelange as visionaries and icons of the global game. Blatter himself was reported to have tweaked the script.” Blatter is portrayed by Tim Roth, Jules Rimet by Gérard Depardieu, and Joao Havelange by Sam Neill. You can see a trailer here.

13 Comments

  1. “Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud are both available for the West Coast trip that begins against LA Galaxy on Sunday.

    Oh, thank god! LA better watch out!!!!!!!

  2. You really need to ask why they excluded Jersey in the process for kids to walk out with the players?!?!

    • My son is 6 years-old, part-Irish and he would be super excited to walk out with the Ireland players. However, since we have the audacity to live in New Jersey (about a half hour from PPL Park) I guess I can’t enter him to be a player escort. Those kids from West Virginia have all the luck.

    • Atomic spartan says:

      Christie must have told an Irish joke at some State dinner within earshot of the ambassador.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Those are probably the states that particular consulate covers.

  3. Looking forward to the Nigeria-Greece game at PPL! Was at the stadium the other day and Section 137 is sold out!

  4. Atomic spartan says:

    How would Beasley look in a Union kit?

  5. ■Hackworth said of the options available to replace Cristian Maidan, who is suspended for the LA game, “Leo, Pfeffer, Sebastien, those guys are all viable options right there. I would even throw Corben Bone into that mix.”

    Corben Bone? Corben Freakin’ Bone!!? Is he serious? The fact that he could utter those words leads me to think there is just no hope for this team this year.

  6. I like that LA played last night and won. Maybe they’ll play the B team expecting an easy win this weekend- that’s when we’ll pounce!

    Also, I have to laugh to hear FIFA say they studied the heat/start time question for the World Cup for 2 years! I would have loved to be on that committee to see the glacial pace that they conducted their business. I have a feeling it required symposiums every other month at 5 star resorts in the world’s finest cities- all expenses paid for members and their immediate families of course.

    • with a few mai tai’s and hurricane’s. ‘oh hey look its not too hot at 3pm when you’re pool side. let’s do this.’ ‘Where did you say the money was, again?’

  7. The answer for this team is a real coach. Hackworth can not coach and doesn’t have a clue how to get the best from his players. He has completely mismanaged this team with inept strategies and roster moves. The challenges that the Union have faced are proving that he does not have what it takes. Hackworth needs to go. On another note, it’ll be interesting to see how Edu plays now that he doesn’t have the WC as a reason for returning to MLS. I think he’s been holding back. Just saying…
    I’m not buying the whole Wheeler over White BS. The back 4 should be Gaddis(RB), Berry(CB), White(CB), and Williams(LB). Okugo should replace Carroll in the midfield. I think this given a chance would help them become more cohesive defensively IMO.

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