Daily news roundups

Vitoria introduced, Berry trialing with Cosmos, report says HCI considering relocating, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Steven Vitoria spoke to reporters via conference call on Wednesday for the first time since joining the Union on loan from Benfica (click here for a transcript of the teleconference). Vitoria said, “The project that Philly presented to me was very attractive; I didn’t have to think much about it. It’s a winning project that we’re working to put together, and I’m very happy and excited to be part of that.”

He also thanked his new teammates for welcoming him to the club: “Everybody’s been great, been really great teammates. I’d like to thank them because they’ve been making it a lot easier.”

During the call, Chris Albright confirmed the club has been interested in Vitoria since last summer:

He’s a player that we looked at last summer and were familiar with. We got him in to look at the club. We talked to him and it was something we were discussing at the time, but at the time we couldn’t fit it economically. So, we sort of kept him — I don’t want to say in the background, I would say in the foreground —  but things had to move to make that possible. We were very familiar with the player.

Albright explained that what had to move was Carlos Valdes’ loan to Nacional, and acquiring Vitoria’s rights from Vancouver.

After praising Vitoria’s qualities as a player, as a leader, and as a “great fit” with the club Jim Curtin said he believed the defender’s transition into the team “should be a pretty seamless one.”

Asked who would partner with Vitoria at center back, Curtin said,

It’s a work in progress, but I would say that him and Ethan looked good together last night with Mo playing in front of them. We had a lot of the ball, they were organized. We have a lot of training sessions to still work that out, there’s still four more preseason games left — we could actually still add a fifth — so there’ll be some learning curve for the whole backline just getting used to each other. But I liked the communication that he brought; guys seemed to listen and play well around him. So, a very positive first step — still early though, and we can try different things. The good thing with Maurice is the flexibility that he gives us and out team, he can play multiple spots. It’s a positive.

Given that the team will be playing four games in ten days when they return to Florida for the second phase of preseason training next week after their return to Philly later today, it seems likely that the possible addition of a fifth preseason game would be more in the form of a scrimmage.

More on the press conference at Philly.com, Delco Times, Philly Soccer News, and MLSsoccer.com.

Vitoria’s arrival raised further questions about the future of Austin Berry with the club. While the Vitoria conference call was underway, Empire of Soccer’s Dave Martinez tweeted that Berry would be joining New York Cosmos on a trip to Hong Kong. An article posted later on Empire of Soccer, Martinez reported that Berry, along with former Toronto defender Nana Attakora, have joined the Cosmos “as trialists and will travel with the team to Hong Kong for training and participation in the Lunar New Year Cup; a one-off match against Hong Kong Football Team.” Martinez notes, “As of now, the Cosmos have all of five defenders on roster.”

Delco Times reporter Matthew De George tweeted, “A Union spokesman says the Berry move is a ‘Short-term trial.’ I’m assuming the hope is that an offer will materialize from that.”

In a report on a teleconference with Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese, SBI’s Ryan Tomlich characterizes Berry as “a trialist with the club with views toward a potential loan.” Savarese said, “We’re still looking at players and there will be some other players that will be coming with us to Hong Kong and then we will decide whether we want to go into the direction to sign them.”

You will recall that Leo Fernandes was recently loaned to the Cosmos.

Sons of Ben

The latest Sons of Ben newsletter has information on the 5th annual ‘Stache Bash, which this year will benefit Unified Soccer of Philadelphia, “a program by Special Olympics’ Unified Sports.”

The newsletter also has information about this year’s tailgating plans, including a schedule.

Local

The Tennessean reports that Harrisburg City Islanders owner Eric Pettis met with Nashville officials last fall about the possibility of moving the team there. The report says Pettis also “has explored other markets in addition to Nashville,”

“Soccer in this country is growing like crazy and you’ve got to look at whatever opportunities are out there,” said Pettis, who has explored other markets in addition to Nashville. The hope would be to relocate by 2017 if the team picks that route. He called [Greer Stadium] and Nashville “definitely one of the better options we’re looking at.”

The report says Pettis’ “goal is to stay in Harrisburg, but the club’s ownership team has been unable to move forward on getting a new stadium there.”

MLS

The impressive message discipline in comments from MLS Players Union reps to the media continues, with Columbus Crew players rep Ethan Finlay telling the Columbus Dispatch, “We hope to get a deal done but right now we don’t see that happening with (the league’s) stance.”

At ASN, UCLA law professor Steven Bank on how the University of California could be a model for how the league could allow free agency while also maintaining its single-entity status.

A review of the CBA negotiations at Minneapolis Star Tribune is pessimistic:

All reports indicate that the sides are so far apart on the question of free agency that they’re not even bothering to talk about it. The players say they won’t play without it. The league dismisses the mere idea as completely out of the question. It’s hard to see how this gets worked out. Last time, the sides needed the help of a mediator, and even with that help, we were within a week of opening day before a deal was signed. This time, it looks like that deadline will come and go before anything is decided.

At Yahoo Sports, Leander Schaerlaeckens says, “[T]he resolve of the players seems absolute, and the start of the 20th MLS season, slated for March 6, is endangered. A labor stoppage is a real threat, and it could do immense harm to the league.”

San Jose Earthquakes have signed midfielders Leandro Barrera and Sanna Nyassi, and defender Marvell Wynne.

Montreal and defender Krzysztof Król have mutually agreed to part ways.

What’s the status of Gilberto at Toronto? TFC head coach Greg Vanney said, “I’m not 100 percent clear on his situation. I know there’s been several clubs, including clubs in the league, who have inquired about him. I don’t know exactly where things stand. As far as I know, he’s continuing to stay fit and work. We also have to see where the CBA stuff lands, but in all likelihood we’ll find a place for him. I’m just not sure exactly where that will be.”

NYCFC can take up to four players on loan from Manchester City. Head coach Jason Kreis said,

It’s something we’re interested in. Individually I have a lot of interest in bringing some Man City players over on loan because I think it would be a cool thing. It would be great for a young coach like myself to be involved with the development of a young Manchester City talent. There are some player who we have looked at it but it needs to be a good fit. We won’t do it just to do it. Any player who we do loan needs to bring something to our team.

NYCFC technical director Claudio Reyna believes the club’s fans won’t give Frank Lampard a hard time when he arrives in New York this summer. “I think they will be fine. We understand the fans’ disappointment, wanting to watch him play from the beginning but he’s coming in July and he’s very, very committed. He was in a difficult situation so he doesn’t deserve any negative backlash in anyway and I don’t think he will get it.”

FC Dallas has a nice exercise in fan engagement ahead of their upcoming friendly against DC United on Feb 20. A poll on the club’s website asks fans to vote on what pattern they would like the grass at Toyota Stadium to be cut: bullseye, traditional, checkerboard, or plaid. “[F]or our regular season MLS games, there are regulations in place for just about everything you can think of from sponsors to game presentation to the way the field is mowed….but those don’t count for preseason friendlies so we thought we’d have a fun vote to determine which field pattern we will have for the beautiful Toyota Stadium pitch next Friday night.”

State economists in Florida have ranked Orlando City’s stadium construction first among four sports stadium projects deserving of public money from sales taxes. The other projects are “plans to renovate and improve EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Sun Life Stadium in Miami and the Daytona International Speedway.”

US

In the latest FIFA rankings, the US drops four spots to No. 34. Mexico dropped one spot to No. 21.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s assessment of the USMNT following the recent friendlies and January camp:

I feel good about how things are going. Obviously it’s been a challenge since we came out of the Group of Death in Brazil, then hit the wall against Belgium. Then there was a natural drop by a lot of players because it’s a World Cup year, this is the biggest thing you can play in your career. For whatever reason we had a drop in many areas, and paid some results for that.

I think we’re going to come out of that little valley and pick it back up, because obviously with another goal on the horizon, winning the Gold Cup, qualifying for the Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017. This is huge.

Klinsmann added, “Now going forward for the rest of the year, I have that freedom to pull the best players and call them and really start to get things fine tuned because we want to win the Gold Cup.”

Settle down, everyone, Julian Green hasn’t been dropped to Hamburg’s U-23 team after all.

The US plans for preparing for the upcoming U-20 World Cup are a little clearer. On Wednesday, US Soccer announced, “The U-20 MNT reconvenes with a March 23-30 trip to London that will include matches against Tottenham’s U-21s and England’s U-20s. Following that camp, the U-20s travel to Austria for an April 18-26 session that will feature games against Qatar’s and Greece’s U-20 sides. Further game and roster details will be announced at later dates.”

Ticket sales for the April 15 friendly in San Antonio between the US and Mexico have surpassed the 55,000 mark, a new record for a national team game in that city. An editorial at My San Antonio notes such strong sales can only bolster that city’s hopes for an MLS franchise.

Elsewhere

FIFA’s Task Force for Women’s Football has proposed establishing a Women’s Club World Cup tournament for 2017. You know, because the Men’s Club World Cup is such a roaring success.

Meanwhile, the AP reports, “FIFA research shows fewer than one in four member federations has staff dedicated to working for women’s football.”

60 Comments

  1. I chuckle to myself– the Cosmos travel to Hong Kong.

  2. My the over under on how long until NYCFC is starting 4 Premier League level players.
    .
    21 games.
    .

    • I’m a Man City supporter (And yes this NYCFC thing is killing my mojo)
      .
      The only guys you could see come over from the squad are Zuculini who’s not getting any PT on his loan deals or Pozo. Not exactly names that are going to sell tickets over here

      • The tickets will sell when those quality players are providing wins. Don’t you think. To me its not about the individual – it will be about pushing up the table.
        .

      • I was talking about drawing fans when they are away. I think NYCFC will have good home attendance regardless.

      • I actually had to take the Man. City flag down from my game room the other day. At first I thought I could root for Man. City while booing NYCFC. But I can’t. I can’t bring myself support a team that’s linked with NYC sports. As such, I’m in the market for a new EPL team to follow if anyone has any compelling arguments.

      • Tottenham. Pochettino has them going in the right direction. Attacking. Solid defense. Buy in from players.

      • J in Section 125 says:

        Tottenham fan here. Wish the Union would align themselves with the Spurs.

      • Another Spurs fan…and I would love to see that. But I think they are too much of a big-budget club for the Union.
        We should aim for the Southamptons of the world.

      • That would be great if the Union teamed with Spurs. Pochettino is a great coach.

      • I hear you get a free bowl of soup when you go to the Lane……………

      • Get in on the ground floor . . . root for Derby County. You gotta work to see the games but it’ll make it worth it if they win promotion. Heartbreaking that they didn’t win the playoff last year (I despise QPR)

      • The Black Hand says:

        Had a friend from Derby. Built like a brick shit-house…the type of fullback that you hate having to face. Good dude. I’ll always have a place for ‘Dahrby’, in his honor.
        .
        That said, slap the Liver bird on you chest and call it a day.

      • get them on the 7:30 match on BeIn sometime…………they have some nice young players and try to play a decent brand of footy……..they are fun to watch!

      • I’ll put in another vote for Tottenham and I know Eli has mentioned on the podcast many times that he’s a Tottenham fan too.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Great match, on Tuesday!!

      • You mean the Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 win Tuesday night? 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Not to overstate it, but death before Sp*rs.

      • I’m a Gooner til I die,
        A Gooner til I die,
        I think I am, I know I am…
        A Gooner til I die!

        *************SCREW SPURS***************

      • Says the Arsenal fan.

      • …..supporter. Sorry dude, I hear Spurs and I just cringe. I heard Spurs/Union collaboration and I threw my coffee cup across my office!

    • I think their ability to do that is awesome……if their brining four over on loan each year……..they are going to clean house in the MLS. 3-4 DP’s, 4 loanees from City…………they are going to be a handful. They are still going to be City’s play toy………….but if this is true…..I can’t see anyone….even LA and Seattle, competing with that.

      • 215. It won’t even be close.
        .
        Generals against the Globetrotters.
        .
        But hey the plan is to punch above our weight anyway. So we will fit right in. I love this team. Love.

  3. What happens if they strike and DCU advances in CONCACAF? Does DCU get to play in the semi-finals or do they have to forfeit?

  4. More becomes clear: Edu is definitely our starting defensive midfielder. White and Vittoria at CB. Gaddis and Williams likely to pick up where they left off at LB and RB respectively.

    If we sign anyone, it will be a starting #9. Still looks like a big IF at this point.

    Also, the Man City loanees thing: I know there were people who were concerned about NYCFC being a minor league team for Man City, but, if I were a soccer fan in NY, I think I would be a little excited by that sort of proposition. Especially if it brought high quality players that were being groomed for the Premier League. I get it that the intent is for MLS to rival the PL, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. If the Union had a deal with Southampton or Tottenham or something like that, I’d think it was pretty great. …. Just sayin’

    • Me too. Though I still argue for a south american connection.

      • I agree Pete………..I was slamming NYCFC about being City’s play thing…..but if this is true, it will be beneficial for both clubs……..and I don’t know how teams will compete. Second, why Spurs? Arsenal dude, screw Spurs! I would agree with Southhamton, club seems to be doing everything right with a 1/4 of the resources everyone else has…………got to love them! We do need a sugardaddy club too……..

      • This is a no brainer. I’ve been arguing for it over a year. To me, if you can’t spend big, find a club to link with. This is the direction the game is going by my estimation. Then when you can someday spend big– all the better.
        …..

        Mutually beneficial cause their reserves will get quality play time in a league up here that needs the quality of thought and play to send it in right direction. It is a no brainer but I don’t want to link with the ‘idea’ of english football– as it has already set us back 50 years.
        .
        I want an Argen-tine tie in. Yesterday. Yesterday.
        .
        For all the cultural reasons we can list.

      • Boca and Racing seem like the only clubs with real stability and capital to do something like that. I would say San Lorenzo….but if what Valdes is saying is true…..I guess they have leaner pockets than I thought. I prefer a BVB Dortmund or other German club…….Ze Germans are on the march doing everything right.

      • Well to that I cannot argue. As we have discussed previously, we are both intrepid fans of The Wall.
        .
        A stoudt spilling to near empty as I trudge higher and higher and higher.
        .
        20,000 maniacs – Yes, BVB Dortmund would be a killing.

  5. Larry Guengerich says:

    If the City Islanders move, what about building right next to the Clipper Stadium in Lancaster. I guarantee they would draw at least as well as in the disaster of a “stadium” they are in now. Build a nice 3K seat stadium or something. Could share parking with other downtown Lancaster stuff. Just an idea!

    • That would be fantastic, there is definitely space there. Whether it’s available or not is a whole ‘nother problem.

    • Lancaster is exactly what I thought of when reading this, too. There’s plenty of space for a stadium around Clipper and plenty of parking, too. It’s right in the city. Heck, Clipper itself has been used for soccer before (HCI v. Crystal Palace, 2009).
      If push comes to shove with USL and the Union, and the stadium situation in Harrisburg becomes completely untenable, I hope ownership would pursue an infinitely more local relocation than Nashville. I’d also hope the Union and possibly even the Barstormers’ ownership would have interest in that as well. Lancaster County has been a hotbed for youth and collegiate soccer for much longer than a lot of the country, and I’m sure the support a professional team would get there would be tremendous.

      • why not let them go…………..and start a PA Classics USL team…………..everything would seem to be in place for that. Them and PDA seem to be better than many MLS academies anyway…….and produce more talent……..why not?

    • As a Lancaster resident, YES!

  6. “At ASN, UCLA law professor Steven Bank on how the University of California could be a model for how the league could allow free agency while also maintaining its single-entity status.”
    .
    This was a good read. It’s the type of system that makes sense as the next step from “re-entry draft” toward full free agency at some point in the future.

    • Agreed, this solution makes a lot of sense as a form of “free agency” within MLS.

    • +1. And actually, I think that’s where this will go. The players are not going to back down on some form of free agency, and Garber and the league will not get rid of the single-entity structure that they’ve nurtured very carefully for many years. So eventually they will reach some sort of compromise that will be something like what Bank describes. The question is whether that will happen in March, or in July.

    • The problem I see is when NYCFC wants a player on another MLS team, they can have MCFC bid the price up to a level where the player’s original team can no longer afford him.

      • exactly……….look at the overblown prices for players in Europe….its crazy and on purpose. Breaking bank on one player blows the whole market open for marginal players to make way more than they should….and squeezes poor clubs out.

      • But they still have to stay within the salary cap that everyone has to work with. I’m still not in favor having an MLS team owned by another team though. Why should one team have the advantage of getting loans from a global powerhouse? And how firm are the supposed “rules” governing what NYCFC/MCFC can do?

      • Mike, while I sympathize with what your saying……………….money talks and BS walks. Capitalism brotha…..survival of the fittest, capitalism. Ironically, thats how the big hitters in Europe operate…….like huge companies, constantly expanding their brand and looking to eliminate any and all competition. Why do you think NYCFC set up shop in NYRB’s backyard? Answer: to degrade and deplete them until they are no longer there…..capitalism, ahhhh!

      • Yes- I hear you. I don’t blame them for taking advantage of it, I blame the league office for allowing it to happen (actually, they openly courted it). It doesn’t help- from my perspective- that it’s a freaking New York team that is going to be enjoying the advantage. On the other hand, I’m all for any scheme that could humiliate NYRB (haha!).

      • The Black Hand says:

        I don’t think that the City/City loan will ever take foot. This league is not prepared to govern such dealings.
        .
        I commend the MLS for their attempt to level the playing fields. Those “monsters” mentioned above are taking away from the game, with unlimited funds thrown to buy silverware.

      • England, its Chelsea. Germany, its Bayern. Spain finally broke the two club strangle hold and added a third in Athleti. It happens everywhere…the have and have nots. Look what Roman Abromovich, the owner of Chelsea, did. Didn’t win the title in two years….bring in Fabragas, Cortois, Luis, and Costa. Four studs…….worth more than anyone else could afford. City could afford it….but they are still navigating the financial fair play rules, after stacking their squad for the past 4 years…

      • The Black Hand says:

        EFF CHELSEA!!!!!!

      • +1

    • old soccer coach says:

      Definitely worth reading. His opening paragraph also echoes what Steve the labor lawyer said about free agency as the surface issue, but the legal status of “single entity structure” as being the real underlying one. [Steve, I apologize for not having your last name down pat, all I’m getting back is Holyrood, which is close but wrong, and historically had something important to do with kings of Scotland, perhaps where they were crowned. Again, my apologies.]

  7. Boy, if Pfeffer makes the U-20 squad- and I hope he does- he could miss a good chunk of the first half of the season.

  8. Someone should send Steven Bank’s article to both the players’ union and the MLS office. The system he brings up could keep a strike/lockout from happening.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Agreed. That article was fantastic. It really presented a rational solution to the problem. Someone above stated that teams outside MLS would just drive the prices up… does that happen now? There are so many teams just dying to sign MLS guys (non DP level players), that this would be a problem?!… at least for the next five years (the assumed length of the new CBA). I really think this is a perfect hybrid solution that gives both sides a chance to claim victory.

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