Daily news roundups

Bethlehem wins first league game, US humbled in Guatemala, more

Philadelphia Union

The Union had the weekend off but Andre Blake was in goal for Jamaica’s 1-1 draw with Costa Rica in Friday’s World Cup qualifier. The teams meet again in Costa Rica on Tuesday. Recaps at CONCACAF and Reuters.

Bethlehem Steel FC

A Fabian Herbers goal in the 43rd minute, assisted by Walter Restrepo, was enough for Bethlehem Steel to secure a victory over FC Montreal in their first-ever game in league play on Friday night.

The Bethlehem lineup featured seven Union players:

John McCarthy, Taylor Washington, Mickey Daly, Joshua Yaro, Ryan Richter, Bolu Akinyode, James Chambers, Walter Restrepo (Gabe Gissie 84’), Leo Fernandes, Eric Ayuk, Fabian Herbers (Amoy Brown 90+1)
Unused subs: Samir Badr, Josh Heard, Fred, Nick Bibbs, Mark McKenzie

Recaps of Friday night’s win at Philadelphia Union, USLAllentown Morning CallUnauthorized Bethlehem Steel Blog, Noise Nation, Brotherly Game, and Montreal Impact.

The team’s home opener is this Sunday at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium at 3 pm against FC Cincinnati.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald has a interview with Bethlehem head coach Brendan Burke that provides a good glimpse into what is involved with managing players with the team from a variety of different backgrounds, from MLS and USL veterans, to Union Academy players.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George has more from Burke.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy completed play in the Generation adidas Cup on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. Darius Lewis scored the first half game winner. At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph has more details from the game.

Local

Like Bethlehem Steel, Harrisburg City Islanders opened their 2016 season on the road. Also like BSFC, the City Islanders scored one goal. Unfortunately, they also conceded 3. Recaps of Saturday night’s season-opening loss at USL, Richmond Kickers, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph rounds up players in the USL with local connections.

Frankford-born National Soccer Hall of Famer Len Oliver, 82, has announced he is donating his brain for concussion research.

MLS

Three MLS games were played over the weekend. In the Eastern Conference, NYCFC (5 points, 1-1-2) moved into fourth place with a 1-1 home draw with 10-men New England (3 points, 0-1-3), who are now in seventh place. Ninth place DC (2 points, 0-2-2) lost 3-0 at home to Dallas (9 points, 3-1-0), who are now second in the Western Conference. Vancouver (6 points, 2-2-0) moved to fourth in the West with a 1-0 home win over Houston (4 points, 1-2-1), who are now in seventh place in the West.

DC United have signed Italian midfielder Andrea Mancini, who happens to be the son of Inter head coach Roberto Mancini. You will recall DC United majority owner Erick Thohir is also majority owner of Inter.

AS reports David Beckham has picked his former Real Madrid teammate Roberto Carlos to coach his Miami MLS team.

Movement for a MLS team in San Diego?

Albuquerque Business First reports an independent analysis says PDL-side Albuquerque Sol’s plans to build a soccer stadium, part of the team’s designs to eventually join MLS, “could be a real goal in the net.”

US

On Friday night, the US did something it hadn’t done since 1988 over 21 games: Lose to Guatemala, a team currently ranked 95th in the world. Indeed, the US had never before lost to Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier.

It was an ugly, dispiriting defeat that sees the US third place with four points in Group C in the fourth round of the CONCACAF qualification tournament behind Trinidad and Tobago (7 points) and Guatemala (6 points).

Michael Bradley said after the loss,

I can’t emphasize it enough: These games are never easy. On a different day, even with everything being the same, if we can get it back to 2-1 then I think you have a good chance to get it back to 2-2 and we weren’t able to the other night…

Nobody is trying to sweep [the result] under the rug and make it out that it was unlucky or whatever. We weren’t good enough. But at this point, the only thing that counts is the response and to have a team full of guys who are ready to step on the field Tuesday night in a fearless way…

We have to be ready when the chance comes Tuesday night to step on the field and, right from the first whistle, give everything and play in a way that leaves no doubt as to the result at the end of the game…It’s about as close as you can come to all or nothing. I think there’s a real sense of understanding that now, given the way things have gone and the results, it’s a game where we have to win.

Jurgen Klinsmann said, “Too many mistakes, especially in the first half hour. On international level you cannot make the mistakes that led to the two goals. You simply cannot allow that.”

Asked if he questioned his lineup decision after the loss, Klinsmann said, “Absolutely you question that, and you kind of think how can we fix this, this and this. At the end of the day, these two mistakes, these two goals — you just have to swallow it, because those are individual mistakes that you cannot do at this level. That’s what happened tonight so we’ll take the blame. I take the blame.”

On Sunday, two players were added to the US roster for Tuesday night’s return game against Guatemala in Columbus, Graham Zusi and Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic.

Tickets for Tuesday’s game (7 pm, ESPN2, UniMas and UDN) have been selling poorly, with the Washington Post’s Steven Goff tweeting on Sunday only 17,000 have been sold. Mapfre Stadium’s capacity is 24,000.

Recaps and reports from PSP, US Soccer, CONCACAF, New York Times, Washington Post, Soccer America, ESPN (analysis, commentaryFox Soccer, CBS Sports, SI (recap, report), Goal.com (recap, commentary), SBI (recap, analysisSporting NewsYahoo Sports, USA Today, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, ASN (recap, commentary), Pro Soccer Talk (recap, anlysis), MLSsoccer.com (recap, analysis), Deadspin, and the AP.

Player ratings at ESPNSoccer America, ASN, Goal.com, Pro Soccer Talk, and MLSsoccer.com.

Before Friday night’s humiliation in Guatemala, the US U-23 MNT played Colombia away in the first game of the two-game Olympic qualification playoff series, earning a 1-1 draw.

US goalscorer Luis Gil said, “It was very important because we wanted to get that away goal. Obviously it would have been better if we could have hung onto the lead, but we’ve put ourselves in a very good spot.”

Head coach Andi Herzog said,

I think it was a really good result for us and we even had the chance to score a second goal when [Jordan] Morris hit the bar. We could see that Colombia are a really good team, but the away goal was huge for us…

We did a good job defensively. It sounds stupid but I was expecting them to score because they put us under a lot of pressure. The Colombian team are a really good team in possession and it was a lot of pressure from them. At the end it wasn’t easy, so I must give huge compliments to my players…

Today’s game was a different style of play for us because Colombia are different from the CONCACAF sides that we’ve faced in the past. In the second half we were missing a lot of energy because sometimes we were giving away the ball too easily and that happens, you overcompensate. But next week we will have more possession, I assure you.

The return leg is on Tuesday night in Frisco, Texas (9:20pm, ESPN2).

Recaps and reports on Friday’s draw from PSP, US Soccer (recap, reportCONCACAF, Fox SoccerUS National Soccer Players, MLSsoccer.com (recap, report), Soccer America, SI, Goal.com (recap, analysis), SBI,

Player ratings at Soccer America, ASN, and MLSsoccer.com.

Remezcla.com on Ruben Mendoza, the first Mexican American to play for the USMNT.

Elsewhere

AFP reports, “Iraq on Saturday buried the victims, among them many young boys, of a suicide attack that ripped through a trophy ceremony after a football tournament and killed 32 people.” A local official said, “Seventeen of those killed are boys aged between 10 and 16.” More from Reuters and the AP.

The AP reports, “French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said the European Championship in France will go ahead as planned despite the terror attacks on Paris in November and Brussels last Tuesday.”

From the AP: “Kenya could face sanctions for a riot that stopped play for more than 30 minutes on Sunday and forced police to fire tear gas into the stands in an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau.”

Reuters reports, “Former Honduran President Rafael Callejas is expected to plead guilty on Monday to U.S. charges stemming from his involvement in bribery schemes under investigation at soccer’s world governing body FIFA, according to a court document.”

Vice Sports wonders if the motivation behind the US investigation into FIFA corruption really comes down to civil forfeiture revenue: “[I]n taking down FIFA and pushing hard to squeeze a buck, the US just may lose the moral high ground…In the best light, the US government had the courage to fill a glaring gap in international law enforcement: no other country had the gumption or resources to tackle the cronyism rampant at FIFA. However, in the worst light, the FIFA crackdown is for-profit policing gone wild. The feds stretched the notion of jurisdiction to shake down white collar criminals from abroad for millions, few perpetrators will do any serious jail time, the alleged victim—FIFA—probably will get minimal if any compensation, and FIFA will remain a laughable cesspool of excess (as evidenced by the recent election).

30 Comments

  1. Blake should have done better on that goal he gave up; instead of pushing the ball into the path of an onrushing player he should have pushed it wide for a corner. Hopefully a mistake he will learn from.

  2. It would be great if — in the article about the game — we could find the final score of the game (re: Bethlehem Steel FC). I’m assuming (but will have to do further research), that the score was 1-0? First ever victory in franchise history deserves at least that — a mention of the final score.

  3. Lucky Striker says:

    Beth 1 Jr. Impact 0

    Herbers got the goal off a nice feed from Walter I believe. Ayuk dominated. They couldn’t do anything with him, so they just hacked him to pieces.

    They had a guy in defense-Steel did- that resembled a younger Yaya to me. Don’t know much about him, but he did alright. Leo set up the Scotsman, Chambers? point blank-but he rang it off the post.

    Fabian is class. Kid knows how to find space and take his chances. They switched off in the second half. Montreal took over territorially, and almost tied it on a scissor kick.

    All in all a good first victory on the road, but Bethlehem fielded a more recognizable group than their counterpart-so I would have expected them to prevail.

    • Was is Derrick Jones? Burke said he’s been the standout so far from his interview a few weeks ago. Didn’t watch the game myself, so I cannot confirm.

    • You are referring to Yaro with the Yaya comment? First time I’ve heard the comparison made, but Yaro does have that kind of languid grace that belies great athletic ability.

      • I believe he was referring to Akinyode in the Yaya comparison. He stayed with the Union in preseason longer than most Steel players. Played the #6 role in the game. Also, Derrick Jones didn’t play because Leo was loaned down for the game, I assume this was direction from the top to get Leo minutes as he is more important to the Union this year.

      • Lucky Striker says:

        This-Not Yaro.

  4. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Yes, Lucky Striker, Herbert was fed by Restrepo and was unmarked. Restrepo in turn had been fed by Hernandes.
    ..
    I would amend Ayuk dominated to Stpeel midfield pressure dominated until the conditioning ran out, especially in the inal two thirds of th first half.
    .
    Fernandez set up the Irishman, Chambers, for the beautiful strike in the tenth minute that found the left post. Chambers is 29, not a kid. Fully agree with you that he played very well.
    .
    The defender to whom you refer may be Akinyode. He is an effective destroyer; he was less technical and creative that I would have hoped.
    .
    Mickey Daly won a handful of head balls in the box late when Steel’s conditioning had given out. The back four looked coordinated. Richter and Ayuk up the right flank looked better coordinated than Washington and Restrepo up the left; somehow I have the impression that they have been playing together longer. I think I am assuming that because Restrepo got more time with the first team in preseason than did Ayuk.
    .
    They were older than the side Montreal had put out, for the most part. In a Montreal preview article, the author had assumed before the game that the oldest Montreal FC players would be 22 years old. For Steel, Chambers is 29, Richter is 26, Restrepo is 25 or 26 I think, Daly is more than 22 for certain, as is Fernandes. Montreal did send some experience down for the game, but the article I cite suggests they may not have trained much in advance with the younger guys.
    .
    I infer that Earnie Stewart wanted Steel to start on the proper foot, sending seven starters down. To Brendan Burke’s credit, the extra Union players (I.e., Restrepo, Fernandes, Herbers and McCarthy, because Yaro, Washington and Ayuk have been with Steel since there has been information about Steel preseason games [Junior Lone Star, Syracuse]) integrated very well into the Steel core.
    .
    I was disappointed not to see Derrick Jones at ACM, given Burke’s highlighting him, and Corey Burke, the loaned player from the top Jamaican league, has apparently come back from Jamaican National Team training camp injured in some fashion.
    .
    That Herbers came down is quite logical; I had not expected it as he is consistently in the eighteen for the first team. That move may turn out to reveal quite a bit how the front office intends to use the Steel, Burke has said as much in interviews with Dan Walsh and elsewhere.

    • I too was disappointed not to see some more of the hyped up Steel players, but it can be assumed that it was orders from the top that Herbers and Leo were getting the full 90 since the Union were off. Overall I thought the team looked decent although I thought Leo and Restrepo did not get themselves involved in the game enough.

    • In your opinion, regarding the 7 Union players, was this a one-time thing given how the schedule lined up perfectly? I’m guessing Ayuk, Yaro, Restrepo and McCarthy have chances to be playing there more regularly, but Leo and Herbers have been in all 3 Union games so far. I think this setup could be hugely beneficial to the senior team as we go along, and I wonder whether the loaning works the opposite way with BSFC players.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Loaning does not work reciprocally, if I have read the respective sets of rules correctly. To play in an MLS game, a player as to be on an MLS roster. There is nothing comparable to Major League Baseball’s 40 man roster. The Union can designate three Steel players as individuals to whom they have a kind of right of first refusal; after those three, anybody can sign someone from the Steel roster, technically.
        .
        To play “up” without being formally signed, the MLS extreme hardship conditions would have to be satisfied, which – if my memory is accurate – means you have either fifteen able-bodied players, or less than fifteen, don’t remember for sure. The 2016 MLS roster rules were published just before the start of the regular season; the comparable USL rules are in a section of their press guide, if I remember correctly.

      • That’s interesting. I would hope at least that the union players get time at Bethlehem to grow and sustain skills.

  5. @MenInBlazers tweets that JK’s Newport Beach home is for sale.
    No word on whether SG has roommate ad up on Craig’s List.

  6. nice summaries!
    i don’t mind this recap by viewer experience.
    only other suggestions would be if anyone from the East End Army or season ticket holder for BSFC would be willing to contribute a recap.

  7. el Pachyderm says:

    A guy like Restrepo IMO… absolute quality signing when most of his minutes come for BSFC….
    .
    Hoping plenty of minutes for our 18 yr old academy kids and some outlier 16 and 17 yr olds… otherwise what are we doing.

    • It’s got to be a balance of young guys getting experience and also guys who need to step in and help out the Union this year. Keeps them playing and hopefully builds confidence so they can seamlessly step in when an injury occurs or we need some squad rotation.

    • Just curious, do you mean the 16-18 year old academy kids over others, such as Restrepo, Ayuk, Chambers etc?

      • Absolutely… I understand the function, I think of the USL but as the quality of play moves further and further away from 22 year old college grads not making the first team… i.e. Washington and Yaro and moves closer and closer to the stepping stone of homegrown players and secondary league moves… I would hope and expect to see younger level players getting minutes and that includes 16 and 17 and 18 year olds preparing for jumps to first team.
        .
        If the Union and MLS more and more MLS teams do not have a quality 19 or 20 year old in the starting lineup week in and week out within the next 3-5 years than it is my opinion the league and this team specifically is not growing properly.
        .
        17 year old need to be playing against men…not other 17 year olds.

      • …and if 17 and 18 year olds are playing against 17 and 18 year olds, aren’t the professional academies just a glorified USDA?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Is there not also a developmental benefit for the 17 & 18 year-olds to be playing WITH men as well as testing themselves against them? I refer you to Leo Fernandes sometime this winter discussing the benefits of having played alongside Raul. I cite the clear, obvious benefit to Montreal’s entire roster playing with Drogba; I speculate similar phenomena for Orlando with Kaka, and all the others.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        100%.

      • I agree completely, just wanted to make sure I followed you. I wonder how that would work in terms of playing at BSFC. Do they actually sign? Can they be loaned?

  8. el Pachyderm says:

    Attn: US Soccer Media
    .
    Congratulations to BeIn Sports, The Lockeroom 3/28/16 for calling the entire US Soccer system to task. Bravo. Learn the lesson.

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