Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser, Steel falls short, Reading thumps, Union U-18s in USSDA quarterfinals today, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Some highlights from Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference on Wednesday:

  • Curtin said Le Toux is recovering from the concussion he suffered last week “quicker than I thought, to be honest,” and passed the heading part of the concussion protocol on Wednesday. Curtin said Le Toux could be available for Saturday’s game against DC United: “We won’t rush it but, at the same time, he is progressing in a way that it’s at least a possibility for the weekend, which is good, it adds to our depth.”
  • Sapong is in full training with the team after playing 27 minutes against Houston on Saturday, his first minutes since his ankle injury at the beginning of June: “I’m hoping he’s able to start [against DC], his fitness has really improved over the course of the week.
  • Curtin stressed the importance of bouncing back against DC from last weekend’s loss: “[I]f you count the Open Cup with the New York game, we’ve bounced back any time we’ve lost a game, we’ve come back with a good response. And, I think our group will again. As devastating as the Houston loss was, our guys have a pretty good demeanor; they know when we deserve three points and when we don’t, and I think we’ll have a good response. It is critical, though, to avoid any losing streaks, and we’ve done a decent job of that.”
  • Curtin said correcting the team’s recent defensive frailty begins with the front three: “[W]e’re not a team that can kind of pick and choose when we want to press, it has to be all ten guys together. And, when we don’t have that, you’ll have mistakes and you’ll have holes open up between the lines, and we’ve had that recently…I’m confident that we’ll get back on track…I’m confident, with the hard work the guys are putting in on the training field, it’ll turn around.”
  • Curtin said it is too early to start “scoreboard watching”: “Right now, we’re second in the East, which is good. Not great, but it’s good. We have room for improvement, we have room for growth…we continue to play well, we continue to put the work in that we’ve put in, the playoffs and that kind of thing will take care of itself.”
  • Regarding the summer transfer window, Curtin said, “I think we can maybe add a piece here in the window and make a push. Again, we’re not going to go out and just spend money frivolously, we have to do it with an eye on the future of the Philadelphia Union and also an impact in the second half [of the season]. So, the players, or player, that we bring in is not just going to be…It’s going to be one or the other, it’s going to be someone with the vision on the future, or someone that’s going to come in and make an impact straightaway. So, we’re not just going to bring in mediocrity, is probably the best way to put it.”

More from the press conference at Philly.com.

Andre Blake has been named to Goal.com’s Midseason Best XI. Blake, who is up for Save of the Week — as he has been after 12 of his 24 MLS starts — comes in at No. 10 in the latest Audi MLS Player Index.

Power rankings! At MLSsoccer.com, the Union remain at No. 5: “Injuries to C.J. Sapong and Fabian Herbers left the Union without a forward this week, and that absence was telling. They’ll likely be active during the transfer window in trying to add depth up top and at central midfield.” Yes, please.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George has midseason grades for the Union. Goalkeeping gets an A, the defense gets a B-, the midfield gets a B, the forwards get a B-, the coaching staff gets an A-, and the front office gets an A. Chris Pontius is his first half of the season MVP.

In midseason awards at MLSsoccer.com, Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle has Blake at No. 4 for Goalkeeper of the Year, and Keegan Rosenberry at No. 4 for Defensive Player of the Year. Rosenberry also makes Doyle’s Best XI.

Blake and Rosenberry earn mentions as two players “to keep an eye on” in Soccer America’s Midseason Best XI.

Section 215 says the Union should grab Lloyd Sam, who is reportedly being shopped around the league by NYRB.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has a “one that got away” piece on Deshorn Brown, the former Reading United and Colorado Rapids forward who just signed with Shenzhen in China. The moral of the story is that Reading United’s affiliation to the Union does not mean the Union can make claims on Reading players.

Union CBO Tim McDermott will be holding a townhall on Facebook today at 1 pm.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel could not recover after conceding two goals in the first 13 minutes of play, despite goals from Ryan Richter and Josh Heard, falling 3-2 on the road to Toronto FC II. The game concluded the team’s five-game road series, which they finished with a 1-2-2 record. Currently tenth place in the 14-team Eastern Conference, the team returns to Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium on Sunday to face 13th place Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday, their first home game since the 1-0 loss to NYRB II on June 5. Recaps and reports from Wednesday night’s game at PSPBethlehem Steel, Philly Soccer News, USLsoccer.com, and TFC II.

Allentown Morning Call has a profile piece on Derrick Jones.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union U-18s face PDA today in the quarterfinals of the USSDA playoffs. The game kicks off at 5 pm at the Union Training Grounds (not YSC, as earlier schedules had said).

Academy director Tommy Wilson said, “This is a great opportunity for our U18s to demonstrate just how far they have come this season against our local rivals and previous national champions PDA. It will be a difficult game against two well matched teams, but we welcome the challenge.”

More on today’s game at Philadelphia Union and Brotherly Game.

PDL

Reading United increased their first place lead over Ocean City Nor’easters in the Mid-Atlantic Division to four points with a 7-1 thumping of last place Evergreen FC on Wednesday night. Rayane Boukemia, Frantzdy Pierrot, and Ismael Noumansana each bagged a brace, with Hugo Delhommelle scoring the last goal. Reading has the weekend off before facing Jersey Express on the road on July 13. Recaps and reports from Wednesday night’s win at Reading United, Reading Eagle, and WFMZ.

Ocean City’s Chevaughn Walsh, PSP’s Player of the Week, received an honorable mention in the latest PDL Team of the Week.

Local

Kicker reports Downingtown’s Zack Steffen will be newly promoted Bundesliga side Freiburg’s third goalkeeper for the 2016-17 campaign (crappy Google translation here).

Lancaster’s Russell Canouse has re-signed with Hoffenheim and will go on a two-year loan to loan to 2.Bundesliga side VfL Bochum.

PSP contributor Steve Holroyd has a new podcast called “The Front Row with Steve Holroyd.” The pod’s description says, “Join me along with co-host Sam the Wonder Pug as we share cold takes on American (and sometimes Canadian) soccer–“cold” because I focus on history–along with some random opinions on the game we love.”

MLS

NYCFC (30 points, 8-5-6) increased their first place lead in the Eastern Conference to four points with a 1-0 road win over eighth place New England (19 points, 4-7-7). NYCFC has now won four-straight games in league play.

Orlando City have “amicably” parted ways with head coach Adrian Heath. Assistant head coach Mark Watson has also left the club “by mutual agreement.” Assistant coach Bobby Murphy and Orlando City B assistant coach Anthony Pulis will manage the team while it searches for a new head coach.

Vancouver have transferred Uruguayan striker Octavio Rivero to Chilean side Club Social y Deportivo Colo-Colo. “As part of the transfer, Whitecaps FC will receive a percentage of any future transfer fees obtained by Colo-Colo.”

Houston have mutually agreed to part ways with Spanish midfielder David Rocha “due to personal reasons.” Also, midfielder Leonel Miranda has left the club after the expiration of his loan from Argentine side Club Atlético Independiente.

Atlanta United have signed 28-year-old Irish midfielder Chris McCann (Burnley, Wigan Athletic). The announcement notes, “McCann will go out on loan until he arrives in Atlanta in January.”

The Guardian on how the Western Conference has come to dominate MLS.

US

SI talks to Megan Rapinoe, who is working to return from a torn ACL suffered last December in time for the Summer Olympics.

At US Soccer, a profile piece on Allie Long.

Elsewhere

Portugal defeated Wales 2-0 in Wednesday’s Euro 2016 semifinal and will face the winner of today’s semi between Germany and host country France (2:30pm: ESPN, ESPN3, Watch ESPN, ESPN Deportes) in the final on Sunday.

ESPN reports, “Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi are to appeal to the Spanish supreme court after being found guilty of three counts of tax fraud at a court in Barcelona.”

FIFA has announced, “The Bureau of the FIFA Council today appointed Tomaž Vesel of Slovenia as the independent chairperson of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee until the 67th FIFA Congress, with immediate effect.” The AP notes Vesel replaces Domenico Scala, “who resigned in protest as chairman of the panel overseeing its billion-dollar annual spending.”

11 Comments

  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Really hoping the Union are active in the transfer window. The good vibes of this season are a little flimsy right now. Need some reinforcements to sure up the team and stay in the top 3. All obvious statements I know, I just wanted to put it out there.

  2. Dreaming of transfer targets. How good would Hal Robson-Kanu be in MLS? He’d be pretty good up top for the Union, breaking MLS defenders with that Cryuff turn. How cool would it be to sign Joe Allen to replace Vincent Nogueira? Impossible, I know, but fun to think about.
    .
    I just want some compelling transfer news.

  3. Lucky Striker says:

    They need to fix 3-4 holes. They “might” try to fix one. Got it.

    • A center mid for Nogueira and another viable forward option to spell Sapong seem like requirements if they want to take advantage of good start and make a playoff push. I really hope they at least address those 2. I think we can live with the BC/Creavalle combo at CDM (one on the field at a time…not both), and with Fabinho at LB for this season.

      I’m not feeling very confident we’ll see Edu this year. The lack of sound bites and/or meaningful updates on his status just make me think that’s lingering issue. Center midfield reinforcements are much needed, and this latest stretch screams out for another striker option.

    • The Left Back hole has been left open for so long people just assume it is like some freaky avant-garde door window thing or something.

  4. Zizouisgod says:

    Lloyd Sam…for real? I’ll pass.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    Please bring justice and peace. Please bring justice and peace. Thoughts go out to our civilization.
    .
    God speed fellow posters.

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