Daily news roundups

Blake named Goal.com’s Goalkeeper of the Year, US humiliated in Costa Rica, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

Goal.com has named Andre Blake their MLS Goalkeeper of the Year:

Blake’s stats are solid, though other goalkeepers might get the better of him in different categories. Almost every week, however, the 25-year-old managed to keep the Union in games with some highlight-reel stops.

Without those performances, it’s hard to imagine the Union breaking their postseason drought, considering they made the playoffs on goal difference. For stabilizing the Union’s goalkeeper position — an especially difficult task with two rookies on the back line — and for often make the impossible save possible, Andre Blake has won Goal’s Goalkeeper of the Year award.

The semifinals of the fan vote at the Union website for Player of the Year feature Andre Blake vs. Tranquillo Barnetta, and Keegan Rosenberry vs. Chris Pontius. Click here to cast your vote.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has a “by the numbers” look at the Union’s 2016 season.

Brotherly Game’s end-of-season player review continues with a look at Josh Yaro.

Philadelphia Union Academy

At the Union website, a report on the open house at YSC Academy on Tuesday night. We should have more on the event later today.

Section 215 reviews college players with Union Academy connections whose teams are involved in the NCAA championship tournament.

Local

In the latest NSCAA/USA Today high school boys soccer rankings, Lower Dauphin (26-0-0; Hummelstown, Pa.) moves up one spot to No. 3, Salesianum School (14-1-1; Wilmington, Del.) moves up one spot to No. 6, and West Chester Henderson (23-1-1; West Chester, Pa.) remains at No. 11. Also receiving votes were Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.) and Pennington School (Pennington, N.J.).

In the NSCAA/USA Today high school girls soccer rankings, Hunterdon Central (19-1-1; Flemington, N.J.) moves up three spots to No. 5 and Villa Joseph Marie (20-1-1; Southampton, Pa.) enters at No. 24.

MLS

Official: Steven Gerrard will not return to LA Galaxy in 2017. Ho hum.

ESPN on how Gerrard and the also departing Frank Lampard were lackluster investments for the Galaxy and NYCFC.

With Tim Howard unavailable for Colorado due to injury, the Seattle Sounders website has a look at the player who will be replacing him in the Western Conference semifinals, former Union man Zac MacMath.

ESPN reports, “Former Germany international Marcel Schafer said he is reconsidering seeking a contract in Major League Soccer following the U.S. elections last week.” The report continues:

He said that initially he planned to look for an MLS contract next summer so he could spend the remainder of his career in the United States and be closer to his mother, who is based in Atlanta.

However, following the U.S. presidential elections last week which saw Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, Schafer said he is now reconsidering his plans.

“It’s thought-provoking,” he told Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung.

“The option [to move to the U.S.] is still there, but I am no longer that sure. The vote has started a thinking process.

“Looking at the election campaign, a lot of things happened which are inconsistent with my values. Especially because I am an athlete.”

Meh.

Meh.

Milan Eintracht Frankfurt Atlanta United unveiled its inaugural home kit on Tuesday. Looks kind of familiar. Someone needs to come up with a Milan derby riff for the first Atlanta-Montreal game. More on the new jersey at MLSsoccer.comAtlanta Business Chronicle and Sports Logos.net.

In other Atlanta news, the team has partnered with MARTA public transit system to build “the world’s first soccer field located within a public transit station, Atlanta’s famous downtown hub, Five Points.” Architectural Digest reports the field, which will be called “Station Soccer” and will open next month, “will serve as the latest home base for Soccer in the Streets, a local nonprofit dedicated to empowering Atlanta’s youth through the sport.”

US

Tuesday night’s humiliating 4-0 loss to Costa Rica was the worst qualifying defeat for the US in 36 years since the team was defeated 5-1 by Mexico in 1980 and the worst ever defeat in Costa Rica, where the team has never won. It’s the first time since 2001 the MNT has suffered two straight losses in World Cup qualification.

Michael Bradley said after the game, “We just weren’t good enough. On a night like this, there’s no point in trying to look at it any other way.” He said further, “We’re going to have to look collectively real hard in the mirror at ourselves and understand it’s not been a good start.” Yep.

Jurgen Klinsmann described the loss as “the defeat that hurts the most in my five years,” adding, “It’s a bitter moment for us. There’s no doubt about it…We didn’t imagine we’d start the Hexagonal with two defeats right at the beginning.”

Klinsmann also said, “There’s always things that you think about and say you should have done differently, you should have maybe sent in different players or different formation. Absolutely you question a lot of things that you have done, and I take full responsibility.”

Perhaps most importantly, Klinsmann still believes he is the right person to lead the USMNT. Social media indicated otherwise, with #FireKlinsmann, unsurprisingly, much used last night. (Is it too late for #klinsmannsunrocket? Eli would like to know.)

Soon enough, SIFox SportsUSA Today (and another!), Soccer AmericaYahoo Sports, FourFourTwo, NESN, and Goal.com all had posts calling for the end of Klinsmann’s tenure. Fox Soccer posted 13 awful milestones set by the USMNT under Klinsmann. A headline at Soccer America reads, “Klinsmann’s promises of progress are not to be found”.

Sunil Gulati, who said before the loss to Mexico that he believed Klinsmann would be the US coach through the entirety of the Hex, said in Costa Rica after Tuesday’s loss, “We won’t make any decisions right after games. We’ll think about what happened today and talk with Jurgen and look at the situation. Obviously it’s not a good start to the Hex, and today in particular was not a good performance.”

Then Gulati said this: “When you lose two games, there’s obviously some concern. But Mexico qualified [for 2014] with 11 points. There’s a lot of points left on the board, 24 to be exact. As I’ve said the last two cycles, the sequence of games matters a lot, and we’ve had what one would consider our two toughest opponents early … I’d be more concerned if we didn’t have any points and it was some of the other opponents.”

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff, and SI’s Grant Wahl, believe Bruce Arena, who is out of contract with the Galaxy, is the likely replacement for Klinsmann.

Recaps and reports from the game at PSP, US Soccer, CONCACAF, MLSsoccer.com (recap, analysis, report, reportplayer ratings), Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles TimesUSA TodayThe Tico Times, ESPN (report, analysisplayer ratings), Fox Soccer (takeaways, player ratings), CBS Sports (three things/player ratings), SIFourFourTwo, Soccer America (takeawaysplayer ratings), ASN (recap, player ratings), Stars and Stripes FC, Pro Soccer Talk (recap, analysis, player ratings, report), Goal.comThe Guardian, DeadspinReuters, AFP, and the AP.

Pulisic!

Elsewhere

Goal.com reports, “FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the ‘video-assistant referee’ system still needs to be tested further before it can be implemented into live games after a trial in Tuesday’s friendly between Italy and Germany.”

ESPN reports, “The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has vowed to continue to fight recent fines from FIFA over El Tri fans’ controversial chant aimed at opposition goalkeepers.” Classy.

The AP reports, “Qatar’s World Cup sites will be inspected from next year by an international trade union which wants the deaths of all workers assessed by external coroners and for the causes to be published.”

Also from the AP: “A North Korean man has died while working on a stadium for the 2018 World Cup, a Russian official said Tuesday.”

Speaking of North Korea, here’s the lede from an article at ESPN: “The next Lionel Messi could come from North Korea, according to Ri Yu-Il, a coach at the country’s solitary football academy.” More at Goal.com.

8 Comments

  1. Voting is closed on the semifinals. I wasn’t surprised at the winners (even though I voted for Pontius over Rosenberry). What did surprise me was that Rosenberry won by a larger margin than Blake did.
    .
    And also surprising is that when I just voted in the finals, Rosenberry is ahead 61% – 39%.

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    #KlinsmannSunRocket That was good stuff!!
    .
    As for the new Atlanta jersey… how many different jersey styles are actually left? It’s not that bad.

  3. Pontius won the comeback award.

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