Daily news roundups

Fans vote Blake Union’s Player of the Year, Academy teams undefeated over the weekend, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

Union fans have voted Andre Blake the team’s Player of the Year.

Speaking to reporters on Friday (audio here) after being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Blake was asked about rumors of interest in him from teams abroad. Blake said, “Right now, I’m still a Philadelphia Union player, so that’s the focus. If something should come later, then that’s something to think about. But right now, I’m still a Philadelphia Union player, which means I’m still 100 percent dedicated to them. From this standpoint, as of right now, I’ll just continue to do my best for the Philadelphia Union, until the future.”

Blake said of the 2016 season, “We have shown this year that we have players that can make a play, and I think this year was just learning experience for us. If we keep working together, keep working hard, keep buying into the system, I think this is just the start of something great to come.” Looking ahead to the 2017 Union season, he added, “From a personal standpoint, I’m hoping to have an even better season than 2016. To be able to go in and be consistent and do everything I can for the Union — and maybe be the goalkeeper to get them their first Cup.”

Jamaica Observer and Jamaica Star note the praise Blake received from the Jamaica Football Federation after being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.

CJ Sapong set a new club record for the most fouls suffered in a season with 71. His reaction? “I’m going to chalk that up to one of those forces that aren’t in your favor. It’s interesting to hear that stat when I feel that I definitely didn’t get all the calls I could have throughout the season.”

At MLSsoccer.com, the Union make a list of the top five games of the season. Unfortunately, it’s the “tight, entertaining” 3-2 road loss to NYRB on Oct. 1.

SB Nation Orlando City blog The Mane Land says MLSsoccer.com “blew it” in naming Chris Pontius MLS Comeback Player of the Year rather than Orlando’s Kevin Molino: “Seriously, what a joke.” Never mind that Molino finished third in voting among players, clubs, and the media and that Pontius bested second place Frank Lampard in two of the three categories of voters.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has more forwards for the Union to consider signing in the offseason.

Following a report from the Toronto Sun in which he says he is unhappy with his lack of playing time, Section 215 wonders if Will Johnson would be a fit with the Union.

Also at Section 215, more on the Union’s need for help in central defense.

Brotherly Game’s player review series continues with Warren Creavalle, Keegan Rosenberry, Alejandro Bedoya, Tranquillo Barnetta, Ilsinho, and Roland Alberg.

Pattison Ave’s season review series continues with the 2016 Union preseason.

Last Word on Soccer reviews the Union’s 2016 season.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Brotherly Game has a report from Bethlehem’s open tryout on Saturday.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy teams finished the first half of the USSDA 2016-17 season on Saturday. The U-12s won both their games at YSC against TSF Academy. In the first game, the Union were 4-0 winners with goals from Ian Abbey (10′), his tenth tally of the season; a brace from Beckham Aiman (27′, 46), who now has three goals; and another strike from Nelson Pierre, who leads the team with an amazing 21 goals. In the second game, the Union were 5-0 winners. Anthony Derk opened the scoring in the fourth minute for his 11th goal of the season; Timothy Madden added a hat trick (10′, 18′, 47) and now has an impressive 19 goals on the season; and Nicolas Rubio scored as (55′) and now has 8 goals.

The rest of the Union Academy teams hosted their counterparts from Cedar Stars Academy-Monmouth. The Union U-13s were were up 2-0 after 30 minutes of play thanks to strikes from Jarman Reilly (19′), his first goal of the season, and Aiden Elvidge (30′), also his first goal of the season. The visitors got a goal back in the 42nd minute before Brandan Craig — who is listed on the Union U-12 roster, with whom he has one goal — scored again for the Union, his third of the season for the U-13s. The visitors scored again in the 58th minute and the game ended as a Union 32 win.

The Union U-14s had to settle for a 11 draw at YSC. Selmir Miscic put the Union ahead with a goal in the 54th minute after entering the game 13 minutes before, but the visitors equalized in the 75th minute. Miscic is on the Union U-13s roster, having scored 7 goals with that team. Saturday’s goal was his second for the Union U-14s.

Playing at the Power Training Complex, the Union U-15/16s came from behind twice for a 22 draw. After the visitors opened the scoring in the 11th minute, Brenden Aaronson equalized for the home team with a goal in the 34th minute, his second goal of the season. The visitors scored again in 50th minute — both goals were scored by Jack Worth — before Nicholas Blacklock equalized for the Union in the 78th minute, his second goal of the season. The U-15/16s enter the break from league play third in the Atlantic division (18 points, 5-1-3) with two games in hand against first place Baltimore Armour and second place NYRB.

The Union U-17/18s romped over counterparts from Central New Jersey in a 71 win. Tiger Graham opened the scoring in the 13th minute and went on to score three more goals (42′, 79′, 89′) and is now on a team-leading 13 goals. Justin McMaster scored in the 37th minute (3 goals on the season) before Anthony Fontana scored just two minutes later, his second goal of the season. The visitors got a goal back in the 43rd minute but Issa Rayyan, who is on the roster of the Union U-15/16s, nullified that with a goal in the 45th minute.

The Union Academy teams return to league play on March 5. Before that, the Union U-15/16s and U-17/18s will participate in the USSDA Winter Showcase, held in conjunction with the Nike International Friendlies at Lakewood Ranch in Florida, Dec. 1-5.

On Friday, the Union Academy’s Rayshaun McGann and Matthew Real were  named to the NSCAA announced its Youth Boys All-America Team. It is the second time Real has received the honor.

Scotland’s Daily Record says Union Academy boss Tommy Wilson is “a surprise candidate” to fill the position of performance director for the Scottish FA.

Local

Shea Moyer (FC Revolution, Wyomissing, Pa.) and Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion, West Chester, Pa.) have been named to the NSCAA Youth Girls All-America Team, It is the second time Moyer has been so honored.

MLS

ESPN reports that, after announcing LigaMX teams would not participate in the Copa Libertadores in 2017 (see below), league president Enrique Bonilla “is open to a potential new cup competition in collaboration with Major League Soccer”:  “It’s a possibility. Mexico has wanted to do this for some years now, to have some type of tournament with the U.S. teams, but for now we will just have the CONCACAF Champions League…The league has a great and close-knit relationship with MLS. We’re working to do things together, But we also have a great relationship with the Bundesliga, Premier League and the Colombian league. We are creating projects with each of them to improve Mexican football.”

NYCFC midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy has announced his retirement.

Former New England Revolution defender Gabriel Badilla has died at the age of 32 after collapsing during a 10K run in his native Costa Rica.

A study by Deloitte commissioned by a company owned by Riccardo Silva, owner of NASL side Miami FC, concludes promotion/relegation will benefit the long term growth of soccer in the US. However, the report acknowledges pro/rel “could present a number of significant risks,” and concludes, “As it stands however, US club soccer is not immediately ready for promotion and relegation.” Nevertheless, Dan Jones, Head of the Sport Business Group at Deloitte, said in a press release, “Though the US soccer league system may not be ready for such a move immediately and its implementation may not appear urgent, the topic is worthy of greater exploration and debate.” The small print of the executive summary, which you can download here, notes, “Insofar as this document contains conclusions and opinions, these are statements of opinion and should not be treated as statements of fact.” More on the release of the executive summary at Pro Soccer Talk, The Telegraph, and Stars and Stripes FC.

US

Reuters reports, “United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann remains ‘1,000 percent sure’ his side will qualify for the 2018 World Cup despite a 4-0 rout at Costa Rica last week.” Klinsmann added, “When things go slightly wrong, there are some people who come out and are ready to chop your head off. In the long run, that’s going to make the development of the team difficult. It’s important to stay calm and be patient. There are definitely issues to be addressed but there is no reason to exaggerate them or panic.”

Speaking to the New York Times about his job security and the team, Klinsmann said, “I’m not afraid. What you need to do is stick to the facts. Soccer is emotional, and a lot of people make conclusions without knowing anything about the inside of the team or the sport. I still believe we will get the points we need to qualify, and I am even confident we could win the group…The fact is, we lost two games. There is a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team.” Klinsmann says he’s exchanged text messages with Sunil Gulati “and that he expected to talk with Gulati in the coming days.”

In a Facebook Q&A on Sunday, Klinsmann said the reason for the 3-5-2 formation — 3-4-3, or 3-4-1-2, whatever — the US deployed against Mexico was because of one thing: Christian Pulisic. “With that formation, four midfielders spread out over the whole width of the field and then having Christian as the one behind Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood, we hope that gives him so much freedom to roam and to hurt Mexico at specific times, similar to what he does at Borussia Dortmund. We trained that before and it went really well in training. But the problem was, after 10-12 minutes in the game, we were not able to put pressure on their attacking midfielders.”

A report from the Los Angeles Times says of Bruce Arena, the leading candidate to replace Klinsmann, “According to a club source with knowledge of the situation, Arena quietly signed a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy this fall. The deal does not include a clause allowing Arena to leave if the national team comes calling, although the Galaxy could choose to let him go. Yet, contrary to published reports, there have been no formal conversations between the team and the U.S. Soccer Federation regarding Arena.”

CBS Sports wonders if this quote from Arena back in 2013 – “Players on the national team should be American. If they’re born in other countries, we aren’t making progress.” — could come back to haunt him.

USWNT players continued their battle for equal pay in the court of public opinion on Sunday with on 60 Minutes (transcript here) with a group appearance that included Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press, and Morgan Brian. (Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan, along with Lloyd and Sauerbrunn, were the five players who brought the equal pay complaint against US Soccer in March on behalf of the team. Solo, who is suspended and no longer under contract with US Soccer, appeared separately in the segment. Rapinoe, who’s kneeling protest has caused some controversy, did not appear in the broadcast, nor did Morgan.)

Saying, “We’re America’s dream team,” Lloyd explained, “We feel like we’re treated like second-class citizens because they don’t care as much about us as they do the men.” Asked if she believes the USWNT should be paid more than the USMNT, Lloyd said, “Yeah, absolutely. We win. We’re successful. Should get what we deserve.”

The AP reported on Friday that Sauerbrunn said USWNT and US Soccer representatives met recently and more talks are scheduled for this month and December.

Mallory Pugh scored the equalizer as the The US drew 1-1 with Ghana at the U-20 Women’s World Cup in New Guinea earlier today. The result sees the US finish at the top of Group C and will face Mexico, who finished second behind Germany in Group D, in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “An Ecuadorean court gave a 10-year jail sentence to former national soccer federation president Luis Chiriboga for corruption on Friday in another case stemming from the scandal at world governing body FIFA.”

Goal.com reports, “Liga MX clubs will not participate in the 2017 Copa Libertadores, South America’s club championship, league president Enrique Bonilla announced Friday. Clubs from Mexico have participated in the tournament since 1998, with the Mexican market representing a large television audience for CONMEBOL.” Bonilla says he hopes Mexican clubs will return to the tournament in 2018.

Drunk soccer!

32 Comments

  1. Can you possibly begin to fathom what Jurgen Klinsman thinks of his player pool and their ability when he anoints an 18 year old….with “so much freedom to roam” knowing he is the only player capable of such play. I know what Jurgen knows…..Do you?
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    No greater indictment on the sorry ability of US Soccer to create, save Benny- who for some reason has found himself painted into a corner.
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    Do you hear it anyway though…..???
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    The fizzy whistling air split getting louder and louder and louder as the distance shortens between instrument of detonation and earth…. BOOM.
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    ahhhhhh, its good to be back—–eh friends?
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    Love the Deloitte Study BTW… read it at work at 04.30.

    • …..for all those who think I am extreme or off point or or or… regarding the many points especially that little bugger known as TRAVEL SOCCER….by all means, please watch the astounding 50 minute documentary on Street Football, literally an alpha and omega primer.
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      Ballon Sur Bitume
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      .
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      Matisse, Cezanne, Monet, Delacroix, Renoir….

      • So what I don’t get about Klinsman is he goes on and on sitting there saying lets not put Pulisic under to much pressure. Now he says versus Mexico he was suppose to be the focal point (talk about putting pressure on the player). I am fine with putting pressure on him, but to a degree look at what you have even with Pulisic having him roam free is not what he does at Dortmund. Klinsman to me does not understand his players and their abilities. Which leads me to believe this is why he changes and tinkers so much with lineup. Examples Timmy Chandler is no RM RWB or RB he is not a national team player yet keeps getting called in. Besler is no LB. The LB is clearly Fabian Johnson. Bradley and Jones can’t work together in the middle unless you are playing a 10 up top to cover Jones random runs. Playing Bradley at the 10 pushing him up field now only to drop him back into a deeper role (make up your mind). Is it really the player pool or is it more the Managers inability to understand his players and give them a style with which the players can succeed in?

      • His comments about Pulisic were before the kid was seeing so much time though in fairness…. Christian has earned the right to play against Real Madrid and and and… which in the managers mind IMMEDIATELY and RIGHTLY elevates him to top of the US team…
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        This is my point and speaks to JK position about players taking easy way out and and and not being able to handle adversity and and and being whiners….

      • I thought it was the coach that was whining while throwing his players under the bus. But that’s my perspective.

      • Agreed

      • Yeah Pulisic deserves to play he has skill he is talented, which is great. But with no team around him he will never be great. You can’t just stick a player on the field say hey your 18 your great your our focal point now win us the world cup. There are other players on the field and if you have no structure to piecing it together are you Managing a team at all or just managing a player. JK obviously has found players abroad that can play for the US team, but he hasn’t even been able to use them to their best ability. I just look at it and say there are plenty of players in the player pool and a Manager who knows the correct way to use them could put together a very good quality team. Are they going to go out and compete right away with Germany and Argentina no, but with the right manager they could easily and clearly be the top team in CONCACAF and very competitive in CONMEBOL.

    • You know, I oftened agreed with what he said…….particularly when regarding what American ballers and fans should get use to if you wanted to dance with the big boys in world football. My problem with him was always many of the things stated here already….tactics, personnel, matchday management, the tinkering…..he was horrible. He said things sometime that Americans had a hard time dealing with on larger footy issues here, but he was usually right.

  2. A lot to be said about what Klinsmann had to say but will limit things to bone thing you omitted; the NCAA D1 playoffs. Watched last night the most incredible game between Maryland and Providence. Maryland, the no 1 ranked team, went up 4-1 but ended up losing 5-4. If you like soccer watch next week! Most games are on ESPN3 or on the Colleges’ websites

  3. I think, based on the merits of consistent performance, that PSP has earned promotion to Division 1 sports blog and news site. Especially if it means nice shiny (but unobtrusive) advertising that generates enough revenue to compensate team members for their contributions.

    I hope the Deloitte study puts more pressure on MLS to move on planning for a Pro/Rel future. The company has virtually no immediate incentive to do so, though. Not with the franchising fees it can earn filling out a 30 team league.(I liked the suggestion of using promotion to fill out the remainder of those slots as a starting point for pro/rel structure, a suggestion I’m sure made Garber chuckle.) I think one thing that undeniable about pro/rel is that it would be better for players, who will see salaries rise, and for fans, who can imagine division 1 games for clubs even in places like Kingston NY or Mobile Alabama.

    • One more piece of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
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      Probably the most important part of pro/rel doesn’t even affect which teams go up or go down…. it changes the culture of the game…which builds the street culture which which which…. holy shit wait for it… puts the game in the hands of the poor and working class poor- which we ALL know is the missing ingredient here right? You do know that people right…. disenfranchising 50,000 million soccer first people in the USA right come on folks…..Right? I mean right…. Right?
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      NO really its gonna work fine, Right?… Gonna be a whole bunch of robots running around the MLS stadium fields in about 7 years… MLS’Bots.

      • I read your argument about the poor. I can see some of it. What I don’t believe is that it’s the end all be all answer. If it was explain Germany. If it was explain Iceland this past Euros, and how they took such a small nation so far. These aren’t third world nations. Far from it.

      • Iceland threw an unprecedented amount of state resources behind its program. The country decided “we’re going to be good at football” and did it.

        In Germany, like many other countries, academies scout and fully pay for the football education of even the poorest citizens in country and from overseas. There was a great piece in The Howler a couple years ago highlighting the different soccer journeys of Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones. Only the sudden death of Dempsey’s college bound sister kept enough money in the family to afford him playing for a good club. He had already prepared to quit. Jones, an Army brat, was scouted and his club training was free.

      • What I see is more about organization and doing it the right way. Playing as a team. Not individual world class players. I’d rather have a team that works together than wait for a St. Christian to save us.
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        I’m just saying that counting on the lower classes to save our soccer future is not the only way to go. There’s a lot more to it.

      • I agree with that, but I think what happens in the US is that pay-to-play greatly reduces the player pool we’re looking at. I hate to cite stories without links so regularly, but there was a really great piece in the NY Times before the Mex/USA game that reported on youth clubs down on the US/Mex border in Texas and the decisions kids there are making about whether to say in the states or go to Mexico. It’s illuminating reading.

        There is real competition for talented young players, and until very recently there was nothing in the U.S. to capture that talent. Some MLS academies are a start, but they’re way behind some venerable institutions elsewhere.

      • I’m not saying expanding the search for players of all classes and giving more access to those who need funding is bad. It’s sure to help. But there’s bigger issues at stake. It’s organizational. It’s branding. You can build all the inner city courts you want, but if the kid doesn’t have interest in turning in his basketball for a soccer ball, it’s throwing money away.
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        Better leadership from up top is needed. Better organization. So yea, out with Gulati.

      • Mexico has 4 or 5 players in their national pool that were born in the States…….could be more. It’s not new, Mexico has been raiding Texas and SoCal for almost a decade.

      • You do realize Germany builds BMW and some of the most beautiful and efficient automobiles in the world… in other worlds the culture demands excellence… if you suck your out, as Gary K says.
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        A vibrant street game is at the heart of the poor countries but the affluent European ones as well… Spain, UK, France, Holland… ect.
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        The open pyramid solves all the funding and branding issues… I keep reading about from so many different POV.

      • Sorry I don’t see how an open pyramid makes a kid give up his basketball.
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        P.S. I’m part German. So take your snide remark and shove it.

      • I think you misunderstood my point about German culture. Please reread.
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        For the record I do my best to assume positive intent… take that remark……and reflect.

      • There are a gazillion kids in this country. A bazillion of them play youth soccer. (Both are scientific measurements) I don’t think you need to worry about competing with basketball for attention — that’s the Colin Cowherd you-need-the-next-LeBron-James-to-play-soccer argument. We have the athletes. We have plenty of interest in the game. The key is to provide right resources and right training to make them better.

      • When you start a sentence with “You do realize..” it doesn’t come across as too friendly. It’s at that point you lost me. Then you follow it up with a very known statement about German culture. You come across as an asshole. Maybe I misread. Maybe I don’t. But your preaching I’ve had enough of. So spew your view from your pulpit and I’ll move on to something else.

      • Touchy touchy today sir… I love it.
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        Lighten up though.
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        These thoughts add spice to the place… Don’t read it if you don’t like … but you can’t– you’re drawn to it… cause I irritate you like Ty Domi… I’m good like that slinging these words. engage or skulk away.
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        Also known as the instigator.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I had the impression from somewhere that Brazilian football was no longer relying on the street game to produce talent, that they were beginning to create academies, etc.
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        I may be quite wrong in this impression.

      • The Fatherland builds the best of everything bro!

  4. Great D1 game last night. No.1 Maryland went up 4-1 against Providence but ended up losing 5-4 in a wild game with high winds. Good fun watching these College games. Most are on ESPN3 or on the Colleges’ websites.

  5. A little love for Conestoga winning the high school state title on Saturday! Especially being generally close in proximity to the academy.

  6. There is a poll at the bottom of The Mane Land article in case anyone else wants to stand up for our guy.

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