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Philadelphia Union

Chris Pontius comes in at No. 3 in Soccer America’s rankings of the top ten MLS left wingers/left midfielders of 2016.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead looks at what Andre Blake and the members of the Union back line can do in 2017 to improve their game.

At MLSsoccer.com, an end-of-year-award-review post notes Pontius was Comeback Player of the Year and Andre Blake was Goalkeeper of the Year. The section on Blake says, “If you want spectacular between the posts, look no further than the Union and Jamaica No. 1…Will Blake be the next to take the world by storm? Don’t bet against it.”

A highlight reel at MLSsoccer.com of every penalty kick save of 2016 shows two Union attempts being saved (Ilsinho and Le Toux) and Blake making a stop.

A post at MLSsoccer.com (one that I swear was posted recently before) names the NYRB-Union match on October 1 as one of the top five games of 2016.

Following the post we linked to in Wednesday’s roundup a post from PSP’s Dan Walsh last week), Section 215 has its on take on why the Union have been quiet with transfer news: “This is the point where Union fans have to sit back and trust Earnie Stewart. He’s the architect behind the improvement of the club and he has a vision for moving the club forward. At the moment, ‘Silence is golden.'”

Philly Sports Network previews the Union’s first two opponents of 2017, Vancouver and Toronto.

MLS

Orlando have signed free agent midfielder Will Johnson ” to a two-year contract with an option for a third.”

Nashville Business Journal examines recent successful expansion bids to get understanding of what a bid might cost that Nashville.

Los Angeles Times reports the NASL “could be adding teams in San Diego and Orange County as early as this summer.” The report says Peter Wilt is “working with two groups to study the feasibility of placing expansion teams in Southern California,” adding, “Wilt declined to name his clients but said discussions have been ongoing for months in the hopes of having both teams on the field for the fall season, which begins in July.” Wilt says, “No decisions have been made.” The report notes “all this may be contingent on the league surviving into next summer.”

US

The AP reports, “U.S. women’s national team players say attorney Rich Nichols will no longer serve as the union’s counsel in contract negotiations with the U.S. Soccer Federation…Neither the USWNTPA nor U.S. Soccer have filed a 60-day notice of termination that is necessary for a work stoppage, meaning talks will continue into the new year.”

ESPN on how players “shunned” by Jurgen Klinsmann will “get new chances” under Bruce Arena.

At Yahoo Sports, Leander Schaerlaeckens writes that the generally disappointing 2016 “in a lot of ways, was the year U.S. Soccer needed to have.” FourFourTwo has six defining moments for the USMNT in 2016. Fox Sports looks back on the USMNT’s tumultous 2016.  The Guardian reviews ten big US Soccer storylines from 2016.

Pulisic! Christian Pulisic did a Facebook Chat on Wednesday. He is confident the US will qualify for the 2018 World Cup:

I’m very confident in our team. I think we’re going to have a great year in qualifying. I do feel very confident and I trust in our team that we’re going to get the job done in qualifying and be ready for the World Cup in 2018.

When asked about reported interest in him from Liverpool, Pulisic said he’s happy at Dortmund although he also said, “with soccer, you never really know what’s going to happen in your career – that’s the beauty of it.”

He also said he thinks about playing in MLS someday: “Of course it was always my dream to play soccer in Europe and that’s what I’ve been doing but one day I’d love to come back to the U.S. I’m hoping that the sport continues to grow. I guess I would love to be home and play soccer. It’d be amazing.”

Soccer America looks back at Pulisic’s “amazing year” and considers what might lie ahead.

How does Bob Bradley feel about being fired by Swansea? Bradley said on talkSPORT, “I’m a little bit pissed off.”

Headline at The Guardian: “Bob Bradley could not escape the stigma against a US coach in British football”.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “Football officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico are likely to meet next year to discuss a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup, CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani said on Wednesday…’It’s obviously a possibility, Montagliani told Reuters on the sidelines of a sports conference in Dubai. ‘We are fully aware that each country could probably host it on its own.'”

The AP reports, “Russia will face any ‘necessary actions and sanctions’ after investigators alleged that soccer players had suspicious drug-test samples covered up as part of a wider doping scandal in the 2018 World Cup host nation, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Wednesday.”

Carlos Tevez: Ka-ching!

Rwanda New Times reports, “Any coach found guilty of using witchcraft, will be banned for four matches on top of paying a fine of Rwf200,000. This is one of the tough measures passed by Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) during an extra-ordinary meeting on addressing the problem of witchcraft in local football.”

10 Comments

  1. So much of the Union’s plans revolve around Maurice Edu, healing, getting fit and playing like the dominant player he maybe never was.
    .
    That Sec215 article is moonbeams and fairy dust. We’re not on financial par with Chicago? Really? Since when? Our roster is set and we just need 1-2 pieces to be serious contenders? Ok pal, whatever you say. If in one para you say we can’t afford the name brands, what Walmart 1-2 pieces push this bucket of bolts across the finish line? They need a starting CB. A striker who scores. A real CAM. A dependable CDM. That’s to make the playoffs, tread water. These have to be MLS+ quality players today, not USLers we hope get there.

    • If spending is any indication, we aren’t on par with Chicago.

    • CB: Yaro and Marquez are more than capable given time and chemistry
      Striker: yea I’m in agreeance we need one
      CAM: Bedoya is better than most players in MLS, perhaps he’s not a true CAM but he’s darn good and smart enough to have success at it
      CDM: Yes, if Edu isn’t healthy/a part of the team
      And that’s not to tread water, that’s to be a serious contender.

  2. I’d love to see the Union hire the first Rwandan soccer coach that gets banned for successfully using witchcraft to change the outcome of a game.

    • That they haven’t already hired a witchdoctor just shows how cheap the ownership is. When are they going to get serious about winning?

    • Baron Samedi says:

      This is one of the tough measures passed by Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) during an extra-ordinary meeting on addressing the problem of witchcraft in local football.”

      _______ I need examples of what’s not legal!

  3. Just read the Bradley “pissed off” piece. Interesting stuff. Clearly, the owners folded to fan pressure, which was not insignificant.

    I’m surprised by the rumors that Giggs is the favored replacement. Yeah, he managed in the premiere league, but was only the top man for four games. If they thought Bradley’s resume was thin…. Can’t say Giggs doesn’t know the league, though, I guess. At least he’s got the right accent.

  4. Just some thoughts. When you deal with youngsters of college age , you coach. When you are dealing with playerts like Swansea, you manage. Bradley is a good coach on any level and probably a decent manager of grown men also. The problem here, to paraphrase an Italian saying, is that when you take over a team like Swansea, aalready into the season, you must be like a ferry boat Captain, just guide it across the river safely. That is a very inuque mindset. I think Bradley was thinking more of guiding this ocean Liner on a successful longer type voyage, and set up his ideas and tactics accordingly. To be the captain of a Liner , you need much time to prepare and to be able to choose your own players. To ferry a team, just get them across the river, no matter how ugly. Is he good enough to coach in the EPL? If Allardyce can, he sure can. It was just that he didnt realize the task immediately at hand, I think.

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