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One more day!

Philadelphia Union

UPDATE: The Union tweeted this message around 11:40am: “Stay tuned for a player-related announcement this afternoon on www.philadelphiaunion.com!”

Soccer By Ives reports that the Union have signed Gabriel Farfan. As of this writing, there is no confirmation from the club and he is not on the roster on the club’s website. Interestingly, SBI says Gabriel Farfan “is expected to push incumbent left back Jordan Harvey for the starting role.”

The game notes from the Union for the match against Houston has a diagram that displays the following as the “probable lineup” : GK: Mondragon; RB: Harvey; CD: Califf, Valdes; LB: Williams; HM: Carroll; RM Miglioranzi; LM: Mapp; AM: Le Toux; RF: Ruiz; LF: Mwanga. I can only assume that the Williams on the left and Harvey on the right placement is an error. Interestingly, Levi Houapeu is listed on the Union roster in the game notes but not on the roster on the Union website.

Faryd Mondragon tweets on Thursday, “thank God i could train in almost a 90% normally, looking forward for our trip to Houston tomorrow!!!”

An article on the Union website is titled “Limited Defensive Corp No problem for the Union.” Peter Nowak says, “If players read the game well, you can mix stuff up.” Danny Califf says, “We’ve been working on the basis that this is the group we have and we’ll try to develop some continuity and confidence going forward,” adding, “As a group of guys, we’re not so conscious that there are only five guys listed with a ‘D’ next to their name on the program.” The article goes on to remind us that Nowak said more signings are possible and mentions Gabriel Farfan (see above) and Keon Daniels. Nowak concludes, “We’re still looking to improve this. We know the Reserve League is coming up, so it’s important to get good guys and get them playing time. Also, if something would happen, we would have the necessary pieces to replace those guys.” Indeed, my brother.

Click here to see the video of Danny Mwanga and Jordan Harvey on Daily News Live. As is always the case, whenever I see or hear the Union players interviewed, I like them even more.

Philly.com has a slew of articles on the Union ahead of Saturday’s season opener. Kerith Gabriel looks at the challenges the club faced in its first year, the lessons learned from those challenges, and some of the changes made to implement those lessons. Marc Narducci looks at some of the roster changes and takes a closer look at Faryd Mondragon (Carlos Ruiz on Mondragon: “He’s the best goalie in the league.”). This unattributed piece summarizes the eleven new faces on the squad.

SBI previews the Union and then the Union get the fuller Galarcep treatment on the FSC site.

Zach MacMath and Amobi Okugo get the USMNT U-20 call up for the CONCACAF Championship and will miss four Union matches between March 28 to April 10. USA! USA! USA! (Those matches are home against Vancouver, away to LA, the US Open Cup match against DC and the Energy Drinks at PPL.)

The Brotherly Game series reviewing the 2011 Union by position looks at the Union’s midfield.

Soccer America ranks the Union fifth in the league for forwards:

Signing Carlos Ruiz, who left MLS two years ago dogged by ouchy knees and fitness issues, is a real gamble. On the other hand, if Sebastian Le Toux and Danny Mwanga are producing, the Union need not rely on The Fish. Jack McInerney and Chris Agorsor are eager youngsters suited for second-half heroics

The Union Dues has an invigorating rant, the best part of which is a much needed diatribe against a truly insulting idea: Major Molly’s Army. It is very likely you’ve never heard of them, but if you look at the Union website, under the Fan Center tab you will find a link to the Major Mollies that includes a further link to—I am totally serious—bios of some of the 2010 Mollies, women who are apparently so valued that they do not have last names. They are described as “a team of energetic, young women who serve as ambassadors for the club…[who] are present at Philadelphia Union home games and events, as well as being available for appearances by request.” As far as I’m aware, I have never seen a Molly, and as long as things stay like that, I will be fine. But if I see any of them standing on the sideline with pom poms in their hands I will personally lead my section in heckling them. Ambassadors? Whatever. Cheerleaders? Unacceptable.

Philadelphia Independence

The Independence will have a doubleheader on Saturday against Duke and UConn. The first match agaisnt Duke kicks off at 1pm, followed by UConn at 3pm. The games are at United Sports in Downingtown and admission is $10.

Here’s a profile on the DiMartino sisters, Christina and Gina.

Coach Paul Riley says roster depth will be the key to the team’s success. Riley says Tasha Kai is a key acquisition. But with Nicole Barnhart away with the USWNT for long stretches and Val Henderson currently injured, the team needs to sign another goalkeeper.

MLS

Those Opta statistics are already paying off. The New York Times looks at where MLS stands “soccermetrically,” that is, compared to other leagues in Europe. While on the low end in terms of goals and shots on goals, MLS is better than Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premiership in goal-to-shot ratio. In terms of accuracy, MLS is second only to the Premiership and is better than the top five European leagues creating and converting chances. Looking at fair play as measured by fouls called and yellow cards, MLS has the fewest of either, which means the league also leads in continuous play. Take that Eurosnobs!

US

The USWNT will host Japan’s women’s team in two friendlies in preparation for the Women’s World Cup: May 14 in Columbus (6:30pm on FSC) and May 18 in Cary, NC (7pm on ESPN2).

Elsewhere

The Champions League Quarterfinal and Semifinal draws have been made:

Quarter-final draw (5/6 and 12/13 April)
Real Madrid CF v Tottenham Hotspur FC
Chelsea FC v Manchester United FC
FC Barcelona v FC Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Internazionale Milano v FC Schalke 04

Semi-final draw (26/27 April and 3/4 May)
1 FC Internazionale Milano/FC Schalke 04 v Chelsea FC/Manchester United FC
2 Real Madrid CF/Tottenham Hotspur FC v FC Barcelona/FC Shakhtar Donetsk

It’s official: Mohamed bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation, will challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Footy on the Telly™

SATURDAY
Tottenham v West Ham 8:30am ESPN2
Freiburg v Bayern Munich 10:30am GolTV
Manchester United v Bolton 11am FSC
West Brom v Arsenal 11am FSP
Lazio v Cesena 1pm FSP
Borussia Dortmund v Mainz 1:30pm ESPN Deportes
Everton v Fulham 1:30pm FSC
Barcelona v Getafe 3pm GolTV
Championship division match TBA 3pm FSP
Palermo v AC Milan 3:30pm FSC
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid 5pm ESPN Deportes
Bragantino v Santos 5:30pm GolTV
Stoke City v Newcastle 6pm FSC
Monterrey v America 7pm Telemundo
Cruz Azul v Toluca 7pm ESPN Deportes
Aston Villa v Wolverhampton 7pm FSP
Atletico Nacional v Cucuta 7:30pm GolTV
Veracruz v Merida 8pm Fox Deportes
Houston v Philadelphia 8:30pm 6abc
Colorado v Portland 9pm FSC
Chivas v Queretaro 9pm Telemundo
Santos Laguna v Morelia 9pm Galavision
Antalya women’s tournament final 9pm FSP
San Luis v Atlas 11pm Galavision
Atlante v Jaguares 11pm Telefutura

SUNDAY
Fiorentina v Roma 7:30am FSP
Sunderland v Liverpool 9:30am FSP
PSV Eindhoven v Utrecht 9:30am ESPN Deportes
Inter Milan v Lecce 10am FSC
Wigan v Birmingham 11:30am FSP
Chelsea v Manchester City 12pm FSC
Racing Santander v Real Sociedad 12pm ESPN Deportes
Athletic Bilbao v Villarreal 2pm GolTV
Deportivo La Coruna v Levante 2pm ESPN Deportes
Pumas v Pachuca 2pm Telemundo
Puebla v Necaxa 2pm Fox Deportes
Napoli v Cagliari 3:30pm FSC
Valencia v Sevilla 4pm GolTV
Schalke v Bayer Leverkusen 4pm ESPN Deportes
Marseille v PSG 4pm FSP
Championship division match TBA 6pm FSP
Los Angeles v New England 8pm Telefutura

8 Comments

  1. I would really like to thank you and the Union Dues blog for bringing additional attention to the issue of Major Molly’s Army. I had written about this issue in my piece on February 20 found here: http://unioncityblue.com/?p=707. I had thought I was out there on a limb by myself on that one. They are functionally the same thong as cheerleaders. This issue is very different than the Bimbo issue. It is not a subjective issue as I believe what the Union is doing here is illegal under Title VII.

    • Andy Dillon says:

      Thong? Freudian slip? I kid, I kid …

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      I can’t say that I’m familiar with Title VII, I can’t imagine what is illegal about Major Molly’s Army and I have never had an issue with Bimbo. I do think the Major Mollies are a juvenile, stupid, insulting and demeaning idea.

      • Aren’t the Mollies supposed to be a PR type group for the team rather than cheerleaders (we have those too, they all sit in the River End). I’ve bumped into them on several occassions, once out on Toyota Plaza when they snapped some pics of my kids playing some of the games, and another time I saw them doing a video blog with some other fans at the Houston game. I think a few of the Mollies may have even made the trip to Baltimore for the draft. If anything, I think the team under utilized the Mollies in terms of enhancing the fan experience.

      • I’m with RFCSean. The Mollies are a harmless PR group.

  2. While I guess its good to see MacMath and Okugo getting the U20 call, that makes for 4 games with Thorne Holder as your only backup goalkeeper. Gulp.

  3. Are people really up in arms over a group of girls who hand out tchatchkes at games and special events? You won’t see them on the sidelines with pom-poms. You will see them in the concourse and non-supporters sections talking up fans (mainly kids) and snapping photos and video for the Union’s site and Facebook page. I sat near the youth groups last year, and parents seemed to love it when the Mollies came over and talked to their kids.

    Calling them juvenile is quite ironic considering the picture of one of our nation’s founding fathers with a fake mustache (albeit for a good cause – I bought one myself) on the right sidebar. I’m guessing people have a problem with the Phillies ball girls too?

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Out of sight, out of mind. I’ve expended enough mental energy and words on them. Myself and others think they’re a stupid idea, others don’t. Moving on…

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