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Putting out the Fire, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz


The last time the Union met Chicago, Michael Farfan’s farfantastic goal from a Kyle Nakazawa free kick was eclipsed only by a Carlos Ruiz wonderstrike for a 2–1 win. Ruiz is now gone and Marfan is the prime candidate to fill in for the suspended Sheanon Williams at right back. Where will the goals come from this time..?

Previews of tonight’s match (9pm on CSN. PSP’s live text commentary begins at 8:45pm.) from MLSsoccer.com, the Mercury, the Brotherly Game, Unholy Union, the LA Times. The Chicago Tribune says Pavel Pardo is likely to start for the Fire tonight. The Chicago Sun Times says attacking midfielder Sebastian Grazzini will debut, as well.

John Hackworth talks to Kerith Gabriel and says what we all know: the problem for the Union right now isn’t that they aren’t creating chances, it is that they aren’t finishing those chances:

“That’s why soccer can be such a cruel game sometimes. We don’t have a problem creating chances, but literally our problem is the fact that we haven’t been able to capitalize on the chances we do create…I don’t want to discount what Carlos brought to our team, but I think we are confident in the players we have. If you look at some of the games when he wasn’t here, we were pretty good without him. For us, it’s just a matter of finishing. It’s imperative we get that down. We have to play a little differently now but hopefully we’ll have guys that will step up and contribute and start putting some of these chances in the back of the net.”

Justin Mapp says of tonight’s game, “Our No. 1 goal will be to go get the three points back. I think that has to be our mindset. I think that will be our mindset.”

Jack McInerney says of moving forward from the loss at home to Colorado, “Some of us think it might have been good that we lost that game. It shows us first hand that first place isn’t a lock, we still have to go out and win games and work hard.”

McInerney says of the departure of Ruiz, “Hopefully, Peter will look to use me more in the future. I have to view it as a good opportunity.” Use it, Jack, use it.

A piece of how Gabriel Farfan by Dave Zeitlin at MLSsoccer.com contains two messages for readers of tea leaves. First, and no real surprise, Zeitlin writes that Garfan “may even be joined on the backline by his twin brother, Michael, for Wednesday’s game.” (See more below). Second, Zeitlin writes, “the Union will likely bring in another defender before the international transfer window closes,” another unsurprising statement of the Union’s requirements but one that was more obvious before the departure of Ruiz.

For himself, Garfan says that he is becoming more comfortable at left back with each game and credits tutoring from Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes for helping him learn the position. “Everyone helps each other out. It’s one of the good things about my team. [They teach me] positioning, the things to look for when I’m stuck in trouble, [and] the things to be aware of on the field.”

More power rankings: At SBI and Goal.com, the Union drop two spots to no. 7. At ESPN, the Union drop one spot to no. 6. At Soccer America, the Union drop two spots to no. 6.

More from Sheanon Williams on the red card he received that has cost the Union his services in Chicago tonight. “I thought [the referee] said something disrespectful to me and I lost my cool and I think that cost my team the game.” Danny Califf was quick to come to his fellow defender’s defense. “I’m sure he feels like he let the team down but I don’t think that’s the case. He let his emotions get the better of him but those are the kind of emotions you want. If you’re a competitor, sometimes it gets taken over the line. He’s a young guy—he’s going to learn from it.” Well taken, Sheanon; well said, Danny.

Who will fill in for Williams tonight? In the piece linked to above it says, “Nowak noted that Michael Farfan, a natural midfielder, could join his brother Gabriel, who’s been starting at left back since the Harvey trade, on the backline.” The article also notes that Ryan Richter is also available. Richter tweeted early this morning that he is with the team in Chicago.

After eleven paragraphs and 922 words extolling how this is a great time to be a Philly sports fan, former governor Ed Rendell writes in the Daily News, “The news is even good for Philadelphia in the increasingly popular sport of soccer, where the Union has, in an incredibly short time, become a genuine contender for the championship by building a team with a great future.” I guess it’s something, anyway.

USL-side FC New York issued a press release on Monday saying they have signed former Union goalkeeper Thorne Holder. The team has three games left in the season, including a trip to Union-affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders on Friday, August 5 at 7pm.

Jonathan Spector is a name that was bandied about as a possible Union target before the Ruiz departure, even though I’m not so sure there were too many Union fans who were particularly excited by the notion or took it seriously. Anyway, Spector has signed a two-year deal with Birmingham City.


Playoff tickets went on sale Tuesday. Call 267-460-6129 for information on how to reserve your ticket. The Independence will play at PPL Park on either August 20 or 27, depending on how they finish the season.

The Independence announced on Tuesday that Widener’s Leslie Quick Stadium will be their home for the 2012 season.

Wondering what the support might be like at next week's USA v Mexico friendly? According to this sign in South Philly, Mexico is the home team. Photo: Kurt Wunder.


Here’s a Q & A with local lad Zarek Valentin, now with Chivas USA.

Penn State comes in at no. 21 and Penn at no. 23 in Goal.com’s preseason college soccer rankings.

If you are a Comcast customer, MLS Direct Kick will be available for free on Saturday, August 6.


Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to announce his roster for the upcoming USA v Mexico friendly later today. Soccer America takes a look at his pool of candidates.

Steve Davis has a look at the the road to qualification for the USMNT for the 2014 World Cup. It’s ought to be less challenging than the 2010 qualification with the US not having to play until the semifinals.

Illinois governor Pat Quinn has signed The Movable Soccer Goal Safety Act into law. The legislation, also known as “Zach’s Law,” came into being after 6-year-old Zach Tran died of head injuries sustained when an 18-foot-by-6-foot, 186-pound soccer goal toppled and struck him from behind while he was practicing with his greater Libertyville Soccer Association team eight years ago. The law requires goals to be properly secured and monitored. Some 36 deaths and 56 injuries related to moveable soccer goals have occurred in the US since 1979.


In the wake of the mass killings in Norway, the head of British soccer’s anti-racism organization Kick It Out has voiced concerns about efforts by hate groups to infiltrate the game. “Extremists are still trying to get back into football,” Herman Ouseley said. He added, “We must always use football as a basis to help young people have a better understanding to have open minds, to see the dangers lurking within those who are offering them easy solutions through hatred.

The Guardian reports that the Premiership is working with Sony and Electronic Arts to develop technology that will offer “viewers the chance to experience ‘immersion technology’ and enjoy games being played potentially on the other side of the planet as if they were present in the stands.”

The Sun reports that Mario Balotelli’s Manchester City teammates left a bag of fish on the back seat of his £150,000 Maserati just before the the team headed off to the US for their recent two-week tour.

One Comment

  1. Any chance we leave Justin “My Left Foot” Mapp behind in the Windy City?

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