Daily news roundups

Nowak on Draft, Mapp, Khalfan, Daniel; Ching fallout, more Thanksgiving news

Le Toux's turkey cupcake. (Photo: Courtesy of Sebastien Le Toux)

A Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at the Philly Soccer Page. Here are a few more holiday messages from the Philly soccer community:

Sebastien Le Toux: “Happy turkey day everybody! This is my first cupcake turkey I made tonight. I didn’t know I got some baking talents.”

Veljko Paunovic: “Happy Thanksgiving day everybody… Have a nice day, and enjoy with your families and friends…”

Sheanon Williams: “Chillen at the thanksgiving day parade #HAPPYTHANKSGIVING everybody”

Joe Tait: “A day of food n football Happy thanksgiving America. Stay safe and god bless. #Englandshouldadoptthisholliday. #thankfull #anyexcusetoeat x”

YSC Sports: “Beautiful morning here in Philly. Happy Thanksgiving from all at YSC Sports!”

Chris Vito: “Take time today to be thankful for the health you have, the wealth you have & the family that loves you unconditionally. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Taylor Twellman: Happy Thanksgiving tweeps. So happy to have you guys keep me on my toes and help support me through life. #thanks

MLS: “Happy Thanksgiving from #MLS.”

Unholy Union: “Gobble gobble”


Zac MacMath: “Sad to see Justin Mapp taken in the draft but happy I had the chance to play with him for a year. Best of luck to J in Montreal!”

Peter Nowak discussed the results of Expansion Draft at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Here are some quotes of note:

On the Union’s protected list: “The 11 we chose to protect is going to give us a good chance to stay together as a group and expand it with the pieces that we are going to add in the off season.”

On leaving Freddy Adu unprotected: “Of course you always worry. Both [Montreal Impact head coach and assistant coach] Jesse Marsch and Mike Sorber with me on the national team, they were my team mates [at the Chicago Fire], so you have to predict some things. How the selections will go. Fortunately for us and Freddy, the logic paid off and we have Freddy back.”

More on leaving Adu unprotected: “You always have to take some risk, obviously, with selections and decisions you’re going to make. No matter how you slice it, we kept the team intact.”

On leaving Justin Mapp unprotected: “We have a couple factors in play. His salary was significant and, in his last year of the contract, he was eligible for the re-entry draft, as well.”

On losing Mapp in the draft: “It’s a big loss,. In the year-and-a-half we had him, he was pretty good. But we have options. And we’ll also look domestically and abroad to strengthen the position.”

How Mapp’s loss affects the Union midfield: “As we said, we have midfielders. We have options. Those 11 guys we chose … gives us a good chance to stay together as a group and expand in the offseason. That was our thinking.”

On protecting Keon Daniel: “We’re still working on the visa issue. We have good feedback from people trying to help us in this case. Keon makes a low salary, is still a very young player and played very good up until he left. He’s still a guy, at the end of the day, that we need. And I can tell you we’re doing everything in our power to get him back as soon as we can.”

Marsch said of drafting Mapp, “An incredibly talented left footed player. We are excited to bring him here.”

Unholy Union writes of Mapp’s departure, “Naka and his ukelele get to stay rocking Manayunk for the time being, but we bid adieu to the most one-footed player Union have ever employed.”

Why did Vancouver waive Nizar Khalfan? “I think he’s a good player with a lot of potential, and I’m pleased that he’s got an opportunity to be in the league,” Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. “We have other ideas in mind with that position. Generally, we’re looking for more production. We like pace and movement, but we like assists and goals more.”

Looking for more info on the newest member of the Union? Check out our post announcing his signing, which includes four YouTube videos of Khalfan in action.

Buried beneath all of the Expansion Draft news was the confirmation that the Union’s ownership group, Keystone Sports and Entertainment, have acquired new investors. The brothers Richard, Steve and Eric Graham have become minority owners of the team, although Union CEO Nick Sackiewicz said the brothers would not have an operating role in the team. Richard Graham is the president of YSC Sports, the Union’s Youth Development partner.

Union Dues logo designer, sometimes PSP photographer, and all around go-to guy for non corporate Union related design Eryin Wandel has a critique of the new Union kits.


Reaction to the selection of Brian Ching, who has made it clear that he will retire rather than leave Houston, was swift.

Houston midfielder/defender Geoff Cameron tweeted about Marsch’ decision, “U wait all this time to be a head coach and the first thing u do is screw somebody over?? Sign of a real classy guy!”

Former Houston midfielder Stuart Holden tweeted, “Guy has been face of the franchise sinc it moved to Houston and to see the team in new stadium w-out him is not right. Seriously Bewildered.”

Brian Ching said, “I have no comment.”

Marsch said,

“I know that he’s expressed that he doesn’t want to be here, but we would be delighted to get him here. If it doesn’t work out that way, then it doesn’t, but we think there’s value to him. Our initial phase was just to think about what he is as a player and what value he has. When you look at the draft, you have to look at it in terms of building your team and what pieces you want to put in place for your team moving forward, but also how to maximize the value of the draft. If it doesn’t work out, then hopefully we’ll be able to figure out another situation that’s beneficial for everybody involved.”

Like PSP’s Dan Walsh wrote after the draft, Montreal are the new evil geniuses of MLS.

Ives Galarcep tweeted on Wednesday night, “Just spoke to Dynamo CEO Chris Canetti, who said Houston is open to talking trade w/Montreal for Brian Ching’s rights. 4 a reasonable price.”

One Houston reporter called Houston’s decision to leave Ching unprotected, “one of the most dumbfounding, boneheaded, stupefying moves I have ever seen.”

He wasn’t the only one who was a bit miffed. 

Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said, “I’m very surprised he was selected and very sad. This was a chance we took in leaving him unprotected, and obviously, our gamble didn’t pay off.”

Houston Chronicle’s Dynamo beat writer, Jose de Jesus Ortiz, will be familiar to Union fans for his article after the first playoff game in which he called the Union a dirty team. After referring to Marsch as a “ruthless administrator” who “sees the players as pawns to be disposed of when they don’t suit his purpose” (i.e., a coach), he wrote on Wednesday that Ching should call Marsch’ bluff if a deal cannot be reached before preseason training starts. “He should report to Montreal and train like heck until he feels the slightest twinge in his hamstrings or knees. Then have season-ending surgery to fix those knees, take Montreal’s money and smile at Marsch daily.”

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle bemoans the airbrushing of the David Beckham legacy, and rightly so.

Goal.com says Beckham needs to be an ambassador for MLS when he leaves the league.

Goal.com looks at the unprecedented number of MLS players training with European clubs in the offseason.

EPL Talk says Fox winning the US broadcast rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups is a win for the Premiership, not MLS.


The guy who led ESPN’s increased coverage of soccer, John Skipper, will take over as president of the company on Jan. 1.

Reports suggest that Seattle Sounders announcer Arlo White will be NBC’s MLS play-by-play guy.


Chelsea’s 2–1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen on a stoppage time goal puts their hopes of advancing in the Champions League into jeopardy. Of the four English teams in the Champions League, only Arsenal have advanced to the next round, thanks to their 2–1 win over Borussia Dortmund on two Robin van Persie goals.

Here’s some light holiday reading for you, “The forgotten story of … football, farce and fascism at the 1936 Olympics.”


  1. LOL!!!! That video is Brilliant!! Happy Thanksgiving, Ed! 🙂

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