Daily news roundups

“New heroes will be created,” Capt. Califf, MacMath No. 1, more news

Photo: Nicolae Stoian from 2011

The offseason can be crazy in the business that is soccer and sometimes it can be all too easy to forget that in the end, it’s really about the game. If you are looking for some inspiration to help you get your soccer head back on straight, go to the Ritz East tonight to see the Philadelphia premier of Laduma. Showtime is at 7:30pm.

Philadelphia Union

Peter Nowak tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, “I understand why everyone is upset, but please have faith we’re doing what’s best for the club. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made,” tweeting soon after, “I do ask that you please stop sending curses to my Twitter account. My daughters and family read them and it is crossing a line. Thank you”.

Speaking after Wednesday’s practice at YSC, Nowak said when asked to respond to Le Toux’s criticism of how he was transferred to Vancouver, “Why should I respond? He decided to go this route.” Nowak added,

“There is no secret that he was a big part of this team for the past two years. There are two different ways to leave the team and you can get a feeling about who you truly are. I think these guys feel a little bit different now about the whole situation and what has been said.”

Nowak also said,

“We all saw the article and we saw what was said after the trade,” Nowak said. “I think the guys in the locker room feel like an even stronger group. I’ve always said that these are the choices we all have. This is about the team, you’re either a part of the team or the team is a part of you. I don’t think this was the case here. Players are going to share what they feel.

“I believe that after yesterday and what came out today, the organization is still standing straight. PPL Park will be still there and the games will still go on and new heroes will be created over 90 minutes for 34 weeks this year. I think that is more important than personal feelings.”

Nowak said further,

“As I said before and I’ll say it again this is about the team,” Nowak said. “And it’s not only me that feels this way, it’s the coaching staff, the board and the owners. We all saw the article and what was said [by Le Toux] after the trade, and I feel either you are a part the team or the team is a part of you, and, at the end, I don’t think this was the case [with Sebastien].”

The Goalkeeper has posted video shot by Marc Narducci of Nowak’s comments.

Jack McInerney says, “I’m only 19 and I’m one of the veterans on the team. I’m not sure of the coaching staff’s plans, or why they’re doing the things they’re doing, but the team’s just getting younger, and hopefully they’re building a core for the future.”

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle notes that in 2012, “the Union will be on the hook for every cent of Adu’s considerable salary this year”—listed at $594,884 in guaranteed compensation for 2011—instead of the prorated salary-cap hit that took place last year. ” Combine that with the fact that, with him now graduated from Generation adidas, the club are responsible for all of Danny Mwanga’s salary this year ($226,250 in guaranteed compensation last year), and the economic reasoning behind shopping Le Toux becomes clearer.

Taylor Twellman tells Carlisle, “Mwanga’s and Adu’s contracts, I think that’s where the dilemma starts.”

In the same article, Nowak downplays Adu’s recent comments about his desire to return to Europe—”I’m sure, at some point, he would like to come back to Europe like any other youngster who did smell big football out there for quite some time”—before adding, “I will not stay in his way if he gets this opportunity again.”

The departure of Faryd Mondragon (remember that?) meant that there was now a vacancy for the position of team captain. On Wednesday, word came that Danny Califf would again wear the captain’s armband. And he wasted no time showing why he deserves the captaincy when asked to respond to Le Toux’s emotional words.

“I wasn’t shocked that (Le Toux) made those comments. I think, anytime you’re upset about something, that’s one avenue you can take it. He decided to do it that way, and I don’t think any less of Sebastien for doing that.

“I don’t think that it’s great for our team and for our organization, but when people are pissed off, sometimes they find a way to channel that anger. And hopefully he got that out of his system, moved on and can be a great teammate for all those guys in Vancouver.”

Asked to describe how the opening of training camp has been given everything that has happened, Califf said, “Weird would be an understatement.”

Kerith Gabriel reports that Roger Torres says he has always felt part of the “Union family.” Torres says, “I have always felt I had a lot of responsibility, since I have been here. This is no exception; I know I have some work to do, but I am working hard to get better and be the best.”

Gabriel also writes that Zac MacMath, who has known Nowak since he was 11, is prepared to be the Union’s No. 1 goalkeeper. MacMath says,

“Knowing him for a long time, there is a lot of trust there, and he’s trusted me in goal, and now it’s about building on that trust. I am ready and excited. I didn’t necessarily think I’d be a starter this soon, but you try to wiggle your way into the No. 1 spot and [last year] I think I even pushed Faryd for the No. 1. Now I have to be a little bit more of a leader, even as a second-year guy.”

Nowak says of MacMath, “The burden is big, but I think he can handle it without any problems. There isn’t going to be speculation who is No. 1.”

Califf says of MacMath, “Faryd did a great job and was an incredible leader, but Zac is a young kid, and he moves better and he is the future. Mondy has those intangibles you can’t teach, but Zac has that youthful enthusiasm.

More on MacMath on the Union website.

Kyle Nakazawa tweeted his thanks to Union fans after word that he was headed to LA Galaxy was announced, “Thank you to all the amazing fans in Philadelphia! I’m really looking forward to playing in LA where I grew up and my family is!”

The 700 Level reacts to the Le Toux news in this thoughtful piece.

Union Dues reacts to recent events and asks “What now?”.

The Union will be hosting a job fair at PPL Park this Saturday, Feb. 4 from 9am until 2pm The list of available positions includes Housekeeping, Ticket Takers, Ushers, Concessions Cashiers, Catering Servers, Catering Supervisors, Guest Services, Event Security, Warehouse Workers, Cooks and Runners, Bussers and Dishwashers and Concession Supervisors.

Le Toux

Montreal coach Jesse Marsh says the Impact made an offer for Le Toux.

Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid says the Union did not approach them. “He wasn’t offered to us. It was a little bit of a surprise. But then again, you never know what a club’s thinking. They’ve got their plan, and they’re trying to follow their plan. But he wasn’t somebody that Philly called us about.”

Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi says, “Truth be known, we had inquired about Sébastien last year – halfway through the season. At that time, there was really no interest on Philadelphia’s part to move him, and obviously by expressing an interest when it came up recently we were, I’m assuming, one of the first calls that they made, and we’ve been chatting back and forth during that time.”

Vancouver coach Martin Rennie says of his plans to pair Eric Hassli and Le Toux up top, “I definitely think they can play together. I think Eric’s best quality is his ability to hold the ball up and play with his back to goal. Sebastien’s best quality is his ability to run in behind and run into channels and run off a striker like that.”

Describing Le Toux as “an addition that has the potential to pay big-time dividends,” this Canadian commentator says, “He’s an ideal fit for the preferred 4-3-3 formation of Whitecaps new Head Coach Martin Rennie, and will provide another physical presence in attack alongside Eric Hassli.” He adds, “Just as important is the fact that he’s a strong character with a relentless work ethic.”

They’ve already coined a nickname for the Hassli-Le Toux tandem: “Call them the French Connection.”

This piece notes that, with the signing of Le Toux, Vancouver is now the only team in MLS that has three players on its roster who had double digit scoring records in 2011.


Penn picked up Player of the Year (Christain Barreiro) and Coach of the Year (Rudy Fuller) awards from the Philly Soccer Six. They shared the Freshman of the Year Award (Duke Lacroix and Oscar Umar) and PSS Championship with Villanova.


Former magicJack player Ella Masar relates her experience on the team and with Dan Borislow. Incredible stuff.

The issues facing WPS are deeper than Borislow, as this article makes clear.

Monica Gonzalez writes at ESPNW that WPS brought its current troubles on itself.

ESPN’s Scott French looks at the impact of the WPS cancellation on women’s soccer in Southern California.

The announcement that WPS had suspended the 2012 season was generally followed by equal measures of sadness over the decision and anger at a certain gadget marketer from the Sunshine State. Of course there were also the usual “so what” responses that, for certain soccer fans, tend to follow anything having to do with women’s professional soccer. As much as you can tell from the screen names that accompany such responses, the authors are generally men whose take on the subject tends to range from ill-informed economic realism masquerading as hard-assedness to simpleminded misogyny. That is when the author bothers to identify themselves, something which the author of this piece of piffle neglected to do.


Dempsey scores again to make it seven goals in six games in 2012.


All football in Egypt has been suspended after a riot at a match in Port Said between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly left at least 74 people dead and hundreds injured. Many are blaming the Egyptian military. More on this horrific story here, here, and  here. You can view live updates on this story here.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter calls the events in Egypt “a black day for football.”


  1. “New heroes will be created,” only to be later discarded when they displease our autocrat.

  2. Incredible stuff yesterday…; glad I have Facebook. some of the comments there yesterday totally cracked me up. Nowak is al wrong: $’s paid to Nwanga and Adu are just a bad investment compared to what was paid to Letoux. Hope I am wrong but doubt very much that they will have a big impact in 2012.

    I think one of the key reason why Letoux and Nowak clashed is because the toe injury in Bolton was not properly communicated to Nowak. Also the team could have told Letoux to stay fit during Dec/Jan to be able to give his best during a possibly try-out in Europe.

    Then this story of Ella Masar of the MagicJack; incredible stuff, as you say! As fas as I am concerned I blame all the players on that team for the WPS collapse. Had they revolted against the owner, when they should have, then we would now have a WPS season. As it is a lot of those players now have a few ghosts in their cabinets.

  3. I think we can now officially count the Adu deal as a disaster. Even if he suddenly becomes useful. Does he become 500,000 dollars useful? Does he become more valuable than LeToux useful? I still feel they could have kept LeToux if they wanted to, but even going by the official explanation there is still plenty to get pissed about.

  4. So does anyone think that Mondi was also asked to leave to cut his salary? And that the “family request” was just a line of professional BS?

    Not trying to start more controversy, but hell, anything’s possible right now.

    • No question. That came so far out of left field, right at the same time that the “golden booty” of the prospective Bolton dollars vanished. And the U without a single other GK on the roster besides McMath. Maybe this all part of the grand plan to … bring … back … Seitz.

    • There apparently is an ESPN(?) radio interview in Spanish in which Mondragon implies that. I can’t remember where I saw the reference to it last night (and I didn’t suggest it to Ed for this post because my Spanish is only so good, which means I’d likely miss a lot in a Spanish interview). So … That’s what I saw somewhere, but I can’t confirm definitively that the interview exists. If someone else can find the interview, by all means go for it and let us know what you find.

      • Not to take another terribly unpopular opinion, but is that so bad? He was making 400k a year, and we all saw how comparable MacMath was in his place, besides the fact he is 20 years younger and costs the Union nothing.
        Veteran presence is always great, but the MLS DOES have a salary cap and 400k is a large chunk of it.
        And I think I recall an article or part of an article on here implying the for being the highest paid GK in the league, his stats weren’t that great.

      • The MLS salary cap is like swiss cheese, there are always ways around it.His base stats weren’t great but he did exactly what he was brought here to do. Why don’t they ask Adu to take less?

  5. While this off season has been a PR disaster (I wonder how happy the Union is no one talks about soccer on WIP/the radio), I honestly am still happy for this season and still expect good things. We have talent all over the roster, and at the very least the Le Toux move allows us to finally see what our young stable of forwards can do.
    And if anything, this puts more pressure on Nowak the coach to get rid of his numerous bad habits and truly become a Doug Collins to this team and allow them to play to their best.

    • Dont be surprised when you see a 30 year old forward starting at forward come first kick…instead of the young stable you talk about.

    • More like ‘hope for good things’. Expect is a little too strong. There is ample evidence that young teams do not do well in the MLS. The base case is now that we will not make the play-offs and that a team like Washington will.

      • Danny Califf, Brian Carroll and Freddy Adu are the only players on the roster who have played more than two seasons in MLS. It takes time to adapt to MLS and then grow into a top tier team. It will be an exciting year, but undoubtedly a rebuilding one

      • Hahahaha the Union have been in the league for two years and they’re already in a rebuilding year…this preseason is as comical as it is disastrous

  6. Very Much looking forward to LADUMA tonight, especially after this week… 🙂

  7. I think the thing that bugs me most about the way Nowak handled the whole Le Toux situation was not notifying Le Toux himself. One of the traits of being a good leader is you do this type of difficult task yourself rather than delegating. Trades/player sales have always been a part of sport (think Babe Ruth circa 1919) but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way and this was handled the wrong way. Feelings may not be part of Nowak’s job description but not alienating the fans is. This probably won’t hurt attendence too much, but if he keeps handling these situations like this, it will hurt attendence.

  8. Does that officially make Adu a DP, or will all this allocation and/or Bimbo money alleviate some of that burden?

  9. MikeRSoccer says:

    Interesting note, but there are only 6 players on the roster who were on the team in 2010 (Williams shouldn’t even count since we signed him in September of 2010). That is really a remarkable amount of movement in a 2 year period and it would be interesting to compare those numbers to other MLS teams over that same period and to expansion teams in their first two years. I really have no clue where the Union would stand in comparison to other expansion teams.

  10. That Egypt disaster sure puts losing le toux in perspective.

  11. And the best thing is that it won’t rot your teeth. Recently, a video
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    The audio, the programs, the interface, the appearances, conectivity.

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