Daily news roundups

Nowak, Califf on Costa Rica, Gomez, Torres make top 10s, more

Union

Kerith Gabriel tweets that Peter Nowak told him of the abandoned scrimmage against Belen last week in Costa Rica, “The game was getting chippy & in the safety of our players with the season a few weeks away we called it.” Hopefully we’ll hear more from this afternoon’s press conference, if only so we can finally put the whole incident to bed.

Though he was advised not to talk about the Union’s kerfuffle in Costa Rica, Danny Califf told Dave Zeitlin, “he was ‘proud of the guys’ because ‘everyone stuck up for each other and backed each other up, and no one was going to let anything happen to anybody.'”

Califf also says in the article that Peter Nowak “put the petal to the metal” in preseason. “I think we’re all looking forward to getting back into the training routine where we’re here and able to establish that routine and not be 100 miles per hour all the time.”

Gabriel Gomez makes Goal.com’s list of 10 MLS newcomers to watch. Goal says Gomez’s biggest weakness is his inability to stick with one club for an extended period of time. So yeah, he’s pretty good on the field.

Danny Mwanga will be on CSN’s Daily News Live today at 5:45pm.

Alecko Eskandarian says he looks forward to seeing Cristhian Hernandez’s “cultured left foot” making an impact at PPL Park for a long time. Hernandez recently became the Union’s 3rd Home Grown Player.

Paul Kennedy wonders if Hernandez can live up to the careers of two former St. Benedict’s Prep soccer players: Tab Ramos and Claudio Reyna.

Sports Illustrated names Roger Torres one of ten breakout players to watch in MLS this season and adds, “he’ll need to be a driving force in the Union’s attack for Philly to have any shot at duplicating their strong 2011 this year.”

The MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings have the Union at No. 13. “Much of the Union’s preseason has been done incognito, so it’s hard to say what to expect of the newcomers and which of the youngsters has stepped up. What we do know, however, is that Sébastien Le Toux and Faryd Mondragón will be missed. How quickly Philly fills those gaps will be the story of their year, most likely.”

The brand new NBC Sports ProSoccerTalk website has the Union finishing sixth in the East in 2012.

The Goat Parade’s Eastern Conference Preview has the Union finishing 8th in the conference. Clearly nobody knows what will happen in the East this year, but everyone seems sure it will be a much more competitive conference than last season. tGP gives some insight into what outsiders think of the Union’s decision to sell Seba Le Toux: “While there may be more to the story of Le Toux’s surprise trade to the Vancouver Whitecaps, the story as publicly revealed will continue to make the Union look bad unless they can win without him.”

SBI previews the 2012 Union.

The Coaches Union looks at all of the changes on the Union’s roster and concludes, “I will say that this team has me excited because of the possibilities though. There is real quality with this team. They have some young but talented parts and it makes me wonder what if…Nowak the schemer can put it together quicker than we expect. That’s what has me excited. This year, again, we have hope!”

Here’s a great video by Tony Clark entered into the MLS Reserves “Support Your Team” Contest to get your excitement going:

The Portland Timbers are dealing with a rash of injuries to their offensive weapons heading into their season opener against the Philadelphia Union (Monday, ESPN2). 2011 SuperDraft No. 2 pick Darlington Nagbe and big summer signing Kris Boyd are both still in recovery arcs after picking up ankle injuries. Mamadou “Futty” Danso (he who scored on the Union last season) picked up a knock in training yesterday and the Timbers are still without Franck Songo’o (Visa issues) and Sal Zizzo (offseason knee surgery).

BestEleven has a MLS player name pronunciation guide. My favorite is “Kee-ON.”

Local

The invaluable website thecup.us has more on West Chester United’s 1–0 win over Salone FC for their first-ever Eastern Pennsylvania Open Cup championship that we linked to on Monday. This match was originally scheduled to take place in December but an ultimately failed protest by two-time Open Cup runners-up United German Hungarians over their semifinal loss to Salone saw it postponed until Sunday. The win advances the team to their first United States Adult Soccer Association Region I tournament where they will face the Aegean Hawks, champions of the Metro DC / Virginia Soccer Association, on April 1. The winner of that match will face Maryland Bays for a first round berth in the US Open Cup. Should West Chester be successful in their campaign, they will become only the fourth Eastern PA team from the USASA to do so in the past 15 years, joining Phoenix, United German Hungarians and Erzgebirge on that short, but honored, list.

Paul Riley was a big presence at the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer clinic last weekend. That guy is the best.

MLS

Mike Foss of USA Today says there is a youth movement “quietly hidden amid fans’ screams for names such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry.” Mike, those screams are coming straight from the commissioner’s office. The fans have been screaming about Agudelo and Shea for a long time now.

There will be a free preview of the MLS Direct Kick TV package this weekend. Five Saturday games will be available for viewing because, while the preview runs through Sunday, the two games on that day are being nationally broadcast.

The new Professional Referee Organization (PRO), aimed at improving the quality of professional officiating in the US and Canada, that we first linked to last week was officially launched on Tuesday. More on PRO here, here, here, here, and here. The new organization will be led by Premier League referee Peter Walton, who is retiring from the Premiership to begin leading PRO on April 2.

Goal.com previews the Western Conference.

The Goalkeeper previews the 2012 season.

New England, NYRB and Vancouver announced minor signings yesterday.

Speaking of the Pink Cows, the New York Times looks at Kenny Cooper’s role on the team and the ongoing saga of Luke Rodgers’ immigration problems.

Toronto FC coach Aron Winter has three goals for 2012: Advancing to the next round of the CONCACAF Champions League, winning the Canadian Cup for the fourth-straight time, and finally making it to the MLS playoffs.

Following a poor first season in MLS, season ticket sales in Vancouver dropped this year from 15,500 to 13,000.

Chicago Fire is building a luxury stadium club that will seat 150 at $6,500 to $7,500 a pop per season.

From the “Man, that smells useless” file comes news that DC’s city council passed a resolution calling for a solution that will keep DC United in the city long-term.

You may remember last season’s “Fortgate” controversy when the heavy-handed tactics of stadium security in New England led to a supporters revolt. MLS Reserves checks in on where things stand now.

CONCACAF Champions League

Tonight’s Champions League match between Toronto and LA is a sell out with some 45,000 tickets sold. David Beckham says, “It’ll be great.”

Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid thinks tonight’s Champions League match against Santos Laguna may be the most important match in the club’s history.

Santos Laugna forward Herlculez Gomez says, “I’d like to continue to try to compete and earn a spot on the men’s national team for my country.” He says of the recent success of the USMNT, “It’s still my country, I want to see them do well, but I want to be part of it.”

Women’s Pro Soccer

Lori Chalupny, headed to the Philadelphia Independence before WPS cancelled the 2012 season, will now play for Chicago Red Stars in the WPSL Elite League.

W-League side Colorado Force have joined with Colorado Rapids of MLS to be re-branded as Colorado Rapids Women. The team joins Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Chivas USA and DC United in having teams in the W-League.

The Examiner looks at why MLS teams are beginning to affiliate with W-League teams.

Boston Breakers continue to add to their roster.

US

Alex Morgan registered another hat trick in the USWNT 4–0 win over Sweden to claim 3rd place at the Algarve Cup. Germany won the championship by diving their way to a  4–3 win over Japan.

The USMNT moved up four spots to No. 27 in the latest FIFA rankings.

On how Michael Bradley became Captain America at Chievo.

BleacherReport lists the winners and losers of the Klinsmann era so far. I’d tell you who they are but it’s a slideshow so I’m not going to read it.

Elsewhere

ThompsonTalksTactics looks at how Arsenal matched up against Milan as they almost overcame a four-goal deficit at the Emirates. I was incredibly impressed with Arsene Wenger’s ideas. He moved Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain into the middle of the pitch, gave Rosicky freedom to find holes, and managed to isolate Walcott on Mesbah even though Mark van Bommel was clearly supposed to be Mesbah’s support. Then Wenger took out The Ox and put in Marouane Chamakh and the offensive pressure fell apart. Why, Voyeur, why??

If you thought you were a soccer fan, 74-year old Peggy Goulding probably has you beat. And she captures exactly how it feels to be a home game supporting the team you love: “I’m usually a quiet person, but when I’m at football, screaming and singing, I’m afraid I don’t recognize my own self,” said Peggy Goulding, the head of London’s Arsenal Football Supporters Club. Goulding, 74, has been an Arsenal fan, or a Gooner, for more than 40 years. She missed just one home match in the last 13 years — on the day her husband died. She will be there Tuesday, on her feet, singing, ‘Stand up for the Arsenal, stand up for the Arsenal.’”

Newcastle supporters have offered to pay the fine levied on Michael Atkinson after he painted the words “St. James” on Newcastle’s stadium. This follows the recent controversial re-naming of the stadium as Sports Direct Arena.

The Council of Europe has been busy, calling for an investigation of Sepp Blatter’s recent unopposed re-election and for greater separation of the owners of clubs and the companies that sponsor them.

Blatter wants a meeting with Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff in an attempt to ease tensions between the country and FIFA after a recent spat. Blatter apologized to the country on Monday for remarks made by FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

This video has been making the rounds, but if you haven’t seen it here ya go: A player was given a red card for diving as he was stretchered off the field. Either that guy is really hurt or he deserves to get off the hook for his commitment to the dive.

6 Comments

  1. Poor-fear-rEE-O

  2. Some of these pre-season predictions are crazy. 8th in the East for us!? I don’t see that at all.
    Our only two losses worth mentioning are Mondragon – and in reality most people would call that a wash based on how well MacMath played. And Le Toux, while a big loss, people have already forgotten our offense was a stumbling mess last season too and we asked the same “Were will the goals come from!?” questions for over half of last season too.

    • Yes, we were a stumbling mess last season, and the only player who changed that is the exact same person who was kicked out. That’s a pretty good reason to expect to be even worse this season.

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