Daily news roundups

“Two unlucky goals.” Califf controversy. Quotes & match reports from Sunday’s loss. More.

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

For the Union, a first half filled with unfinished chances. For Colorado, two Union slips that lead to two goals and a win on the road. But will the loss be overshadowed by the non-selection of Danny Califf?

Philadelphia Union 1–2 Colorado Rapids

PSP’s match report and photo essay.

More match reports from the Daily News, the Inquirer, MLSsoccer.com, SBI, Denver Post, CSNPhilly, Philly Soccer News, MLSTalk, Goal.com, Brotherly Game (who use an image of Chris Seitz in the report), the AP, 90soccer.com.

Did Chris Albright slip or was he clipped on the second goal? He has no doubt:

“I got clipped, plain and simple. The referee obviously did not see it. I thought I had position. I don’t swing and miss ever. A lot of times you get that call because something obviously happened. I was really disappointed to not get that call. I’ll go back and look at it, but he had one hand on my shoulder and just caught a piece of my heel. It was enough. As I’m going to swing and hit the ball out of bounds, that was enough to do what it did.”

And that first goal, why didn’t Zac MacMath come down with the ball? “I lost it in the sun a little bit, it was lofted up pretty high,” MacMath said after the game. “I got clipped a little bit there, but it’s a small play and I have to stay concentrated on making the small plays for a full 90 and doing my best to keep the team in it, and I didn’t do that today.”

And that formation? “(It was) pretty simple, we played a 3-5-2,” explained Sheanon Williams. “It was something we worked on and we’re trying to give new looks as we always do.”

Given the formation, Gabriel Gomez was often required to assume greater defensive responsibilities. “It was planned that way,” he said. “I was the person asked to play as a fourth defensive player, and attack when they needed me to attack.”

Peter Nowak’s verdict on the game?

“We’re all disappointed. I feel bad for the team, because they did everything right. We took those two mistakes, but I feel like we never had a problem with any kind of structure or pressure or anything like that. It was just a missing touch here, a final pass, missing the execution, but I think overall we played much better than in Portland. I think we’re going to stick to the plan, we’re going to believe in what we’re doing as a team. It was a pretty good game, except for those mistakes we made.

What did Sheanon Williams think? “Two unlucky goals. They capitalized and punished us.” He also said, “I thought we played extremely well in the first half. We had some good chances and we were unfortunate to go down a couple of goals. As soon as that happened, they go into their defensive shell, we pull one back, and the second one didn’t come.”

And Danny Mwanga? “We’re not really worried about it,” he said after the game. “We’re only two games into the season. Obviously it’s important to start right but it’s only two games. Especially after today’s performance, I have no doubts we have good things coming our way.”

Jason Thurston was named the 2011 Fan of the Year.

The Delco Daily Times reports on the wonderful fan experience that is opening day at PPL.

I don’t know what Noise Nation is, but some of their members went to PPL on Sunday and they report that they had a nice time.

Local officials in Chester are pleased with development along that city’s waterfront, of which PPL is a major part. While the economy has stalled planned retail and residential developments, the “possibilities are endless.”

Why no Danny?

When the Union’s roster was announced before Sunday’s 2–1 loss to Colorado in the 2012 home opener, questions immediately began to be asked about why Danny Califf was not starting. Peter Nowak said after the match,

“You guys don’t know but [Califf] still has a shot in his knee. The doctors in the offseason took a pretty big chunk of meniscus. When we started preseason, he didn’t do anything until the first day. We went from zero to 100 in pretty fast time. We still have questions. We have to go into this situation making sure that not only is he ready to play but he’s going to be able to give the performance that we all suspect.”

If Califf wasn’t fit to start, why was he dressed and eligible to play? Nowak explained, “Because, we didn’t know…with Chris (Albright) coming back as well, I think we just wanted to make sure (Califf) would be available for us.”

Danny Califf, who previously had started in each of the 62 games in which he was eligible to play for the Union and confirms that he had surgery on December 6, said after the game,

“It was a surprise to me. I didn’t find out I wasn’t playing until today, when we walked into the locker room. I guess I found out. Supposedly I have a knee injury…Honestly, that’s the first time I’ve heard about my knee being a problem. I don’t really understand where that’s coming from. I have no idea what’s going on in Peter’s head because he hasn’t said a word to me. To be honest, I don’t really have any idea. I would’ve thought that he at least would have a conversation with me. But he didn’t and maybe that’s his style and that’s the situation right now.”

Califf also said, “I felt great and trained this week. I would have liked to have been out there, but it wasn’t my decision…I didn’t expect this.”

Ryan Bright reminds us that this is not the first time a “miscommunication” about the status of an injury has arisen between Nowak and a player. “Early last season,” he writes, “Nowak persisted in saying that star striker Sebastien Le Toux was suffering a lower-body injury. Le Toux disputed the injury, eventually going directly to the media to protest the diagnosis from management.”

Goal.com says Nowak wasn’t the only manager whose selections raised eyebrows on Sunday.


Harrisburg City Islanders open up their training camp today.


There are ten teams in the Eastern Conference. Two weeks into the new season and only two of those teams, Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo, have wins. On Saturday in front of nearly 60,000 fans, the Montreal Impact played Chicago Fire, playing their first game of the season, to a 1–1 draw. Houston topped San Jose 1–0 on the road. Kansas City destroyed New England 3–0. Real Salt Lake made easy work of New York with a 2–0 win. Seattle easily defeated Toronto 3–1 in the Canadian team’s first league game of the season. Columbus had the weekend off. Philadelphia, New York, DC and New England are all 0–2–0. Toronto and Columbus are 0–1–0.

Women’s Pro Soccer

Paul Riley will coach a Women’s Professional Super Group team in the Headers for Hope charity tournament on April 21 at the Maryland SoccerPlex.


Josh Gatt has been recalled by his his Norwegian club, Molde FK, from the USMNT U-23 team. Caleb Porter will announce a replacement by Tuesday.


Fabrice Muamba remains in critical but stable condition.

Hey, what do you know, Fernando Torres finally did that thing he’s paid to do but hadn’t done in 24 matches. Twice!

A state-owned television channel in Syria is claiming that Barcelona’a formations represent arms smuggling routes to rebels fighting to bring down the Assad regime.


  1. DarthLos117 says:

    Danny Califf didnt start because he said something about Nowak going “nuts.” Plain and simple he was punished because he went against the grain.

    • I’ve got to say that it is concerning that player after player continues to come forward about the disconnect (and I’m being nice with this word choice) between themselves and Nowak.

  2. Plan and simple Nowak is so into himself that he is willing to make the team suffer to prove his point… Not sure why anyone would want to play under him if thats how he rolls. I Don’t trust in Nowak.



    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      From the link you so generously provided: “The PHILADELPHIA UNION supporters may be none to [sic] pleased to read this particular piece, but one thing this blog will never do is sugar-coat a scouting report in order to coddle a bunch of soccer-naive Americans still obviously learning what is to be legitmately [sic] expected of a goalkeeper attempting to pass himself off as a ‘major league’ professional.”
      Wow, no “sugar-coating,” huh? What a brave editorial stance for a blog to take. And there’s nothing like a patronizing air of superiority to draw in those “soccer-naive Americans.”



  5. Why did we buy Martinez in the off-season if we were going to have Sheanon play right-wing instead?

  6. So. Anyone want to bet on if Danny gets shipped out this season?

  7. Soccerdad1150 says:

    Word was floating around that Danny didn’t play because he showed up at the SOBs tailgate prior to the game. There was at least one FB post from my friend with Danny at his tailgate.

  8. Soccerdad1150 says:

    I meant to say FB “picture” of Danny at the tailgate…

  9. Did anybody else hear the boos when Nowak was introduced yesterday? I’m is section 127 and they weren’t overwhelming but they were definitely there. If it escalates, is there any chance Nowak quits because the fans don’t “appreciate” him, like he claimed when Ruiz left?

    • When Nowak walked by 104 coming onto the field and going off, the fans were letting him have it. Start of game, halftime off/on, and end of game.

      Don’t understand why any time they had speed they slowed down, letting the defenders get set/caught up. Also don’t understand why Roger wasn’t put in when the red card was issued.

      • This is a great point. We were trying to figure this out too. You’re down 2-0, do you really think that, just because you’re up a man, you’ll score 2? That was the moment we needed to take out some of the more defensive minded players and go for broke.

  10. Had a great time at yesterday’s game! Thanks for the link! DK

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Glad you had a great time! And you’re right, the food and beverage prices are crazy (which only makes the tailgating more fun.)

  11. I am so disappointed in Nowak. How can he consider himself a coach? Even though we looked good in the first half, it was in a formation we will (hopefully) never play again, with two players (Williams, Gomez) being played out of position.
    There will be no consistency, like their never is. What is our identity? What kind of team do we have? Nowak is so intent on tinkering and adjusting to the strengths of other teams he forgets that the best teams impose THEIR will on the pitch.
    Also, atleast in the first half, the pairing of Mwanga-Pajoy looked great. Chance they start together again next week and build more chemistry? 0%.

  12. Here are my hopes for the season:

    1) The young players continue to develop and perhaps, in the case of Roger Torres, even get playing time.

    2) When Danny Califf is sold some of that money is spent on acquiring a centerback.

    3) Danny Mwanga has a good few matches and can be sold for a high price to some unsuspecting MLS team who thinks he’ll actually be something.

    4) Freddy Adu has a great Olympics so we can sell him to a European club for big bucks.

    5) Porfirio Lopez decides that his real passion is poetry and he quits soccer to travel the globe being inspired.

    If all those things happen, we might come out of this okay.

  13. Well, looks like Comrad Nowak has lost the locker room, and many of the fans. However, it doesn’t matter because he purges the team every season so there isn’t any veteran decent.

    I actually don’t care whether he was left out of the starting 11 because he disobeyed the coach. That’s the coaches perogative (unfortunately). I care about the fact that he’s coaching methods are not bearing fruit.

  14. MikeRSoccer says:

    As much as I agree with everything that has been said, especially about Nowak, I still come away with the sense that this team CAN pull it together. There were brilliant flashes in this game, easy shots missed, an uncalled penalty, an uncalled foul on Albright that led to the second goal and a glaring keeper mistake.
    Few keys to their potential success though:
    1: Nowak should never, ever, EVER play a 3 back system again (only Napoli can do it while everyone else, including Inter under that crazy man who was there for the first 5 weeks of the season, cannot).
    2: Califf plays
    3: Sheanon Williams plays RB
    4: Marfan does not play CAM
    5: Torres plays CAM
    6: MacMath gets his act together

    These are all completely realistic goals even with Nowak as coach. I didn’t mention anything about what formation he should play because there is simply no point. Essentially, if these 6 goals are reached this team will win despite Nowak’s coaching skill, but because of Nowak’s ability to put together a great young team (have to give credit where credit is do and I maintain that though I do not like him as a coach…he did put together a solid team).

    • First off, Napoli!!!!

      Second, I agree. The four man backline we used last year worked. I don’t like Fropez, but let’s hope he can be an adequate fill-in for Garfan. We need to just stick with it.

      And yes, Marfan needs to be on the outside and Torres (and, if anyone still cares about him, Adu) need to be inside.

      There’s still a lot of potential. Pajoy could be the target we need up front. When they look good, they look good. Just too much inconsistency.

  15. So, how many soccer balls do you think Califf is worth. I figure at least 6.

  16. The Black Hand says:

    The Club has progressed. The manager simply has not. A “manager” recognizes a club’s strengths (DEFENSE) and builds off of them. How is disrupting your defenders in front of an extremely shaky goaltender giving your club the best chance to earn a win? The answer is becoming more and more clear. Start managing or step down!

  17. Lost in the anger of defeat, I thought Pajoy looked great out there. Just saying.

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