Daily news roundups

Garfan rising, Nowak says shoot, more news

Photo by: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

I know, no Philadelphia Union game this weekend, it totally sucks. But there are still lots of games to watch. Click here for our listings of the week’s upcoming live soccer on your TV and computer.

More on Gabriel Farfan’s claim for the starting spot at left back. Assessing how Garfan did in the position last Saturday and looking forward, Nowak says, “Gabe was very good on both sides of the ball. He likes the position. He likes to move forward. He likes to take a chance and be on the offensive side of the ball. It’s a good combination. We can switch at the half or we can look to give him more time over there. We’ll see where we are.”

Sheanon Williams says of Garfan’s play, “Kudos to Gabe. I think he’s one of our more versatile players. It’s great to have players on the team like that. It’s just a tribute to Gabe and what a good player he is.”

Marc Narducci says that the toughness that Garfan brings to the table is part of what has given him success.

Kerith Gabriel suggests that Zac MacMath is one of several young goalkeepers who, while still encountering growing pains, is quietly disproving that age and experience are necessary to be a successful professional goalkeeper. MacMath says, “I know what it takes to win and I want my teammates and the fans to know that whenever I am out there, it’s business. I hate to lose. It’s something that you never get used to as a professional. We have a team that can get back on track and we plan to take this [bye] week to assess where we are and use the Columbus game as a fresh start to the season. It starts with me and my defense.”

Peter Nowak says that he will continue to urge his players to take shots from distance. “The more shots you take, you never know what will happen. A deflection here, a deflection there, then all of a sudden the ball is in the goal.”

Nowak repeatedly referred to a core of the Union lineup in Wednesday’s press conference. Gabriel reports that the players who make up this core are (in no particular order): Zac MacMath, Danny Califf, Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Gomez, Brian Carroll, Lionard Pajoy and Keon Daniel.

The Brotherly Game reports that “a source with knowledge of internal discussions” says the pressure is on Nowak to win. “Nick [Sakiewicz] has said his job security comes down to wins and losses,” says the source. “I got the impression it’s Nowak’s team to manage as he sees fit but will be ultimately accountable for his record.” Yep.

Union Dues has the Union at No. 18 in their power rankings.

SI notes that Herculez Gomez could be a potential DP target “and a DP added in midseason only counts for $175,000 on a team’s salary budget.” Thoughts?


Harrisburg City Islanders defeated Drexel 3–2 in a preseason scrimmage on Wednesday.

The Philadelphia KiXX haven’t played in two years but their summer camp program continues.

St. Joseph’s women’s team will be hosting two clinics in June for youth and high school girls.

A soccer tournament hosted by the Sierra American Soccer Association in conjunction with the Sierra Leone Embassy and the Save Sierra Leone Foundation celebration will be part of the celebrations of the 51st anniversary of that country’s independence. The tournament, which will include a Philadelphia team, will take place in Mitchellville, Maryland on April 28-29.


FC Dallas tallied a stoppage time header to defeat New England Revolution 1–0 on Thursday night. Matt Hedges, former of Reading United and a PDL Defender of the Year, made his debut for Dallas in the game.

Goal.com previews the weekend’s games, which features several derbies, including the MLS debut of Montreal v Toronto.

Apparently Justin Mapp is playing well for Montreal. Good for him/them.

Shea Salinas is happy to be back with San Jose.

MLS Talk contributes to the discussion of how best to make use of match statistics.

The New York Times talks with the founder of Women United FC, a new website “where women of all ages who are MLS fans can meet, mingle and blog about their thoughts.”

Women’s Soccer

Vicki DiMartino, the younger sister of former Philadelphia Independence players Tina and Gina DiMartino, has signed with the New England Mutiny of the WPSL Elite League.


A piece in the Daily Mirror observing the rise of soccer in the US concludes, “It’s not a case of football coming to the United States, but of it already being here. The question is, just how long will it take for the game to rise to true national prominence.”

SI looks at how Tim Ream is settling down at Bolton.


Patrice Muamba has begun to walk again.

A study by researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet found that top professional soccer players “have significantly better cognitive functions than the average person, and are good at solving problems and multi-tasking.”

The Netherlands’ Ministry of Public Health is advising citizens who are planning to travel to Poland or Ukraine for Euro 2012 to get vaccinated against measles. A measles epidemic has broken out in western Ukraine, near the Polish border.

How are those reforms going over at FIFA? About as well as you’d think.

For those poor unfortunates who don’t have a local team (it feels so long ago, doesn’t it) or are just beginning to get into the game, The Footy Blog discusses how to pick a team to support.

Snarky headline aside, the Wall Street Journal looks at Real Madrid’s scoring rate, which, currently at 3.33 goals per game, is the highest for any European team since World War II.


  1. The fact that Brian Carroll is in this “core” disgusts me and sickens me.
    Carroll has no place on the field not that we have Gomez and is a black hole on offense.

    • Way too hard there on Carroll. Los (below) is spot on. Carroll has a role. He needs to be used in it, not be redundant in it.

      The real eye-opener is who’s NOT in that 8. We can debate Danny Mwanga and Roger Torres (and Lionard Pajoy) all we want, but how Michael Farfan isn’t there is mind-boggling.

      • He’ll be redundant in his role as long as Gomez is on this team.
        His biggest role right now should be as a trade piece for a young team looking for a solid and steady defensive presence in the midfield.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Agree, Carroll being dealt would free up cash that could be used to better the club.

      • Now THAT I don’t necessarily disagree with. The Gomez acquisition makes Carroll redundant in a four-man midfield. I think Carroll is the same player he’s always been, just as good at defensive cover and just as limited going forward or with a second DCM.

        Of course, what does Nowak really want for his team? I think a 3-5-2. More on this later in some future column, probably.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Not too hard at all. Carroll has lost a step. To constantly include him in the Union’s “core” is a mistake by the manager. Gomez gives us, far more, versatility and is quite capable of handling the CDM duties without Carroll. The inclusion of Carroll, at CDM#2, clogs a vital space, on the pitch, and doesn’t allow either player the freedom to play the position properly. Also, it focuses far to much manpower on our half of the field, creating a 25 yard black hole between central midfielders and attacking players. Sitting Carroll allows us to use a CAM to help bridge the gap and link play to attack. Adu, or Torres, can slot into that role, (the other coming in as a sub). As it is right now, both Torres and Adu do not fit in our lineup. To pull Keon or Farfan from the outside in favor of either of those two would be a bad move, since both have shown zero ability as an outside mid. The two CDM formational “core” is not working, we are 0-3-1 with no offense whatsoever. It is time for us to move Carroll, giving him the opportunity to fit into another teams starting XI. He is still useful, just not with us.

  2. DarthLos117 says:

    Im a Carroll fan. He isnt supposed to be an offensive player but rather a holding defensive midfielder. A Claude type of player. Nobody ever expected Makelele to score or lead an offensive charge.

    • I’m a Carroll fan too. He’s typically been a reliable and consistant part in Nowak’s dart board line up. He is currently in the midst of a bad stretch. Partly because he and Gomez are practically stepping on each other and partly because of his recent poor touches and lack of pace. I still value him as a needed veteran influence and I believe he will settle in and pick up his game.

  3. I’m glad to hear (even if only rumor) that there is accountability for the manager. The team should be his to manage as he sees fit but with that should come the responsibility to produce results.

  4. Carrol was okay before we had Gomez, but they play the exact same position and Gomez is clearly better. So unless Nowak is moving Carroll to the outside we are going to be stuck with 2 holding mid-fielders…which will equal about the same offensive production as we have so far…not good.

  5. DarthLos117 says:

    Folks the issue with Carroll and Gomez is very much a tactical concern and not due to ability. They do not play the same position although it may appear that way. Carroll’s primary responsibilities are defensive while Gomez has both offensive and defensive responsibilities…to think that our offensive struggles would be resolved by benching Carroll is also kinda funny.

    • No it isn’t. Carroll being benched for Torres or Adu would clearly help our offense. There is no question about that.

      • DarthLos117 says:

        Would benching Gomez for Torres or Adu also clearly help our offense?

      • The Black Hand says:

        No. Carroll does not have the versatility of Gomez. They absolutely play the same position. Gomez is just in better form. He covers his own end and chips in offensively.

      • DarthLos117 says:

        Again, Gomez has offensive responsiblities, Carroll does not. That indicates that they do not play the same position as evident by shots on goals. Gomez has 4 and plays higher up the pitch than Carroll. A CDM really should not be involved in any offense while a CAM should. This is where many are rating Gomez higher than Carroll incorrectly. One last time, Gomez has offensive responsibilities while Carroll does not.

      • CityHeroesSpursZeros says:

        How many of Gomez’s shots were from his free Kick duties?

      • The Black Hand says:

        So when Carroll muffed a pass to the laces, that could have won us the game, was that because it wasn’t in his job description? Also, when Carroll was playing as the high back, and struggling to get back to his “defensive” duties vs. Vancouver; was it not Gomez Who was holding down the defensive duties? I’m not saying that Carroll is a poor player. I am simply saying that Carroll starting forces us to add another CDM, concentrating too much energy on the defensive side of the pitch. This is hindering our offensive ability, because it leaves a void on the pitch. The long ball service is garbage. It is simply giving the ball to the opposing back lines. Not too mention, Adu and Torres. With the added low Mid, there is no place for them in the lineup. That leaves a lot of money spent on guys that we cannot serviceably utilize. YouTube Pajoy, he is pretty lethal when he gets a pass. Mwanga as well. The quality is here. We need Novak to “manage” to get the results. It doesn’t mean anything to have a stingy defense, when you lose every game one-nill.

  6. As sad as I am to say it, I think we’re better off with Carrol than Adu or Torres. While Carrol brings absolutely no offense whatsoever, Adu or Torres haven’t exactly brought much either this year either. At least Carrol will play defense.

  7. If we played a legit 3 man backline both would be good on the field together but it kind of hurting us tactically now. All I have to say is Herculez Herculez Herculez!!!’

  8. A DP will not help this team. It can be Messi and he won’t score. Its a matter of service, and possession. There is nothing on the field (yet) that would justify spending more money on a forward that will not get the proper offensive support he needs.

  9. DarthLos117 says:

    How sweet was ol #9’s goal?!

  10. Just read the Shea Salinas article and was very disgusted to see that he was bitter the way philadelphia handled his exit from the team to the whitecaps. This is a horrible trend by the Union’s FO or whoever handles the players transfers and needs to change very fast. If we develop a trend of treating players horribly then how do we look to players that we want to buy in the future?

    Also Carroll is a solid DEFensive center mid in which we need a offensive center mid to help the offense in the build up. If you put another DCM along side Carroll, that second player is the redundant player. Poor choice of tactics by the manager to clog up the DCM spot for Carroll when he can operate just by him self. Gomez needs to be a CAM.

    The game against vancouver we only worked the ball down the flanks and then back to the backline in which they played it long. We had a CM and 2 CDM which clogged up the middle of the field which hindered our offense. Carroll does not need Gomez beside him, he needs him in front of him so we can have the option of building through the middle and not just the flanks

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