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Reaction from Hackworth following Union draw, 3rd kit launch on Feb. 26, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

It says at MLSsoccer.com, “The Philadelphia Union sputtered out of the gate in their first game at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Saturday,” and that sounds just about right. Read PSP’s detailed match report here. Look for analysis later today.

John Hackworth explains in the video below from Sunday that the Union’s approach to Saturday’s game was to use it as an opportunity to evaluate what the team has been working on so far in preseason training. “And that’s always a little shaky the first time you do that. There were some good things, there were probably more bad things than good things.”

Hackworth took responsibility for the Orlando goal. “Had a mix up on the goal, but not worried about that at all. If anything, that’s probably my fault ’cause I was telling the guys, “I don’t care if they’re pressing you, I want you to roll it out of the back, I want us to try and play.”

John Hackworth said in the postgame press conference,

We were isolating guys 1v1 in bad spots. We weren’t in good spots coming out of our defensive half of the field, being 1v1 and then finding our open guy. We weren’t doing that and I think that was part of what was frustrating…I thought the ball movement through our midfield allowed our forwards to stretch the field and get in good spots. And when weren’t doing that [forward] Sebastien [Le Toux] was coming back and trying to find it a lot which is not what we wanted him to do either. We have to put a lot of little pieces together.

Hackworth explains in the video regarding his 1v1 comment, “My point there is that I don’t want to put ourselves in positions where we have to win 1v1 battles all over the place. I want us to make sure we have numerical advantages where we out-balance teams for the majority of games. If we do that then I think that when you do have the 1v1s, which I think are inevitable in this game, that we want to capitalize on those. But if you have it for, you know, 45 minutes at a time, and there’s 40 minutes of that—that’s not what were looking to do.”

Hackworth said when asked about the Leo Fernandes goal, “I think any rookie that comes in and makes plays in games, that’s all you can really ask for…Happy for him, happy for that second group, to pull one back and get a drawl in that game.”

The Union has now been unable to defeat Orlando City in three tries, going 0-1-2. Hackworth said, “Those guys want to be in MLS and they are a good team. They are well coached and have some very good players, and it’s too easy to take these guys lightly and you can’t do that as I think we saw tonight.” (In related news, Orlando Business Journal reports, “Florida Gov. Rick Scott vowed to back efforts to finance an Orlando Major League Soccer stadium with state tax rebates.”)

Match reports from Philadelphia Union, Orlando City SC, Orlando Sentinel, Delco Times, Philly Soccer News, and the Brotherly GameUnion Tally and ProSoccerTalk have post-game impressions.

It was back to training on Saturday and the Daily Doop lays out what the team was working on. The Union next face Columbus Crew on Wednesday at 1pm, their first meeting of the preseason against MLS opposition. You can watch live stream of the game at philadelphiaunion.com/live and MLSSoccer.com/live.

Kerith Gabriel reported in Friday’s Daily Doop that the new Union third kit will be launched on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Gabriel says of the new kit, “Trust me when I say, it’s LEGIT.”

The kit will be launched at the Meet the Team event at XFinity Live on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

The New York Times reports that beginning next year, every MLS team will unveil a minimum of one new jersey every year. 12 teams will be unveiling new kits between today and Feb. 28.

At ESPN, Jason Davis has a thoughtful profile on the career of Charles Rencken, the trialist who was cut by the Union before the club made the trip to Florida. Davis relates how Rencken’s success as a US youth international had many tabbing him as the next Freddy Adu (but in a good way). However, a series of knee injuries may mean a premature end to a promising career. Davis writes, “Renken was going to turn out to be the player Adu should have been, if only Freddy and everyone around him, had known better…Freddy wasted his abilities. Charles Renken’s were stolen by fate.”

Along with their season tickets and preseason swag, season ticket holders are receiving information on this year’s Loyalty Program. The Doopist approvingly reviews some of the changes to the program, which includes the ability to load “Union Dollars” onto one’s season ticket card to use for discounted purchases at PPL Park.

Jacksonville’s firstcoastnews.com promotes Friday’s exhibition game against Montreal Impact at EverBank Field.


Lionard Pajoy scored a brace in DC United’s 4-0 win over Tampa Bay Rowdies in their opening Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic match. In other Saturday action in the tournament, local lad Anfrew Wenger scored the gamewinner as Montreal rallied to defeat Kansas City 2-1 and Columbus topped Toronto 1-0.

Bruce Arena says Landon Donovan may not return to the Galaxy until after the season is underway.

Josh Saunders to Real Salt Lake? That’s fine by LA Galaxy.

Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Chelís” Sánchez Solá thinks MLS is too namby-pamby when it comes to player injuries. The comments on the article are the best part.

Chivas USA DP Shalrie Joseph had been training with Seattle Sounders but Sigi Schmid says he’s unfit and unlikely to join the team.


Local lass Sinead Farrelly becomes the fifth former Philadelphia Independence player to sign with FC Kansas City.


At Fox Soccer, Leander Schaerlaeckens wonders if the USMNT revolution will ever arrive.

At the New York Times Goal blog, John Godfrey recounts the wide spread displeasure from US supporters on the internet over Wednesday’s uninspiring loss to Honduras and notes that Jurgen Klinsmann appeared to be the main target. KLinsmann says, “It’s totally fine that they voice their opinion when they are unhappy. It’s all part of growing the soccer culture in this country. It just shows how much they care, and that’s what we want.”

No surprise, really, but ESPN’s John Sutcliffe tweeted on Saturday that the USA v Mexico home qualifier on Sept. 10 will be played in Columbus.

Here are the latest USMNT Castrol Index following the qualification loss in Honduras.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald has an article about reports from ESPN that a 2010 USMNT friendly against El Salvador may have been fixed. There is no suggestion that the US was aware or involved in the match-fixing and the US Soccer Federation has never been approached by FIFA about any ongoing investigation.

The USWNT defeated Scotland 4-1 in Tom Sermanni’s first game as the new coach.

Christen Press became the third player to score two goals in her USWNT debut. Press said, “I was hoping that my first cap would be my first start and my first goal all in the same day. I was sort of going for the trifecta and my teammates made it easy so I am thankful to them.”

An ankle injury that saw Alex Morgan leave the game is not serious although her status for Wednesday’s friendly, also against Scotland, is day-to-day.

Match reports from The Equalizer, ProSoccerTalk, and the AP. Post Game quote sheet here.


Nigeria defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 to claim the Africa Cup of Nations championship. Match reports from BBC, ESPN, and the AP, plus this minute-by-minute thread from the Guardian.

Sepp Blatter says racism is a bigger danger to soccer than match-fixing.

Blatter also expressed surprise at some of the criticism of FIFA from its own anti-corruption advisers. “From time to time I realized that it is a deviation of the original objective and they are not coming with solutions, not recommendations, they are coming with decisions that we have (to take) … and we must. But that is not what we have asked for. We have asked to give us solutions and we bring these solutions to the (FIFA) Congress.”

You will recall a story we linked to recently about protest from some supporters of Israel team Beitar’s signing of two Muslim players. Last week, the offices of the team were firebombed. On Sunday, thousands of people showed up to support the debut of 19-year-old Chechen defender Gabriel Kadiev, who entered the game in the 80th minute to what the AP called “a rousing standing ovation.” The report continues, “Every time he touched the ball the crowd cheered wildly, mostly drowning out a smattering of boos.”

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