Daily news roundups / Featured

Casey & Le Toux: “Disjointed” attack will come together, news from camp, PPL Park out of WCQ contention? More.

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

18 days to go, people.

So, how did you think Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux partnered in Saturday’s draw? Casey admitted, “It was a little disjointed at times,” while Le Toux said, “The more we play and the more time we get to practice together, the more we’ll connect on the field.”

John Hackworth explained, “Look, I wasn’t as disappointed with them as I was with how we moved the ball and found them. We tried to play too many direct balls either into Conor or to put Sébastien through. That’s not really what we’ve been working on in training.”

In Monday’s Daily Doop, Kerith Gabriel describes what the team was working on during the day’s training session and some standout players. The team had the afternoon off for some bonding exercises that included a zipline tour of the Central Florida Zoo.

In his latest letter to season ticket holders, John Hackworth describes how the coaching staff plans to “ramp up” each player’s minutes through the schedule of preseason games. “For example, in Saturday night’s match, the starting 11 played 60 minutes, while the second group played 30 (duh). In our next game on Wednesday against Columbus, the majority of that second group will play 60 minutes. The plan is to increase the minutes in each match until all the players are ready to play a full 90 at the level of intensity that we have trained for.”

However disjointed he and Casey may have appeared in their first outing, at the Union website, Sebastien Le Toux makes clear to Andy Jasner that he is extremely happy and motivated by being back with Philly. He also describes his idea of how he is best utilized.

I’m an offensive player, so usually when you see an offensive player, you are free. Some people just leave themselves on one side because they like it, but it’s not what I like. I like to kind of be free, and when you’re in a different position or spread out, you can start in a wide position but as play goes, you can move. It depends on where the action goes, how I fit with the guys depending on the movement.

I’m just hoping to be free than just taking one side and not moving because it’s not me. If I’m not moving, it means there’s something wrong. I like that the staff here allows me to be free and to do what I do best. I make all the runs, but it’s just as important to do it within the structure of the game plan.

Le Toux says further, “It’s so great to be here training with the guys again, playing for this club that I love. This franchise, these fans are the greatest. Now that I’m back, I’m going to do everything that I can to help this club win…I will be so happy to see everyone in the stands when we play Sporting. More than that, I’m happy to be back playing with this club and it will be the first step in what we hope will be a great season. I am truly excited to get started.”

Bakary Soumare sounds fit and ready to go.

At Goal.com, Kyle McCarthy examines the difficulties a team faces when it tries to dump a DP or “maximum-plus” contract. McCarthy says the situation faced by Chivas USA DP Shalrie Joseph, who was recently training with Seattle, resembles “Freddy Adu’s situation in Philadelphia and the experiences of other out-of-favor players on maximum-plus or DP deals in MLS over the past few seasons. Their abilities outstrip their current paychecks. Their current employers want to move the player to a new club. But the mechanics of a deal make it difficult to [reach] an agreement amenable to all parties.”

The tweet below from Grant Wahl suggests PPL Park is out of the running to host one of the home World Cup qualifying games.

That’s cool about the June 18 qualifier against Honduras being in Salt Lake City, we’ll all still be basking in the afterglow of the debut of Lingerie Footba…I mean Legends Football at PPL Park on the 15th, right?

At ASN, Brian Blickenstaff checks in with the Union’s Zach Pfeffer and Russell Canouse, the Lancaster, Pa. born former PA Classics midfielder, on how things are going at Hoffenheim. Both say that the language barrier offers challenges and that the level of tactical side of training for players of their age is higher than what they experienced in the US, although Pfeffer says the technical aspects of training are similar to what he encountered under Hackworth with the Union.


Cody Calafiore, the defensive midfielder who played for Temple for three seasons before transferring to Monmouth, has been invited to train with the Columbus Crew.

Kyle Gruno (PDA; Saddle River, N.J.) and Matthew Real (FC DELCO; Drexel Hill, Pa.), both defenders, have been named to the eight day US U-14 training camp that opens on Saturday.


New England Revolution have signed Chad Barrett and former Harrisburg City Islander defender Bilal Duckett.

New York have signed midfielder Eric Alexander from Portland.

Apparently, the Red Bulls players like new coach Mike Petke.

Thierry Henry says that points should be deducted from teams whose fans racially abuse players. Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill think racist fans should simply be banned.

After trialing with Portland, former Manchester United defender Mikhael Silvestre is now training with Seattle.


The new women’s professional league will release its 2013 schedule today.


Fox Soccer announced on Monday that it will broadcast the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, 2013 CONCACAF Men’s U-17 Championship, the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 and U-20 Championships, and the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament. The US begins play in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship against Haiti on Monday, Feb. 18 and Costa Rica on Friday, Feb. 22, both games beginning at 6:30pm.

You can read a quote sheet from U-20 head coach Tab Ramos’ conference call with reporters last week here.

At MLSsoccer.com, John Bolster wonders if MLS has benefitted other CONCACAF countries more than it has the USMNT.

Abby Wambach says the USWNT will not rest on its laurels, talks about playing for a new coach, and why the NWSL has a good chance of succeeding.

Part two of Will Parchman’s series on the disastrous US campaign to qualify for the 1986 World Cup is up at ASN.


Champions League action returns today with Celtic vs. Juventus on Fox Soccer and Valencia vs. Paris Saint-Germain on Fox Soccer Plus.



  1. One thing is for sure, you know the season is right around the corner in Philly when the first pre-season game results in the cries for benching no less than half our starters and 40 comments on the match article.

  2. Zach Pfeffer was withdrawn at the 73min in his first real match with his U19 Hoffenheim team. Afterwards the team seems to have scored whe winning goal to beat the league leaders Bayern Munich 2-1.

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