Daily news roundups / Featured

Double DC for U after KC switch; Carroll, Okugo & Lohman on Rogers; USWNT v Canada on 6/2, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

10 days people.

It’s official: the Union will not play Sporting Kansas City on Saturday at 6pm in their final game of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic but will instead play DC United at 1pm. Finishing No. 2 in Group A in the preseason tournament, the Union were scheduled to play second place Group B finishers Kansas City but with the two teams scheduled to kickoff the 2013 season at PPL Park on March 2, neither team wanted to play the other.

They’re apparently not the only ones. Tournament director Pat Hicks explained, “With KC playing Philly in their first match of the season, what we wanted to avoid was having both teams putting out their second strings and putting out a product that was the right ones for the fans that were down here. So that’s really the main reason why we made the change.”

The rescheduled game will be streamed on the Union website.

Before Saturday’s matchup, the Union will play DC United tonight in a scrimmage at their training grounds at the Dewey Sports Complex in Deltona at 6pm.

Speaking before the schedule change, John Hackwork told the Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Fans in Deltona are going to be treated to a game between two like-minded opponents and some really good players on the field. Because of the craziness of our final game, they will maybe see a better game (Wednesday) than expected.”

Speaking of expectations, with the schedule change, it would be reasonable to assume that today’s match will heavily feature trialists, draftees and other young non-first team players and might be the last major opportunity for some to show they deserve to given contracts. That said, it would be nice to see Parke and Soumare get more time together, the frontline to have more time together, Okugo get time in the midfield, etc. The game will not be streamed so follow the @PhilaUnion Twitter account for updates.

Conor Casey says of Sebastien Le Toux and Jack McInerney, “They both are very good finishers and have speed…it’s rare that you are going to see two big guys playing together up top, so obviously I’ll be paired with both at some point and I think it’s a good option.

At Soccer America, Ridge Mahoney previews the Union’s season. While noting a rebuilding effort is going on off the field as well, Mahoney says Hackworth has “placed a lot of trust in young players” but “Older veterans fill many slots, so the traditionally successful mix of youth and experience seems to be in place.” Mahoney says that Brian Carroll “labored last season, and either he needs to step up his game or the role is taken by someone else, perhaps Okugo,” and is concerned that “inevitable errors committed by young keepers may cost the Union too many points in a tight playoff race.”

Dave Zeitlin has a great piece at CSN Philly on Union player reactions to Robbie Rogers’ announcement that he is gay.

  • Former teammate Brian Carroll spoke of his respect for Rogers and said his sexuality is a “complete non-issue,” adding, “I would love to have him on my team. I would welcome him back with open arms.”
  • Amobi Okugo said, “We’re all soccer players. We all have different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different morals. We’re all welcoming guys. When he comes back, if he comes back, he’ll feel at home.”
  • Former Philadelphia Independence midfielder Joanna Lohman, who is herself gay, said, “It was absolutely phenomenal to see the support [Rogers got]. Of all of the major men’s professional sports, I think the MLS is the most willing to handle a situation like this. I think it’s quite progressive when it comes to social awareness and social concepts.”

MLS

What do you know, Seattle have acquired Shalrie Joseph from Chivas USA after all. Joseph’s former club sure offered a lot to sweeten the deal.

Portland have signed former Manchester United and Arsenal defender Mikael Silvestre.

Scottish club Hearts have confirmed that Andrew Driver has left the club to join Houston. Houston also traded midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson to FC Dallas for a second round selection in the 2015 SuperDraft

Honduran defender Johnny Leverón has joined Vancouver.

Following the news that Orlando City has acquired a deep-pocketed Brazilian investor, a Florida Senate committee voted to support a bill that would give local sales tax assistance to proposed new soccer stadiums in Orlando and Jacksonville. The bill now moves on to another committee.

Pointing to the fact that pro sport teams in Florida are struggling at the gate, a blogger at the Miami New Times writes of the efforts to land a MLS franchise in the Sunshine State, “But if you build it, will they come? Well, it didn’t work out with our first experiment with the MLS, and it’s barely working out with most teams that play actual American sports.” Yep. Actual American sports.

US

Tickets to the World Cup qualifier in Colorado against Costa Rica on March 22 sold out within an hour. Sure, there was a pre-sale but its still a good harbinger of the atmosphere of support the US should receive.

The USWNT will play Canada in Toronto on June 2. That should be fun.

While still unconfirmed by US Soccer, FIFA and the Deutsche Fussball Bund say the US men will play Germany in Washington DC on the same day.

Elsewhere

Soccer America’s Paul Gardner reviews the many U-turns Sepp Blatter and FIFA have made concerning goal-line technology.

The AP reports that Syria’s state-run news agency says two mortar shells landed outside a soccer stadium in central Damascus killing one player and injuring several others.

 

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