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Need to get better, no need to panic, Aduing some math, power rankings, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Monday’s Daily Doop notes that the team had Monday off after a regeneration session on Sunday.

The first installment of the season of Dave Zeitlin’s Inside Doop column at CSN considers a number of questions including how the Union’s forwards were used (or not used), “other curious lineup decisions,” and what formation will likely feature against Colorado on Saturday. Particular interesting is how Soumare is referred to. Zeitlin frames his commentary not in terms of when he starts, but if he starts:

If Soumare ever does feature at center back, Okugo will likely join the midfield alongside Brian Carroll – which could be a very good thing for the team’s midfield. But right now, that’s looking like a very big ‘if.’

US Soccer Players writes of Saturday’s game,

In the first game on the 2013 Major League Soccer regular season schedule, the Philadelphia Union ere gleefully proving the pundits wrong by outplaying highly favored Sporting Kansas City.  They almost made it through the first-half…Considering they scored, Philadelphia didn’t have the worst opening day performance on Saturday. Far from it, since they were the only losing team to get on the board…It’s easy enough to play up or down Week 1 results, but two teams had gut check moments that already speak to major problems. First on that ballot is Philadelphia. It’s tough for any club to see their plans work for 40 minutes and then revert to what everybody expected. Sporting KC is a good team, full stop. Philadelphia isn’t, and they’ve got to get over what they showed in the first-half if they really want to improve.

In a post saying that defenses need time to develop ProSoccerTalk observes, “Jeff Parke and Amobi Okugo as a central pairing in Philly? Both are quality players individually, but as a first-time center back pairing? Well, they’ll get better than what we saw in giving up three at home to Sporting KC.”

JP Dellacamera says there’s no need to hit the panic button yet.

Sebastien Le Toux says that while it was very special for him to score in front of friends, family, and the union faithful, it’s the goal he missed that he’s thinking about. “I think not about the goal but a little bit more about the one I missed – when Sheanon gave me a great ball and I hit it completely outside. I’m very mad at myself. I’ll try to get better.”

At the Guardian, Graham Parker notes both Le Toux’s storybook goal and the Union’s familiar weakness when defending set pieces and aerial balls. “[T]he Union fans got the moment they wanted, but three too many of the moments they’ve got used to.”

You may have missed it during Saturday’s game—Le Toux had just scored or was about to—but SoBs in the River End paid tribute to Robbie Rogers by holding up signs with the player’s initials in the 18th minute (Rogers wore No. 18 when with the Crew). Gay4Soccer picked up on the story and include photos’ from PSP photographers Barb Colligon and Earl Gardner. USA Today then picked up the story and did the same.

In the latest monthly rankings of the top 100 US players at ASN, Jack McInereney comes in at No. 57 (up from 59), Sheanon Williams at No. 83 (up from 84), Amobi Okugo at No. 95 (up from 96), and Michael Farfan at No.  97 (up from 100). Freddy Adu is at No. 69 (down from 65).

At the Washington Post, Stephen Goff reports that “according to one person close to the situation,” Freddy Adu was asked by the Union to take a 75 percent pay cut. Goff reports that Adu has cleared out his apartment in Philadelphia and is now back in Rockville, Md., which according to one person close to the situation is the hookah capital of Maryland.

Jonathan Tannenwald does the math and suggests that pay cut would mean a drop from his assumed 2013 salary of $519,000 to $129,750. Tannenwald digs a little deeper in the the salary numbers:

Adu’s guaranteed annual salary as of the end of last season was $519,000. As he is a Designated Player, his hit against the $2.95 million salary cap is $368,750, according to Major League Soccer’s roster rules.

So here’s some math. The Union’s current financial obligation to Adu this year is 1/19th of the collective payment of his salary by MLS’ owners, plus the additional money on top of the DP cap hit:

1/19 x $519,000 + (519,000 – $368,750) = $177,569.79…

As Adu’s salary is guaranteed through the 2014 season, it would cost the Union approximately $1.3 million to buy Adu out.

(There, in a nutshell, is the contrast: $177,576.79 versus $1.3 million.)…

[B]ecause the Union did not buy out Adu’s contract before the season started, they will not be able to free up any salary cap space by doing so now. As such, the Union must either trade Adu within the league or sell him abroad in order to free up the cap space he occupies.

At Sporting News, Brian Straus writes,

Coach John Hackworth’s decision to bolster Philadelphia’s youthful lineup with veterans like Sébastien Le Toux, Jeff Parke and Conor Casey suggests that the club isn’t content to spend 2013 waiting for its young core to develop. But the manager is handcuffed by the inability to use the money and designated player slot currently occupied by Adu. The Union needs an injection of quality…

Perhaps a DP who’s actually in uniform would help. At some point, the Union may have to bite the bullet and offer to buy out Adu.

What’s that, you ask, did I forget the power rankings? Of course not! Goal.com and ESPN have the Union at No. 17. Yep, right above Toronto and Chivas USA. Mercifully, SI has the Union at No. 15.

MLS

Houston host Santos Laguna tonight in CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal play (8pm, FSC). Here’s a primer on the tournament.

At Goal.com, Avi Creditor says that if the league is to reach its goal to become one of the world’s best by 2022 it must first dominate the region on Champions League play.

San Jose want former Union man Shea Salinas to carry more of the team’s attacking burden.

Former Reading United man, and one-time PSP Player of the Week, Deshorn Brown impressed for Colorado in their loss to Dallas.

Jay DeMerit could be out for the 2013 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Capital New York reports that while Don Garber has said that is the stadium plan for Queens isn’t approved in a timely fashion the league will look to other markets, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has affirmed he wants the project to go ahead.

The league pours water on those rumors of a Miami franchise.

NWSL

The Equalizer reports that, while the first NWSL preseason begins on March 11, the USWNT players are still without a collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer.

US

The USWNT begin group play in the 2013 Algarve Cup on Wednesday when the face Iceland (9am, iN Demand, Avail-TVN, DIRECTV, DISH).

Edgar Castillo is likely to miss the upcoming World Cup qualifiers after suffering multiple facial fractures while playing for Club Tijuana on Saturday.

At the Washington Post, Steven Goff reports that RFK is “the clear front runner” over FedEx Field to host the USA v Germany friendly on June 2.

Curious to know where Jozy Altidore stands on the list of top goalscorers in Europe? Look at this list. He’s in some pretty tony company.

The USWNT U-23s concluded play in the the Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain with a 2-1 win over England following earlier wins over Norway and Sweden. The US outscored its opponents 11-1 in the tournament, including a 6-0 win over Sweden

Elsewhere

Second-round play in the knockout stage of the Champions League returns today with Manchester United vs Real Madrid (2:30pm, FSC, Fox Soccer2Go) and Borussia Dortmund vs Shakhtar Donetsk (2:30pm, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer2Go).

ESPN has announced it will broadcast select Liga MX matches in English. Coverage begins with Morelia vs. América on ESPNEWS at 8:30pm on Friday. ESPN2’s coverage begins with Cruz Azul vs. Atlas on Saturday, March 30, at 7:00pm.

Sudan has lost the top spot in its World Cup qualification group for fielding an ineligible player in its recent 2-0 win over Zambia. The match is now recorded as a 3-0 win for Zambia.

The 2014 World Cup will be the first to offer special seats for obese fans.

 

27 Comments

  1. Despite all our problems I really think there are two big ones that will hurt us regardless of the others.
    Only playing one striker and having Carroll in midfield.
    We can get by with a shaky GK, we can get by with some weak players on the field, we can get by with questionable tactics.
    But I think not taking advantage of our 3 strikers and playing someone so limited in such an important role are killers.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I think that Hackworth needs to bite the bullet and move away from Carroll, as an every match start. He limits the club, far too much. More importantly, I think that the Union management should have Hartman’s phone ringing off the hook. He’s a good veteran keeper, that is exactly what this club desperately needs. Let MacMath sit, watch and learn.

    • Richie The Limey says:

      @James – Carroll wasn’t the problem in midfield; Lahoud was. BC had to cover and chase because his midfield partner was doing his usual act of covering nobody and no space, and giving away the ball after he mis-controlled it. Lahoud couldn’t read a nursery rhyme, never mind a soccer game. He has no clue what is going on, he lacks anticipation, and leaves passing lanes wide open which forces Carroll to cover for him.

      You can’t just look at one player in isolation.

    • Largely agree with this, but also with Richie’s response. Starting one striker, given the complement we have, is just silly. And I am skeptical that we can make things work with BC as the D-mid, since we have trouble moving the ball up through the midfield. But before giving up on BC, we have got to sit Lahoud. I find it incredible that Hackworth continues to play two D-mids. Take Lahoud out and put in another striker (whether it’s Union Jack or the Big Bald Guy). Play a damn diamond midfield with BC at the back and some combination of Marfan/Garfan/Torres/Daniel/Cruz up front.

  2. I don’t care what profession that you’re in, but if someone asked me to take a 75% paycut or sit at home making my full salary, I’m doing the same thing as Adu.

    If that report is true, it’s really a ridiculous negotiating position for the Union to take.

    • i think it’s both fine for the union to ask for a cut(even 75%) AND for adu to sit back and collect his money. it’s obviously better for both though if a move can be found…

    • Earl Gardner says:

      But it is a negotiation. I bet the team would be willing to take a 50-40% cut. You have to start high and work down from there.

      • I expected a cut from his $400,000 base salary in 2012 to about $200,000 this year. Even that’s pretty dramatic, although it was warranted. No one would accept a cut by 75%.

      • Well negotiation isn’t happening. Whe your opening bid is a 75% pay cut and he refuses maybe it is time you made a different offer.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree Earl, but a 75% pay cut is ridiculous to even propose. It’s not exactly a sign, that the Union is acting in good faith. Let’s not forget, the Union determined the salary (400K) to offer Adu.

    • The Black Hand says:

      It time for the Union to make a realistic offer 275K+. He would probably agree to around 3. As of now, we are paying a player a ton of money to sit at home. Enough of the power play, from both Hackworth and Adu. A transfer would be ideal, do to this saga going too far to repair, but if a move can’t be made; get Adu on the pitch and try to get some money’s worth. If he performs well, it helps the U now and also raises Adu’s stock a bit, for future transfer.

      • To be honest. If the Union won’t have Adu’s money come off the cap, there is much less incentive for the Union to negotiate. They have every incentive to sit him and hope they can transfer him at the first opportunity.

        I suspect both sides overplayed their hand and now they both screwed each other and are waiting to see who blinks first.

    • Well, what is Adu’s value to an MLS team? I would say around 130k is about right, including his market value to sell jerseys and get casual fans in the seats. The Union gave him a chance to go anywhere else in the world, and no one wants him for what he thinks he’s worth. And as demonstrated above, Philly is better off letting the league pay most of his salary for the next 2 years.

      I hope Adu is saving every penny of his salary, because this will be his last soccer contract and he’s gonna have a very long retirement.

      • No I think the a lot of people put Adu around the 300k range. As in how much they could tolerate his downsides with his value.

  3. Can someone at PSP do an article comparing the make up of this year’s team as compared to the one that made the playoffs 2 years ago? In my guy I just don’t feel like that much is different between them. It would be interesting to try and pick up on what the difference was (if there is one).

    • gut*

    • JediLos117 says:

      There are many but from my recollection and point of view, the biggest difference comes down to experience.
      .
      Many veterans on that playoff team with loads of experience…and a keeper that inspired confidence.

      • Yea there were a lot of more experienced roleplayers out there to steady the ship. Mapp, Migs, Mondragon. ect.

        Sp what the Union need now are players whose last name start with an M.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Moreno’s coming out of the booth! You know he’s wearing his jersey underneath that suit…

      • JediLos117 says:

        My nephew said he and Fred should come back!

      • Fred is on my Philadelphia dream “name” team. He is there alongside Hercules Gomez and King Dunlap.

    • I would argue we’re actually worse now than that team. Mondragon was in goal, we had veterans, both MLS and other, all over the field (Paunovic, Califf, Mapp, Carroll), and the youngsters were actually mixed in fairly consistently (Marfan, Mwanga, Jack, Okugo). MacMath has yet to blossom into an elite goalie, our back-line is make-shift because there are health concerns with one natural defender and they have failed to acquire a left-back. Our captain is playing an important position but isn’t the best player for that position, and along-side him they put a player that only shares (or perhaps even increases) his weaknesses, taking away a position of which we have an efficiency, striker.
      XI for XI I don’t think we’re as good, but until we see the actual Best XI on the field we’ll never know.

  4. I wonder if the price increase at the concession stands is going to help fund the buyout of Adu’s contract.

  5. “The Union’s current financial obligation to Adu this year is 1/19th of the collective payment of his salary by MLS’ owners
    1/19 x $519,000 + (519,000 – $368,750) = $177,569.79”

    Is this correct? So if a DP makes $1.5 million each team pays 1/19th? That doesn’t seem right. It would make more sense is the equation was this:
    1/19 x $368,750 + (519,000 – $368,750) = $169,657.89

    • The Union are on the hook for everything above the cap hit, or the $368,750. So that’s why that # is multiplied by 1/19, because the league covers that while the Union alone cover the remaining amount of the $519k.

  6. Regarding the Adu situation, I think the Union assumed they were in the stronger situation, since it would be foolhardy for Freddie to sit out an entire season. And they are correct. But amazingly, Freddie seems determined to shoot himself in the foot. So this will hurt the Union, but it will hurt Freddie worse. And as soon as he realizes that, he’ll accept an offer and leave.

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