Daily news roundups / Featured

Will Casey play against NE & other talking points, Amobi everywhere, good news on USMNT injury front, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Keon Daniel has been called up by the Trinidad & Tobago national team for matches against Belize (March 22) and Peru (March 26). Daniel departs after the New England game on Monday, March 18 and returns—Immigration and Naturalization willing—on March 27 after the friendly against Pumas.

So, why didn’t Conor Casey travel with the Union to Colorado? He was dealing with a hamstring injury picked up in his brief minutes in the home opener loss to Kansas City. Hackworth said after the win in Colorado, “It would have been nice to have him here in so many ways. We certainly missed him. But when you have an injury, especially with the travel fiasco we’ve gone through to get here and stay here, it was probably better he stayed home.”

More importantly, will Casey be ready for Saturday’s match at PPL against New England? Hackworth said, “I hope so.”

At CSN, Dave Zeitlin has some talking points as the Union prepares for New England. Among them are:

  1. Will Hackworth settle upon a formation or will he continue to adjust the formation according to the opponent?
  2. Will Soumare finally see a start and, if he does so consistently, will Okugo shift Carrol out of the holding midfield spot?

Jose Carlos Rivero has been assigned to referee Saturday’s match at PPL.

PSP’s Player of the Week post by Jeremy Lane.

Okugo was also named to ProSoccerTalk’s Team of the Tweek and the SI Team of the Week. He was also named to the MLS Fantasy Dream Team for Week 2 on the league website—as a midfielder.

Okugo is also the guest on the latest Soccer By Ives podcast (segment starts at 43:10).

In Monday’s Daily Doop, Kerith Gabriel describes how the Union found an indoor training facility in Colorado to use after the game was postponed on Saturday to further preparations against the Rapids, preparations that included “Compact defensive organization as a means to combat high altitude,” and “Slowing the game down with steady possession in order for Union to catch their breath.” Well, I guess one out of two isn’t bad considering the result.

More on Sunday’s win from Philly Soccer News.

Power rankings, huzzah! MLSsoccer.com has the Union at No. 14. Sporting News and SI has the Union at No. 12. ESPN has them at, oh my, No. 11!

The weekly 90th Minute radio show returns to the airwaves tonight, live from Chickie & Pete’s on Roosevelt Boulevard in the Northeast. Carl Cherkin and Kerith Gabriel return as hosts and will be joined this season by Chris Albright. Nick Sakiewicz is the guest on tonight’s show, which will be broadcast live on 610 WIP and streamed via CBSPhilly.com and the Radio.com app for iPhone or Android from 6pm-7pm.

Michael Lahoud has organized a fundraising campaign to build a school in Sierra Leone. For more information and how to donate, click here.


Harrisburg City Islanders began their preseason on Monday. FOX 43 has the video report.


When Seattle hosts Tigres tonight (10pm, FSC) they will hope to become the first MLS team to knock a Mexican team out of the tournament. They’ll need to overcome a 1-0 deficit to do so.

Speaking of the Sounders, La Liga side Levante says it has released Obafemi Martins from his contract and Martins has tweeted that he is on his way to Seattle.

Seattle has not yet confirmed the move but Sigi Schmid said of the Nigerian striker, “I think the crowd will enjoy him.”

Bruce Arena says Landon Donovan should rejoin the team in “the last week of March.”

What’s the first talking point of US Soccer Players look at the second weekend of league play in MLS? “[I]it’s too early to tell about any team in this league.”

Toronto’s Robert Earnshaw was named Player of the Week by MLSsoccer.com and North American Soccer Reporters.

DC United’s managing partner Jason Levien says the team is “making tangible progress” toward a new stadium.

We linked to an article on Monday indicating that the city council of Elk Grove, Ca., located outside of Sacramento, is looking for a location for a $100 million soccer stadium. A recent study says the area would support support pro soccer in the area if the stadium is built.


Preseason training began on Monday in the new women’s professional league. GotSoccer.com has a cool double-profile of former Philadelphia Independence players Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson as they begin their new careers with Boston Breakers.


The USWNT came from behind to draw 1-1 with Sweden at the Algarve Cup on Monday to win Group B and next face Germany in the final (1pm, Wednesday, March 13 on iN Demand, UStream, Avail-TVN, DIRECTV, DISH). It is the tenth Algarve Cup final appearance for the US in 11 years. Postgame quote sheet here.

Jurgen Klinsmann tweeted a series of messages that will help to calm the nerves of US fans ahead of the upcoming qualifiers: Clint Dempsey is back to training with Spurs and is good for the qualifiers; Fabian Johnson is also back to training and will be with the US in Denver. Klinsman was less optimistic about Steve Cherundolo’s availability.

US Soccer did a podcast with Jurgen Klinsmann on Monday (click here to listen to it in full). Among the topics discussed was the return of Landon Donovan. Klinsmann said,

We always have the approach in our environment that the door is always open. I’ve always said I have all the respect for what Landon did in his career … but we also told him that the team is developing, the team is moving on. He’s been barely a part of it since I took over almost two years ago, and therefore we’ll see where he’s at when he comes back into the game: what his rhythm is and what his shape is. How we look at him [and] how we evaluate him is different than how the Galaxy evaluate him because his role with us is a different one. So we’ll see where he’s at and whether he comes back or not.

At ASN, John Godfrey says the US needs to start playing wide.

Did you know that the soccer tournament during the 1984 Olympics not only outdrew the marquee sport of track and field, it surpassed the attendance of every other event at the Games combined? Some 101,799 spectators were on hand for the gold medal game at the Rose Bowl.


 FIFA investigator Michael Garcia promises a verdict will be announced on the long-running ISL bribery investigation this month. He also appealed for more evidence in the investigation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.



  1. So the question is: Is the gap between Baky and Okugo smaller than the gap between Carrol and Okugo? I haven’t seen Baky play more than 10 minutes and I say yes. Put Baky in at centerback and even though you may lose a little bit there, you aren’t losing as much as having Carrol waste away in the midfield.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Soumare was not fully fit last season, for the brief look we had of him. (At least I hope he wasn’t, because he was pretty bad). I think his height will be welcome at the back line and if he is anywhere near per-injury form, he will outperform Okugo at CB. That would completely free up Okugo, to FINALLY take Carroll’s spot in the XI. Okugo’s ability would allow single CDM formations, opening up tactical options. (Our current tactics are: turtle up in the fetal position and pray). Okugo should replace Carroll. I believe that that is the Unions move, to get some quality play going on the pitch. It would be nice to see it done sooner, in hopes of finding a real form early in the season. Carroll his completely limiting this club; offensively and, now, defensively. Cut the cord!!!!

      • JediLos117 says:

        At Colorado, we ran a single CDM formation.
        Also we played two games with two different tactical approaches. How can you generalize that the Union’s tactics are as you described?
        Also it would and will be pretty difficult for anybody to outperform Okugo at CB right now.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Sorry, I should have clarified. Okugo would free us up to run a SUCCESSFUL single CDM formation.

  2. JediLos117 says:

    Could someone remind me when was the last time Okugo played in the midfield for us? I cant seem to remember when that was. Has he ever played for us in the MLS as a lone CDM?
    At this point, Im assuming that Soumare is fit. I am also assuming the the coaching staff rates Okugo as the better option at CB than Soumare at this point.
    For the record, I have always thought the Okugo has the ability to be a Makelele type of CDM…in the future. Right now he needs to stay in defense.
    That Zeitlin guy gets it.

    • I think the important argument as pointed out in the first comment is not Okugo vs. Soumare, but rather Carroll vs. Soumare. And no one is convinced that a defender of the year candidate from two years ago is that has a lot of size is not better than Carroll. Okugo should be bumped up because he would be that much better at CDM. He is a CDM. And as to your question. Yes I remember EXACTLY when he played CDM for us. Before the Danny Califf trade. It is his natural position, he is only a converted centerback, so imagine how good he would be at his actual position

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    I agree. Carroll hasn’t been good at all. The Union are committed to youth, and they have a stud in Okugo. It’s time to let him run the defensive midfield. I think this will allow them to play a more attacking style, as they will be able to rely on Okugo, instead of having to play Carroll and Lahoud.

    Come on Hack… make the right decision.

    Oh and I like Gaddis, but we have a better Gaddis. His name is Sheanon Williams. Trade Gaddis for some quality now.

  4. Michael Lahoud doesn’t get a lot love from the comments section here, but the guy seems to be doing some goodwill community thing every week. Kudos to him.

  5. Question: Since the Bimbo logo was redesigned to work with the black kit, can they do the same thing about the primaries?

    • It is a throwback Bimbo logo. It seems like a one time thing and probably wouldn’t work with current branding.

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