Daily news roundups / Featured

Soumare called up, Okugo top performer, rivalries, Champions League wins, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Bakary Soumare has yet to play a minute for the Union in 2013 but he’s been called up by the Mali national team. He leaves on March 17 for a match against Rwanda on March 22 and returns to the Union on March 24.

Well done, Union fans, you voted Amobi Okugo as the Top Performer of Week Two. Okugo says of scoring his first league goal, “It feels great. I’ve been in the league for four years and to get the first goal, especially in an effort where the team gets a win, a hard-fought win, it means a lot.”

Okugo was also named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week. Jack McInerney received an honorable mention.

Two Union players feature in the Castrol Index Weekly Top 20, Okugo at No. 5 and Michael Farfan at No. 16. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Sebastien Le Toux (No. 15), Michael Farfan (No. 21), Amobi Okugo (No. 26), Jack McInerney (No. 32), and Gabriel Farfan (No. 56).

By the way, today is Okugo’s 22nd birthday. Today is also the birthday of SoB original Bryan James.

JP Dellacamera says the win in Colorado was about the Union coming up on the right side of some big plays. “To me, this was a game that the Union would have lost a year ago.”

Woohoo, more power rankings! ProSoccerTalk has the Union at No. 14 while Goal.com has the Union at No. 12: “It is tough to get a read on the Union after the first two games.” Yep.

Kevin Kinkead breaks down the past history of the Union vs. New England Revolution.

Ahead of Saturday’s “Rivalries Week” matchup, SB Nation blog The Bent Musket wonders, “since when are the Revs and the Union major rivals”? I quote at length,

So, I’m supposed to feel a rivalry over a few stupid Jack McInerney, Sebastien Le Toux, and Danny Mwanga goals? About dropping two points, at home, when up by three goals? About a blown penalty call and a phantom one called on their behalf? In the regular season? When neither team was anywhere close to the playoffs? Are you kidding me?!?!?

Apparently, DC, New York, LA, and Houston are all busy and we just played Chicago. So we’re stuck with the Union. The Union? THE UNION!

I hate this. You are stupid, MLS. You are stupid, Philadelphia! How dare you prevent us from playing a real rival! Perhaps, this rivalry-block from MLS—assisted no doubt by the abhorrent, despicable, detested, reviled Philadelphia Union (at least in my own mind)—will be the stuff that rivalries are made from!

Simmer down, Muskie, simmer down. We’re so fired up by playing the Revolution that the club is promoting the game as “Irish Night,” complete with an ad featuring two Union players with Irish and Scottish surnames.

The Union have announced Farmers Insurance as a new corporate partner. The multi-year partnership “incorporates Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and Delaware Youth Soccer Association” (I’m not sure what exactly that means) in addition to the company becoming the presenting partner of The 90th Minute radio show.


Derek Meluzio of the Upper 90 blog reports from the opening of Harrisburg City Islanders’ preseason camp. He says that while “No players have been loaned to Harrisburg or reported to camp from Philadelphia yet,” Union goalkeeper trialist Tunde Ogunbiyi is training with the City Islanders. The report includes video and photos from the camp.


With their 3-1 defeat of Tigres UANL (3-2 aggregate), Seattle Sounders become the first MLS team to knock a Mexican club out of the CONCACAF Champions League since the tournament adopted its current format in 2008. If you missed it, Seattle defender Djimi Traore scored an absolute screamer.

In further Champions League action, tonight it is Houston Dynamo at Santos Laguna (8pm, FSC). Houston leads 1-0 after the first leg.

Toronto FC president and general manager Kevin Payne says the team is close to signing a “DP level” player. Rumors in Toronto say the player is Argentine forward Maximiliano Urruti of Newell’s Old Boys.

DC United’s John Thorrington is out a minimum of eight weeks with a torn MCL.

San Jose have signed central midfielder Abu Tommy and supplemental draft pick Colin Mitchell.

The Central Winger looks at possession trends in MLS and also recommends Alex Olshanksy’s Tempo-Free Soccer blog for more.

Here’s a breakdown of how NBC/NBCSN is covering Rivalry Week. Coverage begins with New York vs. DC at 12:30pm on NBC and continues through Seattle vs. Portland at 8pm on NBCSN and includes the new The Breakaway studio show, described as “an innovative Red Zone-style show” that will feature Arlo White and Klye Martino “checking in on all the action around the league as it happens in real time.” The funny thing is that in New York, the Red Bulls game won’t be on NBC because of the St. Patrick’s Day parade (it’ll be on the NBCSN station).

Former Union youth development guy Alecko Eskandarian relates the story behind his Red Bull spit-take when he was with DC United playing against New York way back in 2006. Funny story.

More Rivalry Week-related articles on Colorado vs. Real Salt Lake, Montreal vs. Toronto, and Portland vs. Seattle.

Speaking of Portland, the Timbers Army donated over $62,000 dollars and more than 5,000 volunteer hours to charities and community activities in the Portland area in 2012.

Philly Soccer News reviews the latest expansion speculation and concludes, “For the first time in more than a decade there is no imminent expansion on the horizon for Major League Soccer. As the league has increased from 10 teams to 19, the list of expansion possibilities gone from numerous to few.”


The USWNT play Germany today in the final of the Algarve Cup (1pm, iN Demand, UStream, Avail-TVN, DIRECTV, DISH).

Costa Rica has released its roster for the World Cup qualifier against the US on March 22. Over There looks at the last time the US defeated Costa Rica, another qualifier way back on June 4, 2005 (the US is winless against Costa Rica in five games since then). Am I nervous? F’ yeah!

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Rio Tinto Stadium will host the US v Honduras World Cup qualifier on June 18. That’s cool, PPL Park will be hosting Lingerie, I mean Legends Football greats the Philadelphia Passion and Jacksonville Breeze on June 15.

The Gold Cup schedule has been released. The tournament opens July 7 at the Rose Bowl and concludes July 28 at Soldier Field with nary a stop in Philly in between.

Delran’s Carli Lloyd is out 6-8 weeks after breaking a bone in her shoulder during the first game of the Algarve Cup.

At the XI Quarterly blog, Tom Dunmore has a must read on what can be done to continue the expansion of soccer’s footprint in the US and Canada. “A key for expanding the footprint of soccer,” Dunmore writes, “lies not only with MLS both expanding and growing its appeal on television (the Macro level) and in up to a dozen new large cities, but on lower leagues finding the investors, identities and lasting community presences in two dozen cities that are big enough to support a pro team themselves.”

How hard is it to find a US hoops jersey for a four-year-old? As this blog post from InclusiveBeechwoodAging describes, it’s impossible.


Barcelona—what can you say? At the Guardian, Sid Lowe gives it a go.

In addition to becoming the first team in Champions League history to erase a 2-0 deficit in the knockout  round of the Champions League, did you know that Barcelona have now won 4-0 three times during papal conclaves? Freaky, right?

Speaking of Barcelona, the AP reports, “Barcelona President Sandro Rosell has been accused in Brazil of illegally benefiting from a friendly organized by his marketing company in 2008.”

Some Galatasaray fans tried to tunnel with their bare hands into Schalke’s stadium before their team’s Champions League win on Tuesday.

More Champions League action today at 3:30pm as Bayern Munich host Arsenal (FSC) and Malaga host Porto (Fox Soccer Plus).

Jonathan Wilson wonders if the away-goals rule is counterproductive.

At Counter Attack, Richard Whittall examines how the statistical analysis needed by gamblers on soccer could help the growing field of soccer analytics. “They aren’t interested in improving football but understanding how football works” (emphasis in the original).



  1. Are random rants on SB Nation blogs worth reporting. That is kind of like getting worked up over random slideshows on Bleacher report.

  2. Well th soumare call up is good news. If he was stil injured or had any injury concerns they wouldn’t let him go.

    • Doesn’t mean they will play him. Maybe they are letting him go in hopes he will play well enough to be dealt.

      • The Black Hand says:

        That’s possible but I think it would be an awful move for the team. Soumare (pre-injury) has shown that he is a very good CB. A pairing with Parke would give our back line a giant boost. Okugo has been playing well, as a back, but I think he could offer the club much more if he were moved up in the formation. I don’t understand Hackworth’s hesitation.

      • Sean Doyle says:

        {Again, this time with feeling}

        Baky Soumare has played fewer minutes in MLS over the past 12 months than the guy (Deshorn Brown) that the Union could have selected with the 5th pick in this year’s draft.


        And yes, I am an unashamed Reading United homer, and yes, despite Amobi’s dislike of diving, Deshorn Brown is that damn good.


      • We’re not talking about the guy we don’t have. We are criticizing Hackworth’s current baffling moves mot his past ones.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that Soumare would surprise people, if he ever got a shot. He is a proven CB, in the MLS as well as abroad. I thought that Brown looked good, as well, but he is young and inexperienced. Our club is already overflowing with young unproven players.

    • JediLos117 says:

      Your right, he aint injured…which follows suit with what Ive been saying.
      Okugo is rated at CB over Soumare by the Union coaching staff at this point. I dont think he will be playing CDM this year.

      • Sounds like the team rates Okugo higher than Soumare at CB so much that they’re willing to put Lahoud in as a second CDM, which ostensibly means that Lahoud is somehow better than Soumare?

  3. So after being passed over for WCQs, we get passed over for the Gold Cup for Hartford and Miami? Did our ownership piss someone off?

  4. Andrew 'Calm' Down says:

    The Revs are like us, no real rival, they need to quit their bitching though. They’ve never beaten us, so stop acting all high and mighty.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      I would argue that DC United is turning into a pretty bitter rival. The Revs have been irrelevant for so long, no one really cares much about them.

      • The Revs’ only true rival is the Kraft family.

      • Kenso Josh says:

        = hilarious.

      • Agreed. The matches against DC are decidedly more heated than most for the Union. Just ask DeRosario when he gets back on the field. Plus with the close proximity there are plenty of visiting supporters in the respective stadiums. The rivalry with DC feels more legit than the marketing manufactured rivalry with the Pink Cows. New England just isn’t very compelling.

  5. Regarding the Bent Musket’s rant, I can’t remember the Union overcoming a three goal deficit in Foxboro. I’m pretty sure that he’s confusing that with the hurricane rescheduled game at PPL two seasons ago.

  6. Farmers Insurance are a partner now? Can they get J. K. Simmons to read the pregame injury report?

  7. I follow MLS and there are some very interesting players. I like London Donovan and Brek Shea. Now Okugo is one of the players that attract attention. I think that sooner rather than later he will arrive in Europe in order to develop his career.

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