Daily news roundups / Featured

Stopping the Revolution, new Union Academy director, CL draw, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Amobi Okugo gives his assessment of New England.

New England came off a big win and they always play us tough, especially at PPL [Park]. We are going to be confident and try to play our style of play and try to get the win…our demeanor right now is good we are just trying to carry it forward…I feel like [New England] has changed their culture a little bit. They’ve brought in some technical guys, like Lee Nguyen and especially Jerry Bengtson; [the latter] who is there to pounce on your mistakes. So it’s going to be a tough matchup, we have to stay focused for 90 minutes and get the win.

John Hackworth and Jack McInerney both have spoken about the confidence the club has gained from last week’s road win in Colorado. Hackworth says, “A game like this, we would not have been successful in the past…I can’t tell you what a win like that does for guys in the locker room. [It] builds a lot of confidence, all the hard work they put in. It was a good character win.”

So, will Bakary Soumare get playing time on Saturday? Or maybe the question is why hasn’t Soumare seen playing time in the first two games of the season? Hackworth explains,

Although he’s not playing with us right now, Baky has done well here. If it weren’t for Amobi Okugo playing so well, Baky would be on the field. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why Baky has not started or played for us, but it’s not because Baky isn’t in good form. It’s purely because we have [Okugo and Jeff Parke] in front of him who are playing very well…It’s just been coach’s decision. Baky is not exactly happy with that decision and I don’t expect any player to be. The fact is, he’s a good pro, he comes to work every single day and does everything we ask. But at the end of the day we have to make tough choices.

So, unless Okugo is moved into the midfield, or Parke has suddenly started to suck, it seems reasonable to not expect to see Soumare in the starting lineup.

Previews of Saturday’s game from PSP, PSP’s Union v Revolution Quick Reference and Kevin Kinkead’s look back at past Union games against New England and a scouting report.

At Goal.com, Kyle McCarthy predicts a draw.

On Thursday, the Union announced that Tommy Wilson has been named as the club’s new Academy Director, the position last held by Union assistant coach Jim Curtin. The announcement notes that “Wilson most recently served as Rangers FC Academy Technical Director and Reserve Team Coach, and was formerly Head of Coaching and Education for the Scottish Football Association (SFA).”

The club also released the official announcement that Heather Mitts will be joining the Union’s broadcasting team as a sideline analyst. But you knew that already from Thursday’s roundup.

When you’re at PPL Park for tomorrow’s game, keep your eyes open for “Lucky the Leprechaun,” also known as “Unlucky the Intern.” Have your picture taken with Lucky and then upload the picture to Twitter or Instagram with the hash tags #IrishNightatPPLPark and #GetLucky for a chance to win prizes and be featured on the club website.

Philly.com has a photo gallery from the Philadelphia Union Foundation’s Cocktails and Cleats event on Wednesday night.

Former Union trialist Tunde Ogunbiyi with Harrisburg City Islanders agaisnt Drexel.

Former Union trialist Tunde Ogunbiyi with Harrisburg City Islanders agaisnt Drexel. Photo: Paul Rudderow.


Harrisburg City Islanders drew 1-1 with Drexel on Thursday night at Vidas Field in West Philadelphia in their first preseason game of 2013. The City Islanders fielded mainly trialists (was Union 2012 Supplemental Draft pick Tom Brandt also there?) in the game and in goal in the first half was former Union trialist Tunde Ogunbiyi. It was very cold.

For more photos from the game, check out PSP photographer Paul Rudderow’s Flickr page.

In more City Islanders news, it looks like former Temple University, Philadelphia Union, and City Islanders midfielder JT Noone is now with USL Pro side VSI Tampa Bay FC.

At SI, Grant Wahl recounts the time Eagle’s owner Jeff Lurie was hanging out on Roman Abramovich’s yacht on the Delaware with AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani.


The league has released it’s new Don’t Cross the Line ad. It’s important.

New York head coach Mike Petke says Juninho should be available for Saturday’s game against DC but that he doesn’t know how long he’ll be able to play.

More Rivalry Week background, this time on Chivas USA v LA Galaxy and the question of whether Toronto vs. Montreal is really British vs. Italian styles of play.

Soccer America says a record number of traveling supporters is expected for Rivalry Week.

At SI, Grant Wahl looks at Saturday’s debut of RedZone-style coverage of Rivalry Week on NBCSN.

Sporting Kansas City has become the first club to announce loans to its USL PRO partner. They are also the first club to receive a “mass confrontation” warning from the league’s disciplinary committee.

The Anschutz group has announced that it has taken AEG, the wing of the company that owns LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo (among other properties), off the market. It also announced that AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke is leaving the company and will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Dan Beckerman. Phil Anschutz will also be taking a more active role in AEG. More on the story from Soccer America and the AP.

The league has issued a statement on recent news of efforts in the Sacramento area to build a new stadium in the hopes of securing a MLS team. In a nutshell, the league says it remains committed to New York being the home of a 20th team and that fans in Northern California should support the Earthquakes. On Wednesday, the city council of Elk Grove, a suburb of Sacramento, voted to approve the purchase of land for a stadium.

Footie Business talks to Howard Handler, Chief Marketing Officer for MLS.


The retirement of Heather Mitts, who was to play for Boston Breakers, is but one example of how the makeup of NWSL teams continues to be changing.


US Soccer has announced that the USMNT will host Belgium in a friendly at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium on Wednesday, May 29 (8pm: ESPN2, ESPN3).

At ASN, Will Parchman tries to define the new American striker.

Former USMNT coach Bruce Arena has reportedly said, “Players on the national team should be American. If they’re born in other countries, we aren’t making progress.”


More on the delays in renovating the Maracanã Stadium fewer than 100 days before the start of the Confederations Cup.

Tottenham managed to escape Inter Milan with a pass to the Europa League quarterfinals but they couldn’t escape the racist chants of some Inter fans.

Here’s the Champions League quarterfinal draw:

Málaga vs Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid vs Galatasaray
Paris St-Germain vs Barcelona
Bayern Munich vs Juventus

First leg matches are on April 2/3 with return legs on April 9/10.

And the Europa League draw:

Chelsea vs Rubin Kazan
Tottenham Hotspur vs Basel
Fenerbahçce vs Lazio
Benfica vs Newcastle United

First leg matches are on Thursday, April 4 with return legs on April 11.

This interactive look from the Guardian at Brenford FC’s Griffin Park, the only ground in England with a pub on each corner, will make you want to get on a plane.



  1. Speaking of mass confrontations, Union players are pictured in only 3 of the 4 pictures on the MLS page announcing the 2013 crackdowns.


  2. So I guess my hunch is true … Hackworth sees Okugo-Parke/Carroll-Lahoud as a better CB/CDM grouping than Soumare-Parke/Carroll Okugo. By that rationale, is Lahoud somehow better than Baky, at least in Hack’s eyes? Does not compute.

    • Or he sees Okugo’s future at center back, wants to keep him there, never wanted Soumare in the first place (Hack had just been interim manager just a few weeks when Soumare’s signing was announced), and plans to trade him. If I had to bet, this is what I would bet on. But betting on anything in this would probably be foolish.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Regretfully, I think you might be right.

      • Wouldn’t you want to showcase your trade bait? Baky’s not going to get you much just keeping the bench warm.

        Hackworth needs to focus on getting results, or he may not last beyond this season. I would hope that means he’s putting his best XI on the field. Frustratingly, I have a very different opinion of our best XI than our coach.

    • JediLos117 says:

      I dont get your math.

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