Daily news roundups

Hack is wary of “sneaky good” TFC, says Union backline is spine of the team, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

In Wednesday’s weekly press conference, John Hackworth made it clear that, as is the case with the Union, this year’s Toronto FC is a very different team from the woeful unit of last season.

They’re a difficult team to get a result against, and they’ve proven that in the early stages of this season so far. I don’t think I would characterize them as being a team that does anything that scares you tremendously, but yet they’re really deceptively good at a lot of things.

They seem to be able to take advantage of opposing teams when you least expect it. More than anything they show a great resolve right now.

Elsewhere in the press conference, Hackworth referred to Toronto as “sneaky good.”

Michael Farfan said of comparisons with 2012, which included the disappointing loss in Toronto that proved to be the final nail in Peter Nowak’s coffin, “I think it’s totally different. We have all new players. You can’t even compare the two teams because we’re so different in the players we have and the personnel. I think coming into this game, it hasn’t come into our minds, not anything about last year. I think we’re focused on what’s next and I think we’re preparing pretty well for this game.”

Hackworth said that he is not overly concerned by the Union’s poor possession stats thus far.

I think our team, while we certainly try to play a style that is attacking-oriented and possession-oriented, we have tried to make sure that we did it—compared to last year at least—more efficiently.

And we’re doing that. I think when we look at some of our plays on Saturday, and the number of passes that it took to get into a goal-scoring position, it wasn’t that we had a slow build-up. We actually had a good rhythm, and were going to goal in far fewer passes than we were in the past.

I think our team, while we certainly try to play a style that is attacking-oriented and possession-oriented, we have tried to make sure that we did it—compared to last year at least—more efficiently.

And we’re doing that. I think when we look at some of our plays on Saturday, and the number of passes that it took to get into a goal-scoring position, it wasn’t that we had a slow build-up. We actually had a good rhythm, and were going to goal in far fewer passes than we were in the past.

Hackworth added, “I think you are seeing our team mature a little bit and I like that about us. If we can continue to do that, I think we are going to be more successful than on the losing end of things.”

Check out The Goalkeeper for extensive quotes from the press conference.

Hackworth tells Dave Zeitlin that he expects to keep the Gaddis-Parke-Okugo-Williams backline, which he describes as “spine and the core of our team,” together for the long haul.

You don’t want to overcoach. You don’t want to change things just for the sake of changing. When you see improvement, whether day-to-day or week-to-week, and a group of players is getting better at things, you like that as a coach. And I think that’s where we are right now…That’s the spine and the core of our team and I think you’ve seen some true relationships being developed that are very good. I’m really pleased with how it’s gone this year and I think it can become even better.

Jeff Parke says he wants the backline to “lock it down and be nasty and come out with more shutouts instead of giving teams a goal or a couple of quick chances…It comes with time and understanding. We’re doing well. But it’s going to take all season to fully understand and sculpt each other’s games toward each other.”

Will Kleberson debut on Saturday? Hackworth said,

Kléberson is doing a great job. It’s interesting, because right now, all of a sudden, right now we’re seriously deep at a lot of positions. So we’re having to make, as a coaching staff, some very tough choices, and he’s one of those.

We thought about playing him last weekend in Columbus. In a couple of different situations, he would have been on the field. As soon as Columbus got their goal, it wasn’t the right time to put him in the game. So I think he’s certainly a guy that we’re thinking about this week.

Hackworth said that Michael Farfan has recovered from the ankle sprain that saw him miss the game in Columbus. Matt Kassel remains out with a right knee sprain.

Saturday will be the first time Danny Califf plays at PPL Park since Peter Nowak cast him aside last season. Asked what kind of reception he expects the fan favorite will receive, Hackworth said,

I think he’ll probably get a lot of respect, because Danny is the kind of class individual who has earned that—especially from the fans here. I think the fans here appreciated the way he handled himself as a pro and a person, on and off the field. So I would expect that the fans here will pay tribute to Danny. I would like to say the same from our end, but he’s wearing the wrong jersey on Saturday. So until after the game, although I like Danny a lot, he’s in the wrong jersey for me.

Wednesday was the anniversary of the Union’s first-ever home game, the 3-2 win over DC United at Lincoln Financial Field. Kerith Gabriel talks to Sebastien Le Toux about the hat trick he scored that day, who recalls, “It was something huge for the first [home game]. [Remember, the Union] was a new team for me and a new beginning so I was very pumped up and very excited and so I was just very lucky and very excited. I can remember the stadium went so crazy and it was so loud. I think we all fed off that energy and everything was very intense.”

In SBI’s power rankings, the Union move up one spot to No. 11.

The Patriot-News reports that Don Anding is on loan with Harrisburg City Islanders.  A press release from the USL PRO club says the rookie “is expected to return the Union within the next couple of weeks.”

The Dartmouth has more on new Union Academy director of recruiting Jeff Cook, who most recently was head coach of the men’s team at Dartmouth, a position he held for 12 seasons.


HCI 2013 jerseyHarrisburg City Islanders unveiled their 2013 jersey on Wednesday ahead of their season opener against Pittsburgh Riverhounds (8pm, USLLive.com). Fox23 has a brief video report on the unveiling.

Here’s a match preview of Saturday’s season opener. The City Islanders open at home on April 27.

As Michael Bullock makes clear, this year’s City Islanders is a young squad. The two youngest players on the roster are Damani Richards (18 years old), who was signed and then released by the Union during the offseason, and Cristhian Hernandez (19 years old), who is on loan from the Union.

Four Union academy players will be with Reading United for the 2013 season: Shane Campbell (D), Darius Madison (F), Keegan Rosenberry (M), and Melvin Snoh (F).

USL president Tim Holt, who played and coached at FC Delco, talks to Soccer America about the organization’s youth soccer efforts.

Amnesty International will be hosting a five-a-side tournament on Sunday at Arcadia University’s Haber-Green in support of Grassroots Soccer, an organization that provides HIV prevention education to children in Africa. For signup information, click here.

Mainlinemedianews.com reports on new youth development team FC Philadelphia, which is part of the national Football Club USA program.


MLS’ run in the CONCACAF Champions League ended with LA Galaxy’s 1-0 semifinal second leg loss to Monterrey. Seattle was eliminated on Tuesday night.

If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, read this piece of garbage from The Atlantic.


FIFA previews this week’s opening of the inaugural NWSL season.

The New York Times has a great read on Megan Rapinoe, who will finish out the season in Europe with Lyon before joining Seattle Reign in June.


The USMNT moved up five spots to No. 28 in the latest FIFA rankings.

At Goal.com, Alex Labidou tries his hand at predicting the US Gold Cup roster.

The US men’s U-17s will battle Guatemala for first place in Group C at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship tonight in Panama, which will be broadcast on FSC with a half-hour delay beginning at 7pm. The US advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to Guatemala’s 3-1 win over Haiti on Tuesday.


this week’s Footy on the Telly.

Only three of the six stadiums in Brazil that will host the Confederations Cup are ready before the April 15 deadline set by FIFA. The Confederations Cup kicks off on June 15.

The Premier League has voted to adopt the Hawk-Eye goal-line technology, which should be in place before the start of the 2013-14 season.

That Jose Mourinho fellow just might be special for reasons off the pitch. Read Grant Wahl’s story about how Abel Rodríguez, a floor waxer from Los Angeles, became Real Madrid’s good luck charm to learn why.



  1. Concerned Fan says:

    Novak, ummmm, sorry, I mean Hack needs to stop lying to the press about Soumare.

    “He’s 100% healthy and eligible to start”. Yep, okay buddy. We believe you. Well, I guess it IS the truth. He is healthy, he can start – just not in Philly.

    • It is what it is. Soumare is done here. And the Union are unable or unwilling to do a deal. If it is anything like the Adu trade it is going to up to Soumare’s agent to work something out.

  2. “It’s interesting, because right now, all of a sudden, right now we’re seriously deep at a lot of positions.” Really?

    • By deep he really means he has names on a roster. Only 14 field players have at least 80 minutes of action, and Hoppenot is the only one of those who hasn’t started. To me, deep implies you have at least 2 guys at all the key positions who are capable of starting, as well as several impact subs who can change a game coming off the bench.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    I would really like to see Kleberson this weekend… not just cause I’ll be there, but I want to see what he can bring to the team.

  4. JediLos117 says:

    The Soumare situation is very interesting to me. Clearly Hackworth and the Union coaching staff rate Okugo as the better option at CB…
    …and apparently even Soumare recognizes that he cant beat out Okugo for the starting job so he makes it public he wants out.
    It been over three weeks now since he first made it public. 23 days. He lets the world know he wants to play, he wants to start.
    So how long is it gonna take to move him? If the world thinks he’s as good as philly fans think he is…I would think he would have been gone already, right? If he’s that good wouldnt his salary be justified?
    I imagine he has been scouted as the Union seem okay with moving him out.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Hackworth hasn’t given Soumare a chance to beat out Okugo. Given Amobi’s slight decline in form (we played good teams), I would think twice about sending out our depth. I’m not sure that Soumare ever conceded that he could not take CB from Okugo. Hackworth made that call. Thus, Bakary asked to go to another club; as he should of.

      As for the trade; when clubs know that a player wants out, they tend to low-ball. I imagine that clubs are combining the fact that Soumare is coming off injury and wants out, when making offers for his services.

      I like to think that Hackworth came to his senses and realized that we need Soumare…I’m sure that I’m wrong on that one.

      • JediLos117 says:

        Competition for starting game day spots happens in training…not on match day.
        Starting spots tend to be lost on game days.
        I get the low ball high ball bargaining…if he was valued he would be gone…we dont need Soumare…Okugo or Parke go down and Williams slids in, think Pumas.
        As for trades…if a player was well regarded and highly sought after…they would be snagged quick.
        Soumare is not in the Union plans at all. Like Sieve! said accept it.
        As for Okugo and his dip in form…Im pretty sure he was just voted MLS’s best XI for last week.

      • neck label says:

        didnt Soumare tweet from the chicago game last week? i think he was in chicago? wrong Soumare?

      • The Black Hand says:

        Soumare should have had more of a go in pre-season, with Parke.
        Not necessarily. Cruz and Carroll have shown that some will never lose their spot. Regardless of effect.
        I’m not in love with Williams at RB, let alone CB. If Parke or Okugo go down, we have problems.
        Teams may be waiting to see Soumare in action, before swooping. Just as we should see Soumare in action, before ditching.
        Agree. Soumare does not have a future with the Philadelphia Union.
        MLS best or not, Amobi has been exposed over the last two matches.

  5. I love the new City Islanders jersey but their logo is desperately in need of a make-over…

    • That is a great logo… for a seafood restaurant.

      • Ed Farnsworth says:

        It really is a terrible logo. I have a hard time deciding what’s worse, the palm tree, the sun, the font, or that it says “professional soccer” underneath “Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.” The only thing missing is a soccer ball with movement lines like the terrible US Soccer crest.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    And yeah… HOLY $HIT… that article was trash. I don’t get the point of it? It added nothing to the discussion. “Develop and keep our American stars…”, thanks stupid article… cause no one thought of that. What a terrible waste of time.

    • Agreed. He basically explained exactly what MLS is already doing – by the way I’m sure the A-league borrowed some ideas from MLS as well – but his best example of bringing over stars was Beckham (7 years ago) and Keane, who with all due respect was brought over more for his ability than his star power. He also called SKC Kansas City FC, so he is clearly not in touch with MLS and the American Soccer landscape.

      • I especially like the point about MLS pointing fans to the Chivas-LAG rivalry. So I guess the NY-DC, NY-Philly, SEA-POR-VAN games that are ALWAYS on national TV has nothing to do with the league marketing.

    • Truly a laughable article, although the commentators there seem to have recognized it. Did you catch the comment from “E Genetic” referring to the established rivalries:”Red Bulls v United, Toronto v Columbus, Philly v anyone”? Seems to recognize that the Union has a general chip on their shoulders, reflecting in the card happy games that seem to be coming from the league.

      • If “Philly v anyone” is actually a rivalry thing, I am so totally cool with that. I’m not sure it’s true, but I kinda hope it is.

      • Makes scheduling for “Rivalry Week” easy, anyhow.

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