Daily news roundups

Quotes from Hack’s presser, Klinsmann on Donovan and Gold Cup, those Germans, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

In Wednesday’s weekly press conference, John Hackworth said of the Conor Casey-Jack McInerney partnership, “no sense disrupting something that’s working so effectively.” Yep.

The blossoming partnership between the on fire McInerney and the revelation that is Conor Casey means less playing time for the likes of Sebastien Le Toux., who has started just once so far in April. Hackworth said, “Seba is very important to our team, no question. It might appear to people that he’s not playing enough, but that’s a sign of a good team, when you have depth…What we will find as we go through this very long season is that Le Toux is very effective, that he’s important to us, that he plays a lot. He is very important to us and I expect him to contribute when called upon.”

At Delco Times, Matthew De George notes that, whereas the 2012 Union had only three road wins in the whole season, the Union’s 2013 2-1-1 road record with seven goals scored are both tied for league highs. Hackworth said the Union’s early road success is “not something that I think is a fluke”and is tied to consistency in “the way that we’re playing, how we’re approaching these games, our game plan going into these games. Hopefully we can continue that this weekend.”

That success is also connected to greater experience. “That means some of the veteran experience,” Hackworth said, “but also some of the young guys that went through this last year, they’ve learned their lessons and you see some of that happening this year.”

At Union Tally, De George notes that while over the next four games—three of which are on the road—the Union face teams that collectively have a total of five wins so far, Hackworth doesn’t read too much into such numbers. The Union coach explained, “I think those stats are deceiving, especially in this league. It’s early in the season. Teams are still trying to find their way, especially with having and early start to the season. I think you’re seeing more teams struggle early, and yet history will tells us that those teams that are talented, those teams that have a good infrastructure will be there at the end of the year.”

Hackworth said of the club’s low possession numbers thus far,

It’s not an issue with me when we keep winning. I’ve said this many times before but possession is a big stat in this sport, but it means very little. The stat that really means something is what at the end of the day you do with that possession, and I think we’ve been very effective in the way that we’ve possessed the ball. So I don’t mind, especially when you go into a road game and you are planning to give up possession, you set your line differently, you play tactically rather than just try to possess the ball. Those things are by design for us, so we think it’s actually quite effective, and we’re not worried about it at all.

If he isn’t concerned about the possession numbers, how about giving up goals while allowing opponents relatively few chances? Hackworth said, “I definitely wouldn’t call it bleeding…It’s not a secret that we have let up goals when we felt like we had better control of the game. We did that twice on Sunday in a really hostile environment against a team that really was playing quite well. I think a lot of that has to do with our opponents some time and that we still need to improve. At the moment, we feel really good about the way we’re defending as a team and as a defensive unit, but we know we need to get better.”

Jack McInerney tops ASN’s Hot or Not list. Along with him on the Hot list is Clint Dempsey.

Defender Andrew Duran, Seattle Sounder’s top pick in the 2012 SuperDraft, was cut by the Sounders last week. Asked by the Seattle Times what his plans for the future were, Duran said, “Right now it’s tentative. I might go to Philly on trial. So that or wherever it takes me. I’m just chasing the dream.”

At the SB Nation New England Revolution blog The Bent Musket, Abram Chamberlain looks at what the standings are in the “all important, all imaginary, I95 Corridor Cup.” The Union would be in second place.

Union Dues previews Saturday’s game in New England.

Philadelphia Business Journal reports, “The owners of the Philadelphia Union are meeting Friday to discuss and plan for the possible expansion of PPL Park.” Echoing comments he made in his exclusive interview with PSP last month, Nick Sakiewicz says the stadium needs “another restaurant and more club seating and we could probably add 10 more suites.”

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Union Foundation began an introductory soccer program at Chester Community Charter School for the Arts.

Jeff Parke is very happy to be playing in Philadelphia for the Union. He explains,

Coming through the tunnel in PPL Park is so special to me. I love these fans and this is my home. I feel like we have a very good team which has so much potential. Being a part of it is incredible to me. I kind of have to pinch myself sometimes being here. I’m very excited about the season and playing for the Union…

There is a ton of talent on this club. We have guys who can score, guys who can defend, guys who are strong in the midfield and strong keepers. There is depth in here, which is big in this league. More than that, this is a club who likes each other and pulls for each other. I haven’t been here that long, but you can see it every day. There’s great chemistry here.

I’m really excited to see how this season plays out. Guys are going to improve and get better, myself included. It’s going to be a fun ride.

Speaking of fun rides, there’s this tweet from Zach Pfeffer, who is currently on loan to Hoffenheim:

Local

Middletown, Pa. native Jason Pelletier has been named Harrisburg team captain for the 2013 season. Pelletier has been with the City Islanders for six seasons.

When Harrisburg host Rochester on Saturday in their home opener at Skyline Sports Complex, they will be facing former City Islander Bilal Duckett, on loan to the Rhinos from New England Revolution.

Former Berks All-County soccer standouts Brad Vanino and Jamie Vazquez will be with Reading United for the 2013 season.

Reading United has an alumni report.

MLS

Don Garber says we can expect an announcement naming the league’s 20th team in four to six weeks. Jonathan Tannenwald reports that “multiple sources” tell him that “Manchester City is the leading candidate to operate MLS’ 20th franchise, and would pay a $100 million expansion fee to take that team to a new stadium in Queens, N.Y.”

Former Union players Jordan Harvey and Brad Knighton, looking for their first 2013 starts for Vancouver, got them in the Whitecaps 3-2 comeback win over FC Edmonton in Canada Cup play on Wednesday. Danny Califf and Ryan Richter went the full 90 in Totonto’s 2-0 win over Montreal in Cup play.

Bolton’s Kevin Davies isn’t heading to Toronto after all. Also not going to TFC is Maximiliano Urruti from Newell’s Old Boys, although fellow Argentinian Matias Laba is expected to be signed from Argentinos Juniors.

Is Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, in talks to buy Chivas USA?

New York City is in the middle of a $2.8 million renovation of two soccer fields in Flushing Meadows Corona Park that are directly in the footprint of the proposed new soccer stadium.

NWSL

At Slate, Stefan Fatsis takes the new league to task for allowing Abby Wambach to continue playing after she was struck in the head in the closing minutes of Western New York’s 1-1 draw with Washington Spirit. “For every step forward in recognizing and treating brain injuries in sports, the jock culture takes a step backward. The episode involving Wambach was as disturbing as any in the padded and helmeted NFL…It’s not a stretch to say that Wambach and everyone else on the field at the Maryland SoccerPlex—teammates, opponents, referee, coaches, trainers—were reckless with the health of a player.”

ASN says NWSL is looking more and more like a professional league every week.

US

Jurgen Klinsmann says to expect a US roster for July’s Gold Cup that heavily features MLS and Scandinavian players. “If you go by the rules, we could bring in every player from Europe [for the Gold Cup] but we’re not doing that because that’s the last vacation break before next year’s World Cup. We will save most of them for the World Cup qualifiers and the two friendlies and then give them their well-deserved break…And then we have to build a very competitive roster for the Gold Cup, which we will do…Who is in a rhythm [in July]? The Scandinavians are in a rhythm. The MLS players are.”

Klinsmann says Landon Donovan’s return to the USMNT is not a given.

There are questions. Looking back now in the last two years we’re in charge of the program we’ve seen a lot of players coming through and making big impacts, showing that they are a thousand percent committed to the cause and to the team and built themselves strong positions…

Not talking out names, but there are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan in how we see things,” Klinsmann said. “Again, things will develop over time. We see now how he will do in the next couple of weeks, months, and we’ll look at the entire picture and make our calls…

Down the road I will make my decisions in terms of who I see in front of him in the depth chart we have,” Klinsmann said. “In terms of where we see him right now in terms of the roster and then I will decide whether to bring him in or not bring him in.

Stuart Holden, on loan to Sheffield Wednesday, has been recalled by Bolton as the Wanderer’s make a push to qualify for the playoffs and possible promotion to the Premier League.

Claudio Reyna, US Soccer’s Youth Soccer Technical Director, said at the US Soccer Foundation’s annual Urban Soccer Symposium in Washington DC, that inner-city outreach is essential to the continued development of soccer in the US. “I think it’s the last big hurdle that we need to do. It’s not going to happen overnight. But I always think about 30, 40 years ago, I’m sure the suburbs had the same sort of thought: How are we going to put soccer in towns where baseball and football is so big? So I feel if it can happen there, it can almost happen easier in the inner cities.”

Elsewhere

Following Bayern Munich’s 4-0 dismantling of Barcelona on Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund continued to make the case that the era of Spanish soccer dominance is over with their 4-1 home win over Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

There’s a lot more to like about German football than just the play on the field.

Santos Laguna and Monterrey played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final on Wednesday evening.

Europa League semifinal play begins to day with Basel vs Chelsea (3pm, FSC, Fox Soccer 2Go) and Fenerbahce vs Benfica (3pm, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2Go).

First the vuvuzela. Now the caxirola. Kill me now.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday of the difficulties FIFA has encountered organizing the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, “I will say something which is crazy, but less democracy is sometimes better for organizing a World Cup…When you have a very strong head of state who can decide, as maybe Putin can do in 2018…that is easier for us organizers than a country such as Germany…where you have to negotiate at different levels.” I will just bite my tongue.

Brazil’s deputy sports minister Luis Fernandes tells Reuters, “One of the things we have been able to do through telecommunications investments for the World Cup was to establish fiber optics connections to the Amazon region…So we will now have a national broadband research network, something we always wanted to do in science and technology, because of the World Cup…These are benefits would not usually think about or associate with the World Cup.”

 

2 Comments

  1. Andrew 'Calm' Down says:

    Man City already stated they aren’t interested in an MLS team.

  2. Wouldn’t mind to look at Duran as defensive depth. He impressed me at the combine last year. Also, the “experts” over at the march to the match podcast suggested several trades for the Union. Farfans for Kennedy, Soumare to Seattle, Hoppenot for sapong, other such nonsense.

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