Daily news roundups

Getting ready for Toronto, Hack says Keita is “interesting” and Torres is not on trading block, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Last year around this time of the season the Union traveled to play a Toronto team that was on a nine-game losing streak. The streak ended with a 1-0 win for TFC. This year the Union travel to face a Toronto side that is on a ten-game winless streak and has lost its last five games.

The 1-1 draw when Toronto visited PPL Park on April 13 was the next to last point the Canadian team earned. Sebastien Le Toux expects more from Toronto this time around. “I think the fact that they are home, they have to show something to their fans. When they came here they were, I think, pretty boring with their style of play of just waiting for a counterattack. We are going to try to play the way we want and maybe put some good tempo into the game, but they have to show something.”

John Hackworth said, “My hope is that the game is a little different, but my expectation is that it’s not going to be really any different.”

One thing that could use a major improvement is the Union defense. Hackworth said, “I would be lying to you if I told you that I was really happy with the last couple performances of…I wouldn’t call it our backline though. I’ve said this to our guys in the locker room: We have to be a team in every sense of the word. We have to make sure we do things on both sides of the ball that complement each other, so for me it’s not just the backline that shares that burden.”

Look for our quick reference and preview later this morning. In the meanwhile, read our preview for The Guardian. More previews from MLSsoccer.com, Delaware Online, JP Dellacamera, David Murphy, Union Dues, and Goal.com.

Goal.com predicts a Union win. Union Dues predicts a draw.

Kevin Kinkead has a scouting report.

Toronto FC blog Waking the Red analyzes the Union, who happen to be Toronto’s first repeat opponent of the season.

The two major topics at the weekly Union press conference seem to be Ivorian midfielder Abdul Kader Keita and Roger Torres. John Hackworth acknowledged that Keita has been trialing with the Union for several weeks, something which has been discussed on social media, where pictures have been posted of the 31-year-old winger warming up in Union gear. Hackworth said of the two-time World Cup veteran,

He’s a really interesting player. He’s had a very good career. He’s in the later stages of it and we’re just trying to evaluate whether that makes sense going forward and whether he can contribute to our team. Those are tough decisions, especially when you have guys in the locker room that haven’t played very much. And when you bring in another player, especially a player of his quality with the kind of career he’s had, you don’t want to bring him in just to add him into the mix. He’s got to be ready and he’s got to make an impact right away.

Hackworth continued,

I think if there’s any side of the field right now that we feel we can improve on, it might be that left side if we go with a true winger. It’s been better for us having a guy that can go inside and outside … but there’s certainly games in this league when you need a guy who can be that left winger for you. We put Danny over there, and he was effective for us against Chicago, so we have options. But you want to be able to tactically adjust to your opponent and take advantage of those things.

Dave Zeitlin condenses the Keita question: “[W]hile noting a deal is not imminent, Hackworth also didn’t rule out the possibility that Philly might make a move to sign the 31-year-old Ivorian international.”

Speculation about Roger Torres’ future with the Union only deepened after he failed to make the bench in Tuesday’s US Open Cup match. Hackworth said,

I have no idea what’s being written and what people are saying, What I do know is Roger is a member of this team and he’s really important to us. I think if the opportunity presents itself and Roger takes full advantage of it, he can play a big role of us. And that’s my expectation. He wouldn’t be on our team if we didn’t feel that way.

Hackworth explained further,

I look at it that we have depth at a position that Roger Torres is competing for playing time right now. And the fact is that guys that are in front of him and guys that have stepped in front of him have taken their opportunities and done better with them. At some point, I need to give Roger that same kind of chance, but he has to earn that chance…He and I have talked about it; it’s open. It’s not like there’s any issues. We don’t have a problem with Roger. I have no idea what’s been written and what people are saying, but what I do know is that Roger is a member of this team and he’s very important to us. I think that if the opportunity presents itself and Roger takes full advantage of it, he could play very well for us. And that’s my expectation. He wouldn’t be in our team if I didn’t feel that way.

Asked if Torres was on the trading block, Hackworth said the Union “haven’t even considered” it.

More quotes and analysis of the Roger Torres situation from Union Tally. SBI has more (sort of) from the press conference.

Zac MacMath said he was eager to play against Ocean City after the Union conceded five goals to Montreal last weekend, an experience he admitted left the team feeling shell-shocked. MacMath said, “I was relieved we were going to play the first team, and I started again and got another 90 minutes in me to try to find my rhythm after giving up five goals…We are still trying to find consistency, and we are getting closer.”

John Hackworth said, “I think Zac has done well and at the same time he has had games that were not his best, and he has made decisions looking back he would like to change some things. He is young, and we are trying to make sure we give him the opportunity to garner those experiences…He has been our guy. We believe in him and will continue to do so.”

The latest installment of the new 5 in 5 series is now available.

Local

A Union spokesperson has confirmed to PSP that Cristhian Hernandez, Greg Jordan, and Jimmy McLaughlin are all cup tied to Harrisburg City Islanders and unavailable to the Union for future US Open Cup selection. Union loanees Don Anding and Aaron Wheeler are available. As you know, Leo Fernandes, who has also played for Harrisburg on loan, started in Tuesday’s third round game against Ocean City.

Harrisburg face Charleston tonight (7:30pm, USL Live) and Charlotte on Saturday (8pm, USL Live). Check out PSP’s look at USL PRO scheduling quirks.

At PennLive.com, Michael Bullock talks to Harrisburg City Islanders defender Colin Zizzi, who has a second career as a financial planner.

MLS

It’s official: Roma will be the opponent at the All-Star game in Kansas City on July 31.

It’s official: Toronto FC is not in talks to acquire Carlos Tevez.

It’s official: New York is not pursuing Kaka or Eric Abidal for a third DP.

Bakary Soumare seems to be settling back in well with Chicago.

Columbus Crew’s Eddie Gaven is out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury to his left knee.

New York have signed center back Matt Miazga as a Homegrown Player.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has written to Orlando City to tell the club that she is fast-tracking their stadium proposal. “We are very sensitive to the [Major League Soccer] ownership position, and the new sense of urgency attached to your negotiations. Rest assured that I have directed Orange County’s staff to complete their due diligence as quickly as possible.”

US

Soccer America previews Sunday’s USMNT friendly against Germany (2pm: ESPN2, UniMás).

Also on Sunday, the USWNT play Canada in Toronto (4:30pm: ESPNNews). It’s the first meeting between the two teams since last year’s Olympic semifinals.

The USMNT U-20s fall to last place in Group A at the Toulon Tournament after a 2-1 loss to Colombia.

Elsewhere

In Brazil, Judge Adriana Costa dos Santos ruled that Sunday’s friendly between Brazil and England at the Macarana cannot go ahead due to concerns about safety and hygiene. “At this moment we have no news that the restrictions were amended to a level of safety that would be expected at this stage. Therefore, due to the laziness of the people responsible, in this case, the defendants, we cannot allow the stadium to be re-inaugurated without proof that it is safe and hygienic.”

Soon after the statement, the state government of Rio de Janeiro announced that another judge had revoked Costa dos Santos’ injunction and the game would go on as scheduled.

The Guardian has more on stadium construction problems in Brazil.

FIFA has approved tougher penalties for club and fans found guilty of racism.

Ladies and gentlemen, the always entertaining Mario Balotelli responds to reports that he dealt drugs in 2010 “as a joke.”

7 Comments

  1. I like on the 5 on 5 segment How the person with actual high level soccer experience has to ask a bunch of random sportswriters questions because she is a girl.

    Also for the love of God trade Roger Torres. People have gone from play Roger to trade Roger because there is no conceivable way he can get onto the field and prove himself.

  2. Hackworth doesn’t know what’s been written or what people are saying? Yeah right! That means he actually does know. The man is absoultly delusional. Real coaches like Arena would find away to take full advantage of Torres’ skill set. The only thing Hackworth isn’t intouch with is the truth about his coaching and decision making ability. He’s a total poser and needs to go.

  3. Great One says:

    It makes me so mad seeing anything Hackworth says anymore. I wonder if he feels bad about lying.

  4. -nickt.- says:

    “Asked if Torres was on the trading block, Hackworth said the Union “haven’t even considered” it”

    you can’t bet torres has considered it.

  5. Tremst34 says:

    The only way for me to see Torres play is for him to be traded or Hackworthless gets fired. I’m ok with either option.

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