Daily news roundups

Hackworth on RSL/Houston challenge, RSL previews, Union notes, more news

Photo: Michael Long

Philadelphia Union

The Union’s road trip begins tonight against Real Salt Lake, who are looking to extend their winning streak to eight games (10 pm, TCN).

After blowing the home win against Dallas on Saturday to start a three game stretch acknowledged by Union coaches and players alike as perhaps the most important of the season, realistic expectations are rather muted.

John Hackworth said at Tuesday’s press conference, “A great outcome would be to win one and tie one, so if we got four we’d be happy. Six is the best, but realistically, and I don’t know if four is realistic with these two opponents, with our team, we’re going in thinking if we can get a draw in one of these games, it would put is in really good position.”

Hackworth said of RSL, “It’s going to be an extremely tough game. They are playing the best soccer in the league and have gotten a fantastic string of results. Now we’re going to play at elevation against a very good opponent and that will be hard no matter what.”

Hackworth acknowledged that RSL are missing several key players who have been called up for the Gold Cup, including Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, and Alvaro Saborio. “They’re down, but at the same time so are we. We’re missing Keon Daniel and Jack, probably not with Kleberson. I think all teams have to deal with it. I think we probably got a glimpse of how Salt Lake wants to do it when we watched some of their substitution patterns and some of the ways they want to play against Toronto (last week). It’ll be a little bit of guessing game for both teams going into it for sure.”

Hackworth said of Kleberson, “He’s getting better, but at the moment, unless something changes drastically today, I would not expect him to travel, at least not on the first leg of this. We might bring him in for the Houston game, but for Salt Lake being that it’s tomorrow, I don’t think there’s a chance him playing.”

So, what can fans expect in terms of replacements for McInerney and Daniel? Hackworth said, “It’ll be more based on the matchup. We’re playing two tactically very different teams on the road, and so I think our system and our tactics will change and be dictated by our opponent as we go. We certainly have some good options with Jack being gone, but we’re going to try to make sure we utilize our strengths and see if we can’t take advantage of some of our opponents.”

Aaron Wheeler, who scored against Dallas in only his second MLS appearance and tweeted on Tuesday that he was making his first road trip with the team, is one player who could see more minutes during McInerney’s time with the USMNT. Hackworth said, “We always talk about guys earning it in training and that’s how he’s earned some playing time recently. For him to go ahead and score a goal in a game like Saturday was fantastic. But we’re not really surprised because we see those qualities out of Aaron on a daily basis.”

Going into Salt Lake City and Houston, is Hackworth pleased about where the Union stand? Hackworth said,

I think we like where we are. We feel like we dropped a couple of points were we shouldn’t have, Saturday being an example of that, but at the same time, we picked up points in places where we probably weren’t expected to…In reality, I don’t think most people would have picked us to be in the position that we are in right now, at the start of the season, so, I wouldn’t say we’re satisfied, but we know what we are and we know what we’re not…We’re in a good position and we’ve just got to keep fighting through these dog days of summer which is always a very tough stretch, but I feel we are well prepared and we are fit. I really like our mentality now, so from our standpoint we feel good about ourselves.

Check out Union Tally for extended quotes from the press conference.

Previews from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Philly.com, CSN Philly, Union Tally, Philly Soccer News, South Jersey Times, realsaltlake.com, Deseret News, The Spectrum, abc4.com, MLSsoccer.com, and The Sports Network, As always, Goal.com phones it in.

You’ve seen our Union vs. RSL quick reference. At the Union website, a scouting report and look at the series history between the two teams.

Expect RSL to return to their traditional diamond formation when they face the Union rather than the 4-3-3 they deployed in the win against Toronto last weekend.

The Salt Lake Tribune on RSL’s “youth movement.”

Apparently, the YSA chant is causing problems at Rio Tinto Stadium. Club officials have warned that sanctions could be enacted if the chant continues.

Looking ahead to Houston, change is afoot with concern in the Dynamo camp after the struggling offense has failed to score in four consecutive games.

More power rankings: ProSoccerTalk has the Union at No. 7. MLSsoccer.com moves them up one spot to No. 9. SBI drops them one spot to No. 9.

In the latest Castrol Weekly Top 20, Amobi Okugo comes in at No. 11 with Sheanon Williams at No. 16. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Jack McInerney, (No. 2), Conor Casey is at No. 17, Okugo is at No. 44, Williams at No. 100, and Zac MacMath at 113.

McInerney makes ASN’s list of ten uncapped US players who could make it to the 2014 World Cup. Goal.com agrees McInerney has a shot.

Okugo and Williams were named to SBI’s Best XI for Week 18. The pair received honorable mentions for MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

At the Inquirer, Mark Still checks in with Zach Pfeffer, who returns to Hoffenheim in Germany this week. Good read.

Local

Harrisburg’s Sainey Touray has been named to the USL PRO Team of the Week after an assist and game-winning goal over Phoenix last weekend. Tom Mellor and Yann Ekra received honorable mentions.

In USL PRO league news, it was announced on Tuesday that an as yet unnamed Oklahoma City team will join the league in 2014 as the 15th franchise (a fan vote to name the team is being held through July 19). Sacramento is already set to join the league in 2014 as the 14th franchise. The news comes on the heals of word that we linked to yesterday that an Oklahoma City-based franchise will make a presentation to join NASL in the 2015 season. Which will survive? Your guess is as good as mine.

Ocean City Nor’easters will host New Jersey Rangers on July 4 and July 7. What is with the PDL schedule?

MLS

Goal.com has a team-by-team review of the 32 MLS players who are away for the Gold Cup.

Reports out of Argentina name Columbus Crew’s Federico Higuain as one of 32 players being investigated for passport falsification. It is alleged that players falsified passport information so they could play in Europe.

Toronto have traded a second-round 2015 SuperDraft pick to Kansas City for midfielder Michael Thomas and signed defender Steven Caldwell to a new deal.

Interesting read at MLSsoccer.com on the steward training program aimed at creating better relations between supporters and those that police the crowd at games.

Pele and Carlos Alberto will be guests of honor at the New York Cosmos inaugural game on Aug. 3 at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium.

NWSL

Delran’s Carli Lloyd, who plays for Western New York Flash, has been named Player of the Week after her half hat trick in the 4-0 win over Washington Spirit on Friday.

US

Jurgen Klinsmann says he has picked the captain for the Gold Cup squad, he just isn’t telling.

At Fox Soccer, Leander Schaerlaecken’s previews the Gold Cup.

AZ Alkmaar director of football Earnie Stewart confirms Sunderland have made a bid for Jozy Altidore. Other reports suggest AZ truned down Sunderland’s initial offer.

From the Department of The Writer Is a Moron, some joker thinks US Soccer supporters should abandon the Gadsen flag—otherwise known as the Don’t Tread on Me flag—because it has been co-opted by the Tea Party idiots. “Just like the Nazis did with the Swastika, the Tea Party has ruined the Gadsden Flag and stripped it of its original meaning. Therefore, the United States men’s national soccer team should ditch ‘Don’t Tread On Me.'” Unbelievable.

Elsewhere

FIFA says it will stop matches at the 2014 World Cup is tear gas from protests outside of the games reaches the field of play.

The “Messi and Friends vs. The Rest of the World” match scheduled to take place this evening in Los Angeles has been canceled. A press release from the event organizers said, “After hours of trying to convince Lionel Messi’s management team to fulfill their contractual agreement and come to Los Angeles, it is clear they have no respect for these fans and this market. We feel that this is a blatant attempt to defraud American citizens and businesses that sponsored this event.”

SBI reports that some 45,000 tickets had been sold for the match in LA and that the scheduled match in Chicago on Saturday is also in jeopardy.

4 Comments

  1. Hey I have an off topic question. (Kinda.)
    Tonight I’m going to be in the East Passyunk section of the city around 10. Is there a chill place to watch the game in that area? I could head over to Brauhaus Shmitz but I don’t feel like running over there if I don’t have to.

    • Check above under ‘local soccer’ for soccer pubs. Have found this way couple here and there while traveling.

    • If the Phils game is over the POPE will play it, I might watch it there, or Fountain Porter, which will have less people. I also heard Birra plays a lot of games though it is often jammed in there due to a weird layout

  2. Put up your report, I smell some major rants coming…

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