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Jack’s back, Hack’s suspended, Le Toux knew he had it, Blatter blathers. more news

Photo: Barb Colligon

Philadelphia Union

It’s official: Jack McInerney will be rejoining the Union in time for Saturday’s game at PPL Park against Portland Timbers. Taking advantage of a new CONCACAF Gold Cup rule that allows teams to make four roster changes ahead of the tournament’s knockout rounds, Jurgen Klinsmann elected to return McInerney to his home club, along with Corey Ashe, Oguchi Oneywu, and Herculez Gomez. Coming into the US squad are Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Eddie Johnson, and Alan Gordon.

John Hackworth said at Wednesday’s weekly press conference of McInerney’s possible return before the Gold Cup roster announcement,

It’ll change our thinking for sure because right now we are prepared for him not to be here. It’ll mean we have just another great option. We’ve got a lot of tough choices to make this week. We’ve got a lot of guys back healthy and ready…I think that’s a good thing for a coaching staff to have, some of those selection problems. I’m just thinking first, off the top of my head, I would want to talk to Jack and see where his mind is out, how hard he has worked. I hear he’s working hard in training, but what does that mean? We’d have to gauge all of those things, and we don’t have much time. We’ll see…I would want to know exactly where he’s at, what’s going on, not only mentally but physically how does he feel. He obviously hasn’t played in a game in a while, and that’ll be a big factor and a part of the discussion.

Was Hackworth concerned that McInerney was getting playing time? Not really. “It was more about Jack getting experience, to come in with the team and be around their staff,” the Union coach said. “I value that part of the process very much. I think Jack understands why he’s there and what the goal was.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George writes that McInerney’s return has as much to do with Klinsmann’s tactics as anything else. “The issue with Klinsmann’s team, as it pertains to McInerney, is simple: He’s adopted a 4-5-1 formation to accommodate a wealth of midfield talent. However effective it has been, it limits the chance for McInerney to get on the field. With such an emphasis on the midfield, Klinsmann has devoted the Gold Cup to vetting all manner of talents in the middle of the pitch, a department that could claim as many as 10 spots of the 23-man roster for Brazil…The reality challenging McInerney is two-pronged: Klinsmann doesn’t know whom the depth strikers on his roster will be, but he may not need to.”

Check out our photo essay from Tuesday’s US win over Costa Rica for pictures of McInerney with the USMNT.

Hackworth confirmed on Wednesday that he is suspended for Saturday’s game after being ejected from last week’s win over Chivas USA and that Rob Vartughian will lead the team in his absence. “I did ask the league if there was a process to appeal it. I was told there is no process when a coach is thrown out. They did look at the audio and video, there’s not much there, but once the referee makes that decision there’s nothing we can do about it. I’ll be suspended, pay my fine and try not to ever gesture that’s it a hand ball to the referee. I still don’t think that’s worthy of being thrown out of a game. My opinion.”

Hackworth doesn’t believe the suspension will affect the team’s performance. “Most of our work is done before we get to the game. These guys are professionals. They’ve gone through it. It’s not the first time it’s happened to us; it’s not the first time they’ve dealt with it as professionals. Rob will be the head coach for the game, and he’ll be supported by Brendan (Burke) and Jim (Curtin). Nothing will change. Our game plan will be designed well before we get to the kickoff, and the players will adjust accordingly.”

In case you’re wondering what kind of restrictions the suspension means for the Union coach on gameday, the Disciplinary Committee Principles and Parameters page on the league website says,

A suspended coach will not enter the stadium tunnel area, Team Locker Room or field level until after conclusion of the game, at which point he may enter the Team Locker Room. He will not sit in the Press Box or grandstands. Upon arrival at the stadium, he will immediately be directed to and seated in a private suite or Club-provided reserved section. A suspended coach also will not be in communication with his Team during the course of the game.

Is Hackworth at all concerned about the team not having any players on the All-Star roster? Not really. “If it’s a popularity contest and we don’t have guys that aren’t being picked around the league and around the country,” Hackworth said, “to me that’s different and not in the same kind of category as the respect. For us, I hope that keeps some of our younger guys hungry and motivated. From that standpoint, I have no problem with it. That saves us a couple of better days of training, so there are some positives out of it too.”

Union Tally has a transcript of Wednesday’s press conference.

The new Topps MLS cards are now available.

The new Topps MLS cards are now available.

Sebastien Le Toux, currently with nine assists in 19 games and who had nine assists for the Union in 2011 and 11 in 2010, doesn’t see him his new role as provider as a transformation but as a continuation. “I always knew I had it,” said the Frenchman. “I scored a lot of goals here but I knew I could do it. Maybe I’m being more consistent in my delivery—my corner kick and free kicks. That helps a lot, along with the guys in the box finishing…It’s great to be at the top of the league in assists right now. But I prefer to win the games.”

On the Union website, a look at the series history between the Union and the Timbers.

In Soccer America’s power rankings, the Union move up two spots to No. 6.

Another breakdown of Michael Farfan’s indirect kick goal against Chivas USA last Friday? Sure, why not?

Chris Albright will be guest reading “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” at the Ridley Township Public Library on Tuesday, July 23 at 3 pm.

From the Department of Here We Go Again, the Villanova football team will play University of Delaware in the annual Battle of the Blue game at PPL Park on Nov. 23. Oh, brother.

Chester’s Overtown Street Festival will take place in the area around the Chester Transportation Center on Saturday from 8 am-4 pm. The Union will be running shuttles to PPL Park for those who may be interested in taking in both the festival and Saturday night’s game against Portland.

Local

At Penn Live, Michael Bullock checks in with Harrisburg City Islander’s striker Lucky Mkosana, who hopes to step up his play in the absence of Sainey Touray, who will be without the team due to a hamstring injury when it plays VSI Tampa Bay on Friday and then Orlando City on Saturday.

Reading United have settled their final 26-player roster ahead of Saturday’s season finale against Central Jersey Spartans. A win will clinch Reading a playoff spot. Reading Eagle notes, “All five of the Reading’s Philadelphia Union academy products made the cut.”

The Philadelphia Fury, currently playing in US Club Soccer’s National Adult League, are one of eight teams that are expected to join the American Professional Soccer league, a new regional league. “For its inaugural season,” reports Philly Soccer News, “APS is looking to place franchises in New England, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and the Washington D.C. area. The Philadelphia ownership is the only one that has come forth publicly so far.

MLS

In Wednesday night’s games, New England (24 points) remains in sixth place in the Eastern Conference after losing 2-1 to Colorado on the road. Toronto (13 points) remain in ninth place after losing 1-0 on the road to 10-men Chivas USA. It was the Goats first win since March 30.

In an interview at The Star, Tim Leiweke, the new head of CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, says of the travails of Toronto FC,

“We disrespected the fans by not giving the kind of players that teams like New York and L.A. are signing. The fans act like New York and L.A. We acted like…well, I’m going to piss somebody off here…like a small-market team. We changed the entire league’s opinion of the viability of soccer in North America. And then we blew it because we chickened out. When we could take the big dives, we always found the ‘B’ player. We found guys that we thought, ‘Well, he’s not David Beckham, but he’s awful good.’ No, he’s not. Why not get the ‘A’ guy?”

Real Salt Lake have acquired Brandon McDonald from DC United in exchange for a 2014 third-round pick, and a conditional pick in 2015.

The stoppage time red card shown to Seattle captain Osvaldo Alonso in the 95th minute of the Sounders 1-0 loss to San Jose has been overturned on appeal.

US

Baltimore Business Journal reports there has been a spike in ticket sales ahead of the US Gold Cup game against El Salvador at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. Some 5,000 tickets were sold after the US win over Costa Rica and The Washington Post reported late on Wednesday that 43,000 tickets had been sold so far for the doubleheader which also features Honduras vs Costa Rica.  Strong walk-up sales are expected, as is a big Salvadoran crowd . You can avoid the lines by purchasing your ticket here.

Deadspin believes Brek Shea’s game-winning goal against Costa Rica is the most American goal that has ever been scored, probably.

ASN has a tactical analysis of Tuesday’s win.

Hope Solo talks to The Huffington Post about a variety of subjects, including running down the street nude to shake off the nervousness of being photographed for ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” in 2011.

A much needed website has finally been launched: whatsjurgenwearing.com. Bookmark it today.

Elsewhere

The Guardian looks at the Gold Cup’s winners and loser following the conclusion of group play.

Brazil’s Congress will investigate spending on the preparations for the 2014 World Cup. The billions of dollars spent on stadium construction and refurbishment were one of the issues that fueled protests in Brazil during the Confederations Cup.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said of the protests, “If this happens again we have to question whether we made the wrong decision awarding the hosting rights [to Brazil].”

Sounding like the pampered, bloated, out-of-touch plutocrat that he is, Blatter continued, “We didn’t do a political debriefing, but we did emphasize the fact of this social unrest being there for the entire duration of the Confederations Cup. The government is now aware that next year the World Cup shouldn’t be disturbed. To me, these protests were like alarm bells for the government, the senate, the parliament. They should work on it so that this is not going to happen again. Though protests, if peaceful, are part of democracy and therefore have to be accepted…we are convinced the government, and especially the president, will find the words and the actions to prevent a repeat. They have a year to do so.”

We mentioned in Wednesday’s news roundup that Blatter wants to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter. Martyn Ziegler reports a decision could be made as soon as Oct. 3-4 when FIFA’s executive committee meets, although a decision could be postponed if the committee asks for input on how rescheduling the tournament would disrupt leagues around the world.

ESPN looks at how for the world’s top clubs, globe-trotting preseason tours are as much a part of preseason preparations as the practice field.

ESPN FC, the new daily soccer show that is set to debut on Aug. 11, will be joined by Fox Soccer Daily, set to debut on Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 19. Fox Sports 1, which will takeover the live games that were previously in the portfolio of the soon to be shut down Fox Soccer, will debut on Aug. 17.

9 Comments

  1. NO HACKWORTH ON SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • This just means that Hackworth has already decided on the substitutions (both timing and players) and the Assistant coaches will just follow the script independent of how things play out on the pitch.

      In other words, it’ll be exactly the same as when Hack is on the sideline.

      • Weren’t the starters and substitutions decided before the year began?
        .
        Start Keon, Cruz and Carroll no matter what. In their absence Marfan may play, if not insert unknown rookie.
        .
        Antoine Hoppenot subbed in between 60-70 mins.
        .
        Close out game by inserting one of the above Midfielders not already playing, or unknown rookie.
        .
        Above all else, under no circumstances, insert Roger Torres. All other players must be dead first.

    • I’m curious about how much say Vartughian will have over the gameday roster and whether it will make any difference at all. The obvious answer is that of course he won’t do anything differently but presumably he has the leeway to make some changes.

  2. Props to Albright for reading from the pigeon series. If you have young kids, you have to pick them up, as well as Knufflebunny!

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if there are more El Salvador fans than US fans on Saturday. Two years ago when El Salvador-Panama was the second game of the QF doubleheader at RFK, I think there were more El Salvador fans watching US-Jamaica than there were US fans.

  4. kingkowboys says:

    Glad Jack is coming back and will get game minutes again. Hopefully he gets going again quickly.

    Great, there is a football game on a futball field. That will make for a beautiful game, a giant dirt patch in the middle of the pitch.

    Don’t give two sh!ts about the all star game. Popularity contest like all the others. Doesn’t matter at all that no Union players are on it. All that matters is we make the playoffs and hopefully bounce someone this time. Thierry Henry can sit at home smiling he made the all star team then.

  5. Any goal Dempsey scored is the most American goal in history.

  6. along with gold hardware. It’s got Four spacious

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