Daily news roundups

Union bits, Reading playoff play-in tonight, LV Sonic advance, PDA boys NPL champs, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin notes that, while Portland’s Donovan Ricketts—up for Top 3 Performers of the Week at MLSsoccer.com— may have grabbed much of the attention after Saturday’s draw, Zac MacMath had a pretty good outing in goal himself. MacMath said, “I think this was one of my best games of the season, right up there with Chicago [on May 11]. It’s something to build on. Hopefully I—and the team—can continue to have strong performances like this.”

In the latest Inside Doop, Zeitlin wonders what the Union midfield will look like against Vancouver this weekend now that Keon Daniel is back from international duty with Trinidad & Tobago. “Does that mean Daniel returns to the central attacking midfield role he mostly occupied before leaving? Or will some combination of Michael Farfan and rookie Leo Fernandes remain in that spot? Also, where does this leave Kleberson, who returned to full health Saturday but didn’t get in the game?”

Zolo Times looks at where the Union stand after the Portland game and admits that many of us may have failed to take an important consideration into account in our endless discussions over concerns about Hackworth’s tactics and player selection, namely “the fortitude of the players.” The article concludes, “[A] combination of fight and a manager who is staking his reputation on grit and dare I say toughness, is getting results. And for all of Portland’s style and flair they couldn’t crack us and walked away happy with a point against us. Imagine at the beginning of the season being told that the second place team in the West, regardless of who it is and who the prior week beat LA in extra time, would be happy with a point at Philadelphia.”

Like most of us, David Murphy would have preferred a win but was satisfied with Saturday’s draw. He also offers some commentary on those American sports fans who can’t wrap their head around a scoreless tie being entertaining. “It’s a shame the home side didn’t score, but boring?…It’s too bad the uninformed will see nothing but the 0-0 final and make their rushed judgements. They’re missing-out on something very special.”

Forgetting for a moment some carping about how “Physicalphia” Union “bludgeoned their way to a scoreless draw,” the following assessment from Portland Timbers blog Stumptown Footy seems about right: “[A]lthough this was a match between two of the best attacking teams in the league, it was simply destined to end in a 0-0 draw. It was going to take something pretty special to beat two goalkeepers and four center backs who had brought their A game, and neither offense had that sort of magic in them Saturday night.”

Power rankings! At Soccer America, the Union stay at No. 6. At ESPN, the Union stay at No. 8. At SI, the Union remain at No. 9.

The first of a two-part Q&A with Union academy director Tommy Wilson on the Union website covers the background of his coming to the Union. Smith, who was last with Rangers in Scotland, notes the similarities between Philadelphia and Glasgow. “The city is not unlike Glasgow. It’s a blue collar town with similar values. I say to the lads here—the young players at Glasgow, when they make the first team they get a standing ovation from fifty thousand people if they win a tackle, not if they score a goal. It’s effort that they look for, commitment. There are a lot of similarities.”

Wilson notes that the Union is lacking when it comes to training facilities. “Rangers had one of the best training grounds in Europe. We had six grass fields and an indoor area. So in terms of, if you were comparing them, then the facilities here are a bit behind from what some of the top academies have in Europe. But I know (YSC founder) Richie Graham, the ownership group, and Nick are exploring opportunities to improve the facility provision both for the first team and the youth academy.”

Sons of Ben members still have time to RSVP for tonight’s Supporters Summit with Nick Sakiewicz, John Hackworth and other front office staff. The summit will take place 7 pm – 9 pm at the Chickie’s & Pete’s on Packer Avenue following the broadcast of the 90th Minute radio show.

Delaware Online says that it is possible that the throwball game between Villanova and University of Delaware at PPL Park on Nov. 23 will be televised. Great, we’ll have footage of how damaged the pitch was after being torn up by large herds of players and coaches to compare with how crappy it looks at the home opener in early March.

Of course, there is the little matter of PPL Park hosting this year’s NCAA College Cup on Dec. 13 and 15 between the local throwball game and the Union’s 2014 home opener. The painted over gridiron stripes and logos ought to look real nice for the nation’s collegiate soccer championship. Tickets for the College Cup went on sale on Monday.

Monday was apparently non-Union PPL Park-event announcement day on the Union website. In addition to an announcement about the College Cup, other announcements about upcoming events at PPL included the Major League Lacrosse Championship weekend on Aug. 24-25, WUSV German Shepherd Working Dog Championship on Oct. 17, and the USA Rugby Eagles against New Zealand Maori All Blacks on Nov. 9.

Local

Reading United earned their sixth-consecutive PDL postseason appearance with their come-from-behind win over Central Jersey Spartans on Saturday. They’ll face Baltimore Bohemians tonight on the road at Calvert Hall’s Russo Stadium in Towson, Md., in play-in game beginning at 6 pm. The two teams, met for a 1-1 draw at Reading in the regular season, finished with identical 8-1-5 records. Follow @readingunited on Twitter for updates from the game.

Ocean City Nor’easters will host the three-game Eastern Conference playoffs on Saturday and Sunday. The Ocean City website notes, “The four teams are still to be decided but they will be Ocean City Nor’easters (hosting due to best record in the East), Ottawa Fury or MPS Portland Phoenix, Reading United or Baltimore Bohemians and Carolina Dynamo or Virginia Beach Piranhas. These play in games are to be played Tuesday July 23rd.”

Harrisburg City Islanders coach Bill Becher is satisfied with last weekend’s Florida trip, which began with a win over Tampa Bay on Friday and ended with a loss to Orlando City on Saturday. “Any time you go back-to-back, you’ve got to get at least three points,” Becher said. “Your goal’s four and you hope for six, but I think if you walk away with three you’ve got to be somewhat happy [with that].”

Harrisburg, who moved from fifth place to third in the USL PRO standings after last weekend’s results, hosts Dayton Dutch Lions on Wednesday night (7 pm, USL Live).

MLSsoccer.com notes that Union loanees Don Anding, Cristhian Hernadez, and Jimmy McLaughlin started for Harrisburg in the loss to Orlando with Anding going the full 90.

Reigning National Premier Soccer League champions FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic had played Greater Binghamton FC two times in the regular season for two losses. On Sunday, Sonic were 1-0 road victors in the NPSL quarterfinals and will now travel to California to play Sonoma County Sol in the semifinals on Saturday. Tourbeau Sports Group will stream the game live from 10 pm EST.

PDA ‘99 and PDA ’97, the Union development academy partner’s U-13 and U-15 boys teams, are 2013 NPL Champions Cup winners. The National Premier League Champions Cup is US Club Soccer’s league-based national championship.

MLS

In case you missed it, the segment on former Union man Danny Mwanga in the latest edition of NBC Sports Network’s MLS Insider is now available online.

Peter Vermes has signed a contract extension with Sporting Kansas City that will see him with the club through 2017.

While there had been talk of a sale, in the end, Seattle have loaned Freddy Montero to Sporting Clube de Portugal with an option to buy.

In an interesting read at The Star, Tim Leiweke, the man who brought David Beckham to MLS and who is now with Toronto, describes the qualities a designated player must have. “[Y]ou cannot make a mistake on a DP. You have to be right. You’ve got to find a guy with character, a player that’s willing to understand the uniqueness of Major League Soccer and the style of play that we have here.”

Apparently, HBO’s Real Sports has investigated the allegedly discriminatory hiring practices at Chivas USA in a segment that will air tonight.

The Guardian’s five things learned from last week’s games post says of the Red Bulls, who fought to a scoreless draw with Toronto, “New York Red Bulls can beat anyone…on their day…it’s just that their day doesn’t come round as often as their coach would like.”

US

Sunday’s Gold Cup quarterfinal between the US and El Salvador drew a 1.2 overnight rating. While, as Soccer America describes, overnight ratings for soccer tend to drop “as the final ratings account for all markets, taking in smaller, more rural markets where soccer is less popular,” the early ratings are higher than Fox’s broadcast of the Champions Leagueand FA Cup finals.

At SI, Grant Wahl takes a look at how FIFA’s rankings work. He notes that the rankings, which are updated monthly, are often enough a great source of mirth. “But one thing you can’t say is that the FIFA rankings are meaningless,” Wahl continues. “If FIFA continues its policy from World Cup 2010, the rankings will be used to determine the top-seeded teams in seven of the eight World Cup groups next year (the host gets the other one, in this case Brazil). And if you’re a top group seed, that means you can avoid any of the other heavyweights in the World Cup group stage.”

Goal.com looks at the USMNT roster depth ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal match against Honduras, which it previews here.

ProSoccerTalk looks at the discussion over Chris Wondolowski’s drop in production at the Gold Cup and what it means for his World Cup prospects.

ABC News says Joe Corona is emblematic of the new face of US Soccer.

Soccer America describes how Gold Cup semifinals have been the stage of some of the USMNT’s greatest performances.

US Soccer Players looks back at the semifinal of the 1998 Gold Cup in which the US defeated Brazil 1-0. The US went on to lose to Mexico in the final by the same scoreline. They have not defeated Brazil again since then.

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “FIFA has lifted Cameroon’s suspension from international soccer, allowing the African country to play a key World Cup qualifier against Libya.”

Earlier this month we linked to a story about two Nigerian clubs that recorded scores of 79-0 and 67-0 in two games that needed big wins for promotion. The Nigerian Football Federation has issued lifetime bans for all of “the players and officials of the four clubs involved in the two matches including all the technical and administrative staff.”

7 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    The eternal optimist in me says there is one other game to worry about between throwball and the cap & gown championship. What about the MLS Cup at PPL Park? 🙂

    • Oh. I thought you were going to mention the monster truck event at PPL park. That’ll do wonders for keeping the field looking good.

  2. I suppose I should be upset about the non-Union PPL activity but I’m not. I’m over it. All of it, even the bras-and-panties-throwball. I want PPL Park to make money, lots of money, and I want them to make good on their commitments to Chester. More embarrassing than monstrous trucks or college gridiron is coverage like http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/america-has-a-stadium-problem-62665/ which managed to get linked by gawker.

  3. Great One says:

    It’s articles and statements like the ones above that really drive me crazy about Hackworth. I think that, most people anyway, don’t say that Hackworth does everything wrong, or that he’s a complete moron, or that he’s worse than Nowak. He actually has promoted some growth with players during his reign and has gotten some results. But it’s exactly for those reasons that he is criticized. We are in a solid position yes, but there are some GLARING things that he never changes, and has made some bad decisions that hasn’t helped us take that next step.
    .
    IT’s really a shame too because I honestly think that people are dying to like John Hackworth and to root for him, but he continues to trot out the same certain players or lineups, with the same tactics, and when fans can see it’s not working why can’t he?

    • This team is what it is. Besides a few cosmetic changes the refuse to do anything about it. I can’t even be bothered to comment about it anymore.

      • Great One says:

        You know you’re right.

      • We have 1 available roster spot. 1. Valdes is away on loan (for now), we have players on loan to Harrisburg, and we’re paying 2 players a lot of money who aren’t even on the roster. The players in Hburg is not a problem, but the Valdes issue shouldn’t be a problem because we signed Soumare, but didnt play him, which brings us to number 3. While the prior mismanagement is not Hack’s fault, he had a chance to minimize the need for cosmetic changes and he didn’t do enough, and that’s on him.

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