Daily news roundups

Ready for the Fire, River Cup date announced, Academy news, OC in PDL semis tonight

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Sheanon Williams said of Saturday’s opponent, the Chicago Fire, “This will be the hardest game that we’ve played them in. They’ll be completely different with the new people that they have on their team. They’re hungry.”

Amobi Okugo said of Saturday’s game, “It’s really big for us. This is a big month if we want to create a little bit of a gap for the teams behind us. In the Eastern Conference, they’ll all six-pointers from now on. Before the season, we were talking about trying to win each Eastern Conference (series). Starting with Chicago on Saturday, we have a chance to sweep them for the season, and that will be big for us, because they’re trying to creep down our necks.”

Saturday’s game marks the return of Bakary Soumare to PPL Park for the first time since he was traded to Chicago. Antoine Hoppenot said, “We’re excited to welcome him back. And hopefully we’ll welcome him back with a loss.”

Our preview will be up later this morning. In the meanwhile, check out our review in our Union v Fire quick reference. More match previews from CSN Philly, On the Fire, and Goal.com.

The tactical preview at the Chicago Fire website calls Jeff Parke the Union’s weak link. “Similar to the Fire, individual errors have cost the Union in recent matches and veteran defender Jeff Parke has been the weak link in the Union defense over the past few MLS games.”

Goal.com predicts a draw.

CSN Chicago reports that newly-signed Ecuadoran striker Juan Luis Anangono is likely to make his debut against the Union on Saturday.

Zac MacMath said of his recent form, “I’m working every day to be the best keeper I can be. I’m feeling confident, but I also know there’s always room for improvement. That’s the way I like to look at it. For me, it’s about getting better and playing to the best of my ability.” He says of his team, “We are in a good place, but we have so much more to accomplish,” MacMath said. “There are some big matches coming up. We have to keep getting points and defending our home field.”

Aaron Wheeler said of starting as a central defender in the friendly against Stoke on Tuesday, “It’s just a change of mindset. You go from thinking about trying to score goals to trying to not let them in. You just go about everything differently.” Asked what position he prefers, the forward diplomatically replied, “It doesn’t matter to me to be honest. I just want to play a bigger role. Wherever they feel they need me, I’m ready to do that.”

The third annual River Cup will be played on Oct. 6 at PPL Park. The game will be preceded by fall festival that will include youth teams playing at PPL before the Sons of Ben take on the Union front office.

The Union website has a revamped page for its academy teams with current rosters and upcoming schedules for the U-18, U-16, and U-14 teams. If you are on Twitter, you can follow @PhilaUnion_Acad for the latest news.

Speaking of the academy, Union U-18 forward Matt Greer has been called up by the Canada’s U-17 national team for a camp in Florida that will runAug. 2-12 as the team continues its preparations for the upcoming 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE in October and November.

Vote PPL Park for best Philadelphia Stadium!

Local

The Ocean City Nor’easters have a scouting report on the Austin Aztex, their opponent in tonight’s semifinals of the PDL Championship (8:30 pm, USL Live). On the Ocean City website are also scouting reports of the PDL teams in the other semifinal, Thunder Bay Chill and Victoria Highlanders. The report on the Nor’easters is gratifyingly extensive.

At The Reading Eagle, more on Reading United’s Damion Lowe and Jason Plumhoff being named to the PDL All-League team. Plumhoff’s college, La Salle University, also notes his achievement.

At PennLive, Michael Bullock profiles Harrisburg City Islanders utility man Matt Bahner.

MLS

Don Garber’s announcement at the All-Star Game that the league will expand to 24 teams by 2020 resulted in all kinds of speculation about where the four teams after New York City FC will be. The Guardian reviews the current candidates by region.

At SI, Brian Strauss writes that Orlando City are confident that they will soon be an MLS team.

In St. Louis, The Telegraph says talk of expansion opens up old wounds in that city.

Movement is afoot in Birmingham to bring an MLS team there.

Soccer America reports, “As MLS clubs examine long-term player development issues, several may as soon as next season launch stand-alone teams that would play in USL PRO and serve as the homes for reserve players they now have to loan out…Those stand-alone teams could consist of a half a dozen or so reserve players not in the MLS club’s game-day roster picture, plus homegrown players and other players signed to fill out the team.”

Reports suggest that the sale of the Columbus Crew brought in $68 million, a new record for the sale of an existing MLS team.

Former Union first round draft pick Chandler Hoffman’s time in the league has been challenging. He tells MLSsoccer.com, “It’s been tough. When you’re taken in the first round, you obviously have expectations on yourself to contribute right away. Last year, it was hit and miss…and then I got traded to the Galaxy, and it’s been tough. I haven’t even been in the 18 yet [in a league game]. So I’m just trying to work hard and learn as much as I can. When you come to a team that’s won back-to-back championships, it’s not going to be easy to step in, but I feel like I’m doing a good job and progressing, and we’ve got a big couple weeks where I’ll get chances.” Hoffman saw no minutes as the Galaxy fell 3-1 to Real Madrid on Thursday evening in their opening game in the International Champions Cup tournament.

Former Union forward Lionard Pajoy, now with DC, is out for six weeks after undergoing hernia surgery.

Toronto have signed 25-year-old Swiss left back Jonas Elmer.

Vancouver Whitecaps striker Camilo has been named MLS Player of the Month for July.

Five cities with MLS teams—Seattle, Kansas City, Houston, Washington DC, and Denver—end up on the America’s Most Miserable Sports Cities list at Forbes, yet the fact that these cities have MLS teams isn’t listed. The author says, “MLS and WBNA don’t count—we’re sticking with the major sports leagues.” The five cities have 8 MLS Cups and 7 US Open Cups between them since the start of the league in 1996.

The New York Cosmos make their return on Saturday against Fort Lauderdale Strikers (7 pm, One World Sports, NASL.com).

NWSL

Depending on results, several NMSL teams could clinch playoff spots this weekend. Here’s a breakdown of the scenarios.

US

SBI has a projected 2014 World Cup lineup. The Union’s Jack McInerney doesn’t make it though Zac MacMath is tabbed as a youngster to watch.

SBI reports that Brek Shea will be out for four weeks with an MCL sprain that resulted from the tackle he received from Matt Kassel in the Union’s friendly against Stoke on Tuesday.

Joshua Pynadath, an U-11 player from California, is the first American to sign with Real Madrid’s academy program.

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “In an attempt to lessen the violence surrounding Argentine soccer, the season starts this weekend with only club members allowed to enter stadiums and watch home games. The rules will be in force for the first two weekends. After that, the plan calls for a continued ban on visiting fans from attending the matches.”

Even though there are less than 11 months to go until the 2014 World Cup, the official countdown clock on Copacabana Beach in Rio De Janeiro has been stuck on 365 days for several weeks.

Apparently, Latin America makes more money exporting soccer players than it does exporting live animals. Not sure how many countries anywhere have big live animal exporting industries, but it’s still interesting.

On the language of movement and soccer cliches.

Fox Soccer has a FAQ on the changes that are in store for soccer fans with the launch of Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 17.

7 Comments

  1. For whats its work Jack Mac did make Ive’s World Cup B team list.

  2. The Real Brian says:

    Ed, I think Hoffman got into the game last night at the very end. Kind of a shitty situation for him. In the right team, he could have JMac type of scoring talent.

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