Daily news roundups

Zac says break is good, Ekra on his style of play, Hack says Ekra “more for the future”

Photo: Paul Rudderow. Yann Ekra against the Union in last season’s US Open Cup.

Philadelphia Union

Well, there’s no Union game this weekend, and Zac MacMath said that may be good thing. “We’ve had a long stretch of games and having this extra time to reenergize and regroup is great. It gives us time to really focus on this final stretch of games.”

Describing the Union as being “in one of those weird sports droughts right now,” MacMath said, “If we continue to play solid defensively, I think the goals will start falling for us.” He added, “Every game right now is important. We need to go into these final games with the mindset of getting three points. Going on the road against Sporting KC is going to be really tough. Their stadium will be loud and they have some tough fans, but we just have to stay confident and get the win.”

At the Inquirer, Marc Narducci writes, “The difficult part is that the Union not only have to play well, but their fellow playoff contenders have to slip up. The Union don’t control their own destiny.”

At the Union website, Kevin Kinkead breaks down the ideal results for the Union with this weekend’s slate of MLS games.

Yann Ekra spoke to reporters after Wednesday’s practice and described his game. “I like to play on the ground, short passes and stuff, quick touches. I’m never a guy that dribbles. I like to move the ball around and create. I’m not very fast but I can move with the ball. I have good vision. And I can do the last pass. That’s my style of play.”

John Hackworth said of Ekra, “He was playing more as an attacking midfielder and the times that I saw him live, he played wide in the midfield. He’s a very versatile player. He’s making training better already.”

Sounds good, right? Pencil him in on the travel roster for next week’s game in Kansas City. Maybe not. “This signing is, I think, more for the future than for an immediate need,” Hackworth explained. “That doesn’t mean he won’t have a chance to play because we definitely need to change some things and find a little bit of a spark. And he certainly has given that to us in the brief time he’s been here.”

Amobi Okugo comes in at No. 8 in MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 list. The intro says, “Technical and versatile, Okugo continues to turn heads in MLS with his play at center back for the Philadelphia Union…Okugo’s impressive play has some calling for him to receive his first US national team call-up, and it might not be too far off if he continues to perform at this level.” As is the case among Union fans in general, the undercurrent of the comments in the post is the sense that while he is doing a fine job as a center back, he true place is in the midfield.

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has a two-part Q&A with Nooha Ahmed-Lee, the YSC Academy’s Head of School. Part one is concerned with Ahmed-Lee’s aspirations for the school while part two looks at what goes on in a typical day at the school.

YSC will be hosting Independence Blue Cross Day in Wayne on Saturday beginning at 10 am. The free event will include classes, pickup games, an appearance from Sheanon Williams. Attendees are also invited to watch the Union Academy U-14,U-16, and U-18 teams. The U-18s kickoff play at 10 am, followed by the U-16s at noon. Both teams face their counterparts from The New Jersey Soccer Academy. At 2 pm, the U-14s face the Soccer Association of Columbia from Maryland.


The Penn men’s team is now 2-3-0 after falling 3-0 to No. 19 Georgetown. The match featured former Reading United captain Steve Neumann for Georgetown against his younger brother Alec for Penn.

Swarthmore College’s Daily Gazette has a good read on the promising early results of the US Soccer Foundation-backed Soccer for Success program in Chester, which began in 2012.


At SI, Brian Straus reports that New York City FC hopes to make Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis their first head coach. Kreis’s contract with RSL expires at the end of the year.

In another report at SI, Straus makes plain that the root of Chivas USA’s problems are owner Jorge Vergara.

Picking up on Straus’ Chivas USA article, ProSoccerTalk’s Liviu Bird says the league’s single-entity system “implicitly allows” allows Vergara’s shenanigans.

Toronto FC have announced Tim Bezbatchenko as their new general manager. Before the announcement, Bezbatchenko was the league’s senior director of player relations and competition.

The LA Galaxy have re-signed team president Chris Klein to a multi-year contract extension.

James Pallotta, the head of Roma’s ownership group, wants the club to have a deeper relationship with MLS. Pallotta said, “Don [Garber, MLS Commissioner] and I have spoken about this, we are looking forward to having a relationships where similar to what goes on in Europe in terms of not just transfer markets but loaning players. At some point, we want to have a very close relationship with all the teams in MLS in the US where we can do that with our players as we do with some of the other countries.”

Manchester United wants to expand its brand in the US. It will soon open an office in New York.

Reuters reports, “Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti said on Thursday no binding agreement had yet been reached to sell a stake in the Italian soccer club to Indonesian tycoon Erick Thohir, although he saw no major obstacles to a sale.” Thohir is part owner of DC United and the 76ers.

The New York Times looks at all of the hubbub over the YSA chant.

The new adidas Originals MLS collection features the Seattle Sounders, the Portland Timbers, and the LA Galaxy. It would be nice to see what a Union line would look like, particularly given the fact that the Union fans are supposed to be among the biggest merch buyers in the league.

Orlando City FC wants to take advantage of state and local tax rebates available from a job-creation incentive program because it will be doubling the size of its front office staff if it joins MLS.

More on San Antonio’s hopes for joining MLS.

A league spokesperson declined to comment on efforts in Louisville to become the home of an MLS franchise.


The US men’s beach soccer team began play at the 2013 Beach World Cup in Tahiti on Thursday, falling 5-4 to Spain. The team next faces Tahiti on Saturday, but the time difference means the game will be shown live on ESPN3 on Sunday at 1 am.

SI has a good read on the US-based company Storelli, makers of the headgear that is being worn by Wayne Rooney to protect the gash he recently received in training. Company co-founder Claudio Storelli said, “We decided we were going to make protection cool. Rooney’s headband is probably the hardest piece to make cool, but if you look at the rest of what we do, it’s pretty bad-ass. It’s basically something that looks like it belongs to Batman’s closet.”


There’s a gazillion games to watch over the next week. Check out the latest Footy on the Telly listings to see who’s playing when.

The International Olympic Committee will meet with FIFA about the expected schedule change of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter. An IOC spokesperson said, “We were aware that FIFA might consider changing the dates for the 2022 World Cup. We are confident that FIFA will discuss the dates with us so as to coordinate them and avoid any effect on the Winter Games.”

UEFA reports that 32 member nations — more than half their members — are interested in hosting the 2020 European Championship. In January, UEFA announced that the 2020 tournament would be hosted by 13 different cities across Europe.

Liberia is now the fifth African country to be investigated by FIFA for fielding an ineligible player during World Cup qualification.

That ridiculous Michael Jackson statue installed by former owner Mohamed Al Fayed in 2011 at Fulham’s Craven Cottage is going to be removed.


  1. “He was playing more as an attacking midfielder and the times that I saw him live, he played wide in the midfield. He’s a very versatile player. He’s making training better already.”
    AKA, we’re going to stick him wherever the hell my whim is that day and by jolly I sure hope he does something!
    Sounds like a normal Union signing TBH.

  2. “The New York Times looks at all of the hubbub over the YSA chant.”
    Once again, PSP is on the cutting edge of reporting: https://phillysoccerpage.net/2013/08/30/fans-view-like-a-good-neighbor/

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Here’s a little context on the YSA chant at PPL Park from 2010:

      • Posted by Jeremy L. in the comments of that thread: As someone who sits in the Supporters Section, I have to say I have much less problem with the “You Suck” chant than I do with the “SHE fell over!” chant. The “You Suck” chant is juvenile and stupid (though funny–so funny that there are always people in the section laughing as if they’d never heard it before immediately afterward, something I find mystifying), but the “SHE fell over!” chant that happens any time an opposing player suffers a foul, real or imagined, is genuinely offensive. The Sons of Ben have, for the most part, done a good job of corralling anything resembling hate speech or violent conduct in the stands, but for all that, they still allow–even encourage–misogyny, at least in this instance. I suppose I shouldn’t say “they” as I had to become a member in order to buy my tickets, but that’s definitely one chant I could do without. To finish with one last note about the “You Suck” chant, my feeling is it is basically a fad, and likely to die out over time, especially if other goalkeepers find ways to mess with it.
        Something else PSP was ahead of the curve on – this time beating me to it by 3 years!
        Good piece, Ed.

  3. Jack McInerney got number 4 on the top 24 list. Good to have 2 in the top 10 but still only 2 on the whole list is somewhat disappointing if the Union are the league’s youngest team. New England had 3 in the top 10.

    • Wow – how does Williams not make the list at all?

      • The fact that Williams isn’t on the list is criminal. While I think the whole “Union doesn’t get enough credit” thing going around is BS, Sheanon really doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s been a huge part of our defense AND offense this year, and I’m not sure I wouldn’t rate him above Jack and Amobi.

      • Williams made it last year.

  4. I’m actually glad Adidas didn’t pick us – I could see my wardrobe increasing and my wallet decreasing…there were some great options! It also saves Ed a new website “www.whatsedwearing.com”

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