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Philadelphia Union

The Union will try to get their playoff campaign back on track tonight in Kansas City (8 pm, NBCSN). John Hackworth hesitated to call it a must-win in Wednesday’s press conference. What do you think?

Elaborating on John Hackworth’s comments that the Union need to win at least three of the remaining five games and also get a draw in there somewhere if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive, Amobi Okugo said, “We need to get a certain amount of wins with these five games. We know we didn’t do that when we played Houston at home, but we need to do it in tougher places like Kansas City away and Montreal away. But we’re going to have to step up and hopefully get some results where players and teams won’t expect us to…We know our capabilities as a team. These last five games, we’ve kind of gotten away from that, but if we get back to the way we know how to play, I think we’ll be fine.”

Matthew De George notes, “Never in the Union’s four-year history, however, has the team taken 10 points out of a string four matches.”

Still, Brian Carroll, who has won two MLS Cups, believes the Union locker room has what it takes. “First of all, it starts with chemistry. Having a good bunch of guys, goes a long way and I think we definitely have that here. Also, it is just taking care of the little details on and off the field, doing the little things in competitive games, and in possession, and making the smart decisions.”

Carroll continued, “It is hard to explain, but [to get to the playoffs] you just need guys are just on the same page, on and off the field. Everything that is going on inside the locker room, on the field, and outside the field, you need it to be happening in the correct and positive direction, I feel like a group that we have here can pull that together can do that in the last five games of the season.”

Here’s Adam Cann’s preview here at PSP and his preview in the Guardian. Also, check out our quick reference to get up to speed on the series history with Kansas City. More previews from The Daily Wiz, ProSoccerTalk, and The Sports Network.

At the Union website, Kevin Kinkead has a scouting report and there’s a video scouting report at MLSsoccer.com. Sporting Kansas City talks to Jonathan Tannenwald for a perspective on the Union and Brotherly Game talks to The Daily Wiz for a perspective on Kansas City. Brotherly Game also has a match preview from a Kansas City fan.

JP Dellacamera writes, “Friday night becomes the most important game in the Union schedule – until the next game. A win or a draw won’t get them into the playoffs and likewise a loss won’t eliminate them from playoff contention. The score and the result though, might give us an indication as to how the rest of the season will go.”

At Philly.com, Marc Narducci says John Hackworth should give Roger Torres a shot. “Staying the course hasn’t worked recently for the Union. A player such as Torres might offer a genuine spark. It wouldn’t necessarily be a desperation move to play Torres, just one that is long overdue.”

Keon Daniel is listed as questionable with a left groin strain in the latest injury report, which was last updated on Thursday.

It looks like Kansas City’s Claudio Bieler is set to return from injury to face the Union tonight.

Okugo said of the bye week, “It was tough, but it was good at the same time. We got some much needed rest. We got to look at ourselves, work on some things we need to work on, but it was tough because we couldn’t get on the field and make amends for the past results that haven’t gone our way.”

More on Wednesday’s press conference from MLSsoccer.com, CSN Philly, and Philly Soccer News.

Local

The La Salle women’s team trounced Drexel 4-0 on Thursday. Three goals came in the second half and two of those in the final four minutes of the game. The recap on the Drexel website is understandably brief.

At Philadelphia Magazine, Vicki Glembocki looks at the challenges travel soccer can present to parents. “Having a kid on a travel soccer team requires only slightly less time in a year than it took to build that same child in the womb.”

At Philly.com, Justin Klugh talks to former goalkeeper Bill Nuttall, a native of Norristown and Upper Merion grad, about the day he took out Pele and then “blocked” the ensuing penalty kick.

The new episode of MLS Insider that broadcasts tonight on NBCSN at 7:30 pm before the Union game against Kansas City includes a segment on Bethlehem Steel FC.

MLS

USL PRO is pleased with the partnership with MLS. USL PRO president Tim Holt said, “We’re off to a great start,” United Soccer Leagues president Tim Holt told MLSsoccer.com earlier this month. “We’ve learned a lot from the first season. The four team-to-team affiliations all went exceptionally well, so year two is about trying to expand that – hopefully at least doubling the number of affiliations within the leagues, and then potentially an MLS team or teams actually fielding their own USL PRO side.

MLS will be going pink in October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

MLS is now on Apple TV.

At Goal.com, Keith Hickey has some ideas on how to fix the CONCACAF Champions League.

US

Returning from injury for Club Tijuana in Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League match against Honduras’ Victoria, Herculez Gomez scored a first half hat trick on the way to a 6-0 victory.

Are Celtic interested in Aron Johannsson?

Elsewhere

Following the Guardian investigation that uncovered widespread abuse and exploitation of migrant workers engaged in preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the global players’ association FIFPro has told Qatar that it must respect the rights of workers.

At the New York Times, Sam Borden has a look at the challenges of building that World Cup stadium in the Amazon.

The AP reports, “The Turkish Interior Minister says police have raided homes and detained 72 soccer fans suspected of involvement in blackmail, threats and other crimes. Muammer Guler says fans of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas are suspected of blackmailing their clubs with threats of violence at games that would cause the teams to receive fines or other penalties.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has written a letter asking prosecutors in Miami to drop the charges against 19-year-old college student Ronald Gkoka for running on the pitch to hug the Real Madrid star during the friendly against Chelsea on Aug. 7.

At Soccer America, Paul Kennedy writes, “Just how important is the English Premier League to NBCSN? Since the launch of the EPL on Aug. 17, NBCSN has posted a 67 percent increase in average total day viewership — more than double the increase of any other sports cable network over the same period.”

The Bundesliga has launched an English language channel on YouTube.

6 Comments

  1. Love those MLS insider segments. My Genie records them all!
    .
    Classy from Ronaldo!
    .
    Will be an interesting evening! Hopefully they will perform on national TV!

  2. How he can say tonight is not a must-win is stunning to me. The team is 1 point back from the final playoff spot and still has to jump over 2 teams just to get into that last spot. New England and Houston play tonight, which means if we lose then either or both is gaining even more points on us, same with Chicago and Montreal. Even Columbus could jump in front of the Union even though they’ve played an extra game. Anything less than a point tonight would make it extremely difficult to get into the playoffs.

    • Well he has to say something. If he says it is a must win and if they lose everyone will scream about us losing a must win game. If he doesn’t say it is a must win game people will complain because it is a must win game. If he just does what he wants and strips down to his underwear to perform his performance art/spoken word collection he did for his final in art college people will accuse him of of becoming a “self parody” and “I agree/disagree with some of the things that have just been said, but the subaqueous qualities of the spatial relationships contextualize a participation in the critical dialogue of the 90s.”
      /
      So the lesson here is never take a job that involves weekly press conferences.

  3. “Staying the course hasn’t worked recently for the Union. A player such as Torres might offer a genuine spark. It wouldn’t necessarily be a desperation move to play Torres, just one that is long overdue.”

    Yup.

  4. Very classy from Ronaldo.
    .
    How ridiculous is the entire Qatar mess.

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