Daily news roundups

“It’s going to be war” — News & previews ahead of big Montreal game, Saint Zusi, USWNT friendly, more

Photo: Michael Long

Philadelphia Union

KYW’s Matt Leon talks to Amobi Okugo, who said of Saturday’s contest against Montreal, “This is a very important game. It’s going to be a war. Because they know we have a chance to jump them (in the standings) if we win and they have a chance to separate themselves if they get a result. So this game could be the deciding factor with who’s going to make the playoffs.” Okugo added, “We’ve got to find a way to stop (Marco) Di Vaio. He has (19) goals on the season and we can’t allow him space to punish us.”

In his look at the Eastern Conference playoff contenders ahead of Saturday’s match against Montreal, Kevin Kinkead notes that the Union have one less win and have scored fewer goals than Montreal and Chicago, with whom the Union are level on points at 46. “Right now, Philly doesn’t need six points to get into the playoffs, but a draw in one of these final two games puts the onus on another team to help out with a positive result.”

Ives Galarcep says of Saturday’s game, “The loser of this one will find it difficult to still reach the postseason, while the winner will be sitting pretty heading into the final week.”

How difficult will it be? If the Union lose, and both Chicago and Houston win, their playoff hopes are over.

Check out our quick reference to refresh your memory of the Union’s history against Montreal and our preview here at PSP and in The Guardian as well as these previews from The Inquirer, The Daily News (dumbest headline in recent memory, by the way), Brotherly Game, Goal.com, and Soccer America.

At the Union website, Andy Jasner writes about the roster challenges the team are again facing, with Michael Farfan suspended, and both Sebastien Le Toux and Michael Lahoud questionable.

Who will replace Le Toux? At CSN Philly, Ryan Bright writes, “The hobbled playmaker will be replaced at left attacking midfielder by one of Fabinho, Keon Daniel or Danny Cruz. Replacing Le Toux on free kicks could be Kleberson, who has been red hot.”

More on the roster selection concerns from The Reporter.

Where the Union enter Saturday’s game with limits on their options, Montreal won’t be facing that challenge despite playing (and losing to) the Galaxy on Wednesday. As Matthew De George writes, “Despite being the oldest roster in MLS, the Impact will have fresh legs. In a case of the MLS’s disciplinary process working to their advantage, defender Matteo Ferrari and captain Davy Arnaud were both suspended from the trip to Los Angeles. Also not making the trip were defenders Alessandro Nesta and Jeb Brovsky, midfielder Justin Mapp, forward Daniele Paponi and goalkeeper Troy Perkins.”

Danny Cruz said of Montreal, “I don’t think you’re going to see a tired team on Saturday. I think you’re going to see some fresh guys. I know a few guys didn’t travel for them. Regardless, teams have had to do that all year. We’ve had to play games midweek, and teams get results on the weekend, and that’s what we’re looking to do. There’s not going to be any excuses, there’s not going to be any ‘they should be tired.’ Tired or not, when it’s a game of in the playoffs or not, they’re going to bring everything they have, and so are we.”

Jack McInerney’s stoppage time goal against DC is in last place in the polling at MLSsoccer.com for Goal of the Week.

Union strength and conditioning coach Kevin Miller will be doing a live chat at Philly.com on Tuesday, Oct. 22 between 1 and 2 pm.

The Union have teamed up with Chester’s Art on the Avenue of the States to show 17 pieces of art from ten local artists in the Stadium Club.

ESPN has a list of the top ten players “who shone brightly early in their careers, but have since faded into insignificance.” At No. 3 is Freddy Adu.

Local

La Salle hosts Atlantic 10 rival St. Joseph’s tonight in a local doubleheader with the women’s teams playing at 5 pm and men’s teams playing at at 7:30 pm.

The latest Alumni Report is up at the Reading United website.

The Harrisburg Heat have signed forward Val Teixeira and defender Craig Tyrrell.

PDA is at the top of the US Development Academy’s U-17/18 table.

MLS

MLSsoccer.com lays out the scenarios that could see as many as eight teams reach the playoffs, and four be eliminated from the running, this weekend.

At SI, Alexander Abnos reviews the Supporters’ Shield contenders.

The league has released the dates for the playoffs. More like date ranges, really.

At Fox Soccer, Leander Schaerlaeckens takes a closer look at the league’s partnership with the French Football Federation to train MLS academy team coaches with the goal of producing US players with better soccer smarts.

More on efforts to establish the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. as a preseason training hub for Eastern Conference teams.

Could Genoa forward Alberto Gilardino’s next home be in Toronto?

US

Michael Orozco Fiscal says that FC Dallas forward Blas Pérez and other Panamanian players were calling on the US to go easy on them in Tuesday’s qualifier. “In the stadium all the people were shouting and Blas even said to me, ‘Drop back, no?’ But we had to play. This is soccer and the team that wins, wins. The truth is I couldn’t give him or Mexico a hand, we wanted to play our game.”

Orozco Fiscal, who scored the first US goal that helped to keep Mexico’s World Cup hopes alive, added, “A year ago I was one of the most hated [figures in Mexico] for my goal in the Aztecazo, but I think things have turned around and now I’m one of the more liked.”

A Spanish-language radio station in Kansas City presented Graham Zusi with a plaque of thanks and a “Saint Zusi” image for scoring the goal that meant Mexico still has a chance to reach the World Cup.

At MLSsoccer.com, Nicholas Rosano has three reasons why having Mexico in the World Cup is good for American soccer.

Mexico will go into the intercontinental playoff against New Zealand with a new coach. Victor Manuel Vucetich told ESPN Deportes that he has been fired. Sources tell ESPN that Club America coach Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera will be his replacement.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta has an early prediction for the USMNT’s 23-player World Cup roster.

The Telegraph reports that Stoke will loan Brek Shea “to clubs in the Championship” in what is described as “an attempt to help his World Cup ambitions.”

The USWNT plays Australia in a friendly on Sunday (1:30 pm, NBC). ProSoccerTalk says the US roster is surprisingly strong given that, because it isn’t taking place on a FIFA international date, European clubs weren’t compelled to release players.

The USWNT friendlies against New Zealand on Oct. 27 and Oct. 30 will be live streamed at US Soccer.com.

Elsewhere

Think the World Cup seedings that were announced on Thursday are, shall we say, questionable? Goal.com and Pro Soccer Talk agree.

At SI, an excellent long-form article on the renewed popularity of soccer in Afghanistan.

2 Comments

  1. These articles are really missing the point as to how Uruguay and Columbia made it into the top 8 seedings. World Cup qualifiers count 2.5 times as much as friendlies in the ranking scores. South American teams had 16 qualifiers as compared to 10 for European teams (forgetting momentarily about the France/Spain issue…France is far enough down that 2 more wins against a team like San Marino wouldn’t have helped while Spain had the benefit of 4 wins in the Confederations Cup each of which has a multiplier of 3 factored in).

    The other issue is strength of schedule. In CONMEBOL, with 4 teams in the top 12 and 8 in the top 50 (excluding Brazil), the teams are getting huge multipliers every time they get a win or a tie. In UEFA, since all of the groups (except possibly the 5 team group) had teams outside of the top 100, the multipliers were consistently lower. Let’s face it, while Columbia is racking up points against Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, the Netherlands are playing Andorra and Estonia rather than Spain and Germany.

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