Daily news roundups

Hack and Sak promise more resources allocated to bring in “final key pieces,” attendance numbers, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

An open letter to season ticket holders on Tuesday signed by Nick Sakiewicz and John Hackworth said, “We have been working on key improvements that need to be made for several months now and have allocated more resources to improve the team. We are very confident the team will be stronger in 2014 and the work going into the next four months will pay off. You know how tight the race in the Eastern Conference was this season and we are already actively engaged to fill in those final key pieces that will give us more firepower to finish higher in the table next season.” Make it so.

Dave Zeitlin tweeted out some quotes related to the Union’s plans going forward from an interview he did with Sakiewicz on Tuesday:

Some 303,746 people bought tickets for Union games in 2013 for a season paid attendance average of 17,867, a decline of 1 percent from 2012’s average of 18,049. In case you’re wondering, that’s a 7.2 percent decline from 2010’s Linc inflated team high average of 19,254, and a 2.1 percent drop from 2011’s average of 18,259. If we remove the Linc from the 2010 numbers, the average attendance at PPL was 17,607. That means:

  • 2011’s average of 18,259 is a gain of 3.7 percent compared to 2010’s non Linc-inflated average
  • 2012’s average of 18,049 is a gain of 2.5 percent compared to 2010’s non Linc-inflated average but a 1.2 percent decline compared to 2011
  • 2013’s average of 17,867 is a gain of 1.5 percent compared to 2010’s non Linc-inflated average but a decline of 2.1 percent compared to 2011, and a decline of 1 percent compared to 2012

Unpleasant weather was a factor in this year’s home games more than in previous seasons, and lingering dissatisfaction from the Nowak craziness’ effect on the 2012 season was probably another contributor to 2013’s numbers decline. Fielding a stronger side in 2014 that plays more attractive soccer will surely help to improve the attendance average.

In the final Full Castrol Index rankings of the regular season, Jack McInerney came in at No. 6 and Conor Casey at No. 25. Rounding out the list of the Top 5 Union players are Zac MacMath (No. 26), Sebastien Le Toux (No. 44), and Amobi Okugo (No. 51). Look for our post comparing the ranking of Union players on the Castrol Index with a ranking based on the averages of PSP’s post match player ratings later this morning.

Ex-Union players? Brotherly Game rounds up what they’re up to.

Local

University of Pennsylvania men’s team was edged out 2-1 by No. 9 Penn State on Tuesday night.

In the latest NSCAA high school boys’ soccer rankings, Malvern’s Great Valley High School comes in at No. 21. Washington Township (Sewell, N.J.), Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.), Appoquinimink (Middletown, Del.), and Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) also received votes.

In the latest NSCAA high school girls’ soccer rankings, Cumberland Valley came in at No. 8, Neshaminy (Langhorne, Pa.) at No. 12, and Eastern (Voorhees, N.J.) at No. 23.

StateCollege.com talks to Kensington-born US Soccer legend Walt Bahr about playing in the 1950 World Cup win over England and coaching at Penn State. Good read.

MLS

At SI, Grant Wahl reports that the league is considering rescheduling some of the upcoming playoff games so they can take place during November’s FIFA international window. As it currently stands, “the first four playoff legs would take place in a 12-day period, followed by a 12-day layoff, followed by the last conference final legs on Nov. 23-24 and a two-week layoff before the MLS Cup final on Dec. 7,” which is, I hope you agree, total nonsense. “The final call will be made by MLS commissioner Don Garber, but the clubs will have a significant influence on his decision.”

The season paid attendance numbers are in and Seattle has set a new league record for the fifth year in a row at 44,038. However, ProSoccerTalk notes that while the league topped 6 million for overall attendance for the second year in a row, 2013’s average represented a 1.1 percent decline “from 18,807 in 2012 to 18,594 fans in 2013.” The decline appears to be largely due to Chivas USA, which saw it’s paid attendance drop a whopping 36 percent to 8,366, as well as Montreal, which saw a 10 percent drop to 20,603 after moving from Olympic Stadium to the Stade de Saputo, and LA’s 6 percent drop to 21,770 after the departure of David Beckham and the related knock-on effect. In all, attendance was up for 11 teams and down for 8. Click here and scroll to page 4 for the league attendance numbers.

At US Soccer Players, Tony Edwards writes, “[Y]ou could make a case that this season was the worst season in terms of team quality in league history, as never before in a non-expansion year have two teams had worse goal differences than Chivas and DC have this season. -37 is tough to ignore.”

ESPN asked MLS coaches if they would rather have Clint Dempsey on their team or Landon Donovan. Among the 14 coaches who responded (Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid were exempt), the answer was unanimous: Landon Donovan. Can’t say I disagree.

On Tuesday, the Whitecaps officially announced that head coach Martin Rennie’s contract had not been renewed. Club president Bob Lenarduzzi explained Rennie was let go because of inconsistency and because the team had failed to meet to key benchmarks: making the MLS playoffs and winning the Canadian Championship.

In a report that could be equally true for the Philadelphia Union, the Vancouver Sun says the Whitecaps need better results if they are to convert casual fans.

With reports that Chicago has fired Frank Klopas after the Fire failed to reach the playoffs, ProSoccerTalk’s Top 5 list of candidates for MLS coaching jobs is timely.

Tim Leiweke, CEO of Toronto FC owners MLSE, has promised the club will make the playoffs in 2014. “Mark it down, write it down, film it …. We’re going to turn TFC around and we’re going to make the playoffs next year. We know where we’re headed, we know how to get there. We’ve been given the resources of this ownership group and we will get to the right place.”

Do these resource include Toronto pursuing Jermaine Defoe?

Front office changes are happening in DC.

Multiple outlets — The AP, Sky Sports, Press Association Sport, Reuters, The Daily Mirror — are reporting that (to the surprise of no one) David Beckham has settled on Miami as the home of his expansion team. A CBS Miami/AP report notes, “However, according to Dan Courtemanche, executive vice-president of communications for MLS, there is no finalized agreement and that any potential owner will have to make a presentation to the board, who would have to vote, and more steps.” A report from the Miami Herald quotes a statement from a Beckham spokesperson as saying, “We are not ready to announce anything yet, but Miami remains a strong option for us” and notes that the Beckham is “is still in the process of lining up investors and raising a couple hundred million dollars to fund a soccer-specific stadium.” More from AFP.

At ProSoccerTalk, Steve Davis notes that, whatever he may be thinking today, “if Beckham runs more numbers and decides tomorrow that Miami just doesn’t work, for whatever reason, he can certainly change his mind. MLS isn’t going to turn the man down – well, MLS can’t contractually, even if it wanted to – because the object of Beckham’s geographical affections has shifted elsewhere. In other words, if the next Beckham-MLS expansion story says he is now considering San Diego or San Francisco or San Antonio or wherever, MLS will probably respond with, ‘Sounds good. … Let’s get a look at that stadium plan!'”

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is certain his city is ready for an MLS franchise.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Riverhounds majority owner Tuffy Shallenberger has also become majority owner of the team’s Highmark Stadium in “another step on its quest to one day join the ranks of Major League Soccer.”

US

The USWNT faces New Zealand tonight in Columbus (7:30pm, USsoccer.com). Soccer America notes that a win would stretch the team’s unbeaten streak to 15 games in 2013 and 38 games since its last loss in March 2012, adding “Amazingly, they have lost only nine games in the last decade — a span of 217 games.”

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta considers whether the US is ready for a full time USMN U-23 team.

Elsewhere

UEFA will decide today whether CSKA Moscow will be punished for alleged racist behavior from its fans directed toward Manchester City’s Yaya Toure in last week’s Champions League match.

At The Guardian, Jonathan Wilson weighs in on Michel Platini’s suggestion that the World Cup field be expanded to 40 teams. Wilson thinks it’s a terrible idea too.

Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t pleased with Sepp Blatter’s impersonation of him strutting around the pitch and remarks that he spends a lot of money at the hairdresser’s shop. More on the vitally important story from The Guardian, ESPN, Reuters, and ProSoccerTalk.

ESPN reports, “A former Brazilian footballer was killed and his decapitated head delivered to his widow by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night.”

17 Comments

  1. So what incompetent gave Nowak the means to completely mess with the salary cap? Would it be Nick Sakiewicz?
    Never change big guy…

  2. And that type of nonesense is why no one thinks that hackeorth would be fired. Yeah Im not buying what they are selling. Litteraly and figuratively.

  3. In yesterday’s article about the somewhat tarnished Supporter Shield, one of the commentors thought it would be interesting to know how the standings would have differed if there was a balanced schedule. I posted this response last night, but given the large number of other comments (and the fact that it was almost 12 hours after the original post), I thought I’d reshare my findings here:

    I did the math (points earned x 2 / games played) for each combination and believe it or not, Vancouver wins the Supporters shield in that scenario. They racked up an amazing 22 points against the East which gets doubled. The team with the next most points in interconference play was Seattle with 18 (they finish 3rd overall behind Portland). The top team in the East is Houston. The Union move up to 6th in the conference (13th overall) passing New England who drops to 7th. RSL drops to 6th in the West, even though they are tied with NY for 7th in the league.

  4. Attendance didn’t suffer because of weather or Nowak! It suffered because the team sucked and you knew the manager was going to ruin any chance of putting the team in a position to win. FIRE HACK!

    • Not that I’m not as dissatisfied with the FO as the next guy, but I think it was the author using those excuses not Sack. I could be wrong though.

  5. Pittsburgh plays in HighMARK stadium, not Highwater Stadium.

    • Yeah!!! And it’s located on the river not too far from where the Pirates and Steelers play, which is totally cool.

  6. Reorganize the front office and get rid of Sakiewicz and Hackworth. Bring people in who can run a pro organization not people with a second rate approach! Bring in people who have a vested interest in seeing this team compete and perform at an elite MLS level!

    • Also the media who cover this team needs to stop bootlicking and pussyfooting around this teams management!

    • It’s really easy to say get rid of Sack, but you do know, he owns this team right? Well. Part owner along with others..

      Until somebody buys this team out right, we’re stuck with Sack and the rest of the Keystone Sports guys. Unless Sack sells his share in the team.

      People seem to forget that..

  7. I am sick of the talk about salary room, expiring contacts and Nowak’s legacy. It’s all a distraction, and total BS.
    1. Coach had some quality players and he sat them on the bench most of the season.
    2. He ran out fat CC too often and kept him out there too long.
    3. He didn’t rotate his squad properly.
    4. Benching Jack.
    5. Danny Cruz.
    .
    He showed me that he didn’t know how to manage a club. One, two, three or nine extra players won’t turn him into a better manager.

      • I’m convinced we’ll see the same player mismanagement next year, regardless of who they acquire. In fact, there is a good chance the record may be poorer than this year with Hack at the helm. I hope I’m wrong, but i publicly predicted they would crash out of the playoffs 2 months ago stating they are of the as caliber as the Crew and not as good as the Fire and Revolution. It played out exactly according to script.

  8. It is sad that we have a mediocre team (and FO) and that the supporters are split about firing vs. keeping Hack. Wish we all felt the same and had a team that really kicked a…

  9. Pingback: Union bits, Seattle wins, MLS clubs clean house, more morning news

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