Daily news roundups

Locals bow out of NCAA tournament, MLS playoffs resume, more news

Photo: Drew Hallowell, courtesy of Penn Athletics

Philadelphia Union

Zolo Times leads its 2013 Union season review with this one sentence summary: “The Union’s 2013 season was safe, predictable, and left me with a sense of wondering what could have been.”

The Brotherly Game rounds up how former Union academy players are doing in the college game, briefly reviews Michale Farfan’s 2013 season, and describes the history of PPL Park.

Local

It was a short run for three area colleges in the NCAA men’s tournament. In Philadelphia, Penn lost 3-1 to Providence on penalty kicks after finishing regulation and overtime tied 1-1. Alec Neumann scored for Penn in the 10th minute before Providence equalized in the 23rd minute. On the road in Virginia, Drexel fell 5-1 to Old Dominion, Jared Girard scoring in the 69th minute when the Dragons were already down four goals. Playing at home, Delaware lost 2-1 to St. John’s in overtime after Guillermo Delgado equalized for the Blue Hens in the 89th minute. Penn State advances to the next round after defeating St. Francis 1-0. Eli Dennis scored the 37th minute gamewinner. The Nittany Lions now travel to face No. 10 seed UC Santa Barbara on Sunday at 9 pm ET.

Reading United and Ocean City Nor’easters have a breakdown of former players whose college teams made the NCAA tournament.

With a 3.46 GPA, the La Salle women’s team has earned the NSCAA College Team Academic Award.

MLS

The MLS playoffs, remember them? Well, it’s time for the conference final second leg games, with Kansas City hosting Houston on Saturday (7:30 pm: NBCSN, Univision Deportes, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM FC) and Portland hosting Real Salt Lake on Sunday (9 pm: ESPN, Watch ESPN, SiriusXM FC). In case you forgot, the Eastern Conference series is tied 0-0 after the first leg, while RSL leads Portland 4-2 after the Western Conference first leg.

Look for PSP’s preview of the games later this morning.

Soccer America says the game in Kansas City “will be much livelier, but won’t be a ballet.” More previews of the game from MLSsoccer.com and Goal.com.

MLSsoccer.com and Goal.com also have previews of the Western Conference final.

ESPN talks to Graham Zusi about playing for the national team and his hopes to go on loan in Europe during the offseason.

Kevin Hartman has announced his retirement after 17 years in MLS. Hartman is the all-time league leader in games played, minutes played, goalkeeper wins, saves, and shutouts.

Speaking to an audience at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce earlier this week, Toronto FC Tim Leiweke said the club would make the biggest signing in MLS history in the next 30 days.

Add Newcastle United to the list of Premier League teams interested in taking Clint Dempsey on loan during the MLS offseason.

Thierry Henry is training with Arsenal.

You gotta like Juan Agudelo’s reaction to the news that Stoke couldn’t secure him a work permit so the young striker could sign with the club:

The house cleaning has commenced at Chivas USA, who announced on Thursday the release of ten players. Francisco “Paco” Palencia will also no longer be the director of soccer at the club after being appointed sporting director at Chivas de Guadalajara. I like his nail polish.

Former Union man Gabriel Farfan talks about returning to Southern California to play for Chivas USA — he previously played for the club’s U-19 team — and his role as a veteran leader on the young team.

The Herald reports that Kenny Miller hasn’t ruled out a return to Rangers but he expects to play for Vancouver in 2014. The main priority for Miller at the moment is completing his rehabilitation after knee surgery.

Here’s the latest from LeBron James on partnering with David Beckham to bring an MLS franchise to Miami. “‘I wish it was easy. We’re working on it. We’ll see what happens.”

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport has released its 2013 Racial and Gender Report Card for the league. Richard Lapchick, principal author of the report, said, “Major League Soccer improved in two of the three grades in the 2013 RGRC. Its combined B+ with a B+ for racial hiring and a B for gender hiring practices make a strong statement of where MLS stands in pro sports on these issues. The fact that the League Office again received an A+ in racial hiring and an A in gender hiring demonstrates that Commissioner Don Garber continues to lead the entire MLS by example through his commitment to diverse hiring practices…The individual MLS [clubs] still lag behind the League Office and there is significant room for improvement, especially at the level of senior team executives.” I’d include a link to the full report but, at the time of this writing, the link isn’t working.

NWSL

The Houston Dynamo have begun accepting season ticket deposits for a proposed new women’s pro team in an effort to gauge fan interest. If the Dynamo decide not to field a women’s team, the deposits will be refunded.

There has been talk for some time of a partnership between the New York Red Bulls and Sky Blue FC. Sky Blue CEO Thomas Hofstetter explains while the partnership did not come off, negotiations ended on good terms. “Both sides were very eager to make it work but at the end of the day, we couldn’t get on the same page to get a deal going…We walked away from each other, not with any bad feelings…It didn’t work out, at least for right now. I think both sides were bummed out.”

Hofstetter also said that, in the meanwhile, it is too expensive for Sky Blue to play at Red Bull Arena in a doubleheader with the Red Bulls.

At ProSoccerTalk, Richard Farley looks at the offseason moves being made by Seattle Reign general manager Laura Harvey.

US

An AP poll of reporters found the majority of those involved do not believe the US will reach the quarterfinals in Brazil. Former France head coach Raymond Domenech disagrees, saying, “I’ve always found them to be well organized at the World Cup. Their matches are generally tight.”

At SI, Brian Strauss considers possible group stage-draw scenarios for the US at the World Cup. More on possible draw scenarios from ProSoccerTalk. The draw will take place on Dec. 6. You can simulate your own draw here.

The USWNT will begin 2014 with a friendly against Canada on Jan. 31, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (8 pm, Fox Sports 1).

Elsewhere

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of the live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

The European parliament has passed a resolution calling on FIFA to “send a clear and strong message to Qatar to avoid the football World Cup 2022 [being] delivered by the assistance of modern slavery.” The resolution says FIFA’s “responsibility goes beyond the development of football and the organization of competition.”

ANSAmed reports, “Only one person was reportedly at the stadium to watch a soccer game of the Qatar Stars League between teams al-Gharaffa and al-Kharaitiyat. Footage broadcast by network Al Arabiya shows only one spectator wearing traditional Qatari clothing, seated amid hundreds of empty seats.” Soccer culture in Qatar: It’s getting there, one person at a time.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has defended the decision to extend the voting deadline for this year’s Ballon d’Or. “If we decided to extend the deadline, it’s simply because we didn’t have — to our mind — enough votes. We have always said that we wanted to have 75 percent of the votes. The Ballon d’Or has to be representative of a credible opinion. Last year, we had more than 80 percent. There’s nothing to hide. There’s no manipulation, no opportunity to interfere with the procedure nor the result of the vote, which is watched over by a solicitor…The Ballon d’Or is a purely sporting event. The votes come from three totally different sectors. We don’t have any preference.” FIFA has come under fire for extending the voting with some observers suggesting the extension was intended to favor Cristiano Ronaldo.

While FIFA considers its own disciplinary action, Croatia defender Joe Simunic has been fined $4,400 by Croatian public prosecutors for ”spreading racial hatred.” After Croatia’s 2-0 win over Iceland to qualify for the World Cup, Simunic lead the crowd in a chant associated with Croatia’s Nazi-allied Ustasha regime during the Second World War.

4 Comments

  1. Not good that all 3 local College teams lost last night…

  2. If FIFA is going to use its rankings for Pool A, why not use them for the other three pools as well? 1-7 plus Brazil each get drawn in a group. 8-16 each go into one of the groups with the stipulation that Chile go into a pot with one of the European teams. 17-31 each go into one of the groups with Mexico and Costa Rica in groups different than the US, Ecuador in a group with no South American team, and such that each group has at least one and no more than 2 European teams. Finally everyone else gets thrown into a group with Honduras and the remaining African teams avoiding other teams from their confederations. (All 4 Asia teams are in the last group.)

    And then UEFA needs to change its qualifying procedures so that top teams like The Netherlands aren’t punished in the rankings by being in a relatively easy group while Switzerland is rewarded by getting to beat an overranked Norway. Personally, I’d like to see Europe find a way to get down to 24 teams quickly and then play 4 hexes like CONCACAF with the top 3 teams in each hex going to the world cup while the 4 4th place teams have a single elimination in November on a neutral site for the 13th spot. Give the 4 semifinalist from the previous Euro’s the top four seeds and the 4 losing quarterfinalists the next four seeds. Imagine a qualifying group of Spain, England, Switzerland, Croatia, Denmark, and Turkey. 4 groups like that and it no longer comes down to how many goals you beat San Marino by. The teams that win those groups will end up seeded in the World Cup and they would deserve it.

  3. BTW, did anyone notice that “Who is Landon Donavon?” was a question on Jeopardy the other day in the Algeria category? Unfortunately, none of the contestants knew it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*