Daily news roundups

Hopp is hungry, Neumann a Herman Trophy semifinalist, State of the League roundup, WC news, more

Photo: Courtesy of adidas

Philadelphia Union

According to this series of tweets from South American journalist and radio host Octavio Sasso, negotiations between the Union and Venezuelan midfielder Luis Manuel Seijas came to an end last Thursday over salary issues. The tweets said something along the lines of, via a crappy Google translation, “The Venezuelan @ LuismaSG13 was very close to signing with the Philadelphia Union of the MLS. The negotiations came to an end last Thursday. While the financial offer was not the most attractive, Luisma liked the idea of ​​playing there and everything was on track. [But] MLS clubs have restrictions on wages and [the Union] were unable release the budget to sign him.” Dang! A deal dead before even the rumors of it got out.

Antoine Hoppenot is working toward playing more minutes in 2014. “I’ve learned so much in my two years with the Union and it’s been great…Of course, I’d like to play 90 minutes on a consistent basis. I think that’s the mentality of every player. I’m still such a young player and I’m going to learn as much as possible to get better…There were games when I came in and played well and there were games where I had chances and didn’t execute the way I wanted. I want to get to the point where I can play at that high level all the time. I think that’s the goal for everyone. I’m going to keep working as hard as I can to get to that level.”

The Brotherly Game rounds up how former Union players fared in last week’s games.

Local

New Hope’s Steve Neumann, a senior at Georgetown and Reading United alumni, has been named as a Hermann Trophy semifinalist. Fans can place their vote beginning on Dec. 5.

MLS

In case you missed it, here’s a link to Don Garber’s State of the League address.

Garber said the league is working to place the next two expansion teams in Miami and Atlanta. The key component of expanding to these cities is of course the stadiums in which the teams would play. Even with David Beckham’s backing of a Miami franchise, there will be no team there until a stadium deal is in place. And so, while considerable buzz has surrounded the possibility of a Beckham-owned team in Miami, an Atlanta franchise could join the league first. Garber said,

“With Atlanta we have finalized the stadium situation…

“Atlanta is a big market, we need to be in the southeast and if we can continue advance our discussions positively with Arthur [Blank] and the Falcons we hope to be able to get a situation finalized.

“That could potentially be our second team, Orlando being the first.”

One of the factors that makes Atlanta a strong possibility is what Garber referred to as a “downsizing technology” that would make the Falcon’s new 65,000-seat stadium that is slated to open for the 2017 NFL season work for a MLS team. Garber said, “We’ve been working on a downsizing technology that we think would be unique, would be the only one of its kind anywhere in the world. We’ve got to continue to work hard with Atlanta to see if this whole project makes sense for them. But I am encouraged by the discussions and hope to be able to finalize something.”

Regarding Atlanta and Miami, Garber stressed, “We’re making progress in both of those markets. I wouldn’t say we’re close in either of those markets.”

Garber said other potential expansion cities include San Antonio, Austin, St. Louis, and Minneapolis, adding, “all the potential stadium sites would be within the urban core.”

Reaction to Garber’s comments about expansion from MySanAntonio.com, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Sacramento Bee. At ESPN, Doug McIntyre considers whether too much expansion is a problem.

Other topics discussed by Garber included a move to a winter schedule (not happening any time soon), greater transparency in player transactions (desirable and working on it), improving TV ratings (need the right broadcasting partner and a more consistent schedule) and flex scheduling (desirable but tough to implement).

Garber said of the need for more transparency, “What I will say is that as an emerging league, there are times when we are figuring out those rules as we go along. I don’t know if the Clint Dempsey case is an example of that, but there could be something that comes up where we say, this is something that we need to figure out now, because we will lose this player or we won’t be able to sign this player, or it will prevent us from being competitive in an international competition, whatever it might be. That means, as an emerging league that we’ve got to have the ability to be flexible and evolve.”

The Columbus Dispatch, TSN, MLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, SI, SBI, and Goal.com have helpful summaries of the key points in Garber’s address. More from Philly.com.

The Street on the league’s hopes for a new TV deal.

Also announced on Tuesday was the league’s Best XI. Whatever. It is interesting to note only four of the 11 are US players.

At ProSoccerTalk, Richard Farley asks, “After a regular season and three rounds of playoffs, has the competition format done a good job of identifying the two teams that should be competing for this year’s title?” He concludes the answer is yes.

New Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen is interested in securing Clint Dempsey (and reported Toronto FC target Jermaine Defoe) on loan.

The Montreal Impact will field a U-23 team in the PDL beginning in 2014. A press release states, “The PDL will offer a place for the club’s Academy graduates to continue their development, while maintaining college eligibility and Home Grown Player status.” The team is actually Montreal’s U-21 team. The Impact become the fifth MLS club to field a PDL team. The others are the Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps. Three other MLS clubs — the Union, New England Revolution, and Seattle Sounders — have partnerships with PDL teams.

US

Jozy Altidore has been named Futbol de Primera US national team Player of the Year.

There are a number of posts at US Soccer.com associated with Friday’s World Cup draw, including looks back to the 1990 and 1994 draws and also a roundup of articles from the site on the USMNT’s 2014 qualification campaign. Another article notes that of the five confederations the US has faced in World Cup play, the only one the US has a winning record against is, believe it or not, CONMEBOL, the South American confederation.

Soccer America, Goal.com, and ProSoccerTalk (1), (2) consider some draw scenarios for the US. How does Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, and the USA sound?

At SI, Grant Wahl has an interesting look at one little discussed challenge of the 2014 World Cup: travel demands. Wahl notes that, depending on the draw, “the US will have to cover anywhere from 1,946 miles to 8,866 miles round-trip during the opening round alone.”

Elsewhere

The pots for Friday’s World Cup draw were announced on Tuesday. The US is in Pot 3 along with Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico. Here’s a useful explanation of how the draw will work.

At FIFA.com, a photo history of previous World Cup draws.

ESPN reports that the Sao Paolo state prosecutor will investigate FIFA “for suspicions of racism over the selection of the hosts of the broadcast of Friday’s World Cup draw in Bahia.”

The official match ball of the World Cup, the brazuca, was also unveiled on Tuesday. At The Guardian, an illustrated look back at World Cup balls since 1970, when adidas supplied its first World Cup ball, the Telstar.

Sepp Blatter says early World Cup kickoff times in tropical cities in Brazil will not be moved to later in the day despite concerns over the health of players from FIFPro.

World Cup stadiums in Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Cuiaba will not be completed in time for the Dec. 31 deadline set by FIFA. While the stadiums in Curitiba and Cuiaba should be ready by the end of February, a report on a new construction timeline for the Sao Paolo stadium following last week’s crane collapse is not expected to be completed until the end of this week.

At The Guardian, Daniel Harris says the World Cup will be sensational for the first time in a generation.

The AP reports on how concerns about street protests taking place during the World Cup such as those that occurred during the Confederations Cup are being addressed.

UEFA head Michel Platini says when the 2022 World Cup will be played will be the decision of Qatar’s authorities.

Platini also said he believes match-fixing is a greater threat to the world’s game than racism.

Reuters reports, “Juventus have been fined after a decision to allow schoolchildren to use seats usually occupied by hardcore fans banned for discriminatory chanting backfired.” The club gave 12,200 children seats where ultras normally sit at Juventus Stadium for Sunday’s game against Udinese and the children proceeded to shout insults at the visiting keeper every time he took a goal kick.

Reuters reports, “Diego Maradona has been invited by Colombia’s FARC to play for their team in a soccer ‘Game for Peace’ during talks in Cuba between the rebels and the Colombian government looking to settle a decades-old conflict.”

3 Comments

  1. If Hoppenaut is so hungry to improve than he needs to move past being the prototypical Hackworth player. He needs to drastically improve his skill set in every aspect of the game. I think he is a better finisher than Cruz, but that just means that the team needs to bring in players who will compete and be elite MLS players. It starts with club culture and who’s in charge.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      That’s why this offseason is important. We have been fed the, “wait for the future…” type lines since the first season. It’s time to show us (the fan base) that they want to win. It has to be this season. The commitment and smarts from the FO have to come through.

      • Of course you’re right but the Pessidelphian in me says you’re in for some serious disappointment. FO please prove me wrong.

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