Daily news roundups

Pfeffer on time in Germany, MLS Cup final notes, World Cup draw news, Mandela’s passing, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

At the Union website, Andy Jasner talks to Zach Pfeffer, now back from his loan to Hoffenheim. Pfeffer said of how he benefited from his time there, “I would say I improved in everything. The technical aspects, tactical aspects, strength-wise.”

His goal now? “Being back, my goal is to work hard and get ready for preseason training with the Union. I had a great experience in Germany and I feel like it helped to prepare me. I’d very much like to win a place on the club next season. I think my experience has made me better and I’m looking forward to challenging for a spot with the Union.”

Several Union Academy players have been selected for the 2013 US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. on Dec. 12. On the U-15/16 Red Team are Union Academy goalkeeper Andrew Verdi, defender Matthew Real, and forward Isaiah Young. Also on the team are Sean O’Hearn (D; PA Classics) and Josh Burnett (M; PDA). Named to the U-17/18 Blue Team is Austin Maloney (D; PA Classics).

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has some background on the College Cup, the semifinals and finals of which will be played at PPL Park Dec. 13-15.

The Brotherly Game talks to Ami Oristaglio of the Sons of Ben about January’s Help Kick Hunger charity event.

Local

Rutgers-Camden and Messiah are each in today’s NCAA Division III men’s championship semifinals today. Check out this preview from PSP contributor Phil Naegely, who will be live tweeting from the games in San Antonio. Follow him on Twitter at Falconnation512.

MLS

The MLS Cup Final finally takes place on Saturday when Sporting Kansas City hosts Real Salt Lake (4 pm, ESPN, UniMás, SiriusXM FC). If you’re looking for some company to watch the game with, stop on by The 700 in Northern Liberties for PSP’s viewing party. In the meanwhile, look for Adam and Eli’s preview later this morning.

Soccer America has a positional preview. ProSoccerTalk does the same with posts looking at RSL’s and KC’s defense and goalkeepers.

The New York Times notes that the final will be but the “latest collision” between the two teams. MLSsoccer.com looks at three matches that “sparked the feud” between the teams.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle has some notes on the final.

The Kansas City Star on Sporting coach Peter Vermes’ first return to the MLS Cup final as a coach. He was with the Kansas City Wizards as a player when they won the league title in 2000.

Frigid temperatures are forecast for the final but Vermes says the pitch will not be frosty.

Just in case you were wondering why the RSL players have been wearing cammies during their post season travels.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle looks back on the league’s past history in Florida as that state become the focus of expansion.

Following Don Garber’s State of the League address, Soccer America’s Paul Gardner has a State of the Commissioner.

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Camilo Sanvezzo has won Goal of the Year. RSL’s Nick Rimando won Save of the Year for the second year in-a-row.

ESPN says FC Dallas wants former Columbus Crew man Guillermo Barros Schelotto but salary difference (among other things) may prevent a deal.

The Toronto Star says 24-year-old Brazilian forward Gilberto Oliveira Souza Jr. is Toronto FC’s latest target.

NWSL

Is former Philadelphia Independence head coach Paul Riley headed to the Portland Thorns?

US

The World Cup draw takes place today sometime around 11:45 am. Coverage of the draw starts at 11 am on ESPN3 and Watch ESPN with ESPN2 opening its coverage at 11:30 am.

At SI, Grant Wahl relates how the only thing Jurgen Klinsmann seems concerned about is drawing a first-round game in Manaus, the city in Amazonian rainforest.

Also at SI, Brian Straus looks around the word and notes there are plenty of countries that aren’t looking forward to playing the US.

MLSsoccer.com previews the draw.

Also at MLSsoccer.com, a historical look at each of the USMNT’s potential opponents at the 2014 World Cup.

The title of this look at the draw from the Wall Street Journal wins Best Headline of the Day: US Soccer Team is Probably Doomed.

The US Soccer website looks back to the 1998, 2002, and 2006.

Elsewhere

MLSsoccer.com, ProSoccerTalk, and Goal.com, round up reaction as the soccer world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela.

At ESPN, Firdose Moonda on how Mandela’s sporting legacy will live on. At SI, Jonathan Wilson says Mandela understood the true power of sports. At Goal.com, Peter Pedroncelli remembers “a man with a huge heart, an incredible capacity to forgive and an appetite for football.” At The New York Times, Jeré Longman says Mandela “embraced the power of sports for resistance and unity.”

At FIFA’s headquarters, the flags of the federation’s 209 member associations will be flown at half-mast and a minute of silence will be observed before kickoff in the next round of international matches. In England, this weekend’s Premier League, Football League, and FA Cup matches will be preceded with a minute of applause for Mandela.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli described FIFA’s decision to use October’s rankings to determine the eight seeds in the World Cup draw as “ridiculous.”

Deadspin wonders what the draw would look like if it was seeded the way Americans would.

The winning team at the World Cup will take home $35 million.

Sepp Blatter says Arena Corinthians, scheduled to host the opening game of the 2014 World Cup and the site of a crane accident last week that left two workers dead, will not be completed until April.

At ESPN, a long-form article from Wright Thompson on “Why the youth of Brazil are (forever) protesting, and how their anger may consume the World Cup.”

At The Guardian, Owen Gibson examines concerns over stadiums, transport, security and legacy in Brazil.

Reuters reports, “Carlos Alberto Torres, the captain of arguably Brazil’s greatest side, fears the current crop are worse than previous World Cup failures and the soccer-mad nation is overcooking expectations.”

FIFA will decide when the 2022 World Cup will be staged in Qatar at the end of next year.

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

6 Comments

  1. Damn – I think all three of those groupings in the Deadspin article are better than what we’ll be seeing in a half hour or so. The third one, especially, looks like it would produce a crazy-fun tournament.

    • US could have had Australia’s draw. And FIFA did prove they can’t run a tournament since it looks like Brazil will meet the Netherlands or Spain in the round of 16.

      On the other hand, they could have had Honduras’ draw.

      Actually, while the US probably can’t win its group there is no reason they can’t finish second. And, if they do, they are on the easier side of the draw. Of course, Germany looks to have a cakewalk to the semis.

      • True, but Australia wasn’t going to advance out of any of the groups as they’re pretty poor. And while Chile is very good, they don’t have the recent track record that Ghana has in WC play.

        The US is definitely in the toughest overall group. I’m just glad we got Portugal instead of Holland, France or Russia. It could’ve been even worse for us.

      • The US was almost always going to be in the toughest group since right now they are so much stronger than anyone else in CONCACAF or AFC (pot 3). Before dissing Chile too much, in 2010 they got out of a group with Spain and Switzerland before losing to Brazil in the round of 16.

        Excluding the teams in pot 3, I think Group B and D (England, Italy, Uruguay) are both tougher than Group G. Also don’t underrate group C (Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast).

      • I wasn’t dismissing Chile, they were great in 2010, but Ghana has done very well at the last two World Cups (round of 16 and quarters).

        I think that you’re overestimating Groups C & D. England and Greece are both middling sides and very similar to the US.

        For all of the hype that the Ivory Coast has gotten through the years, this golden generation has never gotten out of their group and has never won anything.

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