Daily news roundups

Cruz Azul targeting Marfan? MacMath, Okugo, Williams named to SBI MLS U-23 Best XI, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

UPDATE (Dec. 23): The Union confirmed that Michael Farfan has been transferred to Cruz Azul. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

UPDATE (Dec. 21): Cruz Azul posted an article on the club website (crappy Google translation here) announcing the signing of Farfan. The article included video of the official presentation with Farfan speaking to the press (in Spanish, obviously/unfortunately) at 26:20 in the video.

UPDATE (Dec. 21): Cruz Azul tweeted photos from the press conference announcing the signings of Farfan, Baca, and Villareal, including this photo of Farfan in a Cruz Azul jersey:

MLSsoccer.com posted a report based on the photos soon after. The report noted, “There has been no word yet north of the border” from the players’ MLS clubs, the Union, Earthquakes, and Galaxy, adding “the Philadelphia Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Michael Farfan’s status.” The Union then tweeted this message:

UPDATE (Dec. 20): ESPN Deportes reported (crappy Google translation here) on Friday afternoon that Michael Farfan, along with San Jose’s Rafael Baca and LA’s Jose Villareal, had passed physicals with Cruz Azul and “will join the club immediately.” This report was picked up by MSLSsoccer.com and confirmed by a report on Fox Deportes (crappy translation here) soon after. Goal.com reported that “the three MLS teams involved have agreed to the moves, with personal terms for each of the three players still being hammered out,” adding, “Farfan would be moving to Cruz Azul on a full transfer.” Meanwhile, a bio page for Farfan appeared on the Cruz Azul website.

When contacted by PSP on Friday afternoon, the Union declined to comment.

Philadelphia Union

The website for Liga MX club Cruz Azul (crappy Google translation here) lists Michael Farfan as a transfer target along with along with San Jose’s Rafael Baca and LA’s Jose Villareal.

Zac MacMath, Amobi Okugo, and Sheanon Williams have been named to SBI’s MLS U-23 Best XI. Jack McInerney received an honorable mention.

Jeff Parke comes in at No. 10 in Soccer America’s rankings of left centerbacks, falling seven spots from his 2012 ranking.

Antena2.com.co reports (crappy Google translation here) that Colombian clubs Atletico Junior and Deportivo Cali are interested in Carlos Valdes.

If you’re into mock drafts, MLSsoccer.com has the Union picking Christian Dean (D) and former Reading United midfielder Pedro Ribeiro (M) in the first round of the SuperDraft.

The Sons of Ben movie will have a sneak peek screening on Saturday, Jan. 18 during the NSCAA Convention/SuperDraft Weekend.

Local

As originally reported by PSP’s Phil Naegely last week, Messiah College’s Josh Wood has been named NSCAA’s NCAA Division III Men’s Player of the Year.

The Reading Eagle has an article promoting the Pennsylvania Roar.

Speaking of indoor soccer, Penn Live has a report on the Harrisburg Heat’s victory over ReAL Harrisburg in “indoor Open Cup” play. I confess I do not know what that tournament is.

MLS

A few player transactions were announced on Thursday:

MLSsoccer.com reports, “Major League Soccer has selected IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. as its Eastern hub for the 2014 preseason. MLS teams, including the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, New England Revolution and Toronto FC, are expected to train and most will compete in a series of friendlies beginning in late January and continuing through the end of February.”

The Columbus Crew will partner with USL PRO club the Dayton Dutch Lions for 2014. Sic MLS teams now have partnerships with USL PRO clubs.

At ESPN, Roger Bennett talks to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck about his love of soccer. Luck’s father was founding president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo.

US

Nike and US Soccer have renewed their deal, making Nike will be the US kit supplier for another nine years.

With the TV deals for US Soccer and MLS expiring in 2014, an article at Sports Business Journal predicting trends in broadcasting for 2014 says,

Before Google can make a splash with a big rights deal, it has to show that YouTube can handle a subscription package — and 2014 will be the year. Look for the company to set something up around U.S. and international soccer, potentially positioning the company as a player for rights in the next decade.

LAG Confidential reviews reaction to the article, including speculation that Google will get in on MLS coverage. Interesting how an article of predictions can lead to assumptions and speculation masquerading as fact.

US Soccer has announced its All-time USWNT Best XI as voted on by a panel of soccer historians, journalists, players, coaches, and administrators.

At SI, Avi Creditor and Brian Straus offer their picks for All-time USMNT Best XI.

Elsewhere

The Guardian’s interactive list of the top 100 players in the world begins with Nos. 71-100.

Don’t forget to check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week, including all of the Boxing Day fixtures.

25 Comments

  1. Also Ray Gaddis came in at #5 on SA’s list of top LB. I’m mildly surprised!

    SA’s Top 10 MLS Left Backs (2013)
    1 (2) Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City)
    2. (NR) Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids)
    3. (7) Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo)
    4. (5) Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake)
    5. (NR) Raymond Gaddis (Philadelphia Union)
    6. (4) Todd Dunivant (Los Angeles Galaxy)
    7. (NR) Leo Gonzalez (Seattle Sounders)
    8. (NR) Chris Tierney (New England Revolution)
    9. (NR) Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers)
    10. (-) Jordan Stewart (San Jose Earthquakes)

    • that’s interesting. Does it mean we’ve been overly harsh on Ray, and only seeing the flaws (the whole “not left-footed” thing)?

      • I was originally thinking that. But I think it might be more of a testament to the position league wide. The names after Gaddis don’t necesarily scream “class.” That said I do think Ray is an excellent man-v-man defender. He has pace, grit, and doesn’t mind being physical. — Ask Kenwyn Jones. A moderate improvement to his left foot play and crossing would boost his value to the Union considerably.

      • Some have, sure. Gaddis is a very good player. At right back, he is probably one of the top five in the league as well.

  2. Has Hope Solo started whining about being beaten out by Briana Scurry as keeper on the WNT Best XI? Actually, it’s a pretty good team, although I might consider switching to a 4-4-2 with Carli Lloyd replacing Alex Morgen, given Lloyd’s gold medal winning goals in the Olympics.

  3. Union Rumors says:

    Reports are surfacing from ESPN Deportes that Farfan is currently in Mexico – with Baca and Villareal – taking his medical with Cruz Azul. If coach decides any of the three will make the first team, they will be presented tomorrow with the other new acquisitions, and made available to begin play when the clausura starts on January 3rd.

    • Thanks for the update!

    • Just read the translated article. Sounds like all 3 players are going to be transferred and the Manager is going to decide tomorrow which to keep at Cruz Azul and which to send to Cruz Azul Hidalgo – their second division affiliate. So sounds to me like Farfan is gone.
      .
      I’m estimating 350K-500K fee and pulls about 150K-200K salary off the books.
      .
      But who do we have left in MF? Cruz, Daniel, Carroll, Bone, Fabinho (?), Lahoud, Pfeffer, McLaughlin, Le Toux (?) Ugly list.

  4. The Guardian Top 100 link is faulty. it goes to the SBI U-23 team

  5. Michael Farfan leaving is very disappointing, and I have to say leaves me very worried about the team going forward. Yes, he did not have a good year, but anyone can see the talent he has when he is on form and more importantly, played in his best position.
    .
    Hackworth, Vart and the front office have all publicly acknowledged the team’s needs in midfield, and yet, as it stands right now the weakest part of the team is now even weaker than it was at the end of the season.
    .
    I would hope that this sort of move is going to set up multiple acquisitions to really address this, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that this will be the case. I think whats going to happen is we’re going to use most if not all of our draft picks, see what sticks, hope that Pfeffer and Bone can contribute and maybe acquire an average MLS midfielder via trade. I’m not usually so doom and gloom about these things, and I tried to be philosophical about the Corben Bone pickup, but this is not a step in the right direction. I really want to be wrong here guys!

    • From a Union perspective, clearing Farfan’s $125-150k salary for 2014, plus maybe the $200k they will get from transfer fee leads me to believe they will make one ‘big’ signing — this is probably about what they are offering Ferrera or a similar player. I had thought Farfan would not be back in 2014, but though he would be trade bait, along with one of the 1st rd picks, within MLs.
      But I agree with Ben, I have not been impressed with the offseason so far, and really don’t see any plan other then ‘clear roster spots for the draft picks’.

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        It’s early. The pickings were slim in the first two drafts.
        ~
        You have to give Nick & John credit for clearing huge salary cap space. You know they didn’t want to sacrifice a young talent like Marfan.
        ~
        It sure looks to me like a new stud playmaker is on the way…and a bitchload of new rookie kids in camp.

      • Well, I agree we’ll be getting a gaggle of rookies. I’m unfortunately not convinced this means we get a new stud playmaker. (And of course, that’ll also depend on how we define “stud playmaker.”)
        .
        I was hoping Farfan would get a chance to redeem himself this year. If nagjs1 is guessing correctly and this leads to the U bringing in David Ferrara to work our left midfield position (with another “10” type player coming to man the middle), I’m OK with the move. A midfield of Carroll, Ferrara, a 10, and Le Toux on the right is certainly an improvement over last year.
        .
        I have to keep reminding myself that it is still, relatively, early in the offseason and there is still time for interesting moves…

  6. james lockerbie says:

    I have to agree with Ben T, This really seems weak. Unless the Union make several very quiet huge pick ups. Which we are not ready to believe, due to the history of weak pick ups and trades that this team has made in the past. What is santa going to bring or is it going to be up to father time in the new year?

    • james lockerbie says:

      The Date February 12, 2014 Just got really important to the union. If this team does a complete fire sale of all of nowak’s players and now michael Farfan. Then, the Union go the whole off season with just the draft picks. Whatch out empty stadium!

  7. Doubting Thomas says:

    Dudes what are you so worried about? We’ve got our Keeper, back five, and strikers all set. Everybody complained about our midfield and now we’ve jettisoned a big hunk (Farfan, Torres, Kleb, and Anding.) With all the draft picks and allocation money we’ll surely be able to find one (1) high-quality central midfielder “playmaker” type. Seriously do you think that John doesn’t know we need a distributer? I actually think this off-season is playing out exactly to plan. Like a swiss timepiece. We have a lot of chips. Stay tuned!!!!

    • They jettisoned the midfielders that had a place on the Union. Even if off the bench. Kleberson and Torres were possibly too expensive. But Marfan wasn’t. He was benched for Danny Cruz. Because of that I can only assume that whenever we lose a creative playmaker we will get another Antoine Cruz of Danny Hoppenot.

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        I hear you but I think Cruz will be relegated to sub where he’ll compete with Hop and be darned useful in that role. I wanted to see Roger and Jose too. Very much. Agonizingly so. But John doesn’t favor them. At all. So I’m just trying to be pragmatic here.

      • I do agree that Cruz can be a useful sub. His skillset, frankly, seems to lend itself exactly to that role. The problem – as you alluded to – is that Hoppenot is almost the same player. They shouldn’t keep both – it’s a waste of a roster spot. *IF* the goal is to make Cruz that 60-70 minute sub that comes on, runs wild, draws cards from tired players, etc then I can get on board with that plan. I would actually prefer keeping Hoppenot in that role – he does everything Cruz does, has better foot work, and is (I believe – too lazy to double check) cheaper.
        .
        If either has value to another MLS team, they Union ought to make the move and get what they can.

      • He is way cheaper. If i recall he makes about one third of what Cruz makes

  8. Mo Noodleman says:

    If the Philadelphia Union draft the BEST, most polished Left Mid in the lottery AND sign a proven, accomplished, change the complexion of our offense #10 from overseas I’m totally satisfied. Pour ALL our picks and cash into those two spots and let’s go. Philadelphia Union forever.

  9. James lockerbie says:

    I was trying to say, that everybody knows what this team needs. I believe the front office and the coaching staff know exactly what we need. But past practice for the past four off seasons gives us all a lot of doubt that the front office and coaching staff will actually pull it off.
    If there is any glimmer of hope it is the last off season because Casey came through big time for the union and bringing back Seb went along way to win back some fans and he had a strong season as well. Go Union hope to see everybody down in orlando for spring training

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