Daily news roundups

Farfan says Cruz Azul move in the works for 2-3 weeks, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

It didn’t get any easier for Union fans anxious about the lack of offseason moves with the news from Mexico City on Saturday that Cruz Azul had presented Michael Farfan to the media, along with San Jose’s Rafael Baca and LA’s Jose Villarreal.

Putting aside analysis of what the news means in soccer terms, it is difficult not to conclude that how the news had come out was a public relations disaster for the clubs involved and another case of a foreign club announcing a deal before it apparently had been approved by MLS. It’s become an all too familiar scenario and for Union fans: It appeared as if the club was not only once again behind in the reporting of a major player departure but also unwilling to comment. And while the Union — and San Jose and LA — were silent, fans were confronted with the absurdity of stories appearing on the league’s own website reporting on the trio’s move to Mexico. Leading with disclaimers such as “There has been no word yet north of the border,” and that the signings are “still unconfirmed by all three MLS clubs involved,” the reports did the clubs no favors and only furthered the poor impression among fans of how the clubs were handling the news of the transfers.

The disengenuousness of such reporting from the league’s own website was underscored by a tweet from the Union on Saturday that explained the reason for the club’s silence: “Per MLS regs, we can’t comment on player transactions until official paperwork is approved. Will provide information as soon as we are able.” That’s a pretty significant piece of information and one that surely must have been known to the writers at MLSsoccer.com. Meanwhile, frustrated fans were left to vent their spleens at the clubs.

Video from the Cruz Azul player announcement press conference is available and one of the MLSsoccer.com reports notes Cruz Azul sporting director Agustín Manzo’s comments in praise of the three players and that he had traveled to the US to see the players in action.

The audio for the video isn’t the greatest but here is a transcript of Michael Farfan’s brief comments in the press conference, thanks to a translation from PSP photographer Barb Colligon. The questions have been paraphrased:

Question: We’re a large institution. We want to win more titles. What do you think of the team?

Michael Farfan: I want to get a position, get to know the players, and do good things.

Question: Do you think you’re at a training level to play here with the first team?

Michael Farfan: Yes, but we haven’t started yet. We’re starting little by little. But yes, I feel good.

Question: Which league is more difficult: MLS or Mexican Football? How hard is it to adapt to Mexican football?

Michael Farfan: Football is football. It’s the same in each country. The league is different but not very different. I think it’s going to be okay.

Question: You don’t speak much Spanish do you? (polite laugh)

Michael Farfan: No (laugh).

Questions: [Many persons speaking, but context is they’re asking about where he comes from and how he speaks Spanish]

Michael Farfan: I was born in San Diego, California. Later, I grew up there […] Later, high school. The MLS Draft to a team in Philadelphia, there for three years and now on to the team here, Cruz Azul.

Question: Is this your first time in Mexico?

Michael Farfan: My father lives in Tijuana, but first time playing football, yes.

Question: What position do you like to play?

Michael Farfan: Right midfielder — I receive it and I pass it…Yeah…[laughter as he ends it there and doesn’t say more].

Question: How did they contact you?

Michael Farfan: I’ve known for two, three weeks. I returned to Mexico. I was interested in Cruz Azul and I wanted to go. It’s a team with a good history and I’m very proud and emotional to be here.

That Farfan has known a deal was in the works for two or three weeks helps explain the transfer target list from the Cruz Azul website that we linked to on Friday morning, which is dated Dec. 9.

In case you’re wondering, Farfan and the others could appear for Cruz Azul as soon as Jan. 4 when the club opens the 2014 Clausura against Monterrey.

Brian Carroll comes in at No. 9 in Soccer America’s list of the top ten holding midfielders in MLS. “Union fans love to rip Brian Carroll for his meager offense (two goals, one assist) but he’s capable of holding the center secure and still durable: at 32 he missed only one game.”

The Union community lost one of their own recently when Jessie Miele, who along with her husband Drew was a Sons of Ben member and a founding member of the Corner Creeps, passed away soon after giving birth Natas, the couple’s first child. A memorial fund has been established and, as Soccerly reports, it is receiving contributions from supporters in the Philadelphia area and from around the country.

The Brotherly Game has a 12 days of Christmas, Union edition 2013.


Reading United have named Denise Strohmayr as the their new executive director.

The Lackawanna College women’s team has been awarded the 2013 NSCAA Ethics/Sportsmanship Gold Award.


In player movement news that does not involve Michael Farfan,

Looks like Clint Dempsey will go on loan to Fulham for two months during the offseason. More on the news from ESPN.

SBI has a look at the latest crop of Generation adidas candidates.

FC Dallas will open its preseason with two weeks in the United Arab Emirates.

Here’s the winning design for the DC United-themed The Tradition beer can.

Oklahoma City’s USL PRO side will partner with Sporting Kansas City with recently retired KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen as head coach. More on the story from MLSsoccer.com.

With construction of their new stadium now begun, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal says the Minnesota Vikings will “revisit its pursuit of Major League Soccer.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he may end up in MLS one day, if only to improve his stateside recognition.

Franck Ribery says he would consider a move to MLS when his days our done at Bayern Munich, “I could be tempted to go to a country like the U.S. or maybe the [United Arab] Emirates, but I would not count that as part of my real career. That would be something I would do to wind up my career and could not be compared to what I have experienced in Munich. I will stay in Munich as long as it is possible.” Uh, thank you for your, uh, honesty?


US Soccer announced its All-Time Best XI men’s team on Friday. It’s a great lineup — who can argue with Landon Donovan being the top vote-getter? —  but given the eligibility criteria, “All-time” really means “of the past 25 years.” Look for PSP’s alternative Best XI from Steve Holroyd later this morning.

Reaction to the list from Soccer America (Paul Cagliuri was robbed!) and ProSoccerTalk.

MLSsoccer.com has a USMNT Best XI list based on “pure talent” that includes Freddy Adu.

The Central Winger says the USMNT’s chances of advancing out of their group at the World Cup aren’t as bad as you think.


Bayern Munich defeated Moroccan side Raja Casablanca 2-0 to win the Club World Meh.

Sepp Blatter says he’s disappointed European clubs don’t value the Club World Cup more. “It’s a question of solidarity. They should also be interested in the other leagues and have a look at what is going on elsewhere.”

The 2016 European Championship will feature a field of 53 countries competing for 23 spots, with France automatically qualifying as host.


  1. I’m trying not to freak out over the Unions moves so far. It is still early and the international transfer window hasn’t opened yet.
    What have we lost so far: Just about every creative player on the Union.
    What have we gained: Corbin Bone.

    • I think the Union picked up Bone because Torres, Kleberson and Farfan were on their way out. Bone is a decent player, on a cheap salary.
      He was also the smallest risk in the RED. Aside from Rolfe [who pulled out] Horst [who was traded], and Franklin, not sure if anyone else was really worth picking up. Plus do we need a 3rd RB?

  2. Since Farfan moved outside MLS, the Union must be getting real money, not ‘allocation money’, right? Its a shame the union aren’t allowed to comment. I’d like to hear that this was a Godfather offer (thanks to whoever posted that term) or Sugarman needed to make a yacht payment, or whatever. With no word at all, we’re going to assume the worst.

    • I believe Marfan had one more year on his contract with MLS so Cruz Azul probably paid some sort of a transfer fee. Based on Marfan’s time on the team the Union should get 2/3 of that fee (the other 1/3 going to MLS). Let’s say it’s a modest $100k transfer fee. In that scenario, the Union would get $66k of that in the form of allocation money. It’s not just cash that the owners get to use for their own personal gain. It is allocation money parceled out by the league which the team can use in numerous ways for future player acquisitions.

      • And with roughly one year lef ton his contract, this was a good time to squeeze some money out of a transfer. Also dumps about 200K off the books for a player who struggled last season.

      • Jim,

        Where do you come up with $200k coming off the books? Farfan’s base for ’13 was $99k with a guaranteed comp of $136k.

      • Never mind, I got your math now.

      • I assumed an increase in the Guarantee for 2014 plus any possible bonus incentives that are not added to that figure. So yeah 200k might be a little high. But it was a ball park.

  3. The Realist Brian says:

    It is truly disturbing that there are zero rumors for players coming here. Normally agents start talking these things up to incrust value and drive up deals as teams compete for a signature. We have heard ZIP around this. I believe that the team will make a few marginal signings at best, sign a less valued Generation Adidas player with the 2nd or 6th pick instead of a stud and then try to label it as building for the future and “gee, look at how young our team is” crap that they consistently peddle. This is a small minded, “save money at all costs” team that isn’t interested in winning. People have to start waking up to this crap this year. I hope they disprove me, but the track record of promising big player signings and making moves isn’t good.

    • …but we can still vote for the best play of 2013 on the Union site. So, that’s good!

    • Well, part of that is a function of the modern American soccer media, particularly insofar as Philadelphia is involved. The people who would be writing it are … well, us at PSP. But we don’t treat rumors the same way that English media do. We write what we know is true. It’s a more traditional American newspaper approach. We’ll link to reports in our daily aggregation, but that’s pretty much it. The Inquirer and Daily News don’t have fully dedicated soccer writers, so you won’t get much there. The Delaware County Times has a soccer writer, so maybe he produces something. The league web site doesn’t report much on rumors. And other indie soccer media aren’t really keyed into the Union. So I wouldn’t take the lack of rumors to mean there’s nothing happening. I think Hackworth went to the Caribbean recently, for example. If this was England, they would have hacked his phone by now to find out who he was meeting with.

  4. I liked both the Farfans. I miss their hard edges. As far as Hackworth’s travels go I hope we aren’t getting another soft caribbean player like Keon. The only reason to keep Keon is to make him available to the expansion draft at the end of this season.

    • The Realist Brian says:

      Agreed. Hopefully they can offload Keon as well. We don’t need another back passing, slow as molasses central mid that gets castigated by the National Media.


      Hackworth is taking vacations to the islands. Great. What a bonehead.

Leave a Reply

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


%d bloggers like this: