Daily news roundups

Casey & Jack make SA’s top MLS strikers/forwards list, Perez update, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

At Soccer America, Conor Casey comes in at No. 6 in the list of best MLS strikers for 2013, while Jack McInerney comes in at No. 9 on the the list of top forwards.

Reports we linked to on Tuesday indicated that the race to sign reported transfer target Pablo Perez was down to the Union and Malaga. Later on Tuesday, Perez’s agent, Carlos Bilicich, said in a radio interview, “Nothing firm yet, there could be more news coming this weekend.” More quotes from Bilicich at golesfutbol.com.ar (crappy Google translation here). For information on Perez from a Malaga perspective, check out these reports from malagahoy.es (crappy Google translation here), laopiniondemalaga.es (crappy Google translation here), and news-futbol.blogspot.com (crappy Google translation here). The last two articles note concern from Newell’s about how Malaga would pay for a Perez deal.

There has been no new information from here or Colombia concerning the status of Carlos Valdes, whose loan to Independiente Santa Fe officially expired on Dec. 31 (click here for a list of updates on Valdes). You will recall that John Hackworth said on Dec. 26, “I think we’re close to having a resolution that’s going to make sense for both us and for Carlos.”

At the Brotherly Game, a best and worst list for the Union starting XI in 2013.

Philly.com has a nice reminder about how the Union has brought so many people together who otherwise may not have met in this story about Megan O’Driscoll and Andrew Melly, Union season ticket holders who recently married after first meeting at the inaugural game at the Linc back in 2010.

MLS

MLSsoccer.com has a roundup of possible big storylines for 2014.

ProSoccerTalk presents its top 5 MLS goals of 2013.

The Vancouver Whitecaps have denied an ESPN Deportes report that2013 Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo has signed with Mexican side Gallos Blancos de Queretaro.

Real Salt Lake have signed Jordan Allen, an 18-year-old academy product and US youth international, to a homegrown contract.

US

The federation has released a nice USMNT 2013 highlight reel:

SBI has a list of its favorite USMNT goals of 2013.

At SI, Grant Wahl has a a twopart review of some of the top US soccer storylines of 2013 and links to some of his favorite articles of the year. Want predictions? Grant Wahl has some.

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep considers whether it’s too early to call Jozy Altidore’s move to Sunderland a failure.

Brek Shea, on a short-term loan to Championship side Barnsley from Stoke City, played 70 minutes in his debut for the team on Wednesday.

World Soccer Talk reports, “FOX Soccer Daily, FOX’s daily soccer news show that launched August 19, has temporarily been taken off the air for 4-6 weeks so FOX executives can evaluate the format and talent in order to determine what changes are needed to improve the ratings.”

Elsewhere

At the Guardian, Barney Ronay on how Brazil 2014 “epitomizes the new breed of inequitable sporting mega-event.”

Gerard Pique believes legal investigations involving Lionel Messi and Neymar are motivated by jealousy in Madrid.

39 Comments

  1. New year and the same silence from our front office is deafening. I want to give them a chance, but they are making it really hard to believe that they know what they’re doing.

    • What are they gonna say? It seems that they have a lot of eggs in the Pablo Parez basket and the longer this drags out the less likely we are to get him. So if they say nothing they are screwed, If they say some thing non committal people will complain about that and if they say something definite like a signing by the new year (via Zeilin) and it doesn’t come to pass they look like fools. There probably isn’t much they can do for a plan B beyond preliminary talks until Parez officially goes to Europe. So on this front they are kind of screwed.
      But this sin’t stopping them from filling other holes on the team and getting some resolution to the Carlos Valdes situation.
      It makes me wonder how many are they gonna bring in during the off season and how much are they expecting the draft to fill holes.

      • As much as I can remember, there was no statement regarding a definite signing by the New Year though. Hack’s statement was a hopeful one, and I think it was Zeitlin who commented that “soon” meant by the end of 2013. Perez’s agent said there could/should be news about the player’s future sometime this weekend.

      • Ed Farnsworth says:

        To add to AD22’s comment, here’s the full text of the Zeitlin tweet:

        I just spoke with John Hackworth, who said “We look forward to hopefully announcing some signings very soon.” Soon as in before end of 2013.

        The key word is “hopefully.” PSP’s roundup headline read, “Hack hopeful signings will be announced ‘very soon…’”

        To be clear, I’m as frustrated as the next Union fan about the comparative absence of signings so far, but there’s no point in creating more frustration by pointing to things that simply were not said. When people say that Hack promised a signing announcement – and then say he lied because there hasn’t been one – that is exactly what they’re doing.

        Btw, here’s the full quote from Pablo Perez agent Carlos Billicich (crappy Google translation here), from a radio interview on Tuesday, Dec. 31: “Nothing firm yet, there could be more news coming this weekend.”

        The key word in this instance is “could.”

      • Also important, of course, is the placement of the quotes. Hack never said by end of 2013; Zeitlin is saying that.

      • The assumption is that zeitlin is an employee of the Union and he was broadcasting what the Union wanted to hear.

  2. James lockerbie says:

    Well said, sieve! Our worries must be filtering to the fo. philadelphiaunion.com has a q/a with Nick on todays posting

    It’s about the long term commitment

    • Meh.
      We’ll see about that long term commitment. The beauty of building in the long term is there is never a set date so it is always just around the corner. Same thing with building through youth, when there are always young cheap players you are always building through youth and hey maybe one day they will pan out.
      So far the Union have shown little commitment to any long term plan besides the academy and we have no idea how that will turn out.
      /
      At this point whenever I hear or read anything Nick Sakiewicz says I usually envision someone about 8 feet away rattling a toy to get his attention. Causing Nick to coo and squeal and squirm out of the suit they put him in. All the while a paid employee of the Union writes down the squeals copy edits it briefly and posts it on the web. Then changes his diaper. I am 60% certain this isn’t the case but it helps me get through the interviews.

  3. So the only two players on Soccer America’s first team that didn’t make the playoffs were Sheanon and Seba. By cooincidence (or maybe not) I have a picture of Sheanon, Seba, my wife, and me on my computer’s desktop from the Union’s open house last month. If nothing else, this shows that they are two of the classiest guys in the league that they will come out for an event like that in the offseason.

  4. From the Grant Wahl prediction article: “Sepp Blatter will say at least one offensive thing about women.”
    .
    And in other predictions for 2014, Wahl predicts that water will remain wet, and the sun will continue to rise in the east and set in the west.

  5. so I guess that quote about announcing something before the end of the calendar year was either 1) a lie, or 2) a sign that we’re not as good at negotiating as we thought.

    • 3) unexpected changes in the market (new team entering, Malaga upping their bid, etc); 4) the player and/or agent dragging their feet
      .
      Seriously – why does Hackworth saying that he hoped to announce something by the end of year mean the only reasons for it not happening are negative. (Not that he *will* make an announcement, but that he *hoped* to.)

    • I think it just means Parez has a good agent. He knows his client wants to go to Europe and is working on that. The longer this drags out the more it seems that both sides are working to make that happen. The Union probably started with something close to their best offer in hopes of getting this done quickly but it looks like that is not going to happen.
      /
      It happens.

  6. my reading of the links indicates that Atlético de Madrid would be his first choice but their interest is weak, and that the bids from Málaga and Philadelphia are fairly even, but MLS teams have a better reputation for actually paying their transfer fees and that counts in Philadelphia’s favor

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      I believe the references in the malagahoy.es and laopiniondemalaga.es articles to Atletico Madrid are to that club’s signing of Jose Sosa. As previous article we’ve linked to made clear, Sosa was Malaga’s primary transfer target. Now that he’s no longer available, Malaga’s attention has now moved to their secondary target, Pablo Perez.

  7. I really don’t get what the union are doing, the transfer market is open now for another month correct? Then it’s the draft and that’s it, barring trade? There is no other way to add players?
    .
    The way I see it, when the season ended the needs were (in no order) LB, CB, CAM, LM. Lesser so was RM, and CDM depending on who you talk to. Well by my count we’ve lost 3 mids and only picked up one. Now our list of needs goes up by by at least 2 more, if for nothing else but depth.
    .
    I’ve been patient and trying to be trusting of management, purposely, so I don’t feel like I’m being a “negadelphian”. The thing is we sit where we sit right now, and every day I’m a little more uncomfortable. I honestly would like to know where some of the commentors optimism is coming from, I’m grasping at straws and I want to believe.
    .
    The problem for me, is that to be a good team, I feel we need a minimum of 5 players brought on, we will not be so lucky w injuries next year. I don’t have the confidence or the recent history with this FO to believe they will make these acquisitions. I see one mid level signing, probably around 250-300k salary, and the rest filled through the draft with all of our picks.
    .
    This makes me think we will be a couple games worse than last year, sold the hope of youth, but losing jack next year. My question to everyone is, what feeling does this lineup give you for the upcoming season?
    Macmath
    Williams, Okugo, Parke, Gaddis
    Cruz, Carroll, New Player, Le Toux
    Mac, Casey
    Subs: Hoppenot, Daniel, Fabinho, Wheeler, Goalie, rookie, rookie

    • Agree with all the needs above, but I’d also add backup keeper to the list. Based on MacMath’s performance last year it’s pretty clear he needs a veteran GK to both mentor and push him for him to be at his best. I liked Konopka, but it’s clear just having a pool type player on the roster didn’t help his improvement. So I view a veteran backup a need as well, since it appears Nikolov won’t be back in any capacity.

    • And yet, from reading Sak’s interview, he makes it sound like they are confident that they are going to add 3-4 quality players. Here’s hoping he’s telling the truth…

    • I know that there are those among us who will buy into the company line no matter what. It’s like Fox’s pseudo News network and it’s fan base. They would rather live in a made up reality than look and the facts. The Union from top to bottom believe that the team that pin balls all over the field accomplishing nothing led by a U17 coach in a weak conference is an absolute success. They know that the media and fan base will accept the same clichés and talking points with no substance because Philly is just happy to have a team. They will continue to deflect all blame to the Novak regime even though Sakiewicz and Hackworth where major players in that regime.

    • I believe the MLS transfer window doesn’t open for at least another month. The European window – England, Spain, France, Germany, and Italy – opened as of yesterday and close end of Jan/beginning of Feb. Players who are out of contract as of December 31st can be brought in outside any transfer windows, I think … someone correct me if I’m (most likely) wrong here. 😉

  8. btw- watching that USMNT video, I have to ask: Was 2013 one of the best calendar years for US men’s soccer ever?

  9. I’m curious as to what those who complain about the front office’s communication would prefer in exchange; there is no way to “win” the PR battle, it seems… damned if you do, damned if you don’t. This is a regional team with finite resources, at this point, who are trying their hardest to build a competitive squad without dumping money into a hole again. (This is hardly unique to the U in Philadelphia sports, either. Go ask a Sixers or Phillies fan how hard it is to build a solid, cost-effective team for any number of years. How much success hinges on one key player with an affordable deal, who also doesn’t get hurt and attracts other talented players?).

    Also, soccer deals are more inane than any other sport in the world. Add to that the layer of MLShenanigans and you end up with “could” and “probably” and “hopeful” as being legitimate business language for “there is literally not a person alive, including in the commissioner’s office, who is certain a deal is done, even when that player has the new team’s uniform on.”

    The hole this team was in 16 months ago was enormous. They absolutely nailed last year’s offseason, with Casey, Le Toux, Parke, and Wheeler. Give them a chance to do it again.

    • Agreed… but I wonder how much in denial I am… the fact the Hacworth said there will be news by year-end, and their has been nothing but silence just doesn’t help matters…

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Well said, Chris.

    • It was a B offseason. You’re omitting the loss of Valdes, the displacement of Okugo, which caused the departure of Soumare, the draft picks of Anding and Kassel rather than a true LB prospect, our shocking lack of depth everywhere except at FW, and the saga of Freddy Adu.
      .
      My point is, some of our moves worked out great, while others worked out poorly. This offseason, we’ve only seen negative moves thus far (not bringing back Valdes, saying goodbye to Torres, selling Marfan for who-knows-what). We’ve also seen the Union not reach for some guys who we thought would fit this team well. So, I’m going to grumble until the front office starts making things happen.

  10. James lockerbie says:

    I think we’re all just as excited about the off season. As our kids were about waking up christmas day to open up their gifts. We just want the chance to find out whats under the superdraft/transfer window tree. The hopes of finding a red rider bee bee gun! I.E a real difference maker or quality mid field players

  11. My original post was not in response to the management not “saying” anything, but rather their lack of doing anything. If Jeff Parke didn’t want to come home, if Conor Casey wasn’t injury plagued and “old” and if LeToux didn’t play out of position on two separate teams, what good moves did this team make last off-season. All those moves fell into their laps. So the we hope to sign 3-4 good players tells me they don’t have a plan and if you don’t know where you want to go the road you choose to go down doesn’t matter. DC had a plan and went out and accomplished it. I think I would just like to see a plan as opposed to “we are looking into a few things”.

    • That’s not fair to say that all of those moves that the Union made last offseason (Parke, Casey and LeToux) were lucky. They still had to commit the resources to make them all happen so at least give them some credit for that.

      Admittedly, they have made a slow start in their upgrade of the roster, but I’m willing to give them a few more weeks to get some deals done.

  12. neck label says:

    im really just ready to see somebody do something. until then im watching to see if marfan gets any minutes with cruz azul. first game is saturday vs monterrey. NICE!

  13. Draft is not looking good. Stolz declined offer and Dean hasn’t signed GA yet. I see Union trading at least one of their 1st round picks away, possibly both. Those were basically the cream of the crop.

    http://www.soccerbyives.net/2014/01/tshuma-players-generation.html

  14. Thanks for another great read! Ed and the rest of you readers/posters make it so fun to read this page. I am more of a wait and see guy. Maybe I am just glad to have a hometown team. I have season tickets for the U. I may also have rose colored glasses on. But that doesn’t stop me from DOOPIN’ and cheering on the home team. So lets relax and see what happens. Keep on postin’ Everyone have a safe and Happy New Year! I’ll see you at PPL park for the home opener!

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