Daily news roundups

Sak says money allocated for “3 or 4” quality players, Perez deal to Malaga close, Valdes update, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

In part one of a Q&A on the Union website, Nick Sakiewicz discusses a number of topics.

  • Sakiewicz describes 2013 as “Both clearly a major rebuilding year and fixing the salary cap.”
  • He says of the team’s needs in 2014, “It’s not a major renovation project. Probably three or four quality pieces added in with the core that we have gets us there and that’s what we’re expecting to do…the single biggest thing we have to do is add the three or four pieces and we’ve allotted quite of bit of money towards getting those three or four players who are experienced, savvy, of high quality that when we marry them up to our core, is going to make this team more exciting.”
  • Sakiewicz says of John Hackworth, “I believe he needs more time to put the pieces in place.”
  • He says of Jack McInerny and the team’s young core, “We love Jack. He’s a player who grew up with this club…Very excited about him and Jack is an example of who we got and who we are – ambitious, aggressive and talented – lots of upside. Pretty excited about the future of not just Jack but [defenders] Amobi (Okugo) and Sheanon (Williams).”
  • Sakiewicz underscored that the team is working on a long-term plan for success that begins with youth development. “I think everyone needs to step back and see where this club is today versus where it was four years ago, and more importantly, where it’s going. That’s not always measured in wins and losses on the field. That’s measured in, ‘Look at the investment we’ve made in the youth Academy,’ or ‘we’re spending millions in developing local talent.’ That’s a 10-year plan. It’s not a one-year plan. It’s not a one-season plan. That’s kind of where we’re committed and where that’s going…we started a high school for soccer. We have an Academy now with multiple players. We have an Academy that had three of its players playing in the NCAA College Cup earlier in December. To me, that’s a peek at where we’re going with this club.”

Ahoradeportes.com (crappy Google translation here) is reporting that “an agreement has been reached” between reported Union transfer target Pablo Perez and La Liga club Malaga. The report says, “it only remains to agree on how to pay [Perez’ current club Newell’s Old Boys] to close everything.” A report on Thursday from eldesmarquemalaga.com (crappy Google translation here) noted that Newell’s “want hard cash” while Malaga want “to delay the payment for the transfer in order to not to strain the treasury.” This despite “a juicy offer” from the Union. Laopiniondemalaga.es (crappy Google translation here) quotes an unnamed Newell’s official as saying, “The U.S. offer we like, but Paul is not convinced by the football, while the amount and form of payment from Malaga does not satisfy us.”

A radio program in Colombia provides some sense of the kind of money involved in negotiations over the future of Carlos Valdes, describing a “million dollar loan figure.” PSP translation consultant Jon Marks gave the clip a listen to discern what “wasn’t pure opinion of the radio guys” and came away with this information. “Santa Fe doesn’t have the money to pay Valdés. More than 1 million they would need…That is the long and short of it. They mentioned the fact that Valdes wasn’t going to be part of the team. However, Valdés is in Cali working out waiting for a resolution to the situation. Looks like he is going to report to Santa Fe for the beginning of their preseason.” The Internet has been pretty quiet lately about current alternative suitors for Valdes.

In the latest ASN rankings of the top 100 US players, Jack McInerney comes in at No. 39 (-1), Amobi Okugo at No. 53 (-5), and Sheanon Williams at No. 89 (-2). The minor drops in position since the last rankings in November make sense when one remembers that the list is composed of players who are in and out of their league season.

Season ticket holders may remember a question in a recent survey from the club about a mascot. The Brotherly Game notes that a researcher from St. Joseph’s University sent out a message to select STHs on Thursday inviting them to participate in a focus group “to conduct preliminary fact finding on concepts for a team mascot.” I’m gonna take a wild, some might even say reckless, stance here and suggest that a mascot is way down the list of topics fans would like the team to focus on. Cause that’s how I roll.

Local soccer legend Gene Chyzowych has been named the recipient of the 2014 Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award, which happens to be named after his brother and fellow soccer legend. The release announcing the award, which this year is sponsored by the Union, says, “Over the past several years the Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund has asked Gene to accept the Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award. He has graciously turned down the honor in favor of ‘those more worthy.’ This year, however, on the twentieth anniversary of Walt’s passing and on Gene’s own retirement, there could be no more worthy recipient.” The award ceremony, which is open to the public, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at 4 pm at the Field House in the Reading Terminal. I’ll be there.


New Hope native, Reading United captain, and two-time Hermann Trophy semifinalist Steve Neumann has signed a pre-SuperDraft senior contract with MLS.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies have acquired the rights to Lucky Mkosana from the Harrisburg City Islanders. After the end of the 2013 USL PRO season, Mkosana joined Tampa on a loan before signing a one-year deal with the NASL club. More on the news from Penn Live.

Defender Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Pa.) and forward Rachael Dorwart (Penn Fusion; Mechanicsburg, Pa.) have been called up for the US U-15 GNT camp in Carson, Calif. that is taking place Jan. 4-11.


Some player transaction news:

Is Jermaine Jones looking for a Stateside move? Charles Boehm writes that, if he is, “he simply won’t have MLS clubs tussling tooth and nail to get his signature.” Boehm explains, “Jones’ reported price tag (a Designated Player-level contract) is way too high, and his positional strengths are too common, to justify it.”

2014 is the 40th anniversary of the founding of the San Jose Earthquakes and the club will mark the occasion with, among other things, a new logo and new uniforms.

At Grantland, Graham Parker looks back over “a few off-field moments that have stayed” him from the 2013 season.

MLSsoccer.com has a handy list of important dates for 2014.


USWNT forward Christen Press has written a very thoughtful blog post explaining her decision to remain in Sweden to see out Tyresö UEFA Women’s Champions League run despite receiving a phone call from the federation in November “detailing the reasons” why US Soccer want her to return to NWSL for the 2014 season. The Equalizer has reaction to the post.

As the player allocation list reveals, Press will play for Chicago when her Champions League run ends.

Speaking of Americans returning from abroad, Amber Brooks, who last played for Bayern Munich, has joined the Portland Thorns.


The roster for the January USMNT camp should be coming out today.

Dominic Oduro is confident that Ghana will defeat the US in their opening group stage game at the World Cup. “We’ve have beaten them twice already, 2006 and 2010 in this competition and so I don’t think nothing is going to stop us from doing it the third time.”

Bob Bradley is the new head coach of Norwegian club Stabaek, making him the first American to coach a first division team in Europe.


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

Reuters reports, “FIFA president Sepp Blatter is fed up with ‘preposterous’ simulation and ‘extravagant’ diving by players and has said it is up to referees to solve the problem.” Blatter suggests that “a time penalty” be instituted. “When a ‘stricken’ player seeks to return to the field of play immediately after being taken off, the referee can make the player wait until the numerical disadvantage has had an effect on the game.”

Reuters’ Andrew Downie examines the crisis facing Brazi’s domestic leagues. Columnist Marcelo Damato says in the article, “Brazilian football is awful. The CBF (the Brazilian Football Confederation) is a disorganized disaster.”


  1. I’m glad about Perez. It was clear he wasn’t enthusiastic about coming to the MLS or the Union and the quality of play . . . someone must have pointed him to a YouTube compilation of “Danny Cruz falling down”.

  2. So we, the fans, shouldn’t look at wins or losses but rather the fact that their is a soccer high school?! Also if you need 3 or 4 pieces and you only start 11, I think that’s a pretty big renovation. Considering the defense and goal are spoken for, that’s admitting you need a total overhaul. I know they have a correct line to toe but the emperor is clearly naked!

    • Atomic spartan says:

      Let’s see, 3 or 4, like a left- footed defender, a creative CAM, a better CDM, and an upgrade at left mid maybe? If that’s the way Sak is thinking, maybe give him the benefit of the doubt. If not, well….

      • I guess I would like more honesty, and less hubris. If someone came out and said “we have some needs and were gonna do our best within our budget to get back to the playoffs” we’d all be a bit more content. By him saying this it’s a good start though. Frankly though it doesn’t matter, Hack won’t play them, lol!

      • Hmmm…. My hunch on the “three or four” they think they need: a CAM who can endure the physicality of MLS; a left-mid; a backup CB; the fourth could be a left-footed defender or another mid who can backup the left and center spots.
        People love to rag on Brian Carroll, and I just don’t get it. Brian Carroll isn’t the reason the Union failed to make the playoffs last year.

  3. Atomic spartan says:

    Normally it’s hard to agree with Blatter, but this time he has it right. “injured” players should be stretchered-off immediately, and the player should be allowed time to “recover” before returning. End the chicanery that makes pro soccer look like a bad WWF match.

    • Yes, but…what does “until the numbers advantage shows an effect on the game mean?” The problem is that players truly injured should be allowed to return as soon as they can and divers should be kept out longer. Better yet, go to video after the fact and ban a player for several matches for intentionally diving. That is more an insult to the game than cursing at the ref that no one except the ref hears.

    • I think Spugger is on the right track here. (And Atomic, I also feel like I need a shower for agreeing with Blatter on something.) The one everybody likes to point to, I think, is the player who goes down and acts like he’s dead. The trainer comes out, spends some time with the player, then player and trainer walk off to the sideline. Then, immediately, the player is ready to come back. I know I’ve yelled out things like, “It’s a miracle!” in that situation. But, really, how do we know that player *wasn’t* injured? How do we know they didn’t have the wind knocked out and just need the two minutes the trainer is there to catch their breath?
      Sure, if it’s clear to the ref a player faked an injury then by all means let him stand there next to the 4th official for a little while. But I think the best way to curb this is post-game review by the league, with fines and suspensions for the guilty. And the more often you’re caught, the heavier the penalty.

      • If the league office rules a player simulated, they start the next game on a caution.

      • If you are truly injured enough to need 2 minutes on the field to recover – say wind knocked out – then you should need ample time to catch your breath on the sideline. Come in at the next goal kick, offside call or free kick. If legal substitutions have to be formal and wait until the player is off before the sub comes on, then they can hold the injured player off until a stoppage. It’s as “fair” to hold the injured player off as it is “fair” to bring them right back on after stopping play.

  4. So no Pablo Perez AND a slap in the face as well. This debacle sure won’t help position us lure our next target. Hmmmmmm. I sure wish Ansaldi and Sak had done their homework on this disaster. Any other brilliant ideas?
    I assume we’re going to select Defenders in the upcoming draft? Supposedly the pool is deep in D-Men this year. I’m okay with that but WHAT ABOUT THE MIDFIELD????????????

    • I’m not sure I would call the failure to get one random South American player a debacle or a disaster

      • JamesCantknow says:

        We can’t afford euro talent. South America is our only hope since we passed on the available MLS talent!

  5. I’m gonna start out trying to be positive. If in fact we’ve lost out on Perez, looking on the bright side it could be taken as a good sign that the Union are actually in on players who are wanted by a team in La Liga. It also seems that from what we’ve been reading that it was the player’s doubts about the quality in MLS (fair enough, really), and not what the Union was offering that was an issue. Again, could possibly be a good sign that the Union is willing to pony up some cash for a potential impact player.
    BUT, it sure seems like we had a lot of eggs in one basket for what essentially amounted to Perez’s agent using the Union’s interest to drive up the price for his client and ultimately get him the move to Malaga he wanted. Also doesn’t seem like this guy was really interested in coming to MLS to begin with, making the whole pursuit look like a waste of time. This points to transfer market naivety on the part of the Union that is worrying, to say the least.
    There’s time left, but the clock is ticking. Oh god and don’t get me started about this mascot nonsense…

  6. Málaga got their man. Don’t be sad. It will happen again, many times. Let’s see who the “three or four” players are, then decide.

  7. oh it was a 10 year plan? my ticket rep failed to mention that

  8. I hear that local Pablo Sisniega (GK, Union Academy, around 18) has signed a contract with Real Sociedad. We need to cap him.

  9. So the Union have a pile of money, and Jermaine Jones is possibly available? I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

    • Wait, so, you wouldn’t want Jermaine Jones? I’d take him in a heartbeat.

      • I don’t want *only* Jermaine Jones. I guess that’s more my fear — we’ll stop looking for a new #10, and be happy with a guy who ‘epitomizes Philly tough’.

  10. The Nats January camp roster was announced. Interesting due to a # of young players being called in(Gil, Klute, Yedlin). Interesting to Union fans because Klinsi doesn’t seem as impressed by the Union’s “Young core” as much as Hack and Sac. Not one Union player called in…… Klinsi didn’t get the memo that the National team is on a “10 year plan” I guess…..

    • I’m disgusted. Amobi and Jack are going to run away from Chester as fast as possible and how can you blame them. I actually wish them the best because this is just insane to watch some of the best American young talent be totally mismanaged buy a former youth coach and a guy who has failed in every front office they let him into. The Sack interview is just another kick in the teeth. I’d rather they not say a word then feed me such contrived bullshit. “How’s the practice facility coming along”, who the F cares. Paying $700 a season ticket, but not just for the games, I want to support this team. There is just no bond left between this team and the fan base. They want us to show up cash in hand, close our eyes, then drive home safely. I don’t even blame Klins for not taking a guy in Okugo who plays out of position all season. You can’t really expect that guy to come in and make an impact by Summer for the WC. Fire Hack, Fire Sack.

  11. A mascot you say? Hmmm, is he left footed and capable of playing at the back?

  12. The Union should go after Marco Pappa. He’d be a great pickup for us.

    • They would have to trade something to DCU for their allocation spot. Possibly Cruz and Allocation?

      • That works, or Cruz and a draft pick… anything involving Cruz. Whatever it takes, Pappa is the best option at LM who will consider coming to MLS.

      • Why would Pappa have to go through allocation? Isn’t he out of contract and free to sign with any team? (Discounting, of course, MLS shenanigans, Dempsey with Seattle.)

      • Jim Presti says:

        Former MLS players who left on a transfer are required to re-enter under the allocation. Soumare and Toja are examples.

      • Ah. Thanks!

  13. The interview was bullshit. I want to see money spent on players now and watch good soccer (i.e. like how Rochdale beat Leeds Utd in FA cup, not premier level but watchable soccer)and not on a youth player development program that will only develop players to be sold off. The Union is starting to become a bad joke.

    • I still go on youtube and look at the game highlights from the inaugural game at PPL park against the Sounders. I was there and had such hope for this team. I was excited beyond words! When I look at this team now I am disgusted. Novak is gone however Sakiewicz and Hackworth are still here still feeding us a load of BS!

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