Daily news roundups

Draft reaction, Blake and MacMath, Edu news, Valdes update, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

If you need to catch up, check out our extensive coverage of the Union at the SuperDraft, including our post of updates from the draft, quick posts on each of the signings (Blake, Ribeiro, Cope and Derschang), and videos with Andre Blake, John Hackworth (1 and 2), Don Garber, and Union fans. Kudos to PSP’s Eli-Pearlman-Storch, Earl Gardner, Saniel Gajdamowicz, and Adam Cann for all of their hard work on Thursday (and everyday).

So how did the Union do in Thursday’s SuperDraft? Here’s Ives Galarcep’s take:

Had the picks to make a big splash and took full advantage, pulling off a plethora of picks to not only compile some allocation money, but also secure an impressive player haul. Landed the best goalkeeper prospect in ages (in Andre Blake), the most skilled midfielder in the draft (in Pedro Ribeiro) and arguably the third-best center back in the draft in Kevin Cope. Throw in left back prospect Robbie Derschang, and the Union had the best draft of the day.

At MLSsoccer.com, Nick Firchau writes, “On a day when trades ruled the floor at the MLS SuperDraft, no team made a bigger splash on a wide-open market Thursday than the Philadelphia Union.”

SBI says the Union had a “stellar” draft, “When the dust had settled, the Philadelphia Union may have ended up with the best draft day out of everyone.”

ESPN says, “All told, a solid day’s work.”

At the Daily News, John Smallwood is less certain.

John Hackworth was satisfied. “Overall, I think it was a really good day for us. We got the best guy in the whole draft and I thought that was really important. We also got Pedro Ribeiro, who was a target of ours and someone we thought might go as high as six. And we recouped some allocation money, so in the first round alone, and then getting Robbie and Cope, we’ve taken care of some positional needs, guys who have a legitimate shot of making our roster and given a competitive chance. We kind of filled all our needs and probably got a little bit more than we thought coming into this.”

About that allocation money, Nick Sakiewicz said, “Leveraging those picks to get cash is important because this is a year where we need to add important starting pieces to our midfield and you need that cash to do that. We have budgeted large amounts already, but every dollars helps. So that was good, plus we ended up getting Ribeiro which is a player that we targeted in the No. 6 spot and still ended up getting him. I thought cash, first round pick, good players…not a bad first round.”

Hackworth said of trading up to land Blake, “I think for almost every team in the draft, he was No. 1 on their boards. We knew for a fact he wouldn’t be there (at No. 2). There were a couple of deals on the table. We had to make that decision at the last minute, and we’re lucky that we got him. … It was very fast. There was a little bit of posturing by some other teams, and certainly a very fluid process in this draft.”

More on the move to get Blake from MLSsoccer.com and ESPN.

Blake admits he’ll need to get up to speed on all things Philadelphia. “I don’t know much about Philly. I heard something yesterday about how it’s the place for a cheesesteak or something. That’s as much as I know. But I’m pretty sure I’ll get adjusted and learn everything I need to know.” Roast pork, Andre, roast pork.

Blake’s selection gave rise to widespread speculation that Zac MacMath’s days with the Union are over. Hackworth said MacMath is still the Union’s No. 1 goalkeeper. “It just means that there’s some real competition for him. Zac’s still our starter, but he was the only goalkeeper on our roster. Now we have some excellent competition for him and a guy that was on almost every team’s draft board as the No. 1 guy in the draft.” Hackworth added, “This is a guy who has tools and plays the game in a way who is going to challenge Zac.”

Blake said, “Everyone wants to be the starting goalie, so for me, I’m just going to go in and take it one step at time, go and earn my respect — just work as hard as I can…You can’t take it as too much pressure, but you’ve got to take it as a little bit of pressure…I take it as a little bit of pressure, but I know what I’m capable of doing, so I’m just going to go out there and work hard and show them that it was a good choice.”

At the Daily News, John Smallwood says of MacMath vs. Blake,

The only thing that would be worse than keeping MacMath as a dead asset would be if he actually beats out Blake for the starting job. Then you’d have a guy you clearly don’t want outplaying the guy for whom you traded up to No. 1.

Two quality goalies wouldn’t be an issue if there was an age difference, so that one plays now while the other is groomed for the future.

That’s not what you have in this situation. Not only is MacMath a year younger than Blake, but he also has 3 years of MLS experience. If he were viewed as part of the future, the trade up for Blake would not have been necessary.

Here are Hackworth’s thoughts on the rest of the Union’s picks:

  • On Pedro Ribeiro: “He probably is one of the handful of guys in this whole draft that, with a good preseason, he’s got serious tools. We saw that two years ago when he trained with us in Reading and he was fit and healthy. He had a sports hernia and a groin problem. He was never healthy in this college season, but clearly people took note. And at the combine, he had some moments that nobody else has. So we felt that we got a little bit of a steal at 15.” Union assistant coach Brendan Burke said of Ribeiro, who he coached at Reading United, “He brings size and creativity and he’s an honest kid. Look, he told me [at Combine] that he was not 100 percent fit and he was carrying something out of the college season, but I think if we can correct we are ultimately going to be very happy with him.”
  • On Kevin Cope:  “There’s a lot of center backs in this draft. Everybody was saying, look, there’s this pool of center back and no one’s really sure where these guys were going to go. For me, he was one of the most solid and consistent center backs we saw all year long.” Hackworth also said, “Cope is a creative back. This was clearly a positional need.”
  • On Robbie Derschang: “I’ve known Robbie from the youth national team days. He’s an attacking player who has moved back a little bit, and I think he’s got a lot of upside. He was our favorite left back. There wasn’t many options at left back, but he was our favorite guy, and we’re pretty surprised we were able to pick up in the second round.”

More on the Union’s draft from the Union website, Delco Times, CSN PhillyPhilly Soccer News, Soccer Wire, The Morning Call, and Burlington County Times.

Edu

Moving on from the draft, what’s going on with Maurice Edu? Well, then…

First off, what role does the Union see Edu playing for the club? John Hackworth said, “It was a target all year long and in this offseason to [improve] our midfield and we think that Mo can do that box-to-box role. That would allow us to sit Brian [Carroll] in a little deeper behind him. When you have the opportunity to bring a guy like Mo back, and I coached him with the U.S. national team and [Union assistant) Rob Vartughian coached him at Maryland, he’s a no-brainer for us.”

Now, what’s going on with the negotiations to sign Edu?

Nick Sakiewicz said, “We just want to make sure we do it right. Right for Mo. Right for the league. Right financially for the Union. We want him. And he wants to be here. But the negotiating process is very fluid and unpredictable.”

Sakiewicz said reports that the league are blocking a deal are false. “There’s zero truth to the rumor that the league is blocking this. It’s like any negotiation. Sometimes you put an offer out and the other party says no, and you have to be prepared to walk away. One party gets back to the table, and it’s not dissimilar to any negotiation in business as part of that give-and-take routine.”

Sakiewicz continued, “I don’t know who told you we agreed [to reports of a $1.2 million price tag]. We haven’t agreed to anything. We don’t have an agreement. We’re very much working with the league in concert, as opposed to the rumor that wasn’t true. And these things kind of turn. They can turn on a dime – positively or backwards. We’re living it every minute and every hour counts.”

Sakiewicz explained that Edu would be a DP and that he must go through the allocation process because no league money would be involved in his transfer. “So that requires a different mechanism to bring [Edu] in. I’ve been in this league for 20 years and I’m still not completely clear [on the player acquisition rules].”

Sakiewicz said that Edu could come to the Union either as an outright transfer or on loan from Stoke City. “I don’t want to create a false expectation out there, but it’s fluid. We have a long way to go. It turns on a dime. We’ll see what today brings.”

How long does the Union have to go to make a deal? Sakiewicz said, “We’ve got until January 31 at midnight, and we want to do it right so it’s a win-win for Mo and the Union and the league. I know everybody in Philly is anxious, and sometimes on these things you just need to take a deep breath and step back and ride the way. But the discussions are ongoing, and that’s a good thing.”

Whatever happens with Edu, Sakiewicz said, “[W]e have a lot more work to do. We have two or three more to land.”

John Hackworth said, “I can’t give you any specifics other than to tell you I think all three parties are working really hard to try to make this work. We’re not there, but I’m an optimist and I’m believing this is going to work out for us. It would be a great acquisition for our club and a player I think could be a real difference-maker for us.”

Don Garber said, “There was way too much made of the league role in this. Let me be very clear, whether it’s our league or any other league, player signings are approved by the league. This is no different than any other transaction. The league office is going to review and be very engaged in what players get paid, and what their contract length is, et cetera.”

Garber added, “Discussions are ongoing. They’re going to continue to negotiate a deal that’s going to make sense. If it makes sense for Maurice, he’s going to come back. If it doesn’t make sense, he won’t come back. They’re going to go back to the drawing board and hopefully get a deal done.”

More from CSN Philly. At Fox Soccer, Kyle McCarthy asks if MLS should allow the Union to sign Edu as a DP. More background from ProSoccerTalk.

Valdes

A report from futbolred.com (crappy Google translation here) says Carlos Valdes has acknowledged there is a preliminary deal for him to go to San Lorenzo but that he doesn’t know if it will be on loan or a straight sale.

A report from El Tiempo (crappy Google translation here) says Valdes was traveling to Argentina on Thursday to sign a six-month loan deal.

In a report at infobae.com (crappy Google translation here), Valdes says he “is anxious for the deal to be closed.” At golcaracol.com (crappy Google translation here), Valdes says, “I’ve had my suitcase ready for a few days” and that he hopes a deal will be finalized by the weekend. About returning to MLS, Valdes says in the Golcaracol article, “I can not say that I would not return to the MLS because it’s a league that I value and where I did very well. I have to return on January 22 to start the preseason with Philadelphia, but I told the coach to help me if there’s interest from another club to allow me to compete in a different league and continue to demonstrate my skills for the benefit of my selection [to the Colombian national team]”

A report at colombia.com (crappy Google translation here) says that Valdes  “is very close” to joining San Lorenzo.

More

The Union will play the New York Red Bulls in a preseason friendly on Feb. 12 at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field. John Hackworth said, “We are excited to play for the second consecutive year at such an excellent venue in the City of Jacksonville. New York will be great competition for our squad and we look forward to an entertaining match in front of fans in Jacksonville.”

Local

Reading United had another banner day at the draft with five former players being selected: Steve Neumann, Damion Lowe, Ben Sweat, Pedro Ribeiro, and Jimmy Ockford. In the past five drafts, 19 Reading United alumni have been selected.

Council Rock North graduate Steve Neumann, who was selected by New England, said, “It’s been a little surreal [getting drafted in Philly]. It’s definitely an honor to be drafted in general, but to be drafted in my hometown, it was definitely special for me…I’m delighted to go to the Revolution. I know they have a great system, great program and great coaching staff. I definitely enjoy those guys, and I think it’s going to be a great fit for me…I think we’re going to have a good team for years to come.”

Six of the SuperDraft candidates visited Christo Rey Philadelphia High School on Wednesday.

Former Harrisburg City Islander’s forward Sainey Touray has signed with the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions.

The Chambersburg Public Opinion looks at the local connections on the Harrisburg Heat.

MLS

MLSsoccer.com has plenty of info on the rest of the draft. More from the Guardian.

Will Thursday’s draft turn into a referendum on the value of the Combine? ProSoccerTalk’s Steve Davis considers.

Don Garber said he is “very disappointed” by the way the Camilo Sanvezzo saga has played out. “I’m soccer guy for the past 15 years, but I’m also an American sports guy. When you sign a contract, you honor it. If I sign an employment contract, I honor it. And FIFA will honor it to protect our system. We just gotta manage through it.”

At Soccer America, Ridge Mahoney says the “Camilo departure stinks, but it’s business.”

The New York Daily News says, “Bronx residents up in arms over proposed soccer stadium.” Don Garber said on Thursday that NYC FC will “probably” announce a temporary home “shortly.” Garber explained, “There’s not a delay. I think shortly they probably will announce a place. They’re just finalizing all their details. They’ve got some time. They’ve got to get a great spot.”

Don Garber said on Thursday that an announcement about a Miami expansion team will be made in February.

US

It’s official: The USMNT will face Ukraine in a friendly on March 5 (ESPN, Univision, ESPN Deportes Radio). The last time the two teams met was in 1993 in Bethlehem, Pa.

Down in Brazil, the USMNT lost 2-1 to Sao Paolo in a closed-door scrimmage on Thursday.

Turns out the US isn’t playing England in a pre-World Cup friendly after all.

The nominees for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2014 have been announced.

Elsewhere

I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that Sepp Blatter, what did you say? “Let me repeat what I have been saying. I am not yet tired enough to decide that I will retire.” Oh. Great.

The Guardian reports, “Barcelona have created a mausoleum where fans can pay to have their remains stored. Initially there will be a space for 500 urns at the cemetery of Les Corts but the plan is to incorporate this into a modernized Camp Nou or new stadium in the future which will have room for 30,000 urns.”

107 Comments

  1. MacMath and Carrol would make a pretty attractive trade package, wouldn’t it? That could net us an established good CB or LB I think.

    • I was following some of the live chats of the draft yesterday, and really the consensus of the expert analysts seemed to be McMath doesn’t have much trade value around the league. They seemed pretty unimpressed by him. I thought he was shaky at times last year, but overall he was at least a quality MLS caliber starter. Certainly is still improving and only 23. I’m not too anxious to keep both McMath and Blake and hope they don’t.

      • His $200K salary is probably just as important a sticking point as his play. If he was making $100K he might be more valuable to other teams, but at about $200K this year (1/12 a team’s cap space) the other team would need to view him as an absolute #1 to vene think about acquiring him

    • thing is, there aren’t many LB’s that are worth the package of MacMath and Carroll together

  2. I get the feeling that the hold up isn’t agreeing to a number with Edu but with the Union trying to negotiate with the league to cover some of the cost. We may be making moves but we are looking to do it in the cheapest (smartest?) way possible.

    • Haha, at what point are you guys going to relax and actually give Hackworth and this FO some credit? Trying to spin everything into some conspiracy theory against this team is getting old.

      • It’s not a conspiracy theory. Something is slowing this deal up and now the FO says it isn’t the league like has been reported everywhere. Also, nothing I have read anywhere says Edu is asking for more money than has been offered to him.

        So, my guess would be that we are actually negotiating with our own league to step up and cover some of this cost like they have done for other teams.

        To answer your question though I won’t give them any credit until they start to operate with some transparency and not just give everyone the run around.

      • -The league CANNOT cover any part of Mo’s contract, cuz then he would have to be on the open market to any MLS team and not the Allocation process. So the negotiations ARE with Mo and trying to make the deal work both ways: “We can’t give you $1.3 mil in cash/pay, but we can pay you this and give you this…”
        ************
        And James: Did you not read Garber’s version of the story vs Sak’s??? Sak says they never had a number and the league wasn’t involved in rejecting. Garber said the league was involved and are always rejecting contracts…So, yes. The Union are a shady unit. So is the MLS/Garber. But who has a worse track record..Sakeiwicz or Garber? On person ruined a franchise. The other is opening them back-up…..

      • For all we know, Stoke City is the reason there is a hold up also. I believe he is still under contract with them. They may let him leave on a free, but they may have decided they can get transfer money.

    • Can we quit calling them cheap? I think they’ve blown the doors off of that label this year.
      .
      Free parking for season ticket holders. (Sure, scoff at it. It’s a big chunk of revenue that they’re giving away to fans as a “make nice” for last year.)
      .
      Maidana. Edu. The French guy. We could have three DPs by the time training camp begins, and are almost certain to have two. And not the “Freddy Adu is technically a DP, but not really” sort, either. Legit, well-paid, interesting players who should be able to make this team better, and provide them marketing opportunities as well.
      .
      You can argue whether or not the moves are *good* moves. There’s plenty to discuss there. But I really don’t think “cheap” is fair any more.

      • They aren’t cheap. They are broke. This has been going around for a while 2 DPS come in we get a bunch of generation addidas players and some allocation money. It isn’t a spending spree it is a shifting money around shell game.

      • Agree with John, that label doesn’t apply to the FO after this recent activity.

      • Sieve!: but It it can/should work. The problem is, they have to draft/develop well…
        And I wish they would just admit it.
        “Yeah our model is to find and develop young good players.”
        …Arsenal used to always do it. The Steelers do it.
        The problem is, you actually have to find and develop the players. Not draft poorly and then cut-them.

      • BTW, let’s all agree that the free parking for everyone is clearly a ploy to put those other lots out of business and lower their market value when the Union try to buy them.

      • sieve – thats what every team needs to do because thats how the league is structured. its all a money shell game when you have a cap and like 50 roster rules.

      • They drafted *one* Generation Adidas player – Blake. Does that mean the teams that picked the other six GA players are also cheap? And they weren’t the only team swapping around the ubiquitous allocation money. Does that mean DC is cheap because they got allocation for moving down? Or Dallas? (side note: It looks like Dallas did a masterful job effectively sliding from 5 to 6, first by trading down to 10 then moving back up.)
        .
        Seriously. I don’t get it. They’re spending money, whether it’s the Benjamins sitting in Sugarman’s pocket or the funds the league makes available to all teams. We seriously need to ditch the “cheap” moniker.

      • George – I’m totally willing to say the free parking is a ploy. Whether the ploy is a “make nice” for sucking last year, a business move to crush the smaller lots, or just a “be nice to our season ticket holders for the 5 year anniversary,” it’s a ploy for sure.
        .
        And regardless of the motives behind the ploy, it is costing them a good stream of revenue this season.

      • Well Edu is legit, but at the moment we don’t have Edu.
        The French guy isn’t here either.
        Maidana is a bit of a reclamation project.
        It could be cynically inferred that giving out free parking to season ticket holders is an attempt to get season ticket sales that they needed to get them back after a disasterous season. It also could be cynically inferred that the Union are trying to choke out the small parking lots in the area.
        /
        I love having a local soccer team in the area but nothing the Union has done in the recent history have given them any benefit of the doubt from me.

      • John – I wasn’t saying that it was a bad strategy for the Union to take, it was actually very smart and you’re right, it benefits the STH.

      • John they are cheap/broke until they actually spend the money. Just because I talk about buying a Mercedes doesn’t mean I can afford it.

        D, we have seen this league does whatever the hell it wants when it comes to player movement. It shouldn’t shock anyone if we are just going back and forth with the league office looking for a way for at least part of Edu’s fee to be covered.

      • I’m not sure cheap was ever fair.

        Adu/Kleberson wasn’t cheap. Soumare wasn’t cheap (still one of the highest paid CBs in the league). Gomez wasn’t cheap. Torres’ new contract wasn’t cheap.

        If anything the problem has been that we’ve saddled ourselves with expensive contracts that haven’t worked out. Money hasn’t been the problem. Money sitting on the bench has been the problem.

        Sure we don’t spend LA/Sea/To/NJRB money, but we’re comparable to most teams in the league.

        That’s why I’m still kind of concerned even with these new signings. If we get Edu and he doesn’t work out, we’re right back in the same boat we were in of being saddled with expensive, bad contracts. That said, you can’t score if you don’t shoot, so these are risks that have to be taken. Most of the other bad contracts are down to the judgment of the Gutierrez/Nowak administration, so this money splash is going to be the real sink or swim moment for the Hackworth/Vartughian (sp?) administration.

  3. After the blur of yesterday and the slight hangover today, I feel good about the team. I think it’s smart to take the best player in any draft, and I feel very positive about edu. Frankly, we’ve got 2 weeks before the daggers get thrown. We can sharpen them now though. For the first time I can recall, good job union FO, a small but important victory.

  4. I don’t believe any of the denials from Sak or Garber, based on that last quote from Garber. “They’re going to go back to the drawing board and hopefully get a deal done.” If there was no original deal that was quashed, why would they have to “go back to the drawing board”?

    • Hate to reply to myself, but there was another quote I saw from Garber yesterday (though it’s not above), something along the lines of: “if you saw the coverage of the Edu story in the national media, none of those people thought he was worth the reported price either.” Definitely feel like there are some on-going shenanigans.

      • Considering the MLS has a heavy influence over the national media that bothers to cover it that quote is dubious.

    • Sak is just trying to play nice, clearly the mls hq squashed it, but he still needs them to approve the next deal. That’s good deal making.

      • Yep, agreed. From the moment I saw Sak’s quote, that’s exactly what I thought – he’s playing nice and covering for the league to take some of the heat from local fans.
        .
        And yes, it’s good deal making on his part. So far.

      • Sak probably should have asked Garber, “Hey, what are you going to say if you get this question? I don’t want to make us all look like fools.”
        …too late

      • Yes D. Garber didn’t seem to give a damn he was letting everyone know the league stepped in here despite the Union’s story. Why he did it is up for debate, and I’ve read a few theories- Union ownership are financial drag on league, pre-CBA negotiating posturing, warning to other teams not to get too crazy with spending, Edu doesn’t generate enough buzz for league to justify the cost. Maybe it’s all of that.

      • I’m not trying to argue with you Mike but I cant imagine how philly could be a financial drag on the league. every game is a either a sellout or close to one, they have not spent a lot of extra money on DPs, they seem to be doing alright in corporate sponsorship, and they got all kinds of state subsidies for building their stadium in an extremely poor suburb on a former superfund site. they have to be at least average if not a net gain for the league

      • Kyle- just sharing what I read. It was from Steve Davis over at Pro Soccer Talk. He said he had it from one source, but couldn’t confirm it, that Philly had trouble meeting some league cash calls over their history. Is it true? Don’t know, but it apparently is out there accurate or not.

      • Forgot to mention, that was the reason Davis speculated for the reason the league picked the potential Edu contract to step in on.

      • Wow that is one mangled sentence above. Fortunately, no one will read it at his point.

  5. Hackworth clearly has no idea what he is doing and totally in over his head…he should be fired.

  6. I think there is a fair amount of fools gold in the Unions draft picks.
    If we trade Macmath does that mean we are throwing another rookie under the bus with no support. Or if we keep him we spent money to not fill a position of need with the best player. Because by getting a goal keeper first we passed up on more promising Center Backs leaving us with a hole in defense that will be covers by either a rookie draft pick of a Guy who couldn’t consistently start on a historically bad, I mean on the Mt. Rushmore of suck, DC United team.
    It would be a shame to trade a keeper just as he was turning the corner after getting thrown under the bus by a cheap organization. It would be a bigger shame to do it all over again with another goalkeeper.
    /
    Robbie Derschang is Left back who was described as better than Fabinho but Fabinho isn’t our starting Left back. Is He better than Gaddis? If not we still need an upgrade over Gaddis. Or will he be played out of position too?
    /
    Ribero? He may work out, He may not but seeing we have a DP playing his position now he is a long term project.
    /
    Allcation money? We have all been down that road before.

    • Oh and this isn’t anything against the players they selected but The Union are still the Union and they haven’t morphed into another team overnight.

      • why do you have to be so negative

      • Precedent.
        Experience.
        Ect.
        I have the same feelings about dudes wielding sawed off shotguns and Wines with trains and/or trucks on them.
        /
        You are free to prove me wrong.

      • Really, only the passage of time to allow for an improved performance can prove you wrong at this point, sieve.

      • Yea. True but the goalie situation and short term defense will play its self out pretty soon and will be a pretty good indication of these deals in the short term.
        I am confident in my horrible opinions.

    • There is rarely any gold in the draft.
      There appeared to be only one golden player in the draft, and the Union traded up to get him.
      The More Promising Center Backs in the draft went to other teams, yes, but I highly doubt they are ready to start in MLS. The gap between college soccer and MLS is getting very wide.
      MacMath’s days in Philadelphia are numbered. He seemed to turn a corner last year, but on the other hand it’s also getting clearer to see what his ceiling is. It’s not very high.
      /
      Robbie Derschang is depth. Ribero is depth. The Union could use some depth. Despite what the coach has said on multiple occasions, the roster is about as deep as one of the puddles in the parking lot at PPL Park.

      • Hey, some of those puddles get pretty bad. I had one come up to my ankle once…

      • well if he was that golden we probably overpaid for him and that will negate a lot of the other allocation money gains we got later in the draft. And that doesn’t take away from the “Throw him under the bus” thing I was talking about. This guy is gonna go from college players to Eddie Johnson, Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane ect ect real fast. That coupled with a defense that, best case scenario will need time to gel. Worst case, couldn’t crack the line up of a historically bad DC United team. This isn’t a knock on the players but the Union are still the Union.

    • Again: We know Zac comes off or is off the GA contract soon. They are probably hoping to cash in on him.

      I wanted Birnbaum cuz he’s “ready,” but all the scouts say that Dean has the more potential…that’s not a good sign for either of them and I wouldn’t want either starting. I don’t want White starting either.
      If they don’t make a move to get a starting caliber CB, then this move drops way lower.
      *This FO has just never valued CBs. We’ve always had 3 max on the roster. I never understood.

      Moreover, they can’t be looking to fill holes with the draft. They need to build depth. So if we do get a CB/LB in a trade, then mission accomplished.

      • I have no problem with building depth and long term projects with the draft. But some of these payers are being presented as starters and knowing the Union they will think that is good enough.

    • Gaddis will undoubtably start at LB. Even as a right-footed LB he was better than most in the league. MacMath needs to be pushed by an actual competitor – not Konopka or Harrison. Ribeiro is very, very talented. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him getting serious playing time if he’s healthy. Kope is a very solid CB – easily top 5 in the draft. Derschang will give Gaddis and Fabinho a challenge from day 1. And we netted more allocation than was spent. That’s how you walk away with a solid draft.

  7. I’m just so happy to have some positive news for a change. I think the U did a fine job in the draft. I can’t wait to see who else they’re targeting besides Edu. BTW Ed your roast pork crusade has to end. I love it too but I’ve had great roast pork in numerous places. I’ve only had great cheese steaks here.

  8. Hey Ed – I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. I love these news roundups! I have so many open tabs right now for stuff I clicked, I’ll have plenty of reading material for the next few hours while I try to do as little work as possible.
    .
    Thanks for putting these together every day, including your witty comments.
    .
    Also – whoever is taking Blake out for his first cheesesteak: Please, for the love of all that is holy and sacred, do *NOT* take him to Pat’s or Geno’s!

  9. Why Edu and not Matias Laba??? They can’t keep all 4 DP’s or hell why not both ? Can you imagine that midfield?

    • Why not both? Actually, John Harkes hinted that this might be in the works as well last week. I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened. TFC is apparently trying to get MLS to bend some rules to keep him. We’ll see…

    • Laba is only a DP because of the transfer fee paid. I think they might use allocation money and a contract re-negotiation to keep him.

  10. I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way but it’s usually considered insulting and in bad form refer to Ukraine as “the Ukraine.” At least in the last twenty years. Thanks!

  11. While I do think MacMath’s days are numbered, I think we are looking at a number divisible by 365. My guess is that the Union will keep him this year and give Blake spot starts. Next year will more likely be a truely open competition between the two with the loser (assuming it’s MacMath) departing the following year. That will give Blake time to adjust and learn from a veteran keeper.

    • Phil Naegely says:

      Agree totally andy. I think they both are on the Union roster this year and MacMath is shipped next year.

      • I think he is out before the season begins.
        But if he stays the feeling I get Zac will agitate for a trade sooner than later, assuming he isn’t now. And if Blake seems anywhere near ready Zac will be out for Allocation money by the Summer transfer window.
        /

      • Keep in mind that Blake is a GA player. So he’s protected during the next two expansion drafts and costs the Union nothing against the cap.

    • I do not want Blake to learn too much from MacMath, or was it a different veteran keeper you had in mind? Remember this guy has already trained with and suited up for the Jamaican national team, although he hasn’t played for them.

      • I do think there is a lot Blake can learn watching MacMath. MacMath has been in the league for 3 years and has shown significant improvement in position and decision making. There is no reason why Blake can’t watch and learn, even if it is occasionally learning what not to do when MacMath makes a mistake. MLS is a lot different from college and also different from what Blake would have seen in Jamaica.

      • remember, Blake is older that MacMath.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        They are both 23. It’s a moot point cause that is still young for a goalie.

    • John O'Donnell says:

      Bingo, finally some one gets it. Next year with the expansion draft the U will have some chips to sell. MacMath will finally have someone to push him that isn’t going away next year, unless he makes him. If we sign the players that we hope to acquirer, MacMath is still the better option. I love the rumor that he wasn’t happy with the pick, shows he cares. He took a small step last year and no reason he still can’t grow as most goalies do slowly.

      • +1. He performs well when he has actual competition for a spot. When Konopka and Harrison where the 2nd and 3rd depth spots, MacMath knew he was starting unless injured.

  12. Some pretty good names on the Hall of Fame ballot but two struck me as absolute no brainer locks. Kristine Lilly and Briana Scurry. Two of the best to have ever played the game.

  13. John hack always signs great players then benches them for weeks before letting them play and realizing they are better than the current starting players in their position. Like kleberson. He did that with casey at first too and soumare. Dumb

    • I wouldn’t say dumb. Risk-averse, yes. Conservative, yes. You can’t really fault a guy for being a little gun-shy in his first full season as head coach. Sir Alex Ferguson was extremely conservative in his choices for the first few years before becoming the prototypical risk-taker he is known to be.

    • Casey didn’t start initially due to fitness issues. Kleberson lost his starting spot in MTL in May. Soumare and Torres are the only players that could maybe fit that argument.

  14. I find it ironic that Hack justified taking Blake with the number as to there is only one GK on the roster, when we have 0 true center backs on the roster. Valdes is listed but we all are pretty certain he will not be around next season. Okugohas played very well but he doesnt seem himself as a centerback and if a team made an offer to him allowing him to play midfield he would jump all over. This once again proves that hack is in over his head. He truely is not a manager he is better suited in a texhnical role rather than team managamnet.

    In terms of the parking it is nice treat to the season ticket holders but the first thing i learned in business class was theres no such thing as a free lunch so the cost will fall back some how.

    • Blake is a franchise player and heads and shoulders above anyone else in the draft, and more potential than MacMath. It was a smart pick.
      .
      As CBs go, White, Okugo, and Cope. Like it or not, Okugo is both a CB and a DMid.

  15. OneManWolfpack says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments above that calling this team cheap, really no longer applies. What do we want them to do?! As someone put above, they could have 3 DPs at the start of this season and some real competition for MacMath, which history has proven he plays a whole hell of a lot better when someone is breathing down his neck. Oh and that someone is the consensus #1 overall player in the recent draft by the way. They may have not gotten better on defense but they didn’t get significantly worse. AND one of those possible DPs is a USMNT player who scored a goal in the last World Cup (I don’t care, that shouldn’t have been disallowed).
    .
    All in all, I am not nearly as mad at this team as I was like 2 weeks ago. Couple things still need to pan out but it’s getting there.

  16. One question that just occurred to me. How does the signing of Ribero affect Zach Pfeffer? Looks like they will be both fighting for playing time under Maidana. One is gonna get developed at the expense of the other. So I wonder who wins out?

    • Good question…hopefully they can keep both. The more I watch of Ribero, I can’t help but thinking I’m watching a young Yaya Toure. Especially knowing know that he was dealing with injury for much of the least couple years, he could have a huge upside given his rare combination of size and skill.

    • I think if we stick to the 4-4-2, which we may not, Maidana will be out on the left. It is, to me, our position of greatest need (I disagree that an attacking midfielder deployed centrally is as crucial as everyone seems to think), Hack has talked about the team’s void on the left when discussing Maidana.

      That central position in front of Carroll (who I think isn’t going anywhere for the time being) is probably going to be Edu first if we get him, followed by comp from Zach and Ribero.

      All that said, Hack has said he wants to play a 4-3-3, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the front six he’s aiming at looks something like:

      Maidana–Jack/Connor—Seba/Cruz
      ——————————–
      —–Nogueria—–Edu———–
      ————Carroll————-

      • Note that I’m not saying I like that lineup necessarily. I just think that might be where Hack’s mind is.

      • You think Hackworth is gonna have Connor or Jack be the lone striker up there, with the other on the bench? Hmmm. I dunno about that.

      • Ribeiro is more of an attacking threat. Pfeffer is more like a holding/ defensive mid. Pfeffer is the eventual replacement for Carroll in maybe a year or so. The kid is still like 19.

      • I think its unlikely that Hackworth is counting on getting another full season of Casey starting.

      • @Hobosocks, agreed. I’m amazed that he put as many minutes in as he did last year.

  17. The only negative thing about the team’s moves/planned moves is that Hackworth clearly intends to start Carroll next year.

    • agreed, Carroll is a great guy, but last year was tough to watch.

    • Carroll had a rough time last year due to the players around him. A lot was asked of him to not only be a captain, but to shield a young defense and attempt to spark the attack. He is a typical MLS #6. If surrounded with a more talented midfield, and left to concentrate on cleaning up passing lanes, I think he’ll do a solid job.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        +1. He’s a very capable no 6. With Edu and Nogueiro (or Maidan) ahead of him, midfield weakness -> strength.

  18. Only question of the draft for me: Did we really need to trade up to get Blake? Everyone knew that DCU were going with Birnbaum. He was their guy that they desperately needed. Were they really going to risk losing him just to have a nice trade-bait? I dunno. I love that Sak says “we knew for a FACT” that Blake was going to go first. BS! There’s no way anyone can know for a fact unless you’re admitting that you used some illegal spy tactic. DC got the perfect trade – they still got their guy AND they got allocation money they weren’t expecting. Again – maybe an indication that Hack&Sak are risk-averse and weren’t willing to call their bluff. Not necessarily a bad thing. What do you guys think?

    • I would assume that Vancouver were all over getting Blake. Some other teams might have inquired. So i suspect the Union figured they would pay for Blake, Trade MacMath for at leasst allocation money. MacMath Gen Addidas contract comes off the books. They get a possible upgrade at keeper for essentially free.

      There is a lot of If coming off this plan and i can see it at best being a wash in the short run, especially with a shaky D, New goalkeeper and the Union hates having more than one Keeper on the payroll.

    • Well, there were certainly rumors that Vancouver was going to move up from 3 to get him. And if that happens, DC still gets one of the two Cal defenders. So the cost-benefit analysis for the Union revolved around how serious they thought the Vancouver rumors were.

    • Sure they could know. These guys were all in the same room with each other. Word at the draft was that Dallas and Vancouver were pushing hard to trade up to number one for Blake. We could actually see the discussion as people walked back and forth to DC’s table between the team’s tables. Essentially it was a bidding war for #1 pick, which amounted to a bidding war for Blake. DC knew this and had no intention of not selling the pick.

      Probably part of the reason the U beat out the competition was that they were able to guarantee Birnbaum at 2 with the switched pick.

  19. Storm Chaser says:

    All that talent and coaching at Reading and they can beat the Storm, maybe Unin has wrong affiliate

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