Daily news roundups

MOtownPhilly! Edu reaction, Union & league news, more

Photo: Courtesy of the Premier League

Philadelphia Union

Late on Monday afternoon came the very welcome news that Maurice Edu had joined the Union on a one-year loan with an option to buy. Reports on the deal from PSP, Philly.com, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, The 700 Level, The Brotherly Game, MLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, SBI, SI, Goal.com, The Examiner, and the AP.

Edu’s presentation to the media will be streamed live on the Union website at 12:30 pm.

Kevin Kinkead reports that Edu will wear the No. 21.

The MLSsoccer.com report on Edu’s arrival concluded with this passage:

MLS previously stated that Designated Players are exempt from the allocation process; however, a league spokesperson provided the following statement, when contacted by MLSsoccer.com:

“As with most aspects of the business, the league, in consultation with the clubs, reviews the roster rules on an annual basis and reserves the right to modify them prior to each season. The amendment to the assignment mechanism for Designated Players will be reflected in the 2014 roster rules that will be released prior to the start of the season.”

The punch line line is now open to take your call.

News of an impending deal to land Edu broke on Jan. 14, and the completion of the deal was leaked on Jan. 24 before being officially announced on Jan. 27. All of which makes the use of words like “finally,” and phrases like “at long last,” “a protracted transfer saga” in some of the reports rather curious. Has the news cycle really become so fast that a time span of less than two weeks now constitutes an epoch? The Valdes deal — which according to remarks made by John Hackworth at Monday’s training session is “still kind of out there from the last thing I heard” — now that’s a saga.

In the event, Soccer America’s Ridge Mahoney reports, “Negotiations between MLS and Stoke City regarding details dragged out the process; both Sakiewicz and head coach John Hackworth said contractual terms with Edu were sorted out early, prompting speculation that MLS had balked at his salary.”

At SI, Avi Creditor notes, “Edu marks the second player to be drafted No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft only to leave the league and return through the allocation order. The other, oddly enough: Freddy Adu, also returning to Philadelphia.”

So, where will Edu play for the Union? At ProSoccerTalk, Steve Davis has him pegged as a defensive midfielder, although Davis admits, “It’s possible that Edu plays slightly ahead of Carroll in a more advanced central role.”

At MLSsoccer.com, Matthew Doyle wants Edu partnering with Okugo in central defense. “Philly would immediately end up with one of the most mobile central pairings in the league, and easily the most skillful on the ball. The solution to their possession issues doesn’t necessarily have to start in the midfield; with a pairing of Okugo and Edu, it could start from the backline as Hackworth’s squad transforms into a team that builds everything from back-to-front. That’s an identity they’ve lacked over the last couple of seasons.”

Amobi Okugo is familiar with possible centerback partner Ethan White from their time together with the US national team, Okugo says, “In terms of chemistry, off the field we’re pretty good. On the field, when he was playing center back, I was always playing center mid, so he was always telling me where to slide, where to shift. Since we’re going to be playing together, I think we’ll jell pretty soon.”

At the Delco Times, Matthew De George reports that Cristian Maidana was not among the 47 players at the Union’s training session on Monday. De George writes, “The 27-year-old midfielder is finalizing his visa, and the club is expecting him to join up later in the week.”

At MLSsoccer.com, Andrew Wiebe has a long form piece that is a behind-the-scenes look at the Union on SuperDraft Thursday. It’s a fascinating read and the timing of its publication on Monday shortly before the Edu announcement only underscores how much the Union’s prospects and the buzz around the team have been dramatically transformed in less than two weeks.

With that buzz comes increased expectation. John Hackworth said the team gets it:

They’re professionals. They’re smart, they get it. They know that when we ended the season last year the way we did, we’re all disappointed and the bar is going to be raised. I haven’t talked to (our core players) about, “hey we’re bringing in new guys.” They know. They knew at the end of the year in exit interviews and our final team meetings that the bar was going to be raised and that the expectations were going to be raised. Internally, we all know that there’s a long term plan here. And I think that the players understand that. I don’t like to use the term “bought-in,” but they know it.

Sebastien Le Toux said, “I think the coaching staff and John had more possibilities to do what they wanted to this team. So maybe there’s more pressure on us as players, and on him and the coaching staff if you’re spending money to get the players that you want. I think right now we look good, and with a few additions we’re going to get there. We’re going to look better and compete for the playoffs for sure.”

Of course, the Union’s offseason acquisitions are not yet complete with the Vincent Nogueira deal still in the works. At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald talks about Nogueira’s game with Sochaux on Saturday, which included a stoppage time equalizer in the 93rd minute from the Frenchman.

UConn’s The Daily Campus on Andre Blake’s selection by the Union in the SuperDraft.

Local

At the 91st Minute, Will Parchman focuses on the outstanding play of Christian Pulisic (PA Classics, Hershey, Pa.) with the US U-17 MNT team. In the article Parchman says of that Macungie, Pa.’s Danny Barbir (Lehigh Valley United, PDA) looks “like the future of the center back position.”

PDA’s Taylor Racioppi (M; Ocean Township, N.J.) and Frankie Tagliaferri (F; Colts Neck, N.J.) have been called up for the US women’s team that will play against China, Japan, and New Zealand at the 2014 U-17 Women’s NTC Invitational in Carson, Calif on Feb. 5-9.

MLS

Player moves:

Steven Goff says of the strong opposition to the DC stadium plan shown in a recent Washington Post poll “is not necessarily a referendum on United and soccer; it’s about public money contributing to United and soccer.”

Negotiations are about to begin between Miami-Dade County and David Beckham’s investment group on building a new soccer stadium.

Moving Orlando’s USL PRO franchise to Louisville when Orlando joins MLS is “very much a 50-50 proposition.”

US

Now back in California, Jurgen Klinsmann says the January camp in Brazil was a good thing. “We have a much, much better picture now of what to expect and what will challenge us, and therefore I think it’s really important to give the players feedback: ‘Listen, guys, it’s not all going to be perfect, we have to be very tolerant and we have to be patient with things, but if you know that in advance and we adjust to it right away mentally, then it’s no big deal. It’s no problem at all.'”

At the Star Ledger, Frank Glase wonders if Gedion Zelalem will be the player “to lift the United States to be among the elite teams.”

US Soccer has named Stuart Sharp as the new head coach of the US Paralympic National Soccer Team. The 2016 Paralympic Games will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Committing to play for a college before starting the 9th Grade? Well, now.

According to a recent Harris Poll, only 2 percent of Americans say men’s soccer is their favorite sport, which is the same amount as those who say men’s golf, swimming, boxing, and men’s tennis is their favorite sport.

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “Brazil assistant coach and former world champion Carlos Alberto Parreira says it’s ‘a joke’ that the Brazilian government took so long to start working on some of the infrastructure projects needed for the World Cup.” Parreira said, “We missed an opportunity to show the world what we can do in this country,” Parreira said. ”We missed an opportunity to provide more comfort to Brazilians and to show a different kind of Brazil…Everything was supposed to be ready for the World Cup, but it was a total neglect. I saw recently that they are going to start the bidding processes for (work at) airports in March, three months before the World Cup. It’s a joke. We won the bid seven years ago and it’s only now that they are starting these bidding processes.”

Sepp Blatter has acknowledged that “it’s not possible” to play the World Cup in the summer heat of Qatar.

Ah, the glory that was the backpass.

22 Comments

  1. Phil Naegely says:

    If Blatter listened to his health committee, he would have known it’s not safe to play a Summer WC in Qatar. Idiots all around in FIFA.

  2. MOtownPhilly’s back again
    EDUin’ a little east coast swing

    I’m gonna have this stuck in my head for a while now.

  3. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    2 days in a row now a link has been provided talking about Gedion Zelalem as a US international playing for Arsenal. Unfortunately, he is not eligible. He is not a US citizen. He is currently only eligible for Ethiopi and Germany. I’d love to have the kid, but these reporters are missing some pretty pertinent information (linked reporters, not dogging PSP)

    • He’s eligible to receive an US passport.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        Would have been. He is no longer residing in the country. You have to establish continous residence for a certain period of time.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Dan’s correct, but here’s the pertinent info that is getting everyone all excited (from the Guardian report of Jan. 24):

      “Jürgen Klinsmann, the USA coach, made a personal call to him at the beginning of the season and urged him to commit to the Stars and Stripes. Zelalem, who was born in Berlin and has represented Germany at under-16 level, lived in the Washington area from nine to 16. His parents are Ethiopian and so the African nation has a claim on him, too…

      “Zelalem’s status as a German national made his move to the Arsenal academy straightforward. After the age of 16, he was free to work anywhere within the European Union. But a unique complication looms as Zelalem considers his international future.

      “He has spent the key years of his young life in the US and he not only sounds American, he considers himself to be American. His laid-back attitude and quiet self-assurance are characteristically American. If all things were equal, he would surely choose to declare for Klinsmann and the USA national side, who would love to add a little fantasy to their game.

      “But all things are not equal. According to Section 25 (i) of the German Nationality Act, German citizenship ‘shall be lost by a person acquiring a foreign citizenship upon his/her application. This does not affect persons acquiring the citizenship of an EU member state or Switzerland.’

      “Zelalem has a claim for a US passport but, if he pursued it, he would not only lose his German citizenship but his EU rights, which could affect his ability to work in England. At the very least, he would have to apply for a work permit and that could lead him and Arsenal into choppy waters.

      “The system is not designed to accommodate super-talented non-EU youngsters, rather established top internationals. Advice would have to be sought from the UK border agencies while lawyers would also become embroiled. There is no precedent for a Premier League player giving up his EU status and then having to explore the means to remain at his club. The situation would stand to be time-consuming and fraught with risk.”

      The Washington Post also looked into his eligibility back in August.

      • OK. Work out a deal with Arsenal to bring him to the Union. Then he won’t need EU citizenship 🙂

      • So, the short answer is that yes, he can play for the US if he chooses to do so.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        Obtaining citizenship never entails a short answer…..

      • I think FIFA’s guidelines for declaring a country are different than what the US itself would require. My guess is this is why Klinsmann is still trying to recruit him.

  4. Matt Doyle can be a tad pretentious (and obnoxious with that “Politburo” nonsense), but the guy knows his stuff. He’s not perfect, but he’s right more often than not, and I think he might be onto something with playing Mo at CB.
    .
    That analysis is predicated on a lot of “what-ifs” in the midfield working out in our favor, but if two of Ribeiro, Maidana, and Nogueira work out, (I can’t believe I’m typing this) it might not be the end of the world if Carroll is out there playing square balls and passing back to the defense.
    .
    If Hack is willing to let Amobi and Mo off the leash – and if you have faith that if they overextend themselves, your left back can be trusted to cover for them the way we trust Sheanon and Hack trusts Caroll – they could be a devastating possession team with two converted defensive midfielders in the middle of the back line.
    .
    There’s still an issue of aerial competence in a league where the lesser teams pump the ball into the box from out wide and pray something good happens, but the good might outweigh the bad here.

    • It’s a great idea on paper, but your last paragraph might make it a showstopper. Defense on set pieces would be a nightmare against those kick-and-pray teams. I’m already having visions of Kenny Cooper in Week 1.

    • The logic behind that move would be:

      1) We really want Edu to play for us.
      2) We need the top pick in the allocation order.
      3) Let’s trade our established veteran CB so we can get that.
      4) OK, that’s done. Now let’s make him a DP.
      5)Shit, we need a CB because we don’t have Parke anymore.
      6) Can the new DP play that position? OK, cool.
      7) So what’s the plan for the midfield, again?

  5. If you haven’t read through Andrew Weibe’s report on MLSsoccer.com about the behind-the-scenes with the U at the draft, definitely check it out.
    It’s very interesting. There’s actual allocation figures cited and just the informal conversations allow us to peer into the process.
    It’s also nice to see that Curtain and Albright seem to have a lot of weight in their opinions.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    I know I should just be excited about Edu and Maidana and everyone else, but I just can’t but help to get nervous at how Hack is gonna deploys these guys and what style they are gonna play. On the next crisis I suppose! Ha!
    .
    All in all, still excited for March!

  7. I find it both hysterical and a bit frightening that both Adu and Edu got here after being drafted first, going overseas and coming back. I am much more hopeful for Mo than I was for Freddie. Good luck and I hope that we see your best here.

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