Daily news roundups

Nogueira on joining MLS and preferred position, Grandpa, US underwhelms, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

The Union announced on Wednesday the signings of of 2014 draft picks Pedro Ribeiro and Richie Marquez. Matt Kassel has been waived after one season with the club.

At the Union website, Vincent Nogueira talks to Kevin Kinkead about why he chose to come to MLS.

I wanted to leave Europe. I wanted to make a change and discover something different. I played in Europe all of my life. Philadelphia, as a team, was interested in me, and I was interested in coming to the United States and being with a club that had a good plan for the future…

People in Europe, there’s still this idea that European players are coming to MLS at the end of their careers to get that last contract and sort of help the league along. That’s not the case for me. I liked the project in Philadelphia. I like the idea that I can be a part of the league, and hopefully be a good player, and help the team win trophies. That’s what made me decide to come here. I also was attracted to life in the United States. Some other European players leave and play in leagues like China and Qatar. I knew a little bit about MLS already and this is where I wanted to come.

At Philly.com, Nogueira describes to Jonathan Tannenwald where he prefers to play on the field.

It’s true that at Sochaux I played everywhere in the midfield. Here, in my opinion, I’ve been more focused on the center of the park and less out wide. At Sochaux I played some on the wings, and I also did that a bit in Orlando as well against Toronto, I think it was. So I’m used to playing everywhere, but playing in the center is much more of a natural fit. It doesn’t matter too much whether it’s in more of an attacking or defensive role — to be in that central axis is what matters.

In a profile piece on Maurice Edu at MLSsoccer.com, John Hackworth says, “The good teams in this league, for the most part, have a guy who [go box to box]. They have a guy who can do all the work in the midfield but also pop up occasionally in a position to surprise and unbalance you. Mo has the range, the skillset to do that. He gives us a little more freedom to take some risks creatively. We’re going to put a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.”

Nogueira and Edu are joined by fellow new addition Cristian Maidana in this promo clip. Does it make you smile too?

Although an official signing announcement has not yet come from the club, it appears that Fred is set to be with the team in 2014. In an article at MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin reports that the team asked Fred’s advice when considering the signing of Fabinho last season before inviting him to trial with the team during the 2014 preseason. John Hackworth explains,

Fred is a really good soccer player. He’s at the upper end of his career, obviously, but he brings a wealth of experience and is a fantastic player to watch still.

We have a lot of guys in our locker room that are speaking Portuguese this year, so he’s kind of like the elder statesman. You need the balance of having leaders, so Fred has come in and – having been here in 2010 – it’s kind of been a seamless transition for him.

The 34-year-old Fred says in the article that he has a new nickname on the team: Grandpa.

The Union figure prominently in the Eastern Conference primer at SI, which predicts a fifth place finish in the East for the team. SB Nation predicts an eighth place finish for the Union. The Sports Network previews the 2014 Union and predicts a fourth place finish. David Murphy’s Philadelphia Union blog previews the season but, alas, makes no predictions other than saying, whatever happens this season, “the 2014 Union should be a much more entertaining team to watch.”

Brotherly Game has five things to watch for in the new season.

The Union Shop — @PhilaUnionShop — will be taking over the team’s Twitter account — @PhilaUnion — on Friday at noon to answer questions about the new Union jersey and more. Use the hashtag #shoptweets to ask your questions.

The US Soccer website rounds up the Philadelphia Union Academy’s games last weekend against Continental FC. The U-15/16s (fourth in the Atlantic Division of the East Conference with an 8-4-2 record) won 2-1 with goals from Kevin Carvalho and Isaiah Young (the Development Academy roundup report incorrectly identifies the opponent as PDA). Kenny Williams scored for Continental FC. The U-17/18s (fifth in the Atlantic Division with a 4-3-7 record) drew 1-1, with Will Campbell scoring an equalizer three minutes into second-half stoppage time after Tolunimi Ibikunle first scored for Continental in the 43rd minute. The Union U-13/14s (9-2-1, outscoring opponents 55 goals to 9) started the day with a 7-0 thumping of their Continental counterparts. Tony Temple scored four goals with Juan Infante, Kalil Elmedkhar, and Matthew Real each recording single tallies.

MLS

Player moves:

New York Red Bulls will launch a USL PRO side in 2015.

US

Watching the USMNT’s woeful performance against Ukraine, I couldn’t decide if I should be ticked off or depressed.

Acknowledging the absence of MLS and Liga MX-based players who would otherwise have played, Jurgen Klinsmann said after the game, “It would be totally wrong now to criticize what went wrong. It was clear to us that playing a completely new backline, playing players that come out of the club system, who are in a difficult situation not having the same confidence they usually have, there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot to build on…You see individuals a lot in these type of matches, so it’s understandable that collectively, it’s not clicking. It would be a miracle if we had played well, still we need these games.”

Still, it’s concerning to watch the team perform so dismally less then 100 days from the start of the World Cup. Hopefully, the team will play better when it faces Mexico in Arizona on April 2.

Recaps from PSP, US Soccer, ESPN, SI, ASN, Soccer America, MLSsoccer.com, Yahoo! Sports, ProSoccerTalk, SBI, Goal.com, and The AP. Postgame quotes here.

Player ratings from ESPN, ASN, Soccer America, Goal.com, and MLSsoccer.com. ProSoccerTalk rates the players who needed to impress in the game. Needless to say, none of them did. Goal.com also reviews fringe players who failed to impress, while MLSsoccer.com looks at three things learned from the game about the USMNT’s technical abilities.

ProSoccerTalk also has three things learned from the game and revisits the five areas of focus it discussed before Wednesday’s friendly.

US Soccer is expected to announce the opponents and locations for its three World Cup warmup matches later today.

In their opening game at the Algarve Cup, the USWNT drew 1-1 with Japan. Postgame quotes here. The team next faces Sweden on Friday.

The U-23 WNT have won the Six Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain with a 2-1 victory over Norway. The US won all three of its games in the tournament, which included wins over Japan and Sweden.

Elsewhere

At ESPN, Eduardo Alvarez looks at the connection between Brazilian football and samba.

Before scoring a hat trick in Brazil’s 5-0 stroll past South Africa, Neymar, who would score a hat trick, and his teammates found time to entertain the leading candidate for the title of Cutest Little Pitch Invader in the History of Sport.

ESPN reports, “Schalke fans have sent an open letter to the club’s honorary council expressing concern over ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the Ukraine crisis.”

4 Comments

  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    TWO MORE DAYS!!! I can’t wait!!

  2. Assistant Coach Fred?

  3. Wait, JT can speak French? I didn’t know that.

    /sarcasm

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