Daily news roundups

Notes from Hack’s presser, MLS ref lockout over, Cherundolo retires, Garber on Qatar WC, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Among the topics John Hackworth discussed in Wednesday’s weekly press conference were:

  • Conor Casey, Austin Berry, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud, Richie Marquez, and Pedro Ribeiro are all back to training with the team. Sheanon Williams “is a little farther behind.”
  • While Brian Carroll “is still our captain and is still a starter on our team,” the midfield depth “certainly gives us the ability to play a little different tactically. And that’s a good thing.” Hackworth continued, “Brian clearly understood that before we ever started preseason. He and I sat down and had lunch together, and he knew by the pieces we had brought in that it wasn’t going to be the same as last year, that, depending on how we rolled out, there were gonna be times where he would be in there, and maybe there would be times when he wasn’t.”
  • On the topic of the team’s new depth, Hackworth explained, “I’ve tried to make that message clear to everybody on our roster: anytime you add some depth and quality it means that it’s not gonna be a set XI, and it means that guys are gonna have to literally work hard every day to be prepared for that.”
  • Hackworth explained how the new depth and flexibility on the squad also relates to the substitutions that can be made. “I think last year, everybody pretty much knew what we were gonna do to make some changes in-game. This year we definitely have a variety of things we can do, and that helps us as a team. It means we won’t be as predictable. It means that we can shift things and, hopefully, use it to our advantage.”
  • If Austin Berry should not be able to play on Saturday in Columbus, Hackworth said that Aaron Wheeler is presently at the top of the center back depth chart. “He’s earned it.”
  • Hackworth explained how the locker room culture that was established in the first year of the club has been a big part of the ready integration of the team’s new additions. “When you have an environment and a culture the way we have, I think when you add new pieces into that, as long as the guys understand it, it’s a lot easier to build a team around.”
  • Hackworth said of the second half against New England, “We still have some very basic principles that we’re trying to play by, and we didn’t do some of those things particularly well in the second half. We didn’t keep the ball the same. Our pressure was much lower — we call it our line of confrontation — it was lower in the second half than it was in the first half. And that was a point I was trying to make to our team: let’s not back off.”

PSP has video and a transcript of the press conference. More from the press conference from the Delco Times.

At MLSsoccer.com, Jack McInerney tells Dave Zeitlin that he’s is enjoying the new midfield. “It makes it fun for me because I can stay up top and do my thing and let them move the ball underneath and create opportunities for me. It’s still a work in progress but it’s been fun playing with them.”

So, will McInerney and Conor Casey be partnered up top soon? McInerney said, “I know Hack said before he can see me and Conor getting on the field at the same time. But I don’t know how he plans on doing it.”

Amobi Okugo said of the “work in progress” McInerney described, “I think the guys are getting to know each other well and we’re building that chemistry. We’re training hard and it’s good to see us rewarded with a good result. We’re going to keep working hard, and I think all the moves in the offseason will continue to pay off for us. It’s pretty cool for guys like me and Jack (McInerney). We’ve seen all the ups and downs, and right now, it looks great. The guys all get along and we’re working toward a common goal. We’re off to a good start and we want to keep it going this week against Columbus.”

The Union move up three spots to No. 5 in SBI’s power rankings.

At Brotherly Game, Andrew Stoltzfus reviews the good, the bad, and the ugly from Saturday’s win over New England.

Brotherly Game and fellow SB Nation blog Massive Report exchange questions ahead of Saturday’s game in Columbus.

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has an excellent roundup of Union Academy news. The roundup includes a link to a collection of photos from the recent trip to Qatar by a Union Academy team made up of players born in 1999, 2000, and 2001.

The Philadelphia Union Foundation’s recent Cocktails and Cleats event raised a very impressive $120,000.

Youth and high school soccer coaches may be interested in this special ticket offer for the Union game against DC United on May 10.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders have re-signed midfielder Jamiel Hardware and goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.

MLS

The referee lockout is over.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reported on Wednesday afternoon, “MLS and the union representing the league’s referees have reached a tentative deal on a collective bargaining agreement, and the league is now on the cusp of ending a nearly two-week long lockout.”

Early on Thursday morning, Professional Soccer Referees Association head Steve Taylor released a statement saying,

PSRA is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with PRO regarding an historic Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for PSRA Bargaining Unit Members who make up the pool of Full-time and Part-time referees, Assistant Referees, and Fourth Officials working games in Major League Soccer. The agreement was reached at the bargaining table with the help of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Terms of the CBA are not being released.

The ratification of the CBA and acceptance by the PRO Board effectively ends the lockout of PRO/PSRA officials in time to have them take charge of MLS games this coming weekend.

Next up, the CBA between the league and the Players Union. On Wednesday, the Players Union announced that former USMNT and MLS player John Thorington had hired as a special assistant to Union executive director Bob Foose. A press release says, “Thorrington will be part of the Union’s executive team, with a particular focus on the Union’s upcoming collective bargaining negotiations with Major League Soccer.”

Well, that’s it for MLS teams in CONCACAF Champions League play. Level at 1-1 after regulation time, and with a goal called back in extra time, San Jose was eliminated by Toluca on penalty kicks. Before the game, San Jose filed a protest with CONCACAF alleging that Toluca had filmed an Earthquakes training sessions. Kansas City, featuring a makeshift backline, was eliminated after a humiliating 5-1 loss to Cruz Azul.

At Goal.com, Tom Marshall has five things learned from the MLS vs. Liga MX Champions league bouts.

While there has not yet been an announcement from the league’s disciplinary committee, the Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson tweets that Clint Dempsey will receive a two-game suspension, presumably for the crotch knock against Toronto’s Mark Bloom in on Saturday, although other incidents also occurred. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann says Dempsey is getting fouled too much.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke says Toronto FC’s revenue will double after the club spent $100 million in the offseason to acquire Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe. “These guys will end up paying for themselves. We currently lose money. We’ll lose money again this year, but it’s a price our owners are willing to pay to be where we want to be. We have a shot of making that team one of the two or three most relevant brands in all of Canada.”

The Toronto Star reports that the proposed upgrade of TFC’s BMO Field has been endorsed by the executive committee of Toronto’s city council.

At Awful Announcing, Matt Yoder looks into what’s holding up the new TV deal between MLS and Fox.

US

Steve Cherundolo has announced his retirement following a series of knee injuries. The USMNT defender will join the coaching staff at Hannover 96, where he has played his entire career since joining the team in 1999.

More on the announcement from US Soccer, US Soccer Players, ESPN, SI, and ASN.

Timothy Chandler will miss the remainder of the Bundesliga season while he recovers from a knee injury.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta offers a reality check on the Julian Green news. Meanwhile, Green’s Bayern Munich teammates Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger agree that Green will be good for the US.

The USWNT friendly against China on April 6 will be live streamed on the US Soccer site.

Elsewhere

Speaking as part of the opening panel at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports, MLS commissioner Don Garber said the decision to award Qatar the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup, and the potential that the tournament might have to be moved from summer to winter, was a “monumental disaster.” Garber said, “We certainly would be happy to host it here and have a lot of big stadiums that could turn it around and host on very short notice. But we’re going to be on the sidelines on this and hope that FIFA can resolve this in a way that’s good for the sport.”

ProSoccerTalk reports, “FIFA’s leading investigator Michael Garcia is set to interview 12 members of the executive committee who voted in favor of Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup.”

The son of well known crook and disgraced former president of CONCACAF Jack Warner says he never accepted a bribe in relation to the the 2022 World Cup vote. “On what grounds has somebody who has not been involved in football have any influence on the decision of a World Cup?”

The Guardian reports that sections of the pitch at the Amazônia Arena World Cup stadium in Manaus “are undergoing emergency repair due to seriously undernourished grass following the excessive use of fertilizer on the new playing surface.”

The Guardian report notes that the stadium will have extra security for the games that feature the US and England. General Ubiratan Poty, “chief of the Amazonian military,” said, “[Their presence here] represents a concern for us, because people target those two countries for terrorism actions. That is a concern for us. Our national intelligence agency has not yet provided us with the report of the threats, but one way or the other we will have extra attention for those two teams, where they are training. One hour before and three hours after their games all the air space in the region will be closed.”

At the Guardian, Jonathan Wilson has a very interesting look at how ultra groups in Ukraine, who are normally bitter rivals but were heavily involved in the protests at Independence Square, are putting aside their differences to arrange matches while the Ukrainian professional soccer is on hiatus during the ongoing political crisis.

FIFA has rejected the appeal from Croatian international Josip Simunic to overturn the decision to suspend him from ten matches, which will see him miss the World CUp, after he was found guilty of making a “a display of discriminatory behavior” following Croatias win over Iceland in a qualification playoff match last November.

11 Comments

  1. Ugh… The MLS/Fox deal. If they end up putting the games on Fox sports 2 they might as well send out descriptions of the games action VIA Fax Machine. Would have the same audience.

  2. I agree with Hack that it’s good to have options. But the pessimist in me keeps thinking back to the Nowak days though. When the starters were changed every game for no discernible reason. I’m loving what I’m seeing so far though so as long as they stay healthy I feel confident.

    • Nowak’s constant rotations were better than Hackworth’s predcitable and poor subs last year.
      I’ll believe Hack when I see him proactively give starters rest and time to our young HGs.
      And honestly, I don’t need to see Hop anymore. He has learned nothing and developed nothing.

    • Rotation and tactical changes aren’t really random though. They might seem random to fans with an outsider’s perspective, but they’re not bad things.

      Nowak’s problem was tinkering for tinkering’s sake. Hack doesn’t seem like that kind of guy.

  3. Good riddance, scab refs!

  4. The Black Hand says:

    “It makes it fun for me because I can stay up top and do my thing and let them move the ball underneath and create opportunities for me. It’s still a work in progress but it’s been fun playing with them.”

    That sounds good, Jack. Let’s start doing that!

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Nice to hear Hack at least acknowledge out loud some of our biggest fears: obvious substitutions, automatic inclusion of Carroll, etc. I just hope he has the skill to make the right choices in-game. Something he still has to prove.
    .
    I just want to say one more time, the Qatar World Cup is complete disaster.
    .
    And, especially after last week, SO GLAD to hear the ref strike is over.

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