Daily news roundups

Reaction to Edu callup, Jack & Leo confident goals will come, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Maurice Edu has been called up for the USA vs. Mexico friendly in Phoenix on April 2. Edu will leave for the pre-game camp on Sunday after the Union’s game against Montreal on Saturday.

USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said of Edu,

We’re looking for Mo to show us that sense of urgency. To come back on loan, get playing time and jump into the Union team, become a leader right away and help them get off on the right foot in MLS shows that he understands that the timing has to be there now if he wants to play. He could have sat there on the bench at Stoke maybe not playing much, and then there’s no chance for him to get on the World Cup roster. But he understood that, made the decision to come back and now he’s picking it up. We’re looking forward to have Mo back with us because once he’s in a rhythm, once he is fit and really zoomed in, then he’s a very good player.

In a “what he said, what we heard” post at ASN, John Godfrey interprets Klinsmann’s comments on Edu to mean, “Maurice needs to show he is ready to dominate in the midfield. He has fallen behind a lot of guys, and it’s going to take something special for him to reclaim his spot.”

At Soccer America, Ridge Mahoney describes Edu “the wild card,” adding, “Edu brings the versatility Klinsmann seeks and has played centerback for the USA, yet so has Geoff Cameron. Another solid showing against Mexico (he started in the 1-0 win and 0-0 tie at Azteca over the last two years) buttressed by his 2010 World Cup experience can land Edu at least a spot in the squad of 30 though the numbers game may in the end defeat him. He’s a stronger, more physical player than Beckerman but has lost a lot ground while he struggled for playing time in Europe the past few years.”

At ProSoccerTalk, Richard Farley writes of Edu’s chances to make the World Cup squad, “Edu has the longest odds. His lack of playing time at Stoke City left him on the outside looking over the last two years, but after an impressive start with the Union, Edu can play his way into consideration for a “what if Jermaine Jones, Bradley, or Beckerman get injured” spot. Even then, with Geoff Cameron and Brad Evans also capable of playing in the middle, the U.S. already has other options embedded in the squad.” Farley says much the same about Edu in another ProSoccerTalk post.

Meanwhile, the headline at Stoke-on-Trent’s The Sentinel reads, “Another one for the conspiracy theorists: Player leaves Stoke City … and gets international call up!”

More on Edu’s callup from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Philly.com, Delco Times, South Jersey Times, and CSN Philly.

In Tuesday’s press conference, John Hackworth said that the team is creating plenty of scoring opportunities but their “execution” when it comes to finishing is letting them down. Jack McInerney says of the team’s thus far tepid scoring,

It’s a matter of time before it all comes together. It’s something to talk about and then all of a sudden, you pull together a five-goal game followed by a three-goal or a four-goal game. I think our defense has been very good and our play in the midfield and our goalkeeping have been very, very good. We have to pull everything together for a complete game and we will. I’m confident with the players we have on this club, that we’ll string together our fair share of goals…We can’t get caught up in it or put pressure on ourselves. We need to keep going out and playing hard and doing all the little things. If we keep doing that, the goals will come within the flow of the game.

Leo Fernandes agrees. “We have so many different players capable of putting the ball in the net. It will happen. We are coming to training every day and working so hard. When you get into the games, it’s a matter of staying within our game and executing our game plan. I know we will score goals. It’s a matter of time.”

Fernandes says of the attention his recent form has been receiving, “It’s something new to me. I didn’t think it would come so soon because I was just doing the things I thought I needed to do to help out the team. I wasn’t playing outside of myself in games, I was just playing my hardest and hoping that would translate into success.”

At the Delco Times, Matthew Ge George has a good read Aaron Wheeler’s conversion to centerback and the tutelage he’s received from Union assistant coach Jim Curtin, who was himself a centerback. Wheeler says, “I wouldn’t say that it’s a way that I would see my career go, but I’m extremely ecstatic for where I’m at. I just say that I’m a soccer player. I just think that I can go out there and do a job and do a good job wherever they give me an opportunity.”

Curtin says, “The one thing that I joked with him is that you can have a terrible game as a forward and score a goal and be the hero, whereas you can have a great 90 minutes as a center back and fall asleep for 30 seconds and you’re the goat. It’s not as rewarding of a position. You have to have a short-term memory; you have to forget things quickly and get on with the game.”

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin writes about the fitness and tactical considerations John Hackworth discussed in Tuesday’s press conference involved in Conor Casey finally seeing some minutes.

Describing the Union as “on the precipice of turning into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference,” SBI’s power rankings drop the team three spots to No. 8. Vincent Nogueira receives an honorable mention in SBI’s Best XI for Week 3.

American Soccer Analysis has an interesting look at the Columbus game in terms of the connection between shot location and expected goals and concludes, “1) Columbus scored a lucky goal somewhere (maybe the 25 yard screamer?) and then 2) They allowed a lot of shots in inopportune locations and were probably lucky to come out with the full 3 points.” Harrison Crow explains, “Obviously Columbus got some shots and in good locations which they capitalized on, but…the average shot taker would have produced just a little more than one expected goal. Their opponents took a cumulative eleven shots inside the 18 yard box, which we consider to be a dangerous location. Those shots, plus the six from long range, add up to nearly two goals worth of [expected goals].”

Speaking of Columbus, Federico Higuain has been fined an undisclosed amount by the league’s disciplinary committee for his dive in the 8th minute against the Union last week.

At Brotherly Game, Nick Youngstein recounts his trip to see the Union in Columbus.

The 91st Minute has some Photoshop fun with the competition between Zac MacMath and Andre Blake.

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has an update of Union Academy news and results. Brotherly Game has the same.

In case you missed it, you can listen to Tuesday’s 90th Minute radio show here.

Local

You will recall that we mentioned in Tuesday’s roundup that the Philly Soccer Six is partnering with the Starfinder Foundation to host a combined Spring Play Day event on April 6 at Penn Park that will include a clinic for youth players followed by games between Philly Soccer Six teams. Jonathan Tannenwald has more details on the expanding partnership at Philly.com.

You can find more details on the series of one-hour scrimmages between Philly Soccer Six men’s teams — Drexel, La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph’s, Temple, and Villanova — in this post at the newly launched Philly Soccer Six website.

The Temple men’s team has announced details of of the games included in its spring training schedule.

Penn’s women’s team has begun its spring training season, which includes the annual alumni game as well as matches against Georgetown and La Salle.

Junior Lone Star, Philadelphia’s NPSL team, have announced their 2014 schedule. Home games will be played at the Monsignor Bonner High School Turf Field (403 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA 19036) where the season begins against Electric City Shock FC on Saturday, May 3rd at 5:00pm. The team’s five-game preseason schedule, which begins this weekend, includes matches against USASA clubs Debamu FC and Screaming Eagles, both of whom are based in Maryland, as well as games against NCAA Division II schools Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia University, and Wilmington University.

Continental FC is looking for a new director of operations.

The Pittsburgh Business Times and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report that USL PRO’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds are seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection related to the debt the team incurred from the construction of its new stadium. The team says the filing will not affect the 2014 season, which begins for the Riverhounds on Saturday in Orlando.

MLS

The Red Bulls have announced they will host Arsenal in a friendly on July 26. It will be Arsenal’s only game in the US during the Premier League preseason.

The league disciplinary committee has suspended Toronto FC midfielder Jackson one game (aggressive inflammatory behavior) and added an additional one-game suspension to Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts’ automatic one-game suspension he must serve after receiving a red card in the game against Colorado.

Former Union winger Shea Salinas gets some props at MLSsoccer.com.

Five days after acquiring him in a waiver draft, New England have traded Matt Pickens to the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies.

At Grantland, Graham Parker talks to Don Garber about how the diversification of the league’s franchise owners from “several sports industrialists” to “a very diverse, unique, and active ownership group” has helped to transform the league.

In an interview with Soccerly, Garber acknowledges the league’s schedule puts MLS teams at a disadvantage in the CONCACAF Champions League but says little can be done to change the schedule to an earlier start given the winter conditions in many of the league’s markets. “We accept and we understand that we are the outlier, and that we are playing at a different schedule. I think it’s in everybody’s best interest — including Liga MX- to have the fairest possible competition and we’ll continue to look at it over time. Nothing is going to happen in the short term on either side, that’s for sure.”

Canada.com reports 94 percent of MLS players in a new Canadian study published in the journal BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation on player perceptions about playing on turf versus playing on grass “associate turf with increased risk of non-contact injuries, while a similarly high share of respondents blame it for greater muscle and joint pain, as well as longer recovery times.”

SB Nation does the long form thing on the rivalry between Portland and Seattle supporters groups.

The MLS Insider has been nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Sports Documentary Series.

US

Jurgen Klinsmann makes clear that the clock is ticking when it comes to making the US World Cup roster in a Q&A that accompanied the announcement of the roster for next week’s friendly against Mexico. “Everyone knows the clock is ticking and that they need to impress in those games with their club, and the only way you can impress is if you play from the beginning on. So the players have a sense of urgency now. With whomever I communicate, whether it’s a text message or on the phone, I hear from the players that now they have to step it up.”

Klinsmann said next Wednesday’s friendly “is definitely a game we need to see where our MLS and Mexican-based players are.” He continued, “They need to prove now that they badly want to go to Brazil. Therefore, it’s going to be a tense couple of days. It’s going to be a test for what they can expect going into our World Cup preparations because it’s performing at the right time. It’s about understanding that they have to be tough now. It’s not about slowly getting into a rhythm, it’s about showing if you deserve to get into this World Cup roster.”

More on the roster from ASN’s Brian Sciaretta. At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep looks at the roster snubs.

At The Guardian, Elliot Turner considers what Julian Green, who is on the US roster for the Mexico friendly, choosing to play for the US says about the future of American soccer. “Jurgen Klinsmann has taken a team that plays a ‘game for immigrants’ and filled the roster with immigrants. After eight years of Arena’s limited vision and Bradley’s lack of connections, US soccer is looking beyond its borders, embracing immigrants, and ultimately building a better team. It’s nothing new (Bora did it), but it’s still refreshing to see. Here’s hoping the rest of the US will wake up and follow suit.”

USWNT head coach Tom Sermanni has named Omid Namazi as assistant coach. Namazi last worked with Iran’s men’s national team.

Elsewhere

UEFA has unanimously voted to approve the new “Nations League” tournament. The tournament will launch in 2018 and will replace most European international friendlies.

Michel Platini has called for a ban on third party ownership of players. The UEFA president said, “If FIFA fails to act, we will address this issue in our own competitions in Europe.”

The New York Jets have announced that Portugal will train at their practice facility, June 3-9.

5 Comments

  1. Glad that Jack and Leo are so confident the goals will come but so far I find it hard to share in their optimism. Come on boys…prove me a pessimist! In this case I’d love to be wrong.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      It’s game 4 of the season. Don’t overreact yet. Concern yes, but not panic.

      • Concern is accurate. I’m not panicking. I just don’t see where the goals are going to come from. That was my concern during the entire off-season. I’m willing to hang in there as long as it takes I’m just worried that it’s going to take too long for them to become the playoff team I believe they can be.

    • I think a good number of people in here, before the season started, were saying the offense might take some time to come along with all the new faces. Play good defense until the offense caught up. Maybe our opinion changed a bit with how surprisingly quickly our midfield played well starting week 1. But not unusual for that last move in the final third to be what’s missing for a team early season. I share your concern, but still talking myself into being optimistic.

  2. Timing is everything. Last week the Harrisburg City Islanders announced their new 14+ million dollar stadium plan. Today, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds went Chapter 11 because of their own 10+ million stadium. I hope HCI’s plan yields better results.
    .
    Looking forward to the home-opener in a few weeks to see the players on loan from PhillyU.

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