Daily news roundups

Edu on US callup, US news ahead of Mexico friendly, Barca transfer ban, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

John Hackworth’s weekly press conference is schedule to take place today at 12:30 pm and should be available as a live stream at the Union website and YouTube channel.

Maurice Edu continues to impress with his comments about being called up by the US for tonight’s friendly against Mexico. “I’ve always said it’s a humbling experience and something I haven’t and never will take for granted. There’s many great players around this country that don’t get a chance to represent their country and I’m fortunate to have done it and hopefully continue to do it.”

Calling his move to Philadelphia the “right one,” Edu said of the Union, “They’ve made me feel welcome really quickly. I knew a couple of the guys going into it, so that was good. But it’s a really good group of guys, eager and ambitious. I think we’re going to have a good season. I’m very confident in this group and so far the early signs I’ve been impressed with the guys, their workrates, the stuff they do behind the scenes to make sure they’re fit and ready for the games. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with them.”

Edu also said he’s happy to embrace a leadership role. “I welcome those things because I know when I was a younger guy there were certain guys I looked up to on my team. If I can be that to some of the younger guys and that inspiration for them – them seeing me go away to camp now and hopefully they aspire to do the same thing – and they’ll look at it and say, ‘Mo was rewarded for his play. I want to do the same thing.’ I definitely welcome the responsibility and the leadership role and I’ve enjoyed it thus far.”

ASN has part one of a three-part documentary on Edu’s quest to go to Brazil. It’s great stuff, and it also includes comments from John Hackworth and Amobi Okugo.

More on Edu’s callup from CSN Philly.

Aaron Wheeler says, “I don’t want to be known down the road as the guy who came in and played a couple of good games. I want to be known as the guy who plays hard and stayed consistent through the season. Like every player, I want to play. It’s great to be out there, but I feel like I have my best soccer in front of me. I have so much more to show. I’m looking forward to taking that next step.

Wheeler gets an honorable mention in ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Team of the Week.

At MLSsoccer.com, the Union drop two spots in the latest power rankings to No. 10. “The Union have arguably outplayed three of their four opponents, but they have just one win, a pair of draws and a loss to show for it. Those were a painful two points to drop vs. the Impact this weekend.” The Union remain at the No. 5 spot in ProSoccerTalks latest power rankings. “That the Impact were able to come back with 10 men makes it difficult to justify this spot, but the teams below Philadelphia didn’t do enough to earn the bump…[The Union’s] inability to grab that crucial second goal (which it’s yet to do all season) is why it’s ranked five, not three.”

No Union players made the Castrol Index Top 20 Performers list for Week Four. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Leo Fernandes (No. 6 in the league – in the league!), Amobi Okugo (No. 18), Jack McInerney (No. 25), Austin Berry (No. 44), and Sebastian Le Toux (No. 59).

Brotherly Game has the good (Wheeler), the bad (individual performances), and the ugly (only one goal scored) from Saturday’s draw with Montreal.

Kleberson debuted for the Indy Eleven in a friendly on Tuesday, coming on in at the start of the second half and scoring from the penalty spot in a 3-1 loss to Chicago Fire.

Local

Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.), Danny Barbir (Manchester City Academy; Allentown, Pa.), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), and Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.) have been called up for the US U-17 MNT for the Josip Katalinski International Tournament in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, April 3-6. The team will play two games against the Croatia U-17 MNT after the tournament.

MLS

David Beckham says it’s time for the league to abandon the salary cap. “That’s what we’ll work for. We’ll work towards that, because obviously that’s one of the things that honestly stops a lot of players coming over here.”

After four weeks of play, and despite some dodgy weather around the league, paid attendance in MLS is up 3.2 percent so far in 2014.

Kansas City have signed 23-year-old Spanish midfielder Victor Munoz, a product of the Real Madrid and Celta de Vigo academies who played college ball at UCLA. Munoz was selected by DC United in this year’s SuperDraft but released after the preseason.

Liga MX side Toluca have been fined $5,000 for illegally taping a San Jose practice before the second leg of their recent CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal meeting.

Aston Villa will play FC Dallas and Houston in two friendlies this summer. Because, you know, the weather is so pleasant in Texas in late July.

Looks like Detroit could be the home of a new USL PRO team. More on the story here.

Some MLS related April Fool’s day pranks were pulled on Tuesday. Colorado said they would play in recently re-discovered jerseys from the Colorado Caribous of the old NASL, jerseys that famously had leather fringe on the chest. Portland Monthly had a story with the headline “Seattle to Field Pro Soccer Team to Lure Portland Tourists.”

US

Look for our preview of tonight’s USMNT friendly against Mexico (11 pm, ESPN, UniMas, Watch ESPN) later this morning. Until then, here are previews from MLSsoccer.com, ProSoccerTalk, and Goal.com.

ASN has five questions that the US can answer in tonight’s friendly against Mexico.

Jurgen Klinsmann says tonight’s game is important but only a part of the decision making process as to who will go to Brazil. “This is a huge opportunity, and it has a bit of a weight. Now does it decide about who goes into camp or not? No. We aren’t deciding on one game who goes into camp six weeks from now. We’re going to review the last two and a half years. We will talk through every player individually and put the puzzle together the best way possible.”

Klinsmann says he’ll wait until the June 2 deadline to announce his 23-player World Cup roster.

Landon Donovan says of tonight’s game, “The end of the tunnel is near, and we can see the light, we can see Brazil in the forefront. We’re excited about it, one last chance to show Jurgen up close what we’re about, and we’re going to make the most of it.”

DaMarcus Beasley says he understands why Puebla would not release Michael Orozco Fiscal and himself for tonight’s game (relegation battle). But, still. “Was I disappointed? Yeah…We’ve missed these last two U.S. games, the one in Europe and the one against Mexico, so those are missed opportunities. [U.S.] coaches are watching our [club] games week in and week out, seeing who’s doing well and who isn’t, but this is a live international against our biggest rival in front of 60,000 fans. What more can you ask for?”

A Mexican reporter gave Graham Zusi a bottle of tequila in the middle of an interview on Monday, saying, “I promised this to my father. This is on behalf of the 365k Mexicans who you probably saved their jobs. On behalf of my family, and other people’s families, a present from us for saving our asses in the World Cup.” Zusi scored the equalizing goal against Panama that kept Mexico’s World Cup qualification hopes alive. Needless to say, Mexico fans freaked the f’ out.

USA Today says Omar Gonzalez represents the “new America” on the USMNT.

At MLSsoccer.com, Greg Lalas on what Klinsmann can learn from the disastrous US 1998 World Cup campaign.

US Soccer has launched a new design for its website. It’s very different from the previous update of the site. Federation director of communications and content Neil Buethe said, “We used to sort different kinds of content into buckets, like editorial, features, press releases, videos. Now, this brand experience is developed with the user experience in mind and how they interact with the content.” Further updates of the site will continue in the run up to the World Cup.

Elsewhere

FIFA has announced, “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) and Spanish club FC Barcelona for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.” As a result, Barcelona has been issued with “a transfer ban at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, together with a fine of CHF 450,000. Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularize the situation of all minor players concerned.”

ESPN notes, “The world governing did not explicitly state when the punishment was due to start, but if imposed immediately it would prevent Barca making signings in summer 2014 or winter 2015.” More on the news from The Guardian.

The AP reports, “Brazilian organizers are adding safety features where a worker died in the stadium hosting the World Cup opener, hoping to quickly reverse an order that halted construction in part of the venue.” Construction was halted at Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium after a worker died from injuries he received after a fall on Saturday.

At the Guardian, Paul Doyle argues that the rules for set pieces need to be rewritten.

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