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.

25 Comments

  1. they better not abandon the salary cap

    • Completely agree. Gradually raise it over time, but never remove it. You’ll quickly end up with a league that consists of the two NY teams, Seattle, LA, Seattle, the Miami Beckhams….and everyone else fighting over scraps.

      • No salary cap would instantly help this league. The US would be a prime destination for players still at the peak of their game. We would for sure see a massive increase in foreign team owners but that wouldn’t be much different than any other top league in the world.

      • are you saying that if the cap was removed there would be a huge influx of rich foreign owners clamoring to buy existing teams? also, are you at all concerned about maintaining parity?

      • Now I don’t think they could just drop the cap overnight and be fine because that would cause the worst problem possible. However, if they say in 3 years there will be no cap then that gives current owners the chance to decide if they want to stay in or sell.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Nah. It would help ‘big market’ clubs (not us)and and polarize the league, to the point that it is no longer competitive. See:National Basketball Association.

      • No, parity isn’t really a concern to me especially with no salary cap because i believe the league could attract say 20 owners on par financially. I think that our tax set up here would be much more financially beneficial to the players than most other foreign countries.

        The NBA is a bad example when three of the top teams in the league Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Indiana. Also, no other soccer league in the world seems to have much parity and they are doing alright.

      • “Doing [sic] alright”? You call the EPL, and La Liga, where a few teams dominate the table every year, all right? Because I sure don’t. And I don’t ever want MLS to degenerate into that kind of First Class / Economy Class system.

      • Yea, they are doing fine considering they are the two most popular leagues in the world with a majority of the tops players as well.

      • (it gets too hard to read otherwise so i’m going to reply to a further up post)
        @jason: by a pretty reasonable metric they are not doing alright. from my experience most MLS fans do not want a league were a small handful of teams dominate and there is no parity. also many teams in the ‘top’ european leagues have an insane amount of debt and are on very shaky financial ground. if this is what you would want for MLS then i guess we just fundamentally disagree at what a good league looks like. i think it is possible to steadily increase the level of play until we become one of the better leagues in the world but i don’t think totally removing the cap and letting the chips fall where they may would lead to an interesting league to watch

      • @Kyle – I get what you are saying but then I think everyone will have to accept that MLS will never really compete in the US at the same level as the NFL, MLB, NBA or even NHL. If they continue to apply a cap that limits the talent they can recruit this is as good as it is going to get for us. To me, that is a depressing future. I guess you and I are just looking at the problem in a different way.

      • i agree that with the cap at the current level the league will not reach the highest levels but i don’t think that means having any kind of salary cap will keep the level of play down. they raise the cap every year and i could definitely see them accelerating that process as the league increases revenues and visibility. the other thing to keep in mind is that as the cap goes up so does the threshhold for what is considered a DP so you will be able to get more expensive players without having that hard 3 limit

      • The NBA is thriving. There are 10 teams with a legitimate chance at the conference finals.

    • They could remove a hard salary cap eventually (10 years minimum) IF they can get a big TV deal and institute revenue sharing. If each team is allotted the same amount of money from league revenue, it’s on them to create other forms of revenue so they can compete. Small market teams that market themselves well (Portland, SKC) could still compete with the LAs and NYs. And if a major market team like Philadelphia can’t, then new owners need to be brought it. But really until each team is on stable financial footing with consistent revenue (the “major 4” struggle with this as well), the salary cap is a requirement to maintain balance and order.

      • Agree with everything here I just don’t think it would take 10 years. You are 100% right that a major TV deal would be the key to the whole thing.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      For those of us who remember the old NASL without a cap, we would probably end up with a league where a few teams with deep pockets and large fan bases did well and a bunch of teams went bankrupt pretty quickly. Beckham has to realize that unlike the rest of the world, soccer has a lot of competition for the average fan’s dollar and if that fan finds that the Eagles and Flyers are competing for the championship every year while the Union are at the bottom of the pack with no chance to make the playoffs, the fan is going to be buying football and hockey tickets and gear and the soccer team will start seeing much smaller gates. Plus, without a cap, ticket prices are likely to rise which will hurt attendance even more.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Exactly

      • Attendance is ultimately decided by the product on the field not the cost of the ticket. Fans will always equate the cost with what they see. A crappy team selling $5 tickets still isn’t going to sell out. If the top players in the world are playing week to week then fans will pay the money to see them.

      • i agree that the level of play is huge factor when determining whether or not people go to games but you can’t pretend that cost means nothing when people try to decide whether or not to buy a ticket

  2. Freddy Adu should watch that Mo Edu video and take notes. That is the RIGHT way to get back on the USMNT.

  3. I think David Beckham is eventually gonna get a talking to by the commissioner. I foresee him being the mark Cuban of MLS. I like Cuban but he drives the league crazy. Raise the cap yes, eliminate…not likely. Also, Mo Edu is now my favorite Philly athlete!!!! All CLASS!!!! We need that!

  4. Toluca only getting fined $5k for that stunt is a joke. The whole point of the fine is to deter teams from doing that in the future. Plus, Toluca gets a lot more money than $5k for advancing to the semis.

    With this small amount, it’s almost like CONCACAF is encouraging this type of behavior.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Edu is the man. He exudes some serious class. I wish him the best tonight and hope he makes the USMNT for Brazil.
    .
    US Soccer needs a new design for he crest… to hell with the website.
    .
    The salary cap need to go up every year. I agree with Becks in principle that it is holding players back from coming here, but the league isn’t ready for no cap… no just yet. I like the 10 year idea and the revenue sharing idea proposed in the comments above.

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