Daily news roundups

Union news and notes, Jack has something to prove, SoBs condemn hate tweet, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

In case you missed it, Keon Daniel is no longer with the Union, his contract with the team terminated by mutual consent. More on Daniel’s departure from PSP, Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia Daily News, Delco Times, CSN Philly, South Jersey Times, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, and The Sports Network,

More power rankings? Okay: At ProSoccer Talk, the Union are demoted four spots to No. 9. The blurb that accompanied the Union ranking is worth reading in full:

This is a big drop for a team coming off a road draw, but within the context of Philadelphia’s other recent results, Saturday’s performance opened our eyes. The team has question marks in attack (specifically, at forward) and in defense, while the midfield that looked like a strength underperformed against a Fire team it could have controlled. Add that to the late capitulation against Montréal the week before, and it looks like the honeymoon is over. Their previous mistakes are more than aberrations, now.

At MLSsoccer.com, the Union drop one spot to No. 11. “Dropping points thanks to bad set-piece defending and late collapses week after week. The Union still look the part of a contender, but eventually good performances have to become wins.”

No Union players made the Castrol Index Weekly Top 20 Performers list after the draw in Chicago. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Leo Fernandes (No. 17), Amobi Okugo (No. 49), Cristian Maidana (No. 66), Sebastien Le Toux (No. 85), and Maurice Edu (No. 87).

At the Union website, Kevin Kinkead has three key points from Saturday’s draw in Chicago. Brotherly Game has the good, the bad, and the ugly from the game.

Looks like Saturday’s opponent Real Salt Lake, who have been dealing with injuries, is starting to see players return to training.

At ASN, Blake Thomsen has seven players “who could muscle their way” onto the US World Cup squad. No. 1 on the list is Maurice Edu. Noting that the final central midfield spot is probably a battle between Edu and Sacha Kljestan, Thomsen writes, “After the Mexico game, the argument is growing for defensive-minded central midfielders who can stay tactically disciplined, do the dirty work, and help unleash the full Michael Bradley Experience. Edu can do that, and there’s a real case to be made that he can do it better than Kljestan can.”

Jack McInerney had his first practice session with the Impact on Tuesday. Asked about playing the Union in Montreal on April 26, McInerney said,

It’ll definitely be an emotional game for me because I’ve known a lot of them for five years, but it’ll be like every other game — you just go out and play.

I think it will be fun. Obviously, Philly didn’t have me in their plans and I think it’s good that we play them in two weeks just to get the game out of the way. And hopefully I can score and win the game and kind of shove it in their face.

McInerney added, “I definitely feel I have something to prove. A lot of people in Philly are disappointed. I feel if I come here and show I’m still capable of what I did at the beginning of last year, that will help.”

Former Union man Justin Mapp said of his new teammate, “He’s a young, hungry player, a quiet guy. I know he wants to get here and score goals and prove anyone who doubted him wrong.”

McInerney described his welcome from Marco Di Vaio: “He kind of just said hello, said ‘We’ve been wanting you, we’re happy to have you, and hopefully you score some goals this year.”

in Monday’s roundup sent to Mike Magee by someone calling themselves a Union fan. Calling the tweet, “offensive and appalling,” the statement continues, “We would like to personally apologize to Mike Magee, the Chicago Fire, the Philadelphia Union, the MLS, Supporter Groups and anyone else unfortunate enough to have read” the tweet. The statement says further, “The Sons of Ben board will act swiftly to determine the next steps. What is agreed upon is that we will not allow any individual to destroy the hard work our members have put in to make this organization great.”

Matt Kassel has signed with USL PRO side Arizona United. Last week, Greg Jordan signed with NASL side Minnesota United.


Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Jason Pelletier has been named to the USL PRO Team of the Week. Receiving honorable mentions were Union loanee Pedro Ribeiro, who played in the season opener at center back, and former Union trialist Clesio Bauque. More from Penn Live.

On Sunday, Vereinigung Erzgebirge defeated Phoenix SC to win the Eastern Pennsylvania Amateur Cup title. The team travels this Sunday to face Aegean Hawks (DC/VA) in the USASA Region I Amateur Cup quarterfinals. The Hawks defeated Oak Avalon (PA West) 3-1 in last Sunday’s USASA Region I Open Cup quarterfinal.

Lehigh Valley United’s U-14 team has been awarded membership in the US Soccer Development Academy. A press release from the club says, “LVU will be aligning with U.S. Soccer’s commitment to move away from pay-to-play and will offer participation on the LVU U14 Development Academy team at no cost.”

PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com has a nice profile on the Starfinder Foundation.


At Grantland, Graham Parker talks to Don Garber about how he took MLS from contraction to expansion.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a radio interview, “We are in the very final stages of doing our agreement” to land a MLS franchise in Atlanta. He added, “An urban, downtown soccer stadium is going to a tremendous hit in Atlanta. It is a different demographic than the NFL, a completely different demographic.”

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson doesn’t see an MLS team in Atlanta as a threat to his league’s Atlanta Silverbacks. “My personal opinion is that Atlanta is a city that would benefit from more than one professional soccer club and may actually raise the awareness and excitement levels throughout the region. I think this could be a good thing for all of us, on and off the field. Having said that, I’m not the owner of the team. [The team’s owners] continue to evaluate their situation.” Peterson says the league has “moved out of the startup phase and moved into growth phase.”

With word that Atlanta will be awarded the next MLS franchise, folks in San Antonio are concerned about their city’s reduced chances to land a franchise of their own.


The NWSL announced on Tuesday that all of the league’s games will be live streamed on YouTube in 2014.


Abby Wambach says the players were not behind the firing of USWNT head coach Tom Sermanni. “Everybody out there who may think the players made this happen, none of it’s true.”

Sermanni, who addressed the team after he learned he was fired, said on the Over the Ball podcast, “Nineteen of the 23 players, unsolicited, chatted with me and thanked me. That in itself is an indication that there was harmony in the squad. The players had bought into what we were trying to do with the team.”

Wambach added that the firing came down to a disconnect between Sermanni’s philosophy and that of US Soccer. “That’s not anyone’s fault. That’s the hard part. I wish he was a jerk in some ways because it would be easier. But that’s just not the case. He’s such a good guy. He treated us all with the utmost respect and we couldn’t wish him nothing but the best of luck.”

Hope Solo says that if the players played a part in the firing, it was through their poor performance at the Algarve Cup. “We didn’t play our best soccer in Portugal. We came in seventh place. That’s not good enough for this team. At the end of the day, we failed Tom. We didn’t put together a great tournament.”

Carli Lloyd said of the firing, “I was shocked as much as everybody else was.” Lloyd said she was not asked about Sermanni by anyone from the federation before the firing was announced. “I really wasn’t aware of if there were conversations, if some people were unhappy.”

US Soccer has a quote sheet from Sunil Gulati’s conference call with reporters about the Sermanni firing.

Former Philadelphia Independence coach Paul Riley, who now leads the Portland Thorns and was considered for the USWNT head coaching job before Sermanni was hired, admits he’s interested in the job. “The U.S. job is the No. 1 job in the world. I’m very happy in Portland, but to say you wouldn’t be interested would be a lie, there’s no question.”

At The Guardian, Graham Parker on the opening of the Kicking and Screaming Film Festival, now in its sixth edition, in New York.

The Democrats defeated the Republicans in the second annual Capital Soccer Classic. The game features members of Congress and is organized by the US Soccer Foundation and Politico, and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and Nike, to raise funds for the Soccer For Success program. It does not appear that that two Republican senators who have called on FIFA to ban Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup, Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Dan Coats (R., Ind.), played in the game. The event also features tournaments for congressional and embassy staffers.


Chelsea and Real Madrid have booked their ticket to the Champions League semifinals. Today at 2:45 pm, it will be Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United (Fox Sports 1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go, SiriusXM FC)  and Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona (Fox Sports 2, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go, SiriusXM FC) to see who will join them.

The AP reports, “About 50 workers have gone on strike over unpaid salaries, according to a Brazilian soccer club that is renovating its stadium in Curitiba for the World Cup.”

The Far Post looks at the international soccer aspirations of non-state actors – “autonomous regions with aspirations to nationhood, homelands to ethnic minorities, even stateless communities” — that aren’t recognized by FIFA.

FIFA has released the official 2014 World Cup song, featuring Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez. Kill me now.


  1. Those power ranking comments would seem to indicate the MLS press believe that the Union emperor has no clothes. Sadly I’m starting to lean that way too.

  2. So MLS is gonna have to do some serious re-alignment, right? New York is #20; Orlando is #21. Both come on-line next year. Atlanta is #22 with a 2017 date. Miami is (presumably) #23 with a tentative 2018 date. One spot is still open. If you drop those four definite locations into the East and the unnamed team into the West, and leave everything else the same, that would give the team 14 teams in the East and 10 in the West.
    So what two teams switch to the West? Houston seems pretty obvious. Would SKC be the other team to shift to the Western Conference? Chicago? (They’re a Western Conference team in the NHL.) Nobody else really seems to be a fit to switch.

    • Go to an (eventual) 8-team, 3-conference setup? West, Central, and East?
      West: VAN, SEA, POR, SJE, CHV, LAG, RSL, COL
      Central: SKC, FCD, HOU, CHI, CMB, TFC, MON, XXX

      • How do you handle playoffs? First idea would be group play, somehow. But it seems tricky to set up a fair tournament with three conferences.

      • They could use a mix of the current format and format for the Gold Cup, just with more teams. The top 3 teams from each group plus the best 4th place finisher (10 teams) play in a knockout tournament, with the 4th place finisher and third-place finishers playing the first round.
        (I.e. 3east-4thplace; 3west-3central) Winners advance to play 1st & 2nd place teams.

      • Smackey the Frog says:

        NFL Playoff style.

        Top two in each division qualify, top two seeds get first-round byes. Keep it simple.

      • John Ling says:

        OK, but who plays who? Do you just seed it by points? That works decent, but has the “issue” of the two teams playing the championship game possibly being from the same conference.
        If you don’t care about your championship teams coming from the same conference, you can go with eight teams total – best two from each conference, plus the next two best teams regardless of conference. Break them into groups of four and play a world cup-esque group stage, with one group playing Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday and the other playing Sunday-Thursday-Sunday. Play all the group games at the same time, so nobody knows results and so can’t really just, “play for the tie” to ensure advancing. Top two from each group advance with A1 playing B2 and B1 playing A2, either in a home-and-home or a single game knockout, and the winners playing for the title. That would be six games for the top two teams if you go home-and-home for the knockout round, five if it’s one-and-done. And it would take three weeks: one for the group stage of games, then knockout games the next weekend, then the championship game the next.
        That works. But sort of defeats the purpose of having conferences in the first place, I think. (My assumption: the purpose of conferences is to A) reduce travel expenses during the season by playing more games against regional opponents; and then B) to pit the “best” team of each conference in the championship.) I’d say when they hit 24, go with East and West, 12 teams each. Split each conference into two divisions, 6 teams each. Play each team in your division 3 teams during the season (15 matches). Play the other division within your conference twice (12 matches). Play teams in the other conference once (12 matches). That’s a total of 39. A little long by MLS standards, but seems reasonable to me. (I know the Premier League is somewhere in the high 30s for number of league matches per year – 37-39 range). Playoffs then take the two best teams from each division. The first round is a home-and-home with your divisional opponent. Winners go on to the conference championship, which is also a home-and-home. Winners go on to the championship game, which is a win-or-go-home game. At most, five playoff games. Half the teams will only play two games. Every team gets a home playoff game this way, so they can rake in the sweet, sweet cash of tickets, concessions, parking, etc. The whole thing can be done in three weeks if you play two games a week for the first two rounds.
        I think that works once they hit 24. I’m not sure what they do in the meantime, though. Rough guess? Next year move Houston to the West, and you’ll then have 10 teams in the West and 11 in the East. They would have scheduling quirks with that divisional format until they had 24 teams, though.

      • I would seed it just like the World cup or Gold Cup. Top conference winner is 1, 2nd best is 2 etc. I have no problem with the current conference format, and the 3 divisions would further enhance rivalries and reduce travel, so MLS should move away from conference playoffs and make it a real tournament style to crown the best team.

    • yep. Houston and Chicago should be it.

      • KC is actually further west than Chicago. It’s roughly the same as Dallas and Houston. It’s actually further west than Minneapolis even. So Chicago is an option, I would think. But I’m not sure it’s the “best” option.

      • yeah, I think they have to keep SKC in the East to balance the quality.

    • How bout just 1 single table like every other league in the world. There are even some that use just 1 conference/table and have playoffs just like we have now. Seems simple.

  3. 7 team, 3 conference set-up would be possible next year:

    Central: COL, SKC, FCD, HOU, CHI, CMB, TFC

    Envisioning playing each conference member 3x, all others once for a 32 game season.

    Will make the supporters shield even more of a joke though.

    • I agree the Supporter’s Shield would have less significance in that format – which is the best way to go in my opinion – but the postseason tournament could be so much more compelling since they could all but do away with the conference format. Instead of the winner of a strong Western conference having to deal with Seattle, LA, RSL or Houston on the way to the Cup Final, they could deal with a lousy New England team that sneaks in, which could in turn make a more compelling final. T

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    If anyone deserves a franchise it’s San Antonio. I think they are in trouble though.
    If they do a 3 conference/division set up, the. Supporter Shield is pointless. But given the travel requirements you can’t do a single table. It’s really a no win. Maybe 3 divisions, 9 teams quality, each division winner gets a bye and the other top 2 from each division are seeded 4-9? This puts a lot of pressure to win the division and takes away the importance of the other games. I don’t know, prolly wouldn’t work. One thing I think we are sure of, is that MLS will come up something convoluted and weird.

  5. Song sucks. 2010 Africa was way better.

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