Daily news roundups

Notes from Hack’s weekly presser, Wenger’s goals, Pfeffer called up by US U-20s, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Among the highlights of John Hackworth’s weekly press conference on Wednesday were:

  • On the injury front, Hackworth said Fabinho has “a little bit of a hamstring issue..but it’s not bad, so we’re hopeful that he’ll be available for Saturday.” Fred (left quad strain) and Danny Cruz (right heel contusion) are close to recovery but Hackworth said, “I don’t know if it’s realistic for them to be on the field on Saturday.”
  • Hackworth said the team must learn from its recent trend of giving up late goals. “[W]e have to lock down a game, we have to close it out…Our players have to learn from those experiences. I’d rather have that happen now, early in the year, because we are confident that those guys can learn.”
  • Hackworth said that Zac MacMath’s big PK save to rescue a point in Chicago is a confidence builder.
  • Regarding Andre Blake, Hackworth said, “Andre is doing well. I think we’ll see him sooner than later just because we want to make sure we’re not pushing Zac so hard.”
  • Hackworth praised the play of Leo Fernandes, adding, “I still think Leo has better games ahead of him, and I think games like Saturday really are going to help Leo become the player that he ultimately wants to be.”
  • Hackworth said that, with the upcoming schedule including two stretches of three games in eight days, “we’re definitely going to have a situation where our depth is tested a little bit and maybe there’s some opportunities for guys that haven’t played previously to see playing time.”
  • Hackworth said, “it is ironic that we are really strong at center back right now,” adding “So, center back is a tough position for us right now in a good way. There’s a lot of competition in training, guys are pushing each other and making each other better.”
  • Of the departure of Jack McInerney, Hackworth said, “The team’s handling it well. I’m not going to lie, it is different without him. But we’re happy to have Andrew and that’s what we’re focused on right now.”

You can read a transcript of the press conference here.

Hackworth said when asked if Andrew Wenger can operate as a lone striker in a 4-3-3, “Yes, absolutely.”

Asked to describe Wenger’s qualities, Hackworth said, “Andrew’s a good soccer player. He can hold the ball up, so he play with his back to goal. He’s also got some good pace. He’s good with both feet so he gets his shots off with his left foot as much as he does with his right. He’s good in the air. So, those are all the kind of characteristics that you want in a target No. 9.”

Wenger said his role is “to press high and be in one of those attacking roles and just get forward with chances and press the other team and, hopefully, win the ball in the attacking third and have those chances.” He explained further,

The (individual) goal would be to get on the scoresheet as soon as possible. Beyond that, it’s the team goal to get three points on the weekend…

There’s me, and Sebastien (Le Toux), Vincent (Nogueira), Chaco (Cristian Maidana) — they’re all great players. And then there’s Mo (Edu) behind them. If I can help them and bring them the attack and get the ball forward and help win balls for them, you want those guys around the goal. You want them getting marks, and that’s what’s going to improve us and help us be successful.

Hackworth said of the departure of Keon Daniel, “Keon is still a player that probably has a lot more potential than what he showed here. With us making the acquisitions in the midfield that we did, it kind of left Keon on the outside.”

Zach Pfeffer has been called up for the US U-20 team that will participate in the Dallas Cup, April 13-20. Also called up was former Union Academy goalkeeper Zack Steffen. The US is in Group C along with along U-19 sides from Eintracht Frankfurt, River Plate, and Tigres UANL.

Salt Lake City sports blog/podcast The Taxi Squad has a “Know Thy Enemy” post on the Union ahead of this weekend’s game (4 pm: 6abc, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick, DirecTV).

At Soccerly, Sebastien Le Toux writes, “I am glad that soccer has landed in Philadelphia in a big way — people here embrace the sport.” He adds, “The player/fan connection is something that I hold close to me and love most about the Philadelphia Union fans.” Le Toux says, “we have big expectations this 2014 season.”

Maurice Edu was named to the second team of SBI’s MLS Team of the Month. Receiving honorable mentions were Amobi Okugo, Ray Gaddis, and Vincent Nogueira.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta talks to Jack McInerney about his trade to Montreal. McInereny says performing well at his new club are much more important right now than any possibility of moving to Europe or his future on the USMNT.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame has a report on the Philadelphia Union Foundation awarding Hall of Fame President Bob Kozlowski its annual Building Blocks Award during last month’s Cocktails and Cleats charity event.

Local

Lancaster’s Zarek Valentin tore his Achilles tendon during training with Norwegian club Bodø/Glimt on Wednesday and is out for the rest of the season.

MLS

Viewership of MLS games on NBCSN over the first five weeks of the season is up 94 percent compared to last season. The season average currently stands at 223,000 viewers per game.

At MLSsoccer.com, Pablo Mauer wonders, ahead of this weekend’s matchup between DC and New York, what ever happened to the Atlantic Cup. DC United head coach Ben Olsen says, “I still respect the rivalry in a big way,” although he admits, “I think nationally, maybe, it has [lost a bit of luster]. I think there’s just more teams that are closer to each other that have that same proximity that we do to New York, that makes it a bit more special, more heated, more crosstown.”

At SI, Brian Straus reports that the league’s technical committee met on Monday to discuss conference realignment in view of the Eastern Conference having 12 teams in 2015 with the additions of Orlando City and New York City FC while the West will have nine teams. Straus notes that the committee doesn’t have the final say in the matter, with two other committees, the league’s board of governors, and “future broadcasters” also having input into whatever decision is reached. Straus reports “a source said that the league is sensitive to the criticism that has resulted from repeated changes in alignment and playoff format.” On the possibility that the East and West conferences could be broken into smaller divisions, or a new third conference added, Straus writes, “both the league and potential broadcast partners believe that stoking rivalries is important. But so are groupings large enough to include a variety of prevailing weather conditions, travel demands and field surfaces on a given club’s schedule.”

The Miami Herald reports, “Miami-Dade commissioners on Tuesday refused to let PortMiami relocate a fuel-spill facility that would need to move for David Beckham’s proposed soccer stadium and entertainment complex.”

US

ESPN has released an American Outlaws’ themed promo for its World Cup coverage. It is, in a word, brilliant:

USA Today talks to AO founder Korey Donahoo.

ProSoccerTalk has  positional outlooks for the US World Cup roster for goalkeepers and defenders, midfielders, and forwards.

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep on how Jozy Altidore’s move to Sunderland has hit an all-time low.

At Soccer America, Ridge Mahoney on how Landon Donovan is playing out the third act of his career.

Donovan talks to Men’s Journal about his role on the USMNT. He likes Aaron Johansson.

In the latest FIFA rankings, the US moves up one spot to No. 13. Mexico moves up one spot to No. 19.

The USWNT concludes its two-game series against China tonight in San Diego (11 pm: NBCSN).

At Soccer America, Mike Woitalla looks at the expanding inclusion of Latino players and coaches in the US development system.

Elsewhere

In Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg games, Atletico Madrid defeated Barcelona 1-0 (2-1 agg.), and Bayern Munich defeated Manchester United 3-1 (4-2 agg), to join Chelsea and Real Madrid in the semifinals.

Checkout this week’s Footy on the Telly for listings of today’s Europa League games.

Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says his players can have sex during the World Cup but warned against anything “too acrobatic.” Scolari explained, “The players can have normal sex during the World Cup. Usually normal sex is done in a balanced way but some like to perform acrobatics. We will put limits and survey the players.” Scolari said further, “Sex before matches? If it is normal, yes. If done ‘normally’. (But) there are certain ways to do it that are acrobatic and that will tire you.”

In Spain, former Valencia president Juan Bautista Soler has been arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap his successor, Vicente Soriano.

7 Comments

  1. The Realist Brian says:

    Acrobatic sex? I am moving to Brazil if my wife divorces me over my love of soccer.

  2. Actually got chills the first time that I saw that ESPN promo. Very well done.

  3. Scolari’s going to “survey the players”? Um, sure coach. What do you wanna know? Nothing remotely awkward about that whole concept.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    That ESPN promo is just great. Gets you going!
    .
    Oh Brazil… if you only you could erect stadiums as well as you can erect… ah forget it. HA!
    .
    As I said yesterday, can’t wait to see what the MLS and it’s “partners” come up with for the new conferences.
    .
    And good stuff about the ratings… hope it keeps up!

  5. Excellent article. I’m facing many of these issues as well..

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