Daily news roundups

Edu says Union need to get nastier, City Islanders home opener on Saturday, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

John Hackworth said of the quick turnaround from Wednesday’s loss to New York and Saturday’s home game against Houston (4:00 pm: TCN, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick, DirecTV), “We have to recover and we have to regenerate and watch some game film to see if we can’t put a team on the field on Saturday that can compete. Bottom line is that our soccer has been OK; our defending has been pretty poor.”

Amobi Okugo said, “It’s tough (playing) three games in eight days. We’ve got a couple guys rested, a couple guys coming off injury, I think everyone is going to be back for Saturday. It’s a big game versus Houston. They’re in a slump and we just lost this game, and we’ve got to get the win.”

Look for our preview of Saturday’s game and Union-Dyanmo quick reference later this morning. In the meanwhile, here are previews from Goal.com, Stoppage Time Soccer, Brotherly Game, which also has three questions answered by fellow SB Nation blog Dynamo Theory.

Maurice Edu wants the team to get nastier.

We do enough in these games where we should be ahead of teams, but maybe we’re not just nasty enough in the final third on either end. So I think we just need to have that little bit of an edge, that chip on our shoulder for us to go out there to finish off plays, whether it’s in our own box or get on the end of plays to score goals. But at some point, we need to mature as a team and get over the final little hump and start scoring more goals and finishing off games.

It’s too many times that we’ve let ourselves down, been good enough in a game to win and haven’t.

The US will begin its World Cup training camp on May 14 at Stanford University. If Maurice Edu is called up — provisional 30-player World Cup rosters must be submitted to FIFA by May 12 — and assuming he would join the camp after the May 14 road game against Kansas City, that would mean he would miss at least three games: New England at home on May 17, Los Angeles away on May 25, and Chivas USA away on May 28. If he makes the cut for the 23-player roster that’s due on June 2, Edu will also miss the home game against Vancouver on June 7, the last game before the World Cup break. If the US makes it out of its group, more Union games would be missed with league play resuming on June 28 against New England away, the same day as the start of play in the Round of 16.

By the way, today is Edu’s birthday.

Zolo Times reviews the RSL and New York games and is not happy with John Hackworth or his substitutions.

Stoppage Time Soccer says the Union’s problem isn’t defense but the midfield’s hesitancy to shoot.

Following Wednesday’s loss, Union drop three spots to No. 13 in SBI’s power rankings.

The Union Academy team defeated San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 in their final group game at the Generation adidas Cup but it wasn’t enough to advance to the tournament semifinals. The Union finished with a 2-1-0 record in group play.

Brenadan Burke, the former Union assistant coach and Reading United head coach, has been named associate head coach at Northeastern.

Local

At Penn Live, Michael Bullock of the Patriot News has extensive coverage ahead of the Harrisburg City Islanders home opener against Dayton Dutch Lions on Saturday (7:00 pm: YouTube, NSCAA TV). Among the articles are a look at the team’s roster, a look at the optimism amongst the team, and how the City Islanders have benefited from their relationship with the Union.

Bullock also has positional previews the team’s goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and attackers. Reading the article about the team’s defenders, the impression is that Pedro Ribeiro and Richie Marquez, both of whom are on loan from the Union, will continue to partner at centerback.

Bullock talks to Yann Ekra about his aspirations.

The City Islanders have released a “New Beginning” video ahead of the home opener:

The University of Penn women’s team has announced seven new freshmen players, including Rutledge, Pa.’s Kristen Miller and Chester Springs, Pa.’s Jules Provini.

MLS

At ProSoccerTalk, Richard Farley looks at how the conference realignment that will accompany expansion will lead to an even stronger Western Conference.

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb is excited by the league’s ongoing expansion. “Who knows what that magic number [for MLS teams] is, but at the end of the day the expansion team boils down to the quality. You have to have the quality in the league to be able to sustain that. And really the infrastructure and the foundation they’ve built soccer on in the United States from the ground up … I believe that the infrastructure is able to sustain that.”

At Al Jazeera, Graham Parker looks at how the upcoming CBA negotiations could affect the league.

Georgia-raised Jack McInerney said of Atlanta getting an expansion franchise, “Just having a professional soccer team [in Atlanta] will make the kids want to play even more. They’ll have someone to look up to, where maybe they’ll continue into high school and college and having the dream of playing for that team one day.”

Looks like McInerney will take a backseat to Marco Di Viao when the Impact travel to Kansas City this weekend.

NWSL

The New York Times looks at the NWSL’s efforts to connect with fans by offering youth clinics.

US

Jurgen Klinsmann said of the lack of first team playing time Jozy Altidore is getting at Sunderland, “Yes, it concerns us because we want him to play, we want him to score goals We want him to be there 90 minutes every weekend. If it’s not the case, then make the best out of it. Work harder in training, do extra sessions.”

Klinsmann also said, “Next week with the first Under-21 group getting gathered together, which is basically our future Olympic team – we want to make sure that we start the process early enough that we learn out of mistakes from the past that the last cycle didn’t go to London 2012. So we have to qualify for Rio de Janeiro, again Brazil, in 2016, so that’s why we start that process already next week.” Just who will coach the new U-21 team remains to be seen.

Tim Howard has signed a contract extension with Everton that will see him with the club through 2018.

With the departure of Tom Sermanni, SBI’s Caitlin Murray considers if the USWNT will stay with the 4-3-3.

Elsewhere

The Miami Herald has an interesting read on the impact the World Cup will have on Miami as a transportation hub for travel to Brazil.

ProSoccerTalk looks at the “insane” financial numbers UEFA has released covering the last three years.

The AP reports, “Police in Thessaloniki have arrested a PAOK fan accused of dumping a crate of fish on the visiting Olympiakos bench, in a stunt that delayed a tense Greek Cup semi-final for more than an hour.” The report helpfully explains, “Olympiakos’ home ground is in Athens’ port of Piraeus, and its supporters are nicknamed ‘anchovies.'”

28 Comments

  1. Look on the bright side.

    Overall, the quality of this team has increased to the point where we demand so much more. All the new acquisitions, plus the skill of people like Okugo have conspired to make it abundantly clear who can and can’t cut it anymore.

    The bad news is that a lot of those people who can’t cut it are still starting.

    • “Overall, the quality of this team has increased”

      Without a doubt, Nogs has been the best player to ever wear the uniform. Edu and Maidana have shown some great technical ability.Mid-field is a light year removed from 2013.

      Though I think the overall quality of the team may have regressed. The back line has never looked worse and this is a club that thought Stefani Migliorani, JD Gonzales and Porfiro Lopez were all starting quality.

      The forward “group” hasn’t been thinner. Our ability to score and finish is very questionable.

      They need help fore and aft, and without giving up the starting new 3 mids to achieve it.

      • I honestly think a healthy Williams and Berry will right the ship. We will have cover on the right side in Gaddis. Wheeler will work in emergencies. Still need a Left Back. Need another striker. We also need some variety off the bench. People who can come off and give the Union different looks. It seems like when we had more to offer off the bench in years past, now we just have variations on the same player.

      • JediLos117 says:

        Are you implying that Williams should be our CB? Long term?
        .
        Cuz that is kinda absurd.
        .
        I wanna see Okugo at DM too. I really do, but I’m not gonna try to rationalize why or how we should do.
        .
        Have you only thought of what we would gain in the move (Okugo DM) without an eye at what we would lose? Long throw, overlapping runs (sorry Gaddis cant do it) and those wicked crosses (again Gaddis cant do ti).
        .
        Big picture folks.

      • No I am not suggesting that. at all. Okugo and Berry will stabalize the middle. It might not ne Califf and Valdez but it’ll go a long way to helping. As will Williams on the right. Hackworth won’t put Okugo into the midfield unless his hand is forced somehow. Like a firearm would be involved in some way.

      • I’d be down with moving Williams to CB for the rest of the season if Berry doesn’t improve. Was he injured this week or did the RSL game get him benched again? Not like Wheeler played any better.

      • JediLos117 says:

        Oh ok…then I think your right.
        .
        I dont think we will ever see Okugo at DM.

  2. “Reading the article about [HCI]’s defenders, the impression is that PEDRO RIBEIRO and Richie Marquez, both of whom are on loan from the Union, will continue to partner at centerback.”
    .
    I have no problem with Marquez starting at CB, of course. But Ribeiro? I really hope the plan is not to convert him to CB.

    • Am I the only one who is literally infuriated at this?

      Like, how does a professional coach make this decision?

      Ribero looked good at CM/CAM and his size should be seen as a ADDED BONUS at that position. NOT as a reason to move him to CB.

      Moving professional players around like this is practically negligence on HAckworths part.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        For the record, I am beyond infuriated by this too. I heard Ribiero played CB as a stop-gap because they had injuries. How do you do so well to target, and then draft a guy – WHO IS CLEARLY AN ATTACKING PLAYER – and then convert him to CB almost instantly?!?!
        .
        I will be honest, I don’t follow HCI too close, but from what I have read this is ridiculous.

      • The same way a professional coach at HCI converted Sheanon Williams from a forward to a defender. I think the idea of a 6’4″ attacking mid is awesome, too. But I also think it’s pretty awesome to have center backs who are as comfortable with the ball at their feet as a forward is.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    If this team doesn’t start earning some serious points, this season could be lost when/if Edu leaves for the World Cup camp. You have to think he is going to be in the initial 30 man camp, so that is three games missed, if I read that correctly above. That will be a problem.
    .
    And Edu is right, this team does need to be a little selfish in the final third. I really want to see a firing squad this Saturday.

    • Agreed. That is why I was so glad to see Wenger’s first goal. The way he brought it down off his chest and just quickly fired was unlike typical Union hesitation. Shoot the ball guys! We need some free hair cuts.

  4. On The Right Track says:

    Two things dawned on me while watching the NYRB game:

    1) Okugo’s success at CB has always been accompanied by Brian Carroll in front of him. Think about it. Remove Brian Carroll and Okugo looks extremely unsure out there….and vulnerable w/o BC. Prior to today I advocated benching BC but no more because our D sucks without him shielding them. Truth.

    AND

    2) McMath has been pretty effective stopping shots this year, but as far as “organizing” the defense in front of him- how inferior, if at all, is he to Mondragon who got tons of credit for “Organization”? How large of a role does this play with our leaky D?

    Am I crazy?

    • There could be truth to this but I am inclined to think the reason Okugo is struggling is because his partner, Wheeler, has no idea about the nuance of the central back position. It would be interesting to see Berry and Okugo playing without Carroll to complete your assertion.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think you are both right. Being paired with a “work-in-progress” CB (Wheeler) definitely compounds Amobi’s workload and spreads him thin. BUT, Wheeler (or anyone else) cannot be blamed for him giving his mark far too much space and time, before closing him down. Amobi Okugo is not the greatest defender, when an attacker is taking him on.
        .
        As for Carroll…the club did seem to miss his presence. That said, his deficiencies are too plentiful to merit an automatic insertion to the starting XI. Edu should be our DM (really, Okugo should) and the club is going to have to work on defending the space between DM and back line. Okugo is going to have to step his game up!

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