Daily news roundups

Union head north for Reunion Jack, HCI remain winless, US Open Cup, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Amobi Okugo is looking forward to playing against his long-time friend Jack McInerney when the Union face Montreal on Saturday at 4 pm (TCN, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick, DirecTV).. “It will be fun. We’ve already talked about it. I think he’s still [living] in the hotel, so we’ll probably get dinner the day before, and after the game swap jerseys and everything. But during the game, he already knows we battle it out, just like we were when he was here, at practice. Now it’s just game time.”

Okugo added, “I might call his name thinking he’s on my team once or twice. I’m gonna get some hits in on him for fun.”

McInerney said of Saturday’s meeting, “I definitely think it will be different because I’ve never played against a former team before and I’ve known a lot of those guys for four or five years. I’m going to be happy to see them at first, but at the end of the day, it’s just another game.”

McInerney added, “For me, if I scored three goals and we won 3-0, that would be the ideal scenario. … From the opening whistle, I think it’ll come to me in a pretty fast pace and I’ll try to get after it and do everything I can to score a goal and have a good performance. It’ll mean that much more to me in a way to have a good performance and show my previous club what they’re missing.”

It seem McInerney is still looking for an apartment.

Andrew Wenger is looking forward to playing his former team, saying, “You always want to prove something.” He explains, “I think it was a rough time in Montreal for me personally. It clearly didn’t go the way I would have planned it – but then nothing ever goes to plan.”

Conor Casey says of Wenger, “He bring a lot of intelligence and athleticism and we’ve just got to work on building those relationships. It takes a little bit of time to develop.”

More on Wenger from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Previews from PSP, David Murphy’s Philadelphia Union Blog, and Stoppage Time Soccer, Video preview from Philadelphia Union.

ProSoccerTalk’s preview of the game reads, “The good news about the game in Montréal: You have options. Seattle and Colorado kick off at the some time. Though this game has the potential to be interesting if Philadelphia’s midfield is clicking, the teams’ first meeting doesn’t offer much hope. This match’s equivalent of Dempsey and Martins is either Andrew Wenger and Conor Casey or Marco Di Vaio and Jack McInerney. Wait for the highlights before you commit the full 90.”

Amobi Okugo says of the consistency of having Aaron Wheeler start along side of him at the center of the Union’s defense, “It’s a positive but that’s expected of our back line. I think we needed a little bit of stability back there, some continuity. Wheeler changed positions late in the preseason, so it’s getting more games under his belt and more experience.”

At the Union website, Andy Jasner on the team’s confidence ahead of Saturday’s contest.

At SBI, Maurice Edu is No. 5 on the USMNT central midfielder depth chart.

who will be laid to rest today.

Also at Brotherly Game, an Academy update and how ex-Union players have been faring.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders continue to be without a win, falling 4-1 to Orange County Blues on Thursday night. Union loanee Cristhian Hernandez scored the lone goal for the City Islanders. More on the game from Penn LiveOrange County Blues, and USL PRO.

Harrisburg, who now have a 0-2-1 record, will have an opportunity to quickly bounce back from Thursday’s loss when they face Sacramento Republic on Saturday (10:30 pm, NSCAA TV, YouTube).

At Penn Live, Michael Bullock has a good piece on Union loanee Richie Marquez, who will be taking part in the graduation ceremony at University of Redlands on Saturday morning before flying up to Sacramento to rejoin the team. Marquez says of being paired with Pedro Ribeiro on Harrisburg’s central defense, “[We] are really good friends, so that helps a lot at the center back position because you’ve got to have chemistry and all that stuff. It’s all about knowing the game and he’s very smart about the game, he knows the game of soccer. You could put him anywhere on the field and I guarantee you he’s going to do just as well.”

Reading United have announced that former Union Academy players Darius Madison and Shane Campbell are returning to the team for the 2014 PDL season. Fellow Academy alumni Colton Storm is also joining the team after moving up from Reading’s Super-20 squad.

Local lad Bobby Warshaw has a very good read at Deadspin about why soccer tactics matter. “As much as everyone talks about them, though, there’s a gap between how fans and players understand tactics. Fans see them as broad strokes and buzzwords, a way of making distinctions between different teams. (‘Those Germans play some beautiful counterattacking football.’) Players see tactics as instructions, a few lines of code, the specific details on how to achieve our goals.

US Open Cup

US Soccer announced the schedule and format for the 2014 US Open Cup on Thursday. The Union will enter the tournament with the rest of the MLS teams in the fourth round, which will take place  June 10-18.

The tournament will kickoff on May 7 when Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL) face GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL) on the road in Maine. The winner of that game will host Harrisburg City Islanders in the second round on May 14. Also entering the tournament in the second round on May 14 are Ocean City Nor’easters, who will host USASA’s New York Greek American Atlas, and Reading United, who will host NPSL side Greater Binghamton FC Thunder.

More on the changes to the tournament format from TheCup.us. More on local teams in the tournament early rounds from Philly.com, Penn Live, Reading Eagle, and Stoppage Time Soccer.

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid says of the decision to schedule Cup games featuring MLS teams during the World Cup break, “We might as well play an MLS game.I thought the break was good because it would … give our players a little bit of time off, but also to give our staff some time off. … It also gives people the opportunity to go to the World Cup if they wanted to for four or five days or six days, whether you’re a trainer or a team administrator or something like that. Instead, the New York office will be there and the U.S. Soccer office will be there, and the rest of us will toil away here and watch it on TV.”

Empire of Soccer has a look at the possible meeting of the New York Red Bulls and New York Cosmos in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.

MLS

Montreal Impact sporting director Nick De Santis backs head coach Frank Klopas despite the team’s winless start to the season. More from the Montreal Gazette.

With Toronto off this weekend, Michael Bradley undergone a scheduled “foot procedure” to repair a “nerve issue.” Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen explains, “It just means he has to get off it for a week…He can play on it, and he’s had it for a long time…You can play on it, but it’s annoying. He’s had a procedure to take care of that; it was always going to be done over these two weeks.”

Empire of Soccer has some interesting quotes from former USMNT players on the less than ideal news that Yankee Stadium will be the first home of NYC FC.

At SI, Brian Straus on the general indifference outside of Mexico to the CONCACAF Champions League, won by Cruz Azul on Wednesday night, and what MLS can do about it.

US

Jurgen Klinsmann says of the firing of Manchester United head coach David Moyes, “Very difficult to judge from the outside. Every environment has so much going on on the inside, so you can never really find the right reasons and everything that is going on there. My emotional reaction is a big disappointment, because David Moyes, I met him throughout many many years, is an excellent, absolutely outstanding coach. From the outside looking at it, I think he needed just more time. Now pulling the plug when basically everything is lost already doesn’t really make sense to me.”

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “Brazil’s failure to meet construction deadlines for World Cup stadiums means FIFA does not know how many tickets to make available for the tournament, which kicks off in less than two months, FIFA’s marketing director Thierry Weil said on Thursday.”

The AP reports from Hong Kong, “A handful of protesters holding banners and placards demonstrated peacefully Thursday at an event with FIFA president Sepp Blatter to highlight the plight of migrant workers building stadiums in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.” Displaying great courage and leadership, “They have a problem and we know that but this is not a question for FIFA. It is one which the state of Qatar must handle as well as all the construction companies who are responsible for the workers.”

The AP also reports that Blatter “has suggested reviving his ‘6-plus-5’ plan to limit foreign players in a club team’s starting lineup.” Blatter’s idea is that “each club should field at least six players eligible to play for the national team of the club’s home country.” The report notes, “However, the 28-nation European Union protects free movement of workers.”

Reuters reports, “Avid World Cup sticker collectors in Rio de Janeiro were given a shock this week when a van carrying hundreds of thousands of Panini stickers was stolen during a delivery.” The report continues, “However, Panini were quick to ward off panic among fans hoping to complete the collection of all 640 stickers, insisting supplies of Cristiano Ronaldos, Lionel Messis and Neymars were not running low.”

 

19 Comments

  1. It’s a shame. I am a major soccer fan and want nothing more than to be all in with the Union.

    But like … the fire just ain’t there. I care, and I’ll watch the game. But the expectation of disappointment is still too strong.

    • + 1. The cafeteria cashier here at work asked me earlier if i had a game to go to this weekend. My answer was “No, thank God…”. I can’t believe i said that but… that’s how i feel. I don’t want to, i just do. I won’t be able to even see the match tomorrow. I won’t be following it on the MLS app on my iPhone or via Twitter, either. I don’t want to know anything about it until it’s over. Like you say, “the expectation of disappointment is still too strong.”…

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Come on guys… stay with it. This team is more talented than last year. It is still early, and as someone said a few days ago, the East is a “tire fire”. With a nice run in May, the Union could be right back in it.

      • I feel the same as James and Joseph and I have a pit in my stomach. I sat in my favorite NY watering hole after work last week to watch the Union take on the Red Bulls. I sat there with my Union cap on with my friends (who are all NYRB supporters). All of the pregame back and forth banter was fun because I kept telling myself that it’d be great if the Union and their talent took apart the “Pink Cows.” I even struck a nerve by shutting down the loudest mouth in the room when I said NY won’t have an MLS team until 2015. That was the last time I had any positive feeling about this team going forward. We all know what the result of the game was and how the team performed. After the Houston game and listening to Hackworth this week. This is the first time I actually don’t look forward to a Union game. Listening to Hackworth just made me toss up my hands in bewilderment, anger, disgust. I want the Union to make the playoffs. It’s still possible but I just don’t feel that the direction the team is being led will get them there. I feel that if they do win or draw Saturday, it will be more due to a bad Montreal team than Hackworth and the Union. Of course the Union has a habit of making bad teams look like world beaters.

      • John O'Donnell says:

        Sorry you’re so disappointed in the team but that’s what sports is all about. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Unless of course if you cheer for Barcelona or Real Madrid then it’s just a matter of who’s turn is it this year.

      • John, John, John! I feel sorry for you.

  2. fun deadspin article but the title is wrong, it should be how tactics are implemented or something like that

  3. Out of morbid curiosity, I checked out the first 10 minutes of the Harrisburg game. Starting left CB: Pedro Ribiero.
    .
    Ocean City completely dominated Harrisburg during the part that I watched (they scored their 1st goal in the 6th minute–the right back got beat twice, and Marquez was too slow to cover for him). Not very promising for the Union’s affiliate team.

  4. McInerney added, “For me, if I scored three goals and we won 3-0, that would be the ideal scenario. …

    Yeah that would have been the ideal scenario here too Jack. We’re still waiting.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      BAA DUM CHING! (rimshot)

    • And if McInerney makes a couple great runs but doesn’t get the ball, or if di Vaio poaches his goal, then what?

      • The Black Hand says:

        Then Jack would carry the same effect with him North of the border. Not much.
        .
        Jack got the ball, on a lot of his “great runs”. Trouble was, he didn’t know what to do with it. He scored a lot of tap-in, ‘garbage’ goals. (Granted, they carry the same value as the golazos and did show he was in the right place, at the right time, and that deserves some credit.) Very rarely did we see Jack carry and score, and even more rare was his contribution to the buildup. He talked the talk but, aside from his hot start last year, his performances did not back up the swagger. Potential…possibly. There are lots and lots of young players showing potential. I was never able to see the ‘next-level’ play from him.
        .
        Anyone can make the run…the good ones can finish it off. (Danny Cruz makes ‘the’ run almost every time he is on the pitch.)
        .
        Throw Wenger some love. He busts his ass and has been just as good…not to mention, he’s the guy on our club.

  5. “Though this game has the potential to be interesting if Philadelphia’s midfield is clicking, the teams’ first meeting doesn’t offer much hope.”
    To be fair, the first meeting was played in awful conditions, cold and very rainy. Most matches like that don’t scream instant classic.

  6. I actually watched the whole Harrisburg City Islanders game last night. I was pretty surprised by the pace and talent on display- it was a pretty good game. Honestly, the players showed more urgency than some of the MLS games I’ve watched/fell asleep to. I’ll watch again, always good to see what some of the young Union players can bring to the table. Ribiero looks very good vs that level of player, he looks so confident out there (ignoring the fact I’d rather see him attacking).

    • John O'Donnell says:

      Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Play Ribiero as an attacking player? Heretic, burn him at the stake. Let’s take a look at the back line of the Philadelphia Union and how you get there. Offense my friend, is a dirty word on this team. No offense…………

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    • The Black Hand says:

      Wait, Zalilu made you completely overlook, the small fact, that your woman left you to be with another man…right before your bangin’ vacation? Great man indeed! Pride is for suckers.

    • I think this was part of the weekly presser, no?

    • Zalilu is a defensive midfielder. Plus, he would take up an international roster spot. Bottom line: we’re not going to be emailing him.

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