Daily news roundups

Ireland-Costa Rica at PPL, presser notes, Mo wants more creativity, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

On Friday, June 6 at 8 pm, PPL Park will be the site of a friendly between Ireland, who missed out on qualifying for the World Cup, and Costa Rica, who are in Group D along with Uruguay, Italy, and England. Tickets will go on sale beginning on Thursday at 1 pm via ComcastTIX.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200, and at the PPL Park ticket office.

The game will come three days after the Greece vs. Nigeria friendly on June 3 and the day before the final Union game before the World Cup break on June 7 against Vancouver. That’s going to be one busy week, more so if you throw in the USA vs. Turkey game at Red Bull Arena on June 1.

Philadelphia Union

Some highlights from John Hackworth’s weekly press conference:

  • Hackworth said ultimately responsibility for the team’s performance rests with him
  • Belief remains strong in the Union locker room that the team can turn things around
  • Hackworth has faith that the team has the talent necessary to play the 4-3-3 at a consistently high level
  • Expect changes to the Union Starting XI: “This idea that there would only be eleven Union players ever being put out in the first XI to me is not the way that I look at the game.”
  • Hackworth said that Cristian Maidana is still adjusting to moving to a new league and life in a new country. He emphasized fitness issues in being able to go a full 90 minutes as a prime concern. “He’s a guy that we believe in and certainly we’ll see a lot more of but he has areas of his game that have to improve.”
  • Hackworth described Seattle as “the hottest team in the league right now”.
  • Hackworth said he expects Seattle to come out to play, rather than sit back and defend, and that may open up space for the Union to exploit in the midfield and final third

More on the press conference from Delco Times and Brotherly Game.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin highlights Hackworth’s comments about Maidana. Coincidentally, Soccer America posted an article on Tuesday looking at how first year imports to MLS are faring so far this season. “How tough is it to break into MLS? Even for big-name imports, there is often a period of adjustment. Just 18 first-year players signed from foreign clubs have played more than half the time for their new MLS clubs.”

Maurice Edu thinks the Union could use more creativity. “At times it seems like we are playing A, B, C, D, E and we just need to sometimes change it up – be a little more creative.”

He also believes he should adjust his positioning to join more in the Union attack. “Before I was playing box-to-box but starting a little bit deeper and timing my runs from there. Maybe I should start a little bit higher, so that way going forward we may have a little bit more numbers and hopefully that can lead to more opportunities.”

In ESPN’s power rankings, the Union drop one spot to No. 15 (“The Union are turning into the Timbers East; a good approach but little end product.”). At MLSsoccer.com, it’s a four spot drop to No. 14 (The Power Rankings Politburo has spent a lot of time talking about how the Union look like a playoff team. But the numbers talk louder: two wins in their last 12, and just six in their last 26. It’s panic time.).

No Union players in this week’s Castrol Index Top 20 Performers list. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Andrew Wenger (No. 14), Maurice Edu (No. 66), Leo Fernandes (No. 67), Amobi Okugo (No. 72), and Zac MacMath (No. 81).

Brotherly Game has the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Montreal game as well as their stat hero and zero.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Matt Bahner has been named to the USL PRO Team of the Week. Robbie Derschang and Morgan Langley, who both scored in the 2-1 win over Sacramento on Saturday, received honorable mentions. Former La Salle, Ocean City Nor’easters, and Reading United goalkeeper John McCarthy, who is now with Rochester Rhinos, was also named to the Team of the Week.

Reading United have announced the return of five players for the 2014 PDL season. The are goalkeeper Alex Bono (Syracuse), and midfielders Lucas Baldin (USF), Wes Charpie (USF), Owen Griffith (Penn State), and Manolo Sanchez (Clemson).

The J.T. Dorsey Foundation is holding a golf outing on May 18to raise funds for the Soccer for Success program.

Mainline Media News talks to new FC USA Philadelphia’s new national director of coaching, Gary Lewis, who comes to the club after 17 years as head of development for Liverpool’s academy.

MLS

Jermaine Defoe says he’s ready to play again after recovering from a hamstring injury.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the city of Orlando is prepared to go to court to acquire the remaining parcel of land that is holding up construction of Orlando City’s new stadium. The land, valued at $690,000, is currently owned by a church, who are asking for $35 million.

Seattle Sounders could field their own USL PRO team in 2015. The report notes, “With the dissolution of the Reserve League after this season, all MLS teams will be required to either field complete squads in ULS PRO or partner with existing teams in 2015.”

At US Soccer Players, J. Hutcherson looks at the perils of expansion, namely, how expansion sides like Seattle in MLS or, with the massive attendance figures for USL PRO side Sacramento Republic in their home opener last weekend, raise the bar beyond the reach of existing teams. He concludes, “The problem all three levels of American pro soccer face is the same old story. It has to be more than a few outlier clubs. It needs to be the bulk of the league. Expansion when it works can certainly help get the numbers up, but it also creates a situation where other teams can’t compete. That’s how expansion destabilizes a league, and it’s happening at every level in the United States.”

US

Pele tells the Miami Herald of the US chances at the World Cup, “Klinsmann is a great trainer and has a lot of experience. We have to respect American soccer today. The US group if very difficult with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, but soccer is a box of surprises, so nobody knows what will happen. I think American fans should be hopeful, and I have no doubt they are good enough to advance.”

He also believes a soccer in Miami in the form of a Beckham-backed MLS team will be successful. “I think it will do well not only in Miami, but the whole United States. People don’t remember, when I arrived, soccer in this country was good, but mostly with children. Today, the U.S. is the same level as Europe, they almost made semifinals in the 2002 World Cup, and the base is more organized than in Brazil and maybe all of South America. I am happy because I feel I was part of it.”

SBI looks at the USMNT’s depth at left back.

Goal.com wonders if Tim Ream and Timothy Chandler might make their way into the US squad. On Tuesday, the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Association named Ream their Player of the Year.

Reuters previews the US ahead of the World Cup.

FiveThirtyEight.com looks at some of the difficulties in measuring soccer’s popularity in the US.

Elsewhere

The second leg of the Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid UEFA Champions League semifinal kicks off today at 2:45 pm (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports GO, SiriusXM FC). On Tuesday, Real Madrid crushed Bayern Munich 4-0 (5-0 on aggregate) to advance to the finals.

Reports say that Dani Alves’ reaction to someone throwing a banana on the pitch was preplanned as part of an anti-racism campaign. “Alves did not know the banana would be thrown onto the pitch at Villarreal on Sunday, however, he and Neymar had decided that if an incident occurred, one of them would make sure to eat the fruit on camera. That moment could then be used to kick-start a social media campaign, with professional backing already in place to help ensure maximum impact.”

The Villareal fan who threw the banana has reportedly been arrested.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports, “World Cup final tickets are being advertised for more than $40,000 on the secondary market by holders ignoring a threat from world soccer governing body FIFA to void those not resold via the tournament organizer.” The report continues, “The cheapest ticket to the July 13 final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium on Geneva-based Viagogo — which describes itself as the world’s largest ticket exchange — is $5,240 for a seat with a face value of $440.”

Roads and Kingdoms has a look at the women’s game in Brazil.

4 Comments

  1. On a side note after that press conference, Hackworth told PSP to never write about him again. He will do the opposite of whatever is written, devil be damned!

  2. That IRL vs CRC match might be our only chance to see good soccer at PPL.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    All I got for today is GO FLYERS!!

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