Daily news roundups

Presser notes, Nogueira on settling in, LVU Sonic wins USOC 1st rounder, Reading opens season with draw, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

For early readers of our daily news roundup, Amobi Okugo will be doing an AMA (“Ask me anything”) on Reddit today beginning at 12:30 pm. Be sure to get your questions in early.

Philadelphia Union

Highlights from Wednesday’s weekly Union press conference with John Hackworth, a transcript and video of which you can see here.

  • Hackworth affirmed his belief that the team will get out of the hole it’s dug for itself: “[W]hen you have a team that you believe in and you think is capable of scoring goals, and you look at some of the stats of how many chances we’re creating, it gives me some hope that we’re going to get out of this. And once we do, I think there’s a string of good performances and a lot more goals that will follow.
  • Despite the pressure the team is under, Hackworth said, “we’re not going to do anything drastically different.”
  • Hackworth acknowledged the possibility of summer signings but said, “[W]e have to realize who we are, and what we are, and the kind of league we’re in, so there’s only so many things you can do. Right now, while we have scouts that are looking all over the world, and we’ll never not do that, at the same time we have to be focused on the guys in that room right now, in particular in the windows that we have opportunities to bring those kind of players in.”
  • The team is healthy with all players back to training.
  • Hackworth said that if Maurice Edu is called up, he may talk to Jurgen Klinsmann about retaining him for one or both of the games next week. “I’m sure that’s something that, if that call comes I can have a conversation with Jurgen and work something out that is good for both parties.”
  • Regarding Austin Berry starting ahead of Aaron Wheeler, Hackworth said, “[W]hen you give up two goals, there’s always situations where you’re going to look at and you think you might make some changes, and we’re certainly considering that for this weekend. Austin gives us a really good choice if we choose to do that.”

More on the press conference from Delco Times (1), Delco Times (2), Delaware Online, and Brotherly Game.

Regarding the possibility of retaining Maurice Edu, Jurgen Klinsmann said of the possibility of late arrivals to the pre-World Cup camp, “It has priority that they get the job done with their club teams before they come into camp. So, we might have a few guys coming in a couple of days later than we expected them, but that’s all right.”

All five of the writers who contributed to ASN’s post on who will be on the 30-player USMNT roster for the pre-World Cup camp predict Edu will get the call.

Vincent Nogueira credits the Union locker room for helping him smoothly adjust to a new league and country. “The locker room is a much better locker room than I’ve been in France. The guys are much closer here and are much more helpful than the guys I played with in France.”

Nogueira says of what he brings to the team, “I’m not necessarily going to score a lot of goals or get a lot of assists, but I’m going to be in the heart of the game. I’m going to be the guy you can pass the ball to and know I’ll be able to keep it, move the ball along, and get the ball to dangerous players in dangerous spots.”

Edu was mic’d up for the game in Seattle. I love these videos but every time I watch one I can’t help but think how do they edit all of the curse words out of these things?

The Union drop one spot to No. 17 in SBI’s power rankings. “Head coach John Hackworth is definitely on the hot seat right now as he tries to get his team of talented players to put together a full performance. Defensively, Amobi Okugo and Aaron Wheeler in the middle just hasn’t been good enough.”

Sons of Ben

A few reminders from the Sons of Ben. First don’t forget that if you want to attend the Eric Shertz Memorial Tailgate before Saturday’s game against DC, you’ll need to register. The tailgate is free — and BYOB — but you need to register so that the SoBs know how much food to prepare.

The Sons of Ben will be leading a minute of silence for Shertz at the 20:10 mark of Saturday’s game.

You are invited to join the Sons of Ben in marching in the Elks Lodge Annual Mothers Day March Through Chester, PA on Sunday. The parade starts at 2 pm at 7th & Penn Streets.

Finally the Sons of Ben have been nominated for the John Wanamaker Athletic Award, which has been presented since 1961 to “the athlete, team or organization that has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and to the team or sport in which they excel.” Click here to cast your vote.

US Open Cup

Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL) traveled to Maine to face GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL) on Wednesday in the first round of the US Open Cup and now return as 1-0 winners. It was extra time after a scoreless 90 minutes of regulation time and in the 115th minute, Shastri Spencer scored the game’s lone goal, assisted by George Tsirukis, who entered the match in the 62nd minute.

Sonic now host Harrisburg City Islanders in the second round on Wed., May 14 at Whitehall H.S. Soccer Stadium in Whitehall, Pa. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Check out our match report from the game, courtesy of former Berks and Bucks County resident Andrew Scott, who now lives in Maine. Thanks to Andrew’s wife Meg for the pictures and text updates. Thanks too to Alex Fydryszewski from Allentown’s 1100 AM WGPA for his help.

Local

After going down a goal in their season opener on the road to Jersey Express, Reading United fought back to a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute before conceding a 71st minute equalizer and settling for a 2-2 draw. Scoring for Reading were Nick Surkamp and Max Touloute. Reading’s home opener is actually a US Open Cup game on Wednesday, May 14 against Greater Binghamton FC. The team’s home opener in league play is Sunday, May 18 against NJ LUSO Parma.

Harrisburg City Islanders host Arizona Republic on Saturday at 7 pm (NSCAA TV, YouTube). Here’s a preview from the club.

A big soccer fest is planned in Bethlehem for June 12-16 and 19-22 that will include World Cup viewing parties.

The Princeton men’s team has announced six new incoming freshmen.

The Courier Post reports, “A 9-year-old from Monroe Township is one of 25 young soccer fans across the nation selected to be a McDonald’s Player Escort, who will walk hand-in-hand with a U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team player onto the field at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.” The name of the young player won’t be revealed until practice on Friday at 6:45 pm.

Philadelphia comes in at No. 10 in the list of the top 15 markets for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier League in 2013-14.

MLS

In midweek Eastern Conference play, Houston defeated visiting Columbus, 1-0. The win moves Houston (14 points) to second place with Columbus (12 points) in fifth place. The Union (8 points) remain in eighth place, three points behind Saturday’s opponent, DC United, who are in sixth place.

Speaking of DC United, Eddie Johnson, who remains goalless after eight games heading into Saturday’s contest against the Union, says of the transition to his new team after two years with Seattle,

It has been difficult. I’ve been asked to play a different style of soccer than I’ve been playing the last two years in Seattle…Obviously, I feel like here we’re more of a pressing, hardworking team, and we can press the ball high up the field and win balls, be good in that area and break in our attacking half. Whereas in Seattle – and no disrespect to the guys that are here – I felt like I didn’t have to run as much because we had better guys that had more quality on the ball. I feel like the styles are completely different.

Johnson says of whether he’ll be called up for the pre-World Cup camp, “We’ll see when the 30-man roster is named – but I feel like in some real important games through qualifiers, I really made a strong case for myself, and in the Gold Cup as well … All you can do with these call-ups is make a case for yourself, and I feel like I’ve done that.”

In the Western Conference, first place Seattle (22 points) prevailed 2-1 over third place Dallas (16 points), thanks to an 88th minute goal from Kenny Cooper. Eighth place San Jose (7 points) hosted fourth place Colorado (15 points) in a 0-0 draw.

Sacha Kljestan to LA Galaxy?

This has been floating around out there for a few days now, but is 39-year-old Alessandro Del Piero looking to move to MLS, possibly to LA or DC?

Raul to the Cosmos?

Business of Soccer looks at the salary figures for the league that were released on April 10.

At Soccerly, Neil Morris has an interesting look at why it is difficult for for coaches of lower division teams to break into MLS.

NWSL

In midweek play, Western New York (7 points) moves into third place after a 2-1 home win over now fourth place Kansas City (7 points). Sixth place Sky Blue FC (6 points) drew 1-1 at home with seventh place Chicago (4 points).

US

The USMNT drops one spot to No. 14 in the latest FIFA rankings. Mexico remains at No. 19.

Goal.com looks at the USMNT’s depth at left back.

The USWNT plays Canada tonight in Winnipeg (7:50 pm: ESPN3, ESPNW.com). The venue, Investors Group Field, is one of the 2015 Women’s World Cup stadiums.

Interim USWNT head coach Jill Ellis says she’s focused on tonight’s game, not whether she will be named as permanent head coach.

Hope Solo called Canada’s Christine Sinclair the best women’s player in the world.

At Soccer Newsday, Dave Lange reports from a recent panel discussion about the state of the game in the US. Panel members included Taylor Twellman and Grant Wahl, as well as US Soccer Federation CEO and Secretary General Dan Flynn, and FC Dallas and Kansas City Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt.

Elsewhere

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke says the organization has “been through hell” with the 2014 World Cup. “In Brazil there are certain politicians who are against the World Cup, and the fact is that we’ve been through hell, essentially because in Brazil you have three political levels and there has been a change — there was an election and we’re not necessarily talking with the same people (as before) — it was difficult to keep repeating the same message.”

The AP reports, “Federal police in Brazil are threatening a nationwide strike during the month-long World Cup if the government doesn’t increase their pay and improve working conditions.”

Also from the AP, “Thousands of impoverished Brazilians are living illegally on land near the World Cup stadium where the opening match will be played next month, blaming the arena’s construction for rent increases that drove them out of their homes.”

SI has images of 31 of the 32 World Cup jerseys. Bosnia-Herzegovina’s will be released in June.

 

20 Comments

  1. I love listening to the sounds of the game. It is a clear area of growth for the culture of sport and the viewer.
    .
    One of my favorite things about Scott Franzke is how well he and Larry allow the game to breath and the many things you can hear once the broadcasters get out of the way, unlike McCarthy who feels the need to speak every second. I think I heard a kid drop his ice cream once during a spring training game.
    .
    It would be great if half a dozen players could get mic’d and then patched in to the game cast allow us to hear the communication between players.
    .
    It would likely never happen because of the language issues and a delay would almost be useless. But as compared to say the very questionable TV things you see and hear on a regular basis would it be that bad to hear Edu give an “aw fuck.”
    .
    Maybe the viewer could have the opportunity to mute out the game sounds.

  2. You know I have such mixed feelings about the old european ‘greats’ coming to MLS- some more great than others.
    .
    Del Piero and Raul most recently per this article. Would it be cool to see Raul play? You bet. What does it say about our league though when an over the hill player comes and scores 18 goals. Is it a sign of growth for the MLS that these players want to come or is it really just a self serving keep my career above water a few years longer and make a nice payday while taking spots from kids who really need the chance to earn stripes.
    .
    If I was Raul, I’d rather play in the summer than the winter too I guess.

  3. hobosocks says:

    It’s interesting that so many of the top EPL watching cities are on the east coast, since MLS seems to be more heavily angled toward the west in terms of support.

    • msg24365 says:

      You have to remember that some of these EPL games are on at 4:30 AM on the West coast. Even the 10 and Noon games are still early morning games there.

  4. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    I clicked on the Princeton report just to see and the last guy listed is a CB from north jersey who scored 23 goals in 24 games, as a CENTER BACK!

    And could Eddie Johnson be any more of a douche?

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    OK. Here’s how I see the optimal Union summer signing plan:
    .
    Step 1. Edu makes the WC team.
    Step 2. Edu starts against Portugal and draws the assignment of man marking Ronaldo.
    Step 3. Edu spends the entire game convincing Ronaldo how much greater the quality of life is in Philadelphia than in Europe.
    Step 4. Ronaldo decides to take a huge pay cut and signs with the Union for less than DP money.
    Step 5. The Union goal scoring issues are solved.

  6. The Nogueira story on the MLS website makes me feel a bit better about him sticking around. That could be Hoppenot’s greatest contributio this season if he can translate for him and make him feel comfortable. A few more wins would help of course, as he’s clearly a competitive guy, but glad to see that Nogueira seems to like it here so far.

    • i as well took a bit of a deep breath. I see him driving as fast as possible to Philadelphia International.

    • If the locker room is this much better with only one W to-date, imagine how Nog will feel if they can put some W’s together. Here’s hoping…

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