Daily news roundups

Reaction to loss to DC, players back Hack, big new TV deal for MLS, US pre-WC camp roster today, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

The Union now have the longest winless streak in team history, last winning a game ten games ago on March 15.

The Union have won two out of their last 15 games, six of their last 29.

The last time the Union found the back of the net was 370 minutes of game time ago when Sebastien Le Toux’s scored from a penalty kick in the 2-1 loss to New York on April 16. That’s six hours and ten minutes of soccer since the last goal.

It is now 485 minutes since the last Union open play goal, when Andrew Wenger scored in the 55th minute of the 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake on April 12. That’s eight hours and 5 minutes of soccer without a goal from open play.

It’s beginning to feel as if, as Dave Zeitlin wrote at The 700 Level, “The Philadelphia Union may never score again.”

Or, as Jeff Carlisle put it in ESPN’s latest power rankings, which has the Union at 19th place, last in the league, “The Union’s once promising season is unraveling in brutal fashion.”

John Hackworth said after Saturday’s 1-0 loss to DC,

You can tell the frustration in every part of it. We feel like we’re a much better team than our results are showing obviously, but even when we’re playing well, as we did at the beginning of the game, somehow we give up a goal on the first shot, and it’s just the way the season’s gone for us. As coaches and players, our whole staff, the whole organization, is definitely frustrated at this point. We’re disappointed. I don’t know how to put it any other way.

Andrew Wenger said, “I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t have many answers right now…Maybe we had the better possession but did we create any dangerous chances? We have to look at ourselves and ask questions.”

Zac MacMath said, “The guys are getting in decent spots but the ball isn’t really falling our way. They won a lot of weird second balls that fell to them, all their bad passes ended up OK for them. It was the opposite for us and it’s been like that for the last couple games.”

With Saturday’s win over the Union at PPL Park, DC United ended a 21-road game winless streak that stretched back to October 6, 2012 when they defeated Toronto, 1-0. Ex-Union man Jeff Parke said of his former team’s performance, “Today they were a little predictable and made it a little easier in the back, knowing they were going to whip crosses in. That being said, they had the ball the majority of the second half and are still a really good team.”

The players have rallied behind their coach as the boos and “Fire Hackworth” chants grow louder. MacMath said,

Coach Hackworth has nothing to do with the way we play on the field. He puts the lineup out there, the guys compete and we play as well as we can. It’s not his fault or anyone else’s fault but the guys on the field why we’re not scoring goals and not winning games.

Danny Cruz said,

It’s upsetting. You won’t find a guy in this locker room that doesn’t believe in our manager. We’ll continue to believe in him. He believes in us. And the reality is we’re not getting it done on the field. He’s putting guys that are 100 percent capable of getting results and we’re not doing it…It’s not fair. Do what you might as a fan — you’re welcome to have your opinion, everybody is. But I can tell you this, there’s not a person in this group that wouldn’t give everything they have for this guy. And we’re going to continue to do that.

Maurice Edu said,

It’s difficult because I’m sure the coaches would love to be able to sub themselves on the pitch, but they can’t. All they can do is prepare us well during the week, get us motivated before the game, get us motivated at halftime. It’s up to go out there and perform. It’s unfair. Us as players, the hope is that our fans will stick behind us and continue to support us through the hard times…We all still believe in what we’re doing and we believe that the coaches are steering us in the right direction.

Amobi Okugo said, “It’s Philly. So if they’re not booing or making negative comments, it would feel like we’re in a different city.” Just in case anyone misinterpreted his remarks, Okugo later tweeted, “Pretty sure I meant philly shows that they CARE about their sports by booing and such, which is why I love philly.”

So, reinforcements in the transfer window, right? John Hackworth said, “It certainly looks that way. We have to find a way to either generate better chances – we’re certainly getting them – the problem isn’t getting it into the box, but being a team that is dangerous in front of goal is definitely a problem now.”

With the primary window for international transfers closing today, May 12, the Union will have to wait until the secondary transfer window, which opens on July 8 and closes on August 6, for any signings of players coming to MLS from abroad. For now, it seems that self-belief is all the team has to fall back on. Edu said,

I have a lot of belief in this team here, and I strongly believe we can still do something special this season…For some reason we dug a hole for ourselves collectively, but we continue to train hard and believe in everything we are doing. We are doing the right things. We are training properly; the coaches have us on the right path. It’s a matter of executing and just getting over that hump…It is easy to put your head down and kind of give in, but we need to continue to stay strong as a group. We have to keep our heads up and keep believing in what we are doing.

Brian Carroll said,

Individually, this is when your character needs to come out with extra effort and your level needs to be there but you also need to support your teammates in any way or any fashion for the betterment of the team. Whatever event needs to occur for us to get a win and get back on the right track, we need to find it.

Recaps and reaction from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, CSN Philly, Delco Times, South Jersey Times, Delaware Online, Press of Atlantic City, News of Salem County, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Zolo Times, MLSsoccer.com, Washington Post, Black and Red United, ProSoccerTalk, SBI, Goal.com, Stoppage Time Soccer, World Sports Show, The Sports Network, and The AP.

Video of postgame interviews with and a postgame quotesheet.

Photo galleries from South Jersey Times, USA Today.

Brotherly Game has game changing moments from the loss and some statistical perspective on the Union’s goalscoring woes.

At SI, Grant Wahl predicts Edu will be called up when the 30-player pre-World Cup roster is announced later today. Soccer America and USA Today also predicts Edu will be called up.

Goal.com on how World Cup hopefuls in MLS fared over the weekend. Edu’s performance is described as “so-so,” although “He seems to be a camp shoe-in with a chance at the final 23.

In case you missed it, Michael Lahoud has been called up by Sierra Leone for an Africa Cup qualifier against Swaziland on May 18. He’ll be unavailable for the away game against Kansas City on Wednesday and the home game against New England on Saturday. Lahoud received his first Sierra Leone call-up in September of 2013.

Former Union man Levi Houapeu has signed with Rochester Rhinos.

Philadelphia Union Academy

It was a winning weekend for the Union Academy teams. The U-13/14s defeated PA Classics 3-0. Anthony Fontana scored a brace and Kalil Elmedkhar had a single tally. The U-15/16s defeated Match Fit Academy 1-0 with a goal from Kevin Carvalho. The U-17/18s were also victorious over their Match Fit counterparts, winning 2-0. Scoring for the Union were Zachary Zandi and and Mohammed Conde.

Local

Harrisburg remains without a win — or a goal — at home after losing 1-0 to Arizona United on Saturday. Match reports from USL PRO, Harrisburg City Islanders, Arizona United, and Penn Live.

In view of Harrisburg’s scoring difficulties, Penn Live’s Michael Bullock looks at how Wednesday’s US Open Cup match against Lehigh Valley United Sonic becomes all the more important.

Soccer Nation reports that PDL will begin play in a new fall season format beginning in 2015 to be called “PDL +”.

Philadelphia soccer legend Gene Chyzowych our report from the award ceremony.

Could Philly be a host city for the 2016 Copa America tournament? KYW Philly Soccer Show’s Greg Orlandini talks to Larry Needle, executive director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress, about the process by which Philly would bid to host games and where Philadelphia ranks among the country’s soccer cities.

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Brotherly Game talks to Steve Wilman, head of coaching at FC of Philadelphia. You will recall from previous roundups that FC Philadelphia is a youth soccer program that part of the UK Elite Soccer and recently hired former Liverpool Academy director Gary Lewis.

MLS

In Eastern Conference play, Kansas City (17 points) is in first place after defeating last place Montreal (6 points) 3-0 on the road. Montreal played with ten men after a 17th minute red card. In second place is New England (17 points), who hammered visiting Seattle 5-0. DC (14 points) is in third place after defeating the ninth place Union (8 points) 1-0. Fourth place Houston (14 points) lost 5-2 to Salt Lake. Fifth place New York (14 points) lost 5-4 at home to eighth place Chicago (9 points), giving the Fire their first win of the season. Harrison Shipp and Bradley Wright-Phillips both had hat tricks. Columbus (12 points) is in sixth place after losing 1-0 at home to Vancouver. Seventh place Toronto (9 points) had the weekend off.

In the Western Conference, Seattle (22 points) remain in first place despite their big loss at New England. Salt Lake (20 points) is in second place after defeating Houston on the road. Dallas (16 points) is in third place after falling 2-1 on the road to now sixth place San Jose (10 points), their fourth loss in a row. This despite having a man advantage after former Union man and San Jose winger Shea Salinas was shown a red card in the 45th minute. Vancouver (16 points) is in fourth place after their road win over Columbus. Colorado (15 points) is in fifth place after losing 3-1 at home to now eighth place Chivas USA (9 points). Marvin Chavez, who was traded to Chivas by Colorado earlier last week, scored a brace against his former club. Seventh place LA Galaxy (9 points) drew 1-1 on the road with last place Portland (9 points).

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reports that the new broadcast deal with ESPN and Fox will be announced today.

Sports Business Journal reports that the new deal will be worth $75 million per year for the next eight years from ESPN/Fox, plus $15 million per year from Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. Compare the new $90 million per year to the current $18 million from ESPN/NBC/Univision and the result is a whole lot more money.

More from the New York Times.

In another report, Tannenwald has info on the 2016 Copa America tournament that will be staged in the US. Among the information  is that games will be scheduled so as not to conflict with games in the 2016 European Cup tournament, and that it is expected that FIFA will sanction the tournament so clubs will be required to release players.

Orlando Sentinel on what Orlando City plans to do with a $30 million sales tax rebate.

NWSL

First place Seattle (18 points) defeated fourth place Portland (8 points) 1-0 on the road. Western New York (10 points) moves into second place with a 2-0 win over seventh place Sky Blue FC (6 points). Third place Kansas City (10 points) defeated sixth place Washington (6 points) 2-1. Former Philadelphia Independence forward Amy Rodriguez scored both goals and now leads the league with six. Fifth place Chicago (7 points) defeated eighth place Houston (3 points) 1-0. Ninth place Boston (3 points) had the weekend off.

US

Landon Donovan is confident of the team’s chances at the World Cup. “We’ve shown that we can beat any team. I’ve been a part of some great wins that we’ve had over some of the best teams in the world. And there’s no reason why we can’t do that [again]. We know it’s not easy. But we’re certainly capable of doing it.”

The US will scrimmage against Belgium in Sao Paulo on June 12. It will be a closed door scrimmage and will not count as a full international.

At MLSsoccer.com, Nick Firchau has a fascinating read on Steve Snow, perhaps the greatest US goalscorer of his generation. After an outburst while witht he US team at the 1992 Olympics, and a major knee injury, Snow fell off the radar, leaving the game entirely by the age of 24.

From the Department of I Believe That This Is Awesome, Alejandro Bedoya leads Nantes supporters in the “I believe” chant.

Elsewhere

Manchester City claimed the Premier League title with a 2-0 win over West Ham on Sunday. Cue the pitch invasion.

It will be Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou to face Barcelona next Sunday for the La Liga title. More from The AP.

Another banana incident, this time in Italy.

Reuters reports, “Croatia’s Josip Simunic will miss the 2014 World Cup after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld FIFA’s 10-match ban imposed on the defender for the pro-Nazi chants he made at the end of last year’s playoff victory over Iceland.”

At Soccerly, Simon Evans writes, “For all the problems that will accompany the World Cup in Brazil, we should at least be able to savor a tournament in a free and peaceful football-loving country. Enjoy it, because it will be at least 12 years before we get to do it again.”

60 Comments

  1. hobosocks says:

    Parke’s comment is dead-on. We have, for at least two seasons now, looked consistently like a team with no real ideas on how to break down a defense.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Parke’s comments show what is missing from what the Union players are saying. They need to be responsible for executing the game plan. What they don’t say (but in effect Parke does) is that they need to be given a game plan that they have the ability to execute and sending cross after cross into the box is not the way this team is going to score.

  2. They have to fire Hack now. Even if the replacement we bring in sucks and we continue to lose who cares? At least it would show the front office is willing to make the changes. Outside of a striker, we won’t see any roster changes the rest of this season so you have to fire the manager.

    I will give Hackworth supporters/apologists a chance to give me reasons he should stay and I will tell you why he should be fired immediately.

    • Saturday was a real low point. I have reluctantly joined the Sack Hack Now club and I am sad.

    • I have little faith that the U are going to turn things around this week either. An away match against SKC and then a home match (on a short week) against an in-form NE team. I fully expect 2 more losses and I don’t expect Hack to be here by this time next week.

    • I won’t argue against you, I agree he needs to go, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it will make. The f.o. has mismanaged this team from the start, and they will likely promote from within. I think they have to move in a completely different direction, or hire an outside person to run the soccer operations to really fix the situation. And get better players. They’re taking our support for granted, but that is running out quickly.

      • It isn’t that making a change will work or not. It will be tough for anybody who comes in midseason but it would at least show the fans the front office cares. They can’t just shrug their shoulders and say the season will turn around with Hack.

      • I agree completely, Hackworth should be let go, I was just suggesting that a change in manager may not make a difference long term unless other changes are made as well. I look at the Philles and Flyers as similar examples. Amaro has tried his approach and failed, so making a managerial change can only go so far.

      • George H says:

        Well put, Steve. There needs to be major changes for me to consider renewing my season tickets next year.

        The sad thing is that I’m beyond getting angry or frustrated about it.

    • I really want him gone, but my fear is by doing it mid-season Sak will see no alternative but to give it to Vartughian. Then we will start this whole cycle over again and we’ll be talking about the same thing next mid-season. The entire coaching staff needs to be replaced for this merry go-round to end.

      • They can absolutely hire from outside the organization. If they can make the money work, any coach coming in would already know who he wants as assistants and they can all come at the same time. Lets clean house.

    • I won’t agree or disagree strongly, mostly because I can’t fill in the blanks below:
      .
      For every “Fire [coach/GM]” comment, I feel like there should always be an “and replace him with [specific candidate]” element. Firing him won’t matter without a positive fit for manager who is both tactically superior, willing to work within the confines of the organization/budget, and help develop a franchise that is only 5 years old, from the academy level up.
      .
      Anyone from the Fire Hack camp have specific people they would want to replace him? Because I think we’re probably looking at a promote-from-within scenario given the cost to fire, at least for the short term. I don’t know the coach candidates well enough to have a strong thought either way, but the replacement element is at least as important as the removal.

      • pep guardiola?

      • has a job, won’t be leaving any time soon

      • Curtain, Albright, Burke, Sorber.
        They are all from within (putting Burke aside a second).
        With Curtain and Albright: they are both from similar backgrounds and have vast experiences playing.
        The key is that they would be INTERIM coaches, trying to salvage something. Both can stay with the org after the season in similar roles.

        Sorber: He gets more of a “salvage the season and your in” promise. I feel as though he’s the best bet, but thinking he’s a Bob Bradley style coach.

        Burke: Was great with Reading. Probably can be good in MLS. He’s tricky to entice back though, because I wouldn’t want to make any promises after this season, so not sure he’d return to philly w/out that.

        Vartughian: Can stay as an assistant if ok w/ demotion, but I’d send him off with Hack unfortunately. Those two just seem tied at the hip.

        Like Jason said: It doesn’t matter who. Just don’t hire him and give him full transaction abilities after TWO WINS! We just need a care taker. A Gus Poyet type.

      • Not when you are the worst team in the league. Because no matter who it is, they can’t get any worse.

  3. If they change coach now, really change not promote within again, they have a few weeks before the WC break. With that time they could change things around but they will still need to add a player or two.

  4. I read some interesting comments from coaches around the league this weekend. Petke in NY took responsibility for not factoring Harry Shipp into his defensive plan. Berhalter in Columbus took responsibility for not rotating his squad enough on a short week. Arena in LA … well, okay, he just whined about the ref as usual. The Montreal FO apologized to their fans for the lack of quality. Compare those comments with Hackworth’s above, which basically are “we don’t know what’s going wrong”. That’s not what leaders should be saying.

    • Good point. Earlier in the season, I defended Hackworth for calling out his players on a poor performance because at the time it seemed like the correct approach…but now? Over and over again he keeps throwing up his hands like there’s no conceivable explanation for his team’s failings beyond not finishing chances.
      .
      Hackworth is certainly right about needing a bit of extra firepower though. Hate to say it but Conor Casey looks done, and Hoppenot has made no impact whatsoever on any game he has been subbed on in.

  5. Southside Johnny says:

    They all “believe”…for me this team ranks below Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy, UFO’s and Obama.

  6. Okugo, retweeting what you meant to say is too little too late! 2 wins over 15 games over parts of last season and this season in spite of changes. Lazy, slow, sloppy, indecisive defense and offense. Experimenting at CB. Players standing around and not making runs in the final 3rd. Danny Cruz looking like your best player with his pinball routine. The same tired cliches and talking points for over 2 years. Feckless management. Stop me if I’ve missed anything. The fan base in Philly have been supportive of this team since before it’s conception, so no one needs to hear any BS coming from you. I’ve lived in Manhattan NY for 14 years and I can tell you the fans up here are worse in spite of having 2-3 teams for every sport. There is not an MLS city in the USA that wouldn’t be booing the Union and wanting the coach fired by now. If you were playing in Europe the Union would have been relegated and you personally would be struggling to find a roster spot so grow up! Hackworth needs to be fired and the Union need to bring in a professional manager who will put a well deserved boot up your collective behinds if need be!

    • Like any of that is Okugo’s fault.

      • Nobody is saying any of this is Okugo’s fault, but if you’re going to take the fan base to task for booing their performance and their manager then it’s just another example of how this organization has bigger issues, and not just on the pitch.

      • I think fan over reaction to a dumb off the cuff remark Okugo said is pretty excessive even by Union fans standards.

      • hobosocks says:

        Agreed.

      • Well said, I’ll stick by my comments. I do agree with you that the FO is taking our support for granted.

  7. Hackworth is done. They are probably holding off until after the New England game. Implementing any change at this point when they have so many games in a short period of time would be crazy.
    .
    Sak has to fire him right? If not for the team then for his own sense of self preservation.

    • Right. He has to. It would be nice if they could find a truly excellent coach, so that Hackworth could stay with the organization and contribute, because I think he has a lot to contribute. But I doubt he would defer to another ex-college or ex-youth squad development guy. Tata Martino. There, I said it.

      • I think Hack serving as player development director or in an acquisition role would be ok. Hes done a good job at developing players. Wheeler isn’t an all-star defender but he was better than I anticipated, and he did a good job at getting the players he wants. But he lacks that flare that even Nowak had. Somewhere in between, with the flare and energy but also better technical acumen.

      • Has he developed players?
        Not really. We have turned over just about all of our “youth movement” The only player who is coming into his own is Macmath and he was pretty much left to his own devices.

      • Amen.
        I hate how everyone says he’s great at developing players.
        NO. He put a couple young guys on the field when he first took over and moved others in different positions.
        The fact they showed glimpses is more a testament to their abilities.
        Look at all of his players — they have all plateaued. Just b/c he put a good athlete in a new position doesn’t make him smart.

      • Yes I would argue he has. He put them on the field to play, which gave them an opportunity to develop. Okugo has blossomed as CB, and that’s a position he doesn’t even want to play. Wheeler was better than I anticipated, and I didn’t think he was a good MLS Forward to begin with. I’m not implying he’s this guru for young talent, but I do think he deserves some credit for getting more out of those players. That’s about it, though. His game plans are usually poor, he lacks tactical creativity and his subbing and formation decisions are often mind-boggling.

      • scottymac says:

        That’s it, Okugo and Wheeler? Wheeler has been arguably awful at times and Nowak played Okugo at CB first.

        In the same time, he couldn’t get Marfan going, ‘smoothly’ handled the Adu situation, developed Torres right out of here (and all that AM from dealing LeToux evaporated), sent Garfan home, did great in his first draft with Anding and Jordan, unlocked Jack’s potential and shipped him to Canuckistan, Sheanon has regressed. Frankly, I don’t think he could develop Polaroids.

      • Don’t forget Hop. Add him to that list.
        And Casey is now a year in with him. Throw in Edu. Maidana and Nogueira aren’t living up to their potential.
        Anyway you put it, basically players seem to regress under a prolonged period with Hackworth, whether he’s directly to blame or not.

    • Boot his ass and have an assistant hold down the fort until a replacement is found. Then fire all the assistants and let the new coach get his people in there.

    • I agree that any decision won’t be made until after the Revs game, both for the timing reason as you said, but also just in case we miraculously turn it around in these next two games.
      .
      I think Sak desperately does not want to have to find a new coach, and if we somehow get a result in KC and a win against the Revs, it might buy him some time.
      .
      Of course, even if we get a point in KC, another home loss against NE would have to be the final straw…you’d think, right?

    • This was my first thought with these games this week.
      But really, a lot of me thinks that Sak just needs to send a message now to “his” team (players and assistants).
      Let go of Hack now. The players will get the message. Will we be any worse off these next two games? Maybe. But it’s not like we’re organized defensively or offensively, so who cares.
      New energy is new energy.

      And I hope JK gives Mo an earful about underestimating the MLS. Then leaves him off WC squad. He’s been crap b/c he’s been slacking.

      • scottymac says:

        Yes. This. What’s the worst that could happen? It already did.

        This team can’t shoot or score, so realistically, how many fewer goals would they score at KC with Sorber or Vart or that one guy from the tailgate who is awesome at cornhole(and who practices for that?! Why are you so good at cornhole?!).

  8. Smackey the Frog says:

    Hey Union players… you haven’t won once in ten matches. So STFU, put your heads down and get back to work.

  9. Ugh, So many links . . . so little time! Good job Ed or whoever culled those together. I desperately want to read so many I don’t know where to begin

  10. The fact that the players think they just need to keep trying harder and don’t blame the coach means that we need a strong-willed new coach to come in and convince them otherwise. Also, some players like Carroll and Edu need to be benched by the new coach.

    It’s idiotic that our #1 draft choice hasn’t played a minute (arguably, because our only good player is our starting goalkeeper), while Shipp and Mullins are kicking ass. Hackworth is a horrible judge of talent and ability.

    I’d like to see a young, new lineup installed by the next coach:

    ——–MacMath/Blake
    Gaddis-Marquez-Berry-Derschang
    ———–Okugo
    ——Nogueira-Ribiero
    ———-Pfeffer
    ——Wenger-Hoppenot

    Or anything else where our young players get to play! It’s not like the old steady guys are getting it done. At least we can evaluate the guys we have and build for the future.

  11. neck label says:

    BOO!

  12. OneManWolfpack says:

    I can’t believe on May 12 this is what we are discussing. So mad. As I said in another comment… Try whatever. We are 1-5-5. Seriously, do whatever. I’m just going to watch now and support the team, but I know full well this season is shot.

  13. McMath said it the best, “the ball isn’t falling our way”.
    How many times have we heard this line?!! Keep making excuses, that should fix everything. It’s not about the ball falling your way, its about creating chances and making the ball do what you want. It takes hard work and playing smart and skill, which it seems we don’t have a lot of right now. All the Union players should try to play like Noguiera- moving on and off the ball with pace, always moving! This is what needs to happen to get this team back on winning ways. It’s the coaches fault too, by not realizing this or not caring to incorporate it. It’s frustrating not knowing if Hack is incorporating this in his game plan or not. I have a feeling he isn’t.

    • He gou asked a question with no easy answer that he probably didn’t want to answer in the first place. It isn’t an excuse as much as it is a rote response so he can get out of there and go to bed

  14. George H says:

    The last time that we won a match, Crimea was still part of the Ukraine.

  15. It’s a fair point that a coach saying, “I don’t know why we are losing,” is disappointing. It is his job to know why and correct it.
    /
    Still, let’s show the man some respect. He probably makes only an average (American not pro sport coach) salary, and constructed a team that engenders hope, or else we wouldn’t be so pissed off.
    /
    Maybe they sign a striker today.

  16. -nickt.- says:

    we’re worse than chivas

  17. I am not sure where you’re getting your information,
    but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

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