Daily news roundups

“Got to keep grinding,” on Nog as DP, Crystal Palace friendly, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Saturday’s dismal result against New England put a quick end to the hopeful feelings that followed the Union’s road win over Kansas City three days before. If your reaction to the loss was to do your best to forget about it, you were not alone. (I tried my best with the help of tequila but, sad to say, memories remain.)

Sheanon Williams said, “That game’s done. That team is on a hot streak, last week and again today. Move forward. It’s over, done with. I’m not gonna think about it anymore.”

So, what’s to be done? Amobi Okugo said, “You’ve got to keep grinding. You’ve got to have faith that the hard work you’re going to put in is going to turn circles. It hasn’t done that for us yet. But it’s a long season and there’s teams that have gone on long streaks. Right now, we’re not on a great streak but if we can turn it around, we know can do it.”

If that run is to begin with the next game, it’ll be the first of two road games in LA before the Union hosts Vancouver in the final game before the World Cup break. Okugo said, “It’ll be nice to get away, L.A. with the good weather. The road games, I feel like we’ve done well there in the past. Hopefully, we can get away, get our feet up and get some results on the road. It will really help to get on a run starting now on the road.”

Okugo said of playing defensive mid and wearing the captain’s armband the last two games, “I’ve been playing there since I was six, so it comes natural to me. I feel like that’s my natural position. It’s fun to play there but wherever I play it’s about helping the team…I feel like it’s the biggest honor to be captain of the club. I’m just trying to do the best I can to lead the boys with [Brian Carroll] out.”

Will Zach Pfeffer see more minutes after making his season debut in Saturday’s loss? Dave Zeitlin writes in the latest Inside Doop, “It would certainly seem to make sense as the Union’s already-depleted midfield will also be missing Cristian Maidana because of a red-card suspension.”

Vincent Nogueira is up for Goal of the Week.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald asks, with Sochaux relegated from Ligue 1, whether Nogueira will now be a Designated Player. Earlier reports suggested that the Union would have to pay Sochaux $150,000 if the club was relegated, which would push the Union’s total expenditure for the midfielder, including his reported $330,000 salary, above the DP level. If the reports are true, the Union would have to also pay the league a one-time $150,000 fee for having three DPs on the books. So far, Nogueira isn’t listed as a DP on the league website, but the list hasn’t been updated since March 4.

In the latest power rankings at ESPN, the Union remain in last place. At Soccer America, the Union remain at No. 16. At SI, they actually move up two spots to No. 15.

Brotherly Game compares stats from the Nowak and Hackworth eras and concludes, “Adding it all up the two Union managers aren’t all that different.”

The Union will host Premier League side Crystal Palace on Friday, July 25. The game is included in full season ticket packages at no additional cost. An announcement on the Union website notes, “Full and Partial Season Ticket Holders, will have the opportunity to purchase additional seats in a special presale Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. before the public on sale begins on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. ET.”

Here’s the announcement on the Crystal Palace website as well as a brief bio on the Union.

Two hours before the Union face LA Galaxy on the road on May 25, Maurice Edu and Omar Gonzalez will co-host a Google + Hangout at 6 pm. “Select fans from each MLS club will be awarded the opportunity to participate in the Google+ Hangout on Air, connecting them with players through an extensive ‘jumping’ model where the players will join multiple fan hangouts rather than one single location. In addition to fielding questions in the Google+ Hangout, the moderator will also ask questions that have been submitted through social media and with the #ForClubAndCountry hashtag.”

Local

Here’s a profile of the career trajectory of Beachwood, N.J. native and everyone’s favorite referee, Mark Geiger, from the 2000 US Youth Soccer National Championships to the 2014 World Cup.

Curtis Zebley, the Kennett Square resident who shot former Harrisburg City Islanders Jason Hotchkin and Moffat “Mo” Odour outside of a West Chester bar in 2012, has been sentenced to 9-18 years.

MLS

Bloomberg reports San Jose Earthquakes have become the first MLS team to accept bitcoins as payment for tickets, merchandise, and concessions, “making the Major League Soccer team the first professional sports franchise to accept the virtual currency inside its stadium.”

The Washington Post reports, “Nearly 10 months after announcing a tentative deal to build a 20,000-seat soccer stadium on Buzzard Point, District officials and D.C. United executives have nearly finalized an agreement, according to sources familiar with the discussions.”

The AP reports, “Miami Beckham United announced Monday they’d met with Miami officials who recommended locating the stadium at the boat slip near the AmericanAirlines Arena, where the Miami Heat play. Beckham consultant John Alschuler said the group was ironing out details, but that everyone agreed it was the best location.” More on the news from Miami Herald and Miami New Times.

US

At SI, Brian Straus on the hopes to end the goalscoring drought from US forwards at the World Cup that stretches back to 2002. “It’s an ugly statistic, no matter how the time is measured – whether it’s in years (12), games (eight) or minutes of action (832).” Yep.

How does Tim Howard rate the US team? “The 2010 team was a good team because we had a lot of experience. This team is younger, but I think we’re slightly better than 2010, only because of that youth, and that inexperience almost helps you. Guys don’t actually know what to expect, they’re just hungry and ready to go for it. We’ve got some good playmakers and we know who they are. Collectively as a group this is a strong, very athletic team.”

At The Star-Ledger, Frank Glase wonders if Landon Donovan might actually not be a fit in Jurgen Klinsmann’s preferred tactical set-up.

Donovan admits he isn’t sure if he’ll make the team. “For me personally, I liken it to 2002. In 2006 and 2010 I knew for the most part, unless I was awful, that I was going to make the team. This time it’s more similar to ’02, when I wasn’t sure. In that way, it’s as competitive for me as it’s been in a long time.”

Geoff Cameron believes having to compete for a final spot on the US roster during the pre-World Cup camp is good. As, LA Times columnist Kevin Baxter put it, “But then again, what’s Cameron supposed to say?”

Portugal has released its 23-player roster.

USMNT assistant coach Tab Ramos recalls facing Brazil in front of 84,177 at Stanford Stadium in the knockout round of the 1994 World Cup. Well, the first half, anyway. Brazil defender Leonardo was given a red card in the 43rd minute for deliberately elbowing Ramos in the head, an injury that saw him sidelined for months. “I’ve never seen that game again. I’ve actually never seen the second half of that game. I know that after the injury I was in the hospital and by the time I figured out where I was the game was over.” The US lost, 1-0.

Speaking of 1994, Slate has “The Horrifying True Story of the Ugliest Jerseys in U.S. Soccer History.

Elsewhere

Pele says of Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup, “The situation worries me. There has been sufficient time to bring the stadiums to completion. It’s unacceptable. It is a disgrace.”

It’s official: Louis van Gaal is the new manager of Manchester United. Ryan Giggs, who will be van Gaal’s assistant coach, has announced the end of his playing career.

Club legend Luis Enrique is the new head coach at Barcelona.

A player in the Indonesian Premier League has died from injuries sustained as a result of a studs up challenge to the body from an opposing goalkeeper. Persiraja striker Akli Fairuz was able to watch the game from the sidelines but his condition soon worsened and he was later admitted to hospital. There he died six days after receiving the injury.

21 Comments

  1. If the Union put up some good results on the next 2 away games, I can’t help but think they are feeling too much pressure at home.
    .
    Look at Okugo’s quote. It’s like they consider it a relief to get away from the PPL Park fans.

    • Any Union player who finds it a relief to play away from PPL should ask for a trade today. And Hackworth should honor the request. (Maybe he can get us another GK to sit on the bench, in return!) The SoB and River End are awesome. The fans are loud and dedicated. And we show up! Unlike the fans in NE and NY.

      In fact, I’ve sometime wondered during games where refs call games as if they a rooting for Philly to lose, whether there is a conspiracy. MLS obviously thinks that Union fans will remain vested in team regardless of whether they win or lose. (Witness supporters’ club existing prior to team, even!) The same can’t be said for fans in NY, Toronto, etc. Would it really be that surprising if refs were encouraged to call games in favor of the other teams? (Analogous to allowing those teams to sign millions of dollars worth of DP contracts but not allowing the Union to sign anyone.) Finally, don’t anyone get their hopes up about Darius Madison signing a homegrown contract. The league will probably invent an allocation order for rookies and give Seattle or LA the 1st spot.

      • There’s enough real-world stuff to be concerned about with the Union; no need to get worked up over massive imaginary referee conspiracies.

    • The Black Hand says:

      It’s sad that bringing results at home, in front of the supporters that helped bring the club to Philadelphia, would be such a burden.

    • I feel like those kind of quotes are pretty standard pro athlete speak – struggling team, road trip ahead equals “it’ll be good to get away, clear our heads, etc”. Struggling team, coming back home after road trip “it’ll be great to get back in our own beds and play in front of our home fans”. I’m not reading too much into it really.

    • We’ve won 4 games in our last 22. It’s not like they are doing any better on the road than they are at home. We just plain suck anywhere.

  2. Amobi. I love you, but the season ain’t that long.

  3. Just because someone earns above the DP threshold doesn’t make them a DP. It’s only if the team uses the DP cap to control their total salary cap that the player takes up a DP slot. So, if the Union have the cap space (or allocation funds), then it makes no sense to make Noguiera a DP (this year). If the $150k transfer fee is accurate, they would save $93k in cap space and pay $150k to MLS to do it.
    .
    Then again, I may not understand the rules correctly, and of course, the rules could change twice by noon today, this being MLS and all.

    • I’d definitely be interested to know more about this. They presumably could intend to use the third slot for a striker if they’re not dead in the water come the summer window…

    • You’re semi-right. It all depends if they have the allocation money – or if they choose to use it – for the additional transfer fee. Since that would take them over the threshold, Nog would become a DP UNLESS they pay with allocation. Because it’s a transfer fee and not his salary it would make him a DP, since that designation includes transfer fees, salaries, and any other money paid to acquire the player. So their best bet would be to use allocation money for the either his salary or the fee and avoid the $150 – for now.

  4. “you gotta keep grinding.”
    It is good to know that if Soccer doesn’t work out Okugo can always fall back on a career in porn.

    • On a less humorous note: I’m so tired of the typical pro-sports comments. Give me someone who’s actually pissed and says, “Something’s gotta change. It’s not working.”
      Everything within the Union is just so comfortable. Somebody needs to put pressure on somebody. Add some bite and personality and some emotion. You say the typical “keep grinding” comments when your close to .500, not at the bottom of the table. Now it’s time to create some accountability even controversy for motivation (a la USA before Costa Rica).

      • We had that someone who said what he really thought. We traded him to Montreal.

      • Read Sheanon’s comments after the game. He wasn’t filtering anything.

      • No I kind of disagree it is a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation.
        When you say something definitive like that some will take issue with what you said.
        Did you throw your teamates under the bus?
        People will say big talk and now back it up…
        Ect. ect.
        I give players a pass on stuff like that, I’m sure they aren’t happy about this and no quote on this website will matter one way or the other.

      • I’m not saying call out players, necessarily, but at this point I wouldn’t care. Sometimes people (coaches) need to be called out.
        But I’m really just tired of the same song and dance from them.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    That Indonesian soccer player dying was completely nuts and sad. What a shame. Here’s a link to the story, via Deadspin, from an Indonesian news station: http://deadspin.com/soccer-player-dies-after-disgusting-tackle-from-goalkee-1578566042
    .
    Four points on this trip is the absolute minimum. Six restores some hope that we can save this season.
    .
    I agree with the comment above that I don’t think just going above the DP level threshold pay, automatically makes Noguirea a DP. As long as his money still fits under the cap, what makes him a DP would be that the Union first classify him as such, and then receive that money from the MLS toward his overall salary/salary cap. If they don’t then I suppose they would be free to pay him whatever they wanted, as long as he still fit in the cap. That’s the way I understand it. I could be wrong though.
    .
    Man United’s transfer budget is £150 million. That is just hilarious compared to what the MLS works with. It’s not a knock on MLS, I know we as a league are no where near that yet, it’s just amazing how much difference there is.

  6. Crystal Palace? Meh. I’ll pass on that one.

    • The Union usually rise to the occasion against int’l opponents. Might be the only chance to see them play well at PPL this summer.

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