Daily news roundups

Wheeler CB experiment over and more notes from Hack’s presser, USA news, witchdoctors, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Some notes from John Hackworth’s weekly press conference, a transcript of which you can see here:

  • It seems the Aaron Wheeler at center back experiment is over. Hackworth said,”He’s been playing more as a forward in training, so we definitely think that he has an opportunity there. Not to say that we won’t ever use him in the back again…In this case, clearly we decided that was a direction we were not going to forward in.”
  • Hackworth said of the question of who will start at center back, “It’s a fluid list right now because we honestly haven’t had the consistent play out of our center backs that you would want or expect at this point in the year. We tried a lot of guys back there and it’s been a struggle.”
  • Hackworth sees no connection in the fact that the team is winless in the 10 games that Brian Carroll has played and their three wins have come when he hasn’t played. “We’re happy with him, whether he’s on the field or not. It just so happens that we’ve had better results when he hasn’t been.”
  • Hackworth said further about Carroll, ” [W]hether Brian is in the starting XI, whether he’s in the 18, or whether he’s not; he still has that role to play for us. I can’t tell you where that will be in the future, but Brian understands the competition that I referred to earlier in training and what that means to the guys that represent us on Saturday in the first XI.”
  • The team continues its search for reinforcements: “It’s continually being assessed, absolutely. But it has to — and I keep saying this — it has to be the right player or players.”
  • Union players on loan to Harrisburg will not play against the Union when the teams meet in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on June 17. “When you’re talking about competing against each other, I’m not sure it makes the most sense to have those players who are your players compete against you. That’s kind of the way it is worldwide, you know, when you loan a player out to another club, usually the stipulation is that that player doesn’t play against you in any kind of competition.”
  • Loanees that have already played for Harrisburg in the this year’s US Open Cup cannot play for the Union in the tournament. “Once a player gets cup tied they’re cup tied.”

More from the press conference from MLSsoccer.com and Delco Times,

Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said ahead of Saturday’s game at PPL Park, “I made them (the players) aware that they won’t be thinking about going on a break (this week). The break will happen, but it also be dependent on how we get on this weekend because I don’t want their minds thinking about anything else except Philadelphia away. We could have a very good break if we get a very positive result and I’ve made them aware of that.”

Robinson said of the Union, “They’ve got good players and are a good attacking team. They brought Fred (Da Silva) back and they got Andrew Wenger, they’ve got (Antoine) Hoppenot, and they’ve got (former Whitecaps striker) Sebastien Le Toux as well. They’re very organized and coached very well under John (Hackworth). They’re going to be hopefully trying to get a home victory before the break as well, but if we can control what we do, we’ll probably get more results than not.”

Sebastien Le Toux is confident the Union can turn things around. “I have a lot of trust in all the guys in the locker room and the coaching staff. The season didn’t start the way we expected. We have gone through some tough times and it’s up to us to get it all turned around. We just have to go out and do it together.”

At the 700 Level, Steve Moore wonders why some of the younger Union players aren’t getting playing time.

Kevin Kinkead was on 97.5 FM The Fanatic’s Jon and Sean Show podcast, which you can listen to here. Click on the link and tell all your friends so maybe they’ll talk soccer on the show again.

The league has released a list of the top 15 selling jerseys based on sales on on MLSgear.com and MLSGearCanada.ca since the beginning of the 2014 season. At No. 14 is Maurice Edu.

At Brotherly Game, the good, the bad, and the ugly from last Saturday’s win at Chivas USA.

Brotherly Game also notes that the Union Academy U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams will be playing in US Soccer Developmental Academy playoffs after qualifying as wildcards. The U-14s will be participating in the Development Academy Summer Showcase.

According to this press release, “10,000 lucky Philadelphia Union fans at PPL Park on June 7” will be able to get their hands on the  “bright yellow, oblong in shape, and totally nutty…M&M’S® Brand M-Ball™.” Hurray!


Ocean City Nor’easters cruised past NJ LUSO Parma with a 4-1 road victory on Wednesday night.

At Penn Live, Michael Bullock profiles Harrisburg City Islanders rookie and former Northern York High School standout Danny DiPrima.

Upper Moreland Soccer Club have partnered with Celtic Soccer Academy for a Celtic Summer Soccer Camp that will take place August 4-8 for children ages 8-14. Click here for more information.

Mitchel & Ness are releasing a line of Bethelehem Steel FC themed apparel in time for the World Cup. Before you make room in your wardrobe, an employee at the Mitchell & Ness shop in Philadelphia tells PSP that the line will only be available for purchase at the World Cup SoccerFest and Viewing Party at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Not cool, not cool at all. But wait! After we tweeted that sad news out, Mitchell & Ness sent us a tweet saying, “Please allow a short time as we prepare to make an announcement contrary to your previous tweet! #GoodNews.” That’s not good news, that’s great news!


Wednesday night’s games ended in two draws, with Columbus hosting Salt Lake to a 1-1 tie thanks to a late equalizer, and Chicago at Colorado for a 0-0 tie. With the result, Chicago is now level on points with the Union at 14 but remains in ninth place, albeit with two games in hand. The Crew’s draw sees them move up to fifth place with 17 points, although sixth place Toronto has a ridiculous four games in hand.

Montreal defeated Toronto 1-0 in the second-leg of the Canadian Championship final (2-1 on aggregate) on Wednesday to claim a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Melbourne City have announced that David Villa, who signed with New York City FC earlier this week, will “play, train and contribute” to the Australian club’s A-League campaign between October and December before joining NYCFC in its inaugural preseason. Melbourne City was formerly known as Melbourne Heart.

Alberto Gilardino to NYCFC?

From the Washington Post, “In the latest sign that the D.C. Council will take its sweet time examining the $300 million D.C. United stadium deal, Chairman Phil Mendelson said Tuesday that four separate committees will have to evaluate and approve enabling legislation before it moves to a final vote.” A first hearing is scheduled for June 26, just when the US will be playing Germany in its final group game at the World Cup.


In Wednesday evening’s games, Washington defeated Chicago 1-0 on the road. Kansas City defeated visiting Western New York 1-0. Former Philadelphia Independence forward Amy Rodriguez scored the winning goal.


In the latest FIFA rankings, the US moves up one spot to No. 13. Spain and German retain the No. 1 and 2 spots while Brazil flips places with Portugal to move to No. 3. Mexico drops one spot to No. 20.

At the New York Times, Sam Borden has an excellent profile piece on Jurgen Klinsmann. Klinsmann’s comments on Landon Donovan are just part of what makes the piece a good read.

At the Wall Street Journal, Matthew Futterman has another excellent piece on Klinsmann that includes some interesting graphics on just how he is changing the team tactically. It also, in keeping with WSJ’s house style, refers to Klinsmann as “Mr. Kinsmann” throughout the piece, which for some reason I find quaint and amusing.

Klinsmann says of state of the US defense ahead of the World Cup,

We’re still getting used to each other. We’re headed in the right direction. It’s one step in the right direction. That’s what we’ve kind of been doing the last three weeks: one step, one process; another step, another process…

You won’t see all the pieces in place yet. It’s still time for us to give players a chance to showcase what they have, where they are right now…

There’s always room for improvement. When you give chances away, then you address that and you talk about it. But it’s not a defensive topic; it’s a whole team topic because the defense starts with the forwards up front.

A big crowd is expected for Saturday’s final game in the sendoff series when the US plays Nigeria in Jacksonville (6 pm, ESPN, UniMas).

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep says Klinsmann should start Julian Green against Nigeria.

The Orlando Sentinel on local lad Graham Zusi.

The Guardian looks at tactics and key questions for the US team.

From the Office of You Know This Already at the Department of Yee of Little Faith, six reasons why the US won’t make it out of the Group of Death at the World Cup.

At ProSoccerTalk, Mike Prindiville calls on US fans to “ditch that World Cup drama and revel in the positives.”

Slate talks to Bob Bradley about the lack of respect US players have around the world through his perception that a lack of due respect for Michael Bradley saw Arsenal sign Kim Källström over him in January.

At World Soccer Talk, how the World Cup can make new fans of the game.

At ASN, Blake Thomsen compares the 2014 US team to the 2010 team.

Sports On Earth ranks the US teams that have played at the World Cup. It’s a useful synopsis but placing the 2014 team at No. 2 is odd.


A Ghanaian witchdoctor claims he is responsible for the injuries that have been nagging Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Nana Kwaku Bonsam, who says his goal is to prevent Ronaldo from playing against Ghana when the teams meet in group play at the World Cup, explains,

I know what Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury is about. I’m working on him. I am very serious about it. Last week I went around looking for four dogs and I got them to be used in manufacturing a special spirit called ‘Kahwiri Kapam.’ I said it four months ago that I will work on Cristiano Ronaldo seriously and rule him out of the World up or at least prevent him from playing against Ghana and the best thing I can do is to keep him out though injury. This injury can never be cured by any medic. They can never see what is causing the injury because it is spiritual. Today it is his knee, tomorrow it is his thigh, next day it is something else.

At Goal.com, James West argues that the requirement to carry three goalkeepers on the World Cup roster should be scrapped. In the history of the tournament, only four countries have had to use their third goalkeeper.

At ESPN, the start of a series ranking the World Cup kits.


  1. As much as I want Hackworth gone (and I do) my main concern is that, how often does a “for the future” coaching search happen during the season? I don’t think it does. So I don’t want fire Hackworth now and see out the rest of the season with a dead on arrival interim coach NOR do I want to see a rash jump into a known retread like Renne.

    If we need to wait until the end of the year to do a coaching search right, then oh well. I’l live with Hack the rest of the year

  2. The James West article is interesting, and I can’t think of a counterargument. Why mandate the number of goalkeepers at all? If a coach thinks he can win the world cup with one goalkeeper why should he have to bring two never mind three?
    Also, I don’t think you need a witch doctor to see that Cristiano Ronaldo might have a “spiritual” problem.

  3. Phil Naegely says:

    Maybe Wheeler at forward is just what the Union need to start scoring. My only thought is, why did the Union wait so long to end the CB experiment.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    This pretty much explains why Donovan was left off the WC squad. If he was on the squad, the witch doctor would have given him the whammy. Now that he’s off the squad, the witch doctor is afraid to do anything to anyone on the US for fear that Landon will be the replacement.

  5. Waiting until the end of the season to replace Hackworth is probably what’s best for team moving forward. When they do fire Hackworth the whole staff needs to go meaning severing all ties between Hackworth and the Union organization. They’ll need a coach with pedigree who will bring staff who are soccer people at the professional level. I think the fan base needs to believe that this organization is serious about making Philadelphia a soccer power. It would be even better if someone could be brought on board to take over Sakeiwicz’s FO responsibilities. I’m still hoping for new primary ownership,partnership with a strong organization from another league and stronger sponsorship than Bimbo. Firing Hackworth and buying out Sakeiwicz might be the best move the organization could make. Right now though replacing Hackworth has to be the priority to give us hope.

  6. Jeremy Lane says:

    I would have loved Michael Bradley at Arsenal. Arsenal needs a DM.

  7. Forcing World Cup teams to carry 3 Keepers is indeed a foolish rule.

    • Former Season Ticket Holder says:

      I wonder when the last time a 3rd choice keeper had to be used in a World cup game?

  8. Whenever I see Brian Carroll’s name in the starting lineup before a game I feel like I’m revisiting a scene from “Moneyball” when Billy Beane finds out that once again Art Howe is starting Pena over Hatteberg.

  9. The biggest disappointment I took away from this presser is that nothing was asked about the Union’s loanees at Harrisburg in terms of giving them a look in the first-team, ESPECIALLY given that Jimmy McLaughlin is in fine form and coming off a Team of the Week performance in USL Pro combined with a terrific game against Baltimore in the Open Cup. For all the talk that is made about this team investing in youth, it sure doesn’t ever seem to pay off out on the field. McInerney was the lone exception at the beginning of Hackworth’s tenure, but now of course he is gone. Pfeffer should be starting now. McLaughlin is 21 and a dynamite winger. Ribeiro is 23 and has some great upside as a holding midfielder. Hernandez has skill. AT LEAST PUT THEM IN THE TEAM.

    Investment in youth doesn’t just mean coddling it forever–at some point, you have to release the kids and let them play. McLaughlin arguably could play opposite Maidana and unseat Cruz from the XI…he’s got the pace, great skill on the ball, and he can score too. Pfeffer should play AM behind the striker (who I think should be Le Toux…everything else has been tried) while Nog and Edu tuck in behind. Ribeiro could be a sub at multiple positions. These guys arguably have the technicality that many players currently in the side, both starter and reserve, do not have. And to top it all off, Pfeffer, McLaughlin, and Hernandez are HOMEGROWNS. Use them. The Union already let some good young talent go to waste in Chandler Hoffman, and I fear there may be more players who have this happen to if things in the front office and management do not change soon.

  10. I agree with Joel. Bring in the “Homies”. What the hell. We apparently have no money and they are cheap salaries. For me, saving the season building for next year. Get these guys playing time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *