Daily news roundups

Union previews, USA news, World Cup headshakers, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Will the Union go into the World Cup break on a high note or a low note when they host Vancouver Whitecaps at PPL Park on Saturday (7 pm, TCN,MLS Live,MLS DIrect Kick)? We shall see.

Previews from PSP, Inquirer, Daily News, Brotherly Game, David Murphy’s Union Blog, Vancouver Whitecaps, Video previews from Philadelphia Union and Vancouver Whitecaps. Fellow SB Nation blogs Brotherly Game and Eighty Six Forever ask one another three questions.

Former Union man Jordan Harvey says of his current team Vancouver, “this is the best locker-room I’ve had in my career.” Asked if there are lessons to be learned from the win the Union stole in Vancouver last year, Harvey said,

It’s two different teams. The way we’re playing right now, even a bad result, we’re still confident to go forward and get into the playoffs…. The belief is there on the road. “It’s a mindset. And instead of just talking about that, we’re actually doing it this year, going into games wanting to get three points and knowing we can get three points. You hear people talk about just getting a result away from home. To be honest, we have a team here that can get wins on the road. Robbo [coach Carl Robinson] started that and everyone’s fallen into it.

More on all the fun in the Whitecaps locker room from Vancouver Sun.

Andrew Wenger says, “For how bad we’ve played at times, we’re not that far out of it. We’re on the cusp. And if we can get our confidence really back to where it should be at 100 percent — and it’s close — the players we have here can get the job done.”

If the Union defeat Harrisburg in the fourth round of the US Open Cup, and the Red Bulls defeat the Cosmos, it will be Union vs. Red Bulls at PPL Park in the fifth round. If that happens, the Red Bulls will be without Thierry Henry, who will be at the World Cup as part of the BBC’s broadcasting team.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders are on the road to face Richmond Kickers on Saturday (7 pm, NSCAA TV, YouTube). When the teams met last Saturday in Harrisburg, Richmond won 3-2 with a stoppage time goal.

Ocean City Nor’easters host Long Island Rough Riders. Kickoff at Carey Stadium is at 7 pm.

MLS

According to a ranking system devised by the folks at Sounder at Heart, MLS is now the 12th strongest league in the world. When the ranking was last done in 2010, the league was ranked 24th.

Diego Fagundez, high school graduate.

US

The US plays its final sendoff game on Saturday when it hosts Nigeria in Jacksonville (6 pm, ESPN, UniMas). Previews from US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, and Goal.com.

At the Guardian, Graham Parker talks to Jurgen Klinsmann, who says about how he will be judged if the US fals to advance out of its group, “Obviously, I’m convinced we’ll get the results but if not and let’s say things go really the wrong way, and the federation decide to bring in a new coaching staff, I want to at least be sure that we have laid out the foundation.”

Apparently, Group G is no longer the Group of Death.

USA Today reports, “Since the start of training camp last month, the players have been wearing wristbands that detect their sleep and wake periods, and characterize the quantity and quality of their sleep. That data are analyzed and applied practically.”

Men’s Journal on Michael “The Field General” Bradley, “the best US player of 2014.”

USA Today on how Graham Zusi is “quietly becoming the next star of American soccer.”

Brad Davis and Chris Wondolowski have been buds for years.

At MLSsoccer.com, John Bolster on the “unheralded heroes” of the 1990 World Cup team. Good read.

More US World Cup history in animated form from the Guardian:

Some US fans now feel sorry for Giuseppe Rossi after he, for the second time, failed to make Italy’s World Cup squad. I am not one of them.

At the Wall Street Journal, some Brit whines “the problem with American soccer fans” is that their love for the game “feels like an elaborate affectation.” If the article is intended as satire, it’s poor satire (not to mention the glaring contradictions within the article). As one commenter put it, “Oh look, it’s this article. What a fresh take.”

By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo will not be playing for Portugal tonight when the team faces Mexico at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., as he continues “to be nursing knee tendinitis and a thigh injury in his left leg.”

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “FIFA is ‘not afraid’ things will go wrong at the start of the World Cup despite preparation problems in Brazil.”

Meanwhile, Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo admitted he couldn’t guarantee all preparations will be completed when the tournament begins next Thursday.

When you are dealing with an event as big as the World Cup there is no way for you to put a diploma on the wall saying you are ready. You have to be prepared every day. Everything needs to be working 24 hours. I am not going to hang a diploma on my wall and say ‘Here is my diploma, everything is ready.’ We have done everything within our capacity so that things are as close as possible to ready.

The AP reports, “Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes says it was a bad idea for Brazil to spread the World Cup over 12 cities. ‘We are a continental country, we are very big,’ Paes said on Thursday. ‘We made a mistake. We should have fewer cities hosting the World Cup than we have.’”

In case you missed it, Reuters reported last week,The hacker group Anonymous is preparing a cyber-attack on corporate sponsors of the World Cup in Brazil to protest the lavish spending on the soccer games in a country struggling to provide basic services, said a hacker with knowledge of the plan.”

Reuters reports, “European soccer chief Michel Platini, one of the most prominent figures to vote four years ago to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, has called for the vote to be held again if allegations of corruption in Qatar’s bid are proved.”

The BBC reports, “Qatari officials are believed to be considering all options open to them, including possible legal action, if the vote for the 2022 World Cup is re-run.”

In another report, Reuter’s notes that nine of the ten stadiums that hosted games in South Africa in 2010 are in the red.

At the Guardian (via When Saturday Comes), Grant Wahl on how FIFA changed its election rules after he ran for the FIFA presidency as “the People’s Candidate” three years ago.

18 Comments

  1. That USA Today article on Zusi is a joke and exactly what is wrong with soccer in America.

    Zusi is 27.

    He isn’t the next anything.

    He is what he is.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    I have to be honest, because of the growth of MLS combined with the fact that the Union are 5 years in, it’s going to be a lot harder rooting for the US than in past world cups. In 2010, even with the Union 3 months into their existance, I hadn’t developed the antipathy for the MLS players on other teams that I have now. Let’s face it, while it’s good for the league to be so well represented, it’s also hard to root for guys like Zusi and Bessler and Davis to do well.
    .
    On the other hand, I’m hoping that one of these “second team” articles comes out for the only logical team, Colombia (everyone else should be “third team”). I think most of the regular readers of this site would like to see a team with two Union captains do well.

    • Funny, I have the opposite problem; I find it hard to build up a healthy dose of hate when the USMNT players come in to PPL with their MLS club teams (though I can make an exception for Donovan).
      .
      I’m with you on Colombia as a ‘second team’, though. I’d love for Valdes to have a great showing and either come back as a conquering hero, or at least get us a jackpot in the transfer market.

      • i have a similar feeling. i used to absolutely loathe geoff cameron and his face but now that he plays so well for the national team i like him. i wonder if that also has to do with him leaving the league though

      • Sergio Ramos would stick a finger in Gerard Pique’s eye if he had to, then go battle as teammates for a joint purpose.
        .
        I see it no differently as a general viewer.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I disagree. I don’t think it’s hard for guys like Zusi and Davis to do well. They represent our league. Our domestic league that is routinely laughed at and shrugged off, even by people here at home. We should support then and the team, because if they play well, it only makes the case that MLS is getting better and that helps the league grow.
      .
      I personally have no probelm seeing them succeed and will root for then to do so, as members of the USMNT.

      • + 1

      • I don’t find it hard to separate the two. I’ll happily boo someone like Zusi he’s whining and flopping for SKC, but will whole heartedly support him when playing for the USMNT. I don’t really get the anti-Donovan sentiment from some either. While I don’t want him to succeed against the Union, I respect the hell out of the guy and what he’s accomplished.

      • Agreed.

      • I’m not anti-Donovan — I think it was a mistake he was left home from the World Cup — it’s just that he’s the one USMNT player who can rile me up enough to make me forget I root for him occasionally.

      • ….Though to me it depends on HOW they play well Wolfpack. Success is relative to style and philosophy. If we park the bus and show no inventiveness, no attacking comportment or purpose against Ghana, Portugal or Germany– save linking a few passes every once in a while- then score on a set piece —- sorry, I cannot be happy about that and it certainly is not a harbinger of improvement in my opinion. I want more and am ready for more from our version of the game on this continent.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Agreed that if we just park it and hope for a 1-0 counter attack win, it does us no good… as MLS players/supporters. However, against Ghana, I really see this team going for it. I don’t think they believe they are over matched (which they aren’t) and they are going to play like it… my opinion of course. If they park it against Germany, or maybe for a time being against Portugal, in order to earn a result, I would be fine with that.

      • I understand your position. For me. I’d rather lose playing in a way that gives me hope about a growing sophistication- even if that means we pack it in defensively but have a clear plan and organization and wherewithal to enact that plan with multiple counter attacks. I have no problem being a counter attacking team- if that is the identity- high organized press, fall back in our own third, strike with impassion and venom when transitioning either in the offensive or defensive end… No problem.
        .
        I want goals from the run of play that says we are the United States of America and we are on the rise. Till then, its all white noise — cause frankly, I’m uncertain about the players we even have playing for the team let alone our national identity. Just like my frustration with the Union. Let’s go! Figure out who you are and start choosing the correct players to do it! We will see. We will see.

      • Agreed.

      • holy shit did I just agree with myself? that can’t be. damn reply button.

    • ¿somos todos colombianos?

  3. According to an article on mls.com, we have the fourth worst home record in mls since our introduction into the league. Damn.

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