Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin presser, controversial officiating in WC opener, Gulati says US not approached by FIFA for 2022 WC, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Interim head coach Jim Curtin had his first press conference on Thursday. Some highlights from his remarks:

  • “I know the passion that the fans have. I know the emotions that they have and I know that the thing that they want is winning. That’s what this is about. We need to win. And we’re going to do it with accountability, accountability from the players on and off the field.”
  • “There will be some changes…There will be some tweaks here and there, we’re not going to bring in 24 new players, we’re not changing the personnel. Yeah, we can change some positions you can have some hard conversations with some guys about where I think they are the best suited to help this team win games, maybe that’s playing out of position for a game and putting them in the best possible position to have success on the field.”
  • “I’ve talked to every player so far on the team, they’re excited, every time you get a coaching change everybody feels like they get a new chance which is true. I’m going to open up this up and say every guy has a new track. Obviously I’ve seen every guy and I’m familiar with them, but at the same time I’m going to try and put that behind me and really open up things up for competition, a little bit of fear, a little bit of motivation for the guys that have been consistent is a good a thing. I think it’s a great motivator, again we have good young players and old players, I don’t care if you’re young or old whatever age you are it doesn’t matter to me I just want to put the best thing on the field. The team picks itself. I’m a big believer in that, during the week of training they decide.”
  • “I know I’m a 34-year-old coach. That’s the reality of this situation. I have things to learn, but I do think I know what it takes to win in this league, that’s for sure. We joked about it, but I understand that there’s going to be a search for a coach to come in here. That’s going to happen. All I asked was that Nick keep me informed… I know that there’s a search that has to happen. That’s the process in pro sports. A lot of the guys that are going to be interviewed are my friends, that I’ve played with in the league and I know them personally, and that’s just the way it is. Again, I don’t care if I’m fourth in command, third in command, second in command or first in command, I care about winning in this city.”

Nick Sakiewicz said at the press conference that the players bare responsibility in John Hackworth’s firing.

The last time I made a coaching change, it wasn’t on the players. This time, it is 80 percent on the players . . . In this business, you’ve got to take accountability as a player. I know that, because I was a player. You need to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, my bad’ when it’s your bad. That honesty is really important. The players need to be accountable for the situation that we are in. And they also need to be accountable for getting us out of it.

More from the press conference at Philadelphia Union, MLSsoccer.com, Daily News, Delco Times (1), Delco Times (2), CSN Philly, CBS Philly, Philly Soccer News, Soccerly, and Brotherly GameUnion Tally has a partial transcript from the press conference.

At Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski wonders if the Union can afford to bring in another DP.

World Cup

How was that for a World Cup opener: Brazil own goal, crap goalkeeping, ridiculous penalty kick call, crap goalkeeping. (Checkout the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of today’s World Cup games.)

Reuters reports, “Furious Croatia coach Niko Kovac blamed ‘out of his depth’ referee Yuichi Nishimura and warned the World Cup could turn into a circus after a contentious penalty decision effectively cost his team the opening game of the tournament against Brazil.” Kovac said, “This was ridiculous today, and if we continue in this way we will have a circus.”

Unsurprisingly, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari disagreed,

The ref saw a penalty. He gave the penalty, and he’s the one who decides.And we think it was a penalty as well.

I’m not going to talk about what the other coach said. All I say is Brazil has five world titles. So Brazil had five circuses to win five cups?

I understand what my colleague has said, and I respect it, because I think the reason he said was due to the result, and I would probably be complaining if I had lost the match as well. But I didn’t see us getting favored by the referee. That’s just something that has been said and it will stay said and there’s no point in arguing about it.

Croatia’s Dejan Lovren, whose “foul” on Fred led to the PK call, said, “What can I say? I’m sad, I want to cry. Everyone saw that. It’s a scandal for FIFA. They talk about respect, they have meetings before the World Cup, FIFA people talk to us, and in the end, what happens? It’s better they give the World Cup to Brazil straight away.”

Lovren, who plays club ball for Southampton, also said, “The ref didn’t even speak English. I asked him why did he give the penalty and he just mumbled something. My team-mates tell me the same thing – how can you have an international ref who is officiating the opening match, but he doesn’t speak English and you can’t even speak to him?”

Former FIFA ref Markus Merk called the officiating in Thursday’s game “embarrassing.” He explained,

It is the World Cup, the opening match, that will never do! I am sorry, as a footballer, it even hurts me…The Japanese referee is the least to blame. He is really a good one, who should by all means be allowed to referee at a World Cup. But not to set new standards, not in the first game of a World Cup. With lack of experience and worse, without instruction. I can’t remember a referee who escaped after his whistle. Embarrassing! Don’t criticize the Japanese referee, question FIFA and its commissions.

Merk was not alone in his criticism. Even Jonathan Wilson wrote an article about the officiating. At the Guardian, a look at the reaction from the Croatian media.

Recaps from MLSsoccer.com (including a tactical review), Goal.com, Soccer America, ProSoccerTalk, SI, The Guardian, and a gazillion other sources.

Police clashed with protesters in several Brazilian cities. More here.

Wonderful, the condition of the pitch in Manuas is so bad that they’ve spray painting it green.

Union Berlin placed 780 couches in their stadium so fans can watch the World Cup on the stadium’s jumbotron. Pictures of the fun here.

Twitter users can customize their account to better connect with the national team they’re supporting at the World Cup. At the top of a user’s Twitter page is a green tab which allows users to select a national team “to unlock custom profile images, header photos, real-time scores and highlights.” Philadelphia Business Journal’s Lauren Hertzler has more on the new feature.

Reuters reports, “Cameroon’s affection for its favorite footballing son has turned sharply with striker Samuel Eto’o accused by local media of “treason” after leading strike action by their World Cup squad at the weekend.”

Former Philadelphia Union “player” David Myrie has been called up by Costa Rica to replace the injured Heiner Mora.

In case you missed it, check out our World Cup predictions post in which a team of PSP writers faces off against a team of local soccer media professionals and players and staff from the Union. More predictions posts from The 700 Level (which includes Philly comparisons) and Brotherly Game. PSP’s Dan Walsh has a predictions post at NJ.com as well as a viewing guide.

At the Union website, the Philly-World Cup connections series continues with Bert Patenaude, who played for Philadelphia Field Club in 1928 before scoring the first-ever World Cup hat trick in 1930, and then played for the Philadelphia German-Americans in 1933-34 and with the Philadelphia Passion in 1936.


At the New York Times, Sam Borden reports, “The president of the United States Soccer Federation, Sunil Gulati, denied a report that FIFA had asked it to form an organizing committee that could take over preparations for the 2022 World Cup if it is taken away from Qatar.”

ASN has a tactical preview of Monday’s game against Ghana.

US players say they want to take it one game at a time and believe getting out of their group will make it a successful tournament for the team.

Jermaine Jones says he will not celebrate if he scores against Germany.

USA Today has an informative look at what is involved with the US national team traveling to, and within, Brazil. Here’s  a sample:

  • “When the team arrived on Monday, there were 220 pieces of luggage, including trunks, duffel bags, technical equipment, weighing 11,000 pounds, plus the 23 players, coaching and support staff.
  • “Before the players arrived, U.S. Soccer had already shipped 94 boxes and bags of food, trunks, duffel bags and technical equipment weighing 7,050 pounds. Among those supplies: breakfast cereals that are not available in Brazil; flaxmeal and vanilla whey protein; cooking supplies and condiments; almond butter.
  • “The U.S. Soccer contingent of 51 includes 23 players, four coaches, five scouts, 11 members of performance staff (strength and fitness coach, four trainers, two doctors, two equipment managers, chef, nutritionist), three U.S. Soccer officials, four administrators (including a security officer and Nike representative) one press officer.”

Market Watch has a list of ten US companies “that are poised to benefit from the World Cup in one way or the other.”

Sticking with the economic theme, the Washington Post’s Jim Tankersly uses the US national team as an example of how importing highly skilled workers is good for the economy. Or something like that.

The International Business Times wonders what happened to Freddy Adu. “[T]hough he hasn’t met the expectations thrust upon him since he was a teenager, he’s young enough to keep his career and World Cup hopes alive.” Good one, IBT, good one. The article does include a touching picture of Sheanon Williams consoling Adu after the US U-23 team failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

The Hollywood Reporter says, “World Cup soccer is about to get bigger in the US — but it will never be huge.” Also at The Hollywood Reporter, a look at why TV revenue from the World Cup isn’t as high as it could be.


Harrisburg City Islanders host Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday in the final match of the the Keystone Derby (7 pm, NSCAA TV, YouTube).

At Penn Live, Michael Bullock talks to City Islanders’ Union loanee Pedro Ribeiro about supporting Brazil in the World Cup.

Ocean City Nor’easters travel to face Jersey Express on Saturday at 7 pm at NJIT Stadium in Newark. Ocean City’s Aaron Dennis and Zoncher Dennis received honorable mentions in this week’s PDL Team of the Week. For Zoncher, it’s the second time he’s been so honored in two weeks.

Good news historic local soccer team apparel aficionados, the Mitchell & Ness Bethlehem Steel FC line is now available at their online store. Sadly, the line is not available at their Center City store at this time. And yes, I have already ordered the sweatshirt.


Vancouver’s Jay DeMerit is out for at least six weeks with a tendon tear in his left ankle. The injury came in last Saturday’s 3-3 draw with the Union.

New York City FC have acquired midfielder/defender Jeb Brovsky from Montreal Impact in exchange for a second round pick in the 2016 SuperDraft. The announcement says Brovsky ” will be loaned to a to-be-determined non MLS club through December 2014.”

At Yahoo Sports, Martin Rogers reports that, according “to a source with direct knowledge of the offer,” David Beckham has been approached to drop his bid to plant a franchise in Miami and join “a consortium led by Asian investors” to buy Chivas USA.


  1. The penalty call was pretty bad, but just as bad in my opinion is the decision not to send off Neymar. He looks straight at the other player, raises his elbow and runs his arm into the the player’s face with blatant intent, for me it’s a red card all day. I think the ref thought about it and chickened out with a yellow.
    As for the Croatia keeper Pletikosa…oof. That can’t feel good. I give him the benefit of the doubt on the first goal, I think it was just a perfectly placed ball from Neymar. But not keeping out what was really not a great penalty after guessing right and getting a hand on it has got to sting, and he looked pretty bad on the third goal from Oscar, that’s a save that has to be made.
    I’m not going to get ANY work done today…

  2. super fun world cup insanity after only one day, it’s like it’s straight outta south philly “this is da world cup, speak ENGLISH” and Scolari, so rich, “yo we are brasil we won this thing five times so f you”

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    To bad Geiger wasn’t officiating yesterday. We still would have seen the same penalty call but with a lot more emphasis on the ref making the call 🙂

  4. Nick knows accountability because he was a big-time goalkeeper at Nantes. Right, Nick?

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Looks like the referee’s crappy job yesterday has spilled over to the linesman in the Mexico / Cameroon game. Wow. This officiating has been unacceptable so far.

  6. On Curtin’s presser,
    Casey is in form?!!! So two games out of the entire season where he comes alive puts him in form? Idk how that makes sense. Edu should have made the World Cup squad? I hope he doesn’t believe this rhetoric and is just trying to put some confidence towards the players. I hope he is different then Hack but we will see.

    • John Ling says:

      This sort of stuff comes up regularly about coaches and press conferences. Do you expect him to say, “Mo Edu? Pfft! Can’t wait until we can ship his ass back to England!” “Casey? Dude is older than my grandpa and slower than a Ford Pinto that had its engine removed!”

    • Doesn’t scoring 4 goals in 2 games make you in form, considering he couldn’t do anything before? I think form can change week by week, and truth be told he’s on fire right now.

  7. “80% on the players?” Like Wheeler? White? Berry? Wenger? Did Cruz & Fabinho each decide on his own to send meaningless cross after cross to no one? Did BC decide to duplex Edu?
    “The team picks itself.”
    Meet the new boss….

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