Daily news roundups

Crystal Palace friendly recaps & reaction, latest on Rais M’Bolhi to the Union reports, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Match reports from the Union 1-0 loss to Crystal Place in Friday’s friendly at PSP, here at PSP.

Our photo essay from the game will be up later this morning. In the meanwhile, USA Today has a photo gallery from the game and the Crystal Palace website has pictures from the team training.

Delco Times and Soccerly have articles on Pedro Ribeiro finally making his Union debut, even if it was, to the great disappointment of most Union fans, at center back. Ribeiro said,

I feel like nowadays you have to be an overall player, you have to be able to play in different positions, even though they are completely opposite positions. As a center back, I try to think ahead of the forwards and what they’re going to do. And I’m a forward, so I try and figure out what they’re trying to do. I try to adjust day-by-day and be ready for whatever it is.

Curtin admitted he’s still unsure where Ribeiro’s best position is but said, “I like him underneath almost as a No. 10 because his feet are good and he can shoot a ball.”

Palace manager Tony Pulis was frustrated his team didn’t score any goals of their own but said, “We worked very hard, they made us work very hard. Full compliments to Philadelphia because it was a very competitive game.”

Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni, who said, “PPL Park was a great place to play,” also said, “It was a good game…I got a clean sheet too which was nice – in the new pink shirt!”

What do you do when you’re visiting Philly to play a friendly? Run up the Art Museum steps a la Rocky, just like Palace’s Yannick Bolasie did.

Rais M’Bolhi to Union?

Union goalkeeper Andre Blake had a fine showing in Friday’s friendly, with a report on a report on the Crystal Palace website said he “was in sublime form.”

Blake said, “I am just trying to continue to work hard so that every time I get a chance to showcase what I can do I take full advantage of it. For me, it’s about doing whatever I can and trying my best to help my team. At the end of that day, that’s what we are all here for.”

Jim Curtin gave a sense of what the Union’s thoughts are on Blake after Friday’s friendly, saying Blake is a “guy that I think has a very bright future, not only with our club but, I think, beyond that, in Europe.” Curtin continued, “I think he’s that talented and a kid that should have the desire to play overseas. He’s already done the international part of things with Jamaica and now the next step for him is to obviously get starting here and then move on after that.”

All of which leads to the latest on the Rais M’Bolhi to the Union rumors front. Two weeks ago, you will recall, the Algerian national team goalkeeper was photographed at PPL Park. On Saturday, Portuguese site O Jogo reported (crappy Google translation here) that Algerian national team goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi “has signed a three-year contract” with the Union. According to the report, the Union beat out interest in M’Bolhi from FC Porto, Sheffield, Blackpool, Leicester, and Queens Park Rangers.

The O Jogo report was followed up by a report from football.fr (crappy Google translation here) that said M’Bolhi “has committed for the next three seasons with the North American club, who paid €300,000 for the deal.”

Le Buteur (crappy Google translation here) references the O Jogo report in its brief post on M’Bolhi signing with the Union.

A report from footmercato.net (crappy Google translation here), also from Saturday, suggests a deal is still in the works: “If details remain to be resolved, the case is well underway.” The article also says M’Bolhi’s “release clause was set at €300,000.” M’Bolhi’s last club was Bulgaria’ CSKA Sofia.

TSA-algerie.com (crappy Google translation here) refers to the football.fr report and says M’Bolhi “is about to sign a three-year contract” and that a deal is “very close.” Interestingly, the article is used as the sole reference on M’Bolhi’s Wikipedia page to say he “plays as a goalkeeper for the American club Philadelphia Union.”

When asked about the reports, a Union spokesperson told PSP, “I can’t comment on anything at this time.”

If the reports are true, what could the acquisition mean? Delco Time’s Matthew De George tweeted, the “Union would need to cut an on-budget roster player to accommodate him.” (De George followed up with another tweet that said, “They wouldn’t with Valdes. [The] Valdes chase, since he’s their player, could extend beyond end of Aug. 6 transfer window.”)

Zolo Talk tries “to rationalize” what a M’Bolhi deal might mean for Zac MacMath and Andre Blake.

More Union news

On Friday, the Union announced that Michael Lahoud has been called up by the Sierra Leone national team for a African Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles on Aug. 2 and will therefore miss the game against Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 1.

At Brotherly Game, William Murphy on what we’ve learned about Jim Curtin’s style as a coach.

Power rankings! At ESPN, the Union are at No. 12.

Philadelphia Magazine likes Maurice Edu’s 400-pair sneaker collection.

The Union will be hosting a charity dinner to support the Mack Brady Soccer Fund on Aug. 8.

Kleberson scored deep in stoppage time to give NASL side Indy Eleven their second win of the league’s fall season. It’s the former Union man’s fifth goal of the season.


Harrisburg City Islanders fell 2-1 on the road to Richmond Kickers on Saturday. Harrisburg, now in 11th place in the USL PRO standings, was in the hole quickly, conceding a penalty kick goal in the 5th minute, then conceding another from open play in the 23rd minute, before Matt Bahner scored what proved to be a consolation goal in the 88th minute. Match reports from Richmond Kickers and Black & Red United.

Philadelphia Fury, which will soon begin play in the new ASL, have announced the signing of Costa Rican midfielder Kenneth Acre.

At the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championship finals at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Sunday, Lehigh Valley United 95 fell 3-0 to California’s Santa Barbara FC White in the U-18 Boys championship final. YMS Premier Xplosion 98 lost in the U-15 girls final, falling 1-0 to Florida’s Jacksonville FC 98/99 Elite.


In the Eastern Conference, first place Kansas City (38 points) defeated third place Toronto (26 points) 2-1 on the road. Second place DC (34 points) was off from league play, losing 3-0 to Fulham in a friendly. Fourth place Columbus (26 points) defeated sixth place New England (23 points) 2-1 on the road, handing the Revolution their eighth straight loss. Fifth place New York had the weekend off, defeating Arsenal 1-0 in a friendly. Seventh place Philadelphia (23 points) had the weekend off, losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace in a friendly. Eighth place Chicago (20 points) also had the weekend off, falling 2-0 to Tottenham in a friendly. Ninth place Houston (19 points) lost 1-0 in a friendly to Aston Villa. Last place Montreal (14 points) lost 3-2 at home to Portland.

In the Western Conference, first place Seattle (38 points) host sixth place LA (27 points) tonight at 10 pm (ESPN2). Second place Real Salt Lake (32 points) had the weekend off after defeating Montreal 3-1 on Thursday. Third place Colorado (30 points) defeated eighth place Chivas USA (23 points), 3-0. Fourth place Dallas (30 points) drew 2-2 on the road with fifth place Vancouver (28 points). Seventh place Portland (27 points) defeated Montreal 3-2 on the road. Last place San Jose (20 points) had the weekend off from league play and lost to 3-4 after penalty kicks to Atletico Madrid after the two sides finished regulation time of the summer friendly scoreless.

New England have loaned Honduras national team forward Jerry Bengston to Argentine club Belgrano through June 30, 2015.

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar is headed back to Queens Park Rangers and won’t be returning to Toronto.

Houston have acquired Honduras national team midfielder Luis Garrido on loan from Olimpia.

Real Salt Lake have signed 17-year-old RSL-Arizona Academy product Sebastian Saucedo as its eighth-ever Homegrown Player.

Here are some good images of the progress of the construction of San Jose’s new stadium.

Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards wouldn’t mind moving from the NASL to MLS.


First place Seattle (46 points) trounced third place Portland (30 points), 5-0. Second place Kansas City (37 points) defeated seventh place Sky Blue (19 points), 2-1. Fourth place Washington (28 points) had the weekend off. Fifth place Chicago (28 points) drew 0-0 with eighth place Houston (18 points). Sixth place Western New York (24 points) lost 4-2 to last place Boston (14 points).


Asked about the prospects of choosing to play for the US, Gedion Zelalem said, “At the moment I’m just trying to break into the first team of Arsenal. They’re both great countries. The U.S. is on the rise. Germany is already a great country. So whichever country I choose will be a good choice.”

Geoff Cameron talks to New England Soccer Today about the World Cup and his role in the two goals Portugal scored against the US in group play.

The USWNT friendly against Switzerland on Aug. 20 in Cary, NC, has sold out.

At The Washington Post, more on the possible move to a fall-spring schedule for men’s college soccer. University of Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski says, “We have to change the game and do it justice. College soccer has been relevant, but it can become much more relevant. It is doing a good job; it can do a great job.”

Indiana University head coach Todd Yeagley also backs the plan.


Reuters reports, “Carlo Tavecchio, the favorite to become the next Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president, has been caught up in a racism row after referring to African players as “banana eaters.”

Just when it seems Mario Balotelli can’t get any cooler, he’s taking selfies with pitch invaders.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Best part of the MLS weekend was that Bessler got two yellow cards and won’t be available Friday. Worst part was that Collin didn’t get the straight red he deserved…

    • i didn’t watch the game so i don’t know if the play would warrant it but there is always a chance the disciplinary committee could suspend him

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I didn’t see it either, but from what I read I got the impression that it was a denial of a goal scoring opportunity red which wouldn’t have even been a yellow under other circumstances, so its unlikely to be reviewed

    • I missed the Collin play but saw Besler’s 2 yellows. I’d say that if Collin deserved to get tossed Besler definitely didn’t. So in the end it worked out right- SKC down one starting CB.

  2. From the photos it looks like San Jose already has a finished training pitch outside the new stadium… Maybe someday we’ll get there.

    • I thought they were to have broken ground on that a couple of months ago? Is there any update there? Still working a deal with Chester?

  3. I’m all about making quality acquisitions but the Rais M’Bohli thing is kind of a headscratcher for me. Frankly, he doesn’t fill a need at this point. MacMath has noticeably improved and is starting to fulfill his potential, and he is being pushed by Blake who has all the tools to be a stud. I suppose this means they’re planning on trading one of them? I just don’t get it.

    • I think they plan on trading one of them. But regardless, while MacMath has improved, he’s still bottom 25% in MLS (statistically speaking). He’s been bottom 25% his entire starting career, and he will be for a while. While MacMath has been slightly improving, the talent in the league on a whole has been improving at a faster rate. MacMath may have made some standout saves, but as it sits right now, he’s at #17 in save % (actually he’s at #24, but I filtered out GKs who haven’t played in more than 10 games, i.e. don’t have a large enough sample size). It’s not like the McInerney trade, where we’re trading him away for nothing after he already broke out and made a name for himself. Additionally, if MacMath or Blake are still of GA status when the expansion draft rolls around, that makes them of higher trade value, as they won’t be snatched up in the draft.

      • John Ling says:

        Macmath is already graduated from GA. Blake should still be GA next year, given his limited playing time this year.

    • It does seem strange. In one of the linked articles they speculated about trading McMath to Orlando for allocation money and a promise not to take anyone in the expansion draft. If I can just wildly speculate I can see it making sense for 2 reasons: 1) Orlando seems more likely to take one of our players since they won’t have the ManCity pipeline to fall back on; and 2) the allocation money could be used to pay down what MLS is seeing as too generous a deal for Valdez (which is what is holding up the whole thing ala Mo Edu). I’m just not convinced Valdez wants to really come back here. Some of his direct quotes have been very complimentary of the Union, and some seem to indicate he doesn’t want to play in MLS. Maybe that’s been a negotiating strategy for more $, which would lead me back to the Union needing allocation cash. Right now, it is a head scratcher though.

  4. I like the move for M’Bolhi, assuming that either MacMath or Blake are traded (hopefully to Houston for Ashe). Houston lack a quality backup to Tally Hall, and they have a left back surplus. I’m just reiterating what many commenters here have said, but nonetheless, it sounds like a good deal for both teams.

  5. Great One says:

    I don’t think anyone wouldn’t want to have M’Bolhi as a keeper in general, but it just makes zero sense here whatsoever. There has to be at least 1, if not 2 accompanying moves already in place. There is just so many other things we need more.
    If (and it would HAVE to be this way) we are planning on trading Macmath or Blake, in conjunction with signing M’Bolhi, then there are a lot of moving parts needing to come together at once. Why not focus on LB or CB or FWD? Why not work on moving Carroll/Lahoud?
    There just isn’t really a situation where this move makes sense.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    Personally I’m fine with the M’Bolhi move if it leads to something else of need for the Union. On the surface it is quite the head scratcher though.

    • this is how i feel as well. i think macmath and blake are worth a lot and if we can get good assets for either or both of them while bringing in mbohli i am fine with it. if either or both of them are shipped out for the equivalent of mike lahoud (no offense to him) i will not be at all happy

  7. Getting another goalie and then trying to deal 1 or 2 of our goalies is way too cute, and has way too much potential to backfire. Macmath dealt very well with the drafting of Blake, no doubt he really doesn’t like rumors of yet another goalie coming to town. Curtin’s quote above about Blake’s next step being “to advance to start here” isn’t exactly a vote of confidence, or security, for Zach. What is the point of messing with your goalie’s head like this?

    Trying to leverage the goalie trade market should be very low on the list of things the U’s management should be worrying about, especially when Valdes still is not here….

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