Daily news roundups

Union tops Hburg, Sak considering “different kind of structure” for tech staff, local school first in US to ban headers

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Union win Harrisburg friendly

A 75th minute strike from Fred sealed a 3-2 win for the Union over USL PRO affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders on Thursday night. Sebastien Le Toux opened the scoring in the 13th minute before former Union trialist Jose Barril equalized for the home team 9 minutes later. Leo Fernandes put the Union back in the lead in the 44th minute only for former Union trialist Clesio Bauque to equalize ten minutes after the start of the second half. Twenty minutes later, Fred scored the final goal of the game.

Reports from the game suggest that, save for a clash between Ray Gaddis and former Union man Morgan Langley that saw both players cautioned in the 19th minute, as well as a yellow for Cristhian Hernandez, on loan from the Union to Harrisburg and who, along with fellow loanees Richie Marquez and Jimmy McLaughlin, played for the City Islanders in the game, the game was what a friendly ought to be, a good exhibition for the 2,558 fans in attendance (a season record for Harrisburg), and a good workout for the players.

Fernandes, Pedro Ribeiro, Antoine Hoppenot, Aaron Wheeler, Zach Pfeffer, and Ethan White — each of whom has seen loan time with the City Islanders this season — all saw minutes for the Union. Rais Mbolhi, Zac MacMath, and Andre Blake each saw minutes in goal for the Union. Cristian Maidana, who has been working to return from injury, played 70 minutes and, according The U Match Day Twitter account, “looked sharp in his play.” Austin Berry also started at center back for the Union and, as near I can tell from Twitter reports, played the full 90, giving Carlos Valdes the night off.

Harrisburg head coach Bill Becher said, “It was exactly what we wanted it to be. It was a good, high-paced game, but it wasn’t crazy paced… The game didn’t mean anything, so there wasn’t all the hard tackles and that kind of stuff. Overall, we got out of it what we wanted to and I thought some guys showed pretty well. Some guys who’d been playing a lot of minutes got a chance to play only a little bit and some other guys got a chance to show that I wanted to play.”

Union head coach Jim Curtin said, “I thought guys stepped up and did a good job tonight. There is competition at every spot and guys are pushing each other. It’s positive, which is what you want to see in a match like this. You can’t take games like this lightly, because it’s in matches like these were a guy can move himself up the depth chart… A lot of guys showed well on their team tonight and they are guys down the stretch that if we needed to bring in players for depth we can.”

Who showed well? Curtin said, “I thought Richard Marquez did a great job tonight. He’s a guy we are high on and he’s had a good, solid year here in Harrisburg. We get him back soon [at the end of the USL-PRO season] and he’s now a guy that adds valuable depth at the center back position. Also Coady Andrews is a solid player. A guy that passes well, can move and reads the game very well, he’s another player we could take a look at.”

The win moves the Union’s record in the annual friendly to 3-1-1.

Recaps from Philadelphia Union, USL PRO, Penn Live, and CBS Philly.

Coach news

You will recall a report we linked to a few weeks ago from Big Apple Soccer’s Michael Lewis a few weeks ago in which Nick Sakiewicz said that, in addition to interim head coach Jim Curtin, Jesse Marsch, Tony Meola and John Harkes are among candidates to become the new head coach of the team. In a report from Thursday at MLSsoccer.com from Dave Zeitlin, Sakiewicz reiterates that Curtin, Marsch, Meola, and Harkes are among those “still in the conversation” for the job, all though no other candidates, domestic or foreign, are mentioned.

Interestingly, Sakiewicz said he is also considering changes to the structure of the technical staff. When asked “if he would consider hiring a new technical director – a job currently held by Chris Albright – instead of a new manager,” Sakiewicz replied that he is “evaluating the entire setup,” adding that whatever happens Curtin and Albright aren’t leaving the club

The structure that we had when we launched the club five years ago, I don’t believe that structure can continue to compete in the modern MLS. I’m looking into a different kind of structure. I don’t want you to read into the fact that Jimmy’s and Chris’s role may change or they might not be here. One thing I will say for sure is they will be here and they will be part of this technical staff long-term, regardless of whether or not Jimmy’s the team manager and Chris is the technical director beyond the interim phase. I have decided for sure those guys aren’t going anywhere.

But how our structure looks like in 2015 and beyond, I’m evaluating that to really come up with the best technical structure to compete in the modern MLS.

SBI and Playing for 90 report on Zeitlin’s report.

More Union news

Looking ahead to the Union’s upcoming games against Toronto, the Canadian national team has announced its roster for the upcoming friendly against Jamaica on Sept. 9. Five of the players are from Toronto FC but it seems unlikely that any of them will be unavailable for the games against the Union, the second of which in Toronto will take place three days before the Jamaica friendly. Jamaica hasn’t released its roster yet but one would expect that Andre Blake will get called up for the friendly on the 9th, although one would expect that he’ll be available for the Union in Toronto and when the Red Bulls come to PPL Park on Sept. 13. Rais Mbolhi? That’s another story.

At Soccerly, Kevin Kinkead breaks down the goals scored by the Union under Jim Curtin.

In a profile piece on Pedro Ribeiro at the Union website, Sebastien Le Toux says, “He’s an attacking player with a lot of skill. He goes at it very hard like we all do and he’s a competitive player who will keep improving. I think he has a very, very bright future.”

Zolo Talk predicts who the Union will protect in the 2015 Expansion Draft. Neither the rules nor (as far as I can tell) the date for the draft have been released but here are the rules for the 2011 and 2012 Expansion Drafts.

Union Academy alum Darius Madison makes MLSsoccer.com’s list of ten college players to keep an eye on. Oh, we have been, trust me.

The Union has a US Open Cup fact sheet on the team website, which is a good thing — the club’s continuing embrace of the region’s soccer history is both gratifying and an important step in helping soccer fans new and old reconnect with their rich soccer heritage. Some quibbles (I may be wrong): The post says the tournament “is the oldest soccer competition in the United States and is the third longest-running soccer tournament in the world.” While the US Open Cup is the oldest existing national tournament in the US, local teams have been competing for the Philadelphia Cricket League’s Mannheim Prize since 1902, 11 years before the first US Open Cup tournament began. Actually, the US Open Cup isn’t even the third oldest national soccer tournament (as opposed to league or regional competitions within a country) in the world. After the FA Cup (1871) and the Scottish Cup (1874) comes the Welsh Cup (1877), as well India’s Durand Cup (1888) and IFA Shield (1893), the Hong Kong Shield (1896), and the Copa del Rey (1903). As near as I can tell, only the US Open Cup has been played continuously without interruption from events such as World War One, the Spanish Civil War, World War Two, or the Partition of India, although in 1940, no US Open Cup final was played with Baltimore SC and Chicago Sparta being named co-champions.


Bryn Mawr’s Shipley School has become the first in the nation to ban middle school players from heading the ball. The Inquirer report also says, “most high school athletes will wear sensors to measure both the frequency and intensity of blows to the head.”

Harrisburg City Islanders host Rochester Rhinos on Saturday in their final home game of the regular season (7 pm, NSCAA TV, YouTube).

Philadelphia Fury host Icon FC in their home opener on Saturday at 7 pm at Washington Township High School. Brotherly Game has a Q&A with team general manager Graham Charter, who also is the GM for league rival AC Crusaders.

The Temple men’s team begins the season this afternoon at 4 pm against Drexel at home before hosting Sacramento State on Sunday at 3 pm.


Official: Danny Mwanga has been loaned by Colorado to New York Cosmos.

In more ex-Union player news, Vancouver have re-signed Jordan Harvey to a new deal.

Chicago Fire have signed midfielder Collin Fernandez as a Homegrown Player. Fernandez will be added to the roster in 2015.

Kei Kamara and Middlesbrough have agreed to part ways. Could he be headed back to Kansas City?

The Sacramento Bee reports that when MLS officials visit the city next month to consider the possibility of expansion, they will also stop in nearby Elk Grove. The league officials will visit a 100-acre site site that the Elk Grove city council voted unanimously on Wednesday to purchase for nearly $4.5 million.

My San Antonio asks how much it support from the city of San Antonio to help land a MLS franchise will cost.

In Miami, voters have approved construction of a “$400 million, 1,000-foot tower” that “will also likely include a Tower of Terror-like ride when finished around 2018” that will be located near the waterfront boat slip where David Beckham hoped to build a soccer stadium. Anyone else notice how little the Miami expansion plan seems to be talked about these days?


The championship final between Seattle Reign and FC Kansas City will take place on Sunday (3 pm, ESPN2)


Jurgen Klinsmann has announced his 22-player roster for next Wednesday’s friendly against the Czech Republic. It’s  a youthful roster, with Nick Rimando being the only MLS player called up and Stanford’s Jordan Morris being the first college player to get the call since Ante Razov in 1995.

Reaction to the roster from Philly.comESPN (1), ESPN (2)ProSoccerTalk, Goal.com, Soccer America, ASN, MLSsoccer.com, SBI, and SI. Klinsmann quote sheet here.

More on Jordan Morris at San Jose Mercury and MLSsoccer.com.

Tab Ramos tells Soccer America that the removal of Hugo Perez had nothing to do with his abilities as a coach and was due to soon to be announced structural changes within the youth national team set up.


Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

SI looks at Thursday’s Champions League draw.

The AP reports, “The Russian Football Union plans to attend UEFA and FIFA-mediated talks next month aimed at resolving a dispute with Ukraine over the clubs in Crimea.”

Also from The AP, “Despite a deadly Ebola outbreak in a fifth country, the Confederation of African Football said Thursday that qualifiers for the continent’s top tournament will go ahead as planned next month, sweeping aside protests from a number of fearful teams.”


  1. Formerseasonticketholder says:

    IF you can’t head the ball anymore you should be allowed to punch it with your fist. Taking out headers completely changes the game so I don’t really see the difference to allow filed players to punch the ball rather then heading it. I know its for player safety but we might as well just ban all sports if we are concerned with injury’s.

    • i think the idea is that you keep young people from heading the ball because their brains are more susceptible to injury

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that the answer will be in the engineering of the ball. Todays ball is lightyears beyond the ball I played with, as a kid. (Those things were killers…especially in the cold) There must be away to limit the force of impact, without compromising the balls performance. Taking headers out of the game will drastically change the game as we know it.

      • f=ma

      • The Black Hand says:

        Law #2

      • Yes, but what is the m and how is the f distributed? I don’t know that the severity of headers “must” be improvable, but it could be.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Absolutely! I mean even if heading in soccer is proven to lead to CTE and completely alter/ruin lives, we shouldn’t change the game, I mean it could be less pleasing to your non-playing, non-injury risking eyes. In fact, we should also start a petition to feed the losing US open cup team to some ravished lions.

  3. Removing headers at that age level has more positives then negatives I think. You’re talking about an age group that’s still developing physically and doesn’t have as much control when going up for headers as people in high school and college. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this become a national movement in the coming months and years, at least at this age level.

    I agree that it does change a fundamental aspect of the game, and in some ways might stunt development of that skill set when moving on to higher levels of soccer, but people’s long-term health absolutely has to come first. Cheers to Shipley for being the first to make such a bold move, though I’m not sure what’s going to happen when they play teams that don’t have that limitation on them.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Maybe in years 5-8.
      Instilling proper technique would do wonders.

      • There lies the problem. To learn to do something properly one most do it improperly by at least a factor of x10.

        And that is where damage is mainly done. through repetitive smaller blows to the head.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Perhaps a “Nerf-like” ball, for the learning process.

      • possible. Do those helmet things work as anything other than a prophylactic?

    • If schools want to ban headers I’m all for it- if you have a kid with real potential at the club level school soccer is moot anymore. So to that end I’m for safety.

      • Soccer is a contact sport and deal with it. The issue with NFL concussions are not that but the massive amount of drugs they need to take to play so the concussion topic is a red herring.

    • UnitedPenn13 says:

      Was the use of headgear even considered?

  4. The heading of a ball is not the problem. It is the clashing of heads, or an elbow to the head, that causes most problems!

    • I’ve done both of those things in highschool but luckily didn’t get any concussions. I agree that elbows to the head are a real issue. Looking back at that Portland player last week (Papparato?) blindside a guy with an elbow makes me cringe. He shouldn’t be playing for a while.

      I feel that head clashes usually happen more by accident. That might be an unfixable issue

  5. I have watched middle school soccer games, and I have enjoyed them, but never I have wished to see the players head the ball more. Less would be better. None at all would be fine with me (maybe they could learn how to bring the ball down with their chests now there’s a novel idea).

    • Yeah. In middle school you don’t see kids scoring the ball with their head much. You see header volleyball, if any headers. Those kids can work on those techniques later.

      However, you need to teach your defenders to win headers in the box, even if they are three feet tall, and clear it.

      And Guido is right. Kids are getting concussions from running into one another, not heading the ball.

  6. Nothing is more terrifying than when Nick Sakiewicz says,”I’ve got an idea!”.

    The “modern MLS”? Was 1996 that long ago? Is that the dead ball era?

    Nick, we need to talk. It isn’t that the model has failed. It’s that you are a failure. You can’t have half the staff that Seattle and LA do and think you need to invent something radical. Just backfill and replace the people who left. It really is that easy. Whether you call them “scout” or “Chief dude who finds players”, doesn’t matter, you do not currently employ one. Fix that. Soon. Like before the next window, allocation draft, whatever. No new grand design. Just fill all the effing vacancies you insufferable twat.

    • Not Grumpy says:

      I respect your opinion greatly Scotymac but I really can’t argue with Sak’s direction of the club as I sit here today, right now. As of this moment, Sak has put a product on the field that I friggin’ love to watch. He broke ground on the new practice facility. Is approaching the head coach situation logically. And I’m pleased to hear his proclamation that both Curtain and Albright are staying. I like those smart local guys. Who doesn’t?

      I know everybody wants a few more left footers on the team and we have a few extra netminders. At least we are covered for the stretch run. I seriously DON’T have a problem with that.

      I’d say Sak is pretty much on a roll right now. I’m on board.

      • The Chopper says:

        Sak is kind of like the President, there is a segment of the population who,will rail about anything he does short of resignation.

        I think it is wise to examine structure going forward. We had Nowak who proved to be a disaster all the way around. Then Hackworth, who was excellent with working the roster and the cap, but less than acceptable as a field manager. Now we have Jim Curtin, who is handling the field product well, but perhaps is not the guy to be your general manager.

        Perhaps Sak is considering returning to a more American style front office, where you have a strong GM who controls the roster and hires and oversees the training staff, but is not the field mgr. It is worth examining.

  7. As if I needed another reason to love the Cosmos. Danny Mwanga!

  8. Title should be Sak considering “Different kind of structure for tech staff to meddle in, make irrelevant.

  9. I agree with the “no heading” in middle school.As has been said it isn’t just heading the ball but incidental contact. I don’t know how much contact there is on headers but I remember contact on a number of headers. High school is a good time to learn.

  10. Am I alone in thinking that Harkes and Meola are about as underwhelming as it gets when it comes to candidates? I mean, John friggin Harkes? Seriously?
    Sak can talk all he wants about keeping Curtin around no matter what happens, but if I’m Curtin and I get replaced by one of those two I’m out. Talk about a slap in the face. It’s one thing to bring in a guy with more experience (which I would not be opposed to, frankly), but neither of those guys has a distinctly better resume. You could argue that they were better players, but that’s about it.
    I think that if we win the open cup and make the playoffs, Curtin likely gets the job anyway, but I have to say I’m very concerned about the names being thrown around as potential replacements right now.

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