Daily news roundups

Mbolhi, Valdes & Lahoud to miss TFC games with NT call ups, the Toronto mess, league results, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

The Union announced on Friday afternoon that six players — Andre Blake, Brian Brown, Michael Lahoud, Rais Mbolhi, Carlos Valdes, and Zach Pfeffer — have been called up for international duty.

It’s a mixed bag in terms of availability for the Union’s games against Toronto on Sept. 3 and Sept. 6. Blake and Brown will be with Jamaica for its friendly against Canada in Toronto on Sept. 9 and will not miss any Union games. Michael Lahoud will be with Sierra Leone for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers on Sept. 6 against Ivory Coast, and against The Congo on Sept. 10, and will miss both games against Toronto. Mbolhi will be with Algeria for its African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ethiopia on Sept. 6, and against Mali on Sept. 10, and will also miss both Toronto games. Valdes will be with Colombia for the friendly against Brazil in Miami on Sept. 5 and will also miss both Toronto games. Pfeffer will be at the US U-20 MNT camp in Argentina, Sept. 1-10.

In all the talk about the games that Mbolhi would be missing with international call ups, Valdes was left out of the discussion. (I’m embarrassed to say I certainly wasn’t thinking about the possibility of Valdes missing Union games. I leave it to you to imagine what my thoughts are about Colombian national team coach Jose Pekerman calling up a player who is needed by his club team for vital league games to play what is essentially a meaningless, if not high profile, friendly.) Valdes’ absence from the two Toronto games surely hurts, but looking at Colombia’s schedule during the October international break (Oct. 6-14), it appears, at the moment anyway, that he won’t be missing any other Union games. Colombia plays Ecuador on Oct. 8, two days before Ecuador faces the US at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Union host Chicago on Oct. 2 and then host Columbus on Oct. 11. So, unless Colombia adds another international friendly during the October international break, Valdes should be available for the Union for both games. Mbolhi and Lahoud are, of course, another story.

If it wasn’t interesting enough that the Union face Toronto twice this week in the span of four days, the Canadian club announced on Sunday the firing of head coach Ryan Nelsen, along with all but one of his assistant coaches. Taking over for Nelsen is club assistant general manager and academy director Greg Vanney, who becomes the ninth coach in eight years at the club.

In case you’re wondering, five Toronto players were called up by Canada for the friendly against Jamaica and, like Blake and Brown, will all be available to face the Union. Michael Bradley was not called up by the US for its friendly in the Czech Republic. The good news is that Jermaine Defoe is dealing with a groin injury. The Toronto Star reports, “The hope is Defoe will be back for the Sept. 6 home game against Philadelphia but that seemed a best-case scenario with end of September more likely.”

After news of the Nelsen firing, reports emerged of a $11 million offer for Defoe, who is in England getting a second opinion on his injury, from Queens Park Rangers. On Sunday, Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko said of the reports, “I think everyone here is educated in the world of football and how quickly it moves. You receive offers, but it doesn’t mean that they’re leaving.” On Monday, Bezbatchenko said, “Toronto FC received a record transfer offer for Jermain Defoe. I’m here to tell everyone today that we can confirm that we have declined the offer.” More from the Toronto Sun.

While Goal.com says Nelsen’s firing should halt the trend of hiring young, inexperienced coaches in MLS, at the Delco Times, Matthew De George notes that Toronto being on the market for a new head coach could complicate the Union’s own search for onebefore backing Jim Curtin.

Toronto’s move could drastically change the coaching marketplace. But from the Union’s perspective, it shouldn’t. Whether or not the club has realized it yet, it has the coach that has earned the right to lead them, at the very least for the rest of the season…

For all the attention-catching names and Sakiewicz’s declarations of hundreds of resumes flooding his inbox, the Union have a manager in Curtin who fits the current trend in MLS of youthful coaches with experience playing in the league…

And that’s not to mention that fact that Curtin has the Union playing well…

Whether it’s now or later, the choice should be for the organization to put its faith in Curtin, spending wisely to fortify the existing structures with another assistant coach and a front office assistant.

For all the things that the Union might be searching for in the open market, Curtin and company offer a continuity that the club has simply never had.

Zolo Talk reviews the candidates that have been mentioned as a possible new head coach for the Union.

I missed this when it came out a couple of weeks ago, but MLSsoccer.com’s Central Winger columnist Devin Pleuer asked, “Which players’ usage rates are disproportionately influential to their team’s overall ball circulation?” Coming in at No. 2 on the list just behind Clint Dempsey is the Union’s Vincent Nogueira.

Power rankings! The Union didn’t play over the weekend but they move up two spots to No. 7 in ESPN’s rankings: “The Union’s bye week appears to be perfectly timed, as Philadelphia will be well-rested ahead of this week’s home-and-home clash with a highly unsettled Toronto FC side.” At Soccer America, they remain at No. 11: “On the foundation of a week off and a 4-2 pasting of San Jose in its most recent match, as well as fervent backing at PPL Park, one would guess Philly can obtain three points it desperately needs from TFC on Wednesday.”

Kick TV’s look at the next generation of Homegrown stars includes “a candid look at the Philadelphia Union’s unique YSC Academy.”


Harrisburg City Islanders had a chance to clinch a playoff spot with three games remaining in the regular season when they hosted Rochester Rhinos on Saturday. They lost 4-1, dropping to a tie for seventh place and now must win one of the final two games of the season this weekend when they are on the road to Charleston Battery on Friday and Charlotte Eagles on Saturday. Match reports from Saturday’s loss at Penn Live, USL PRO, and Rochester Rhinos.

Philadelphia Fury won its home opener on Saturday, defeating Icon FC, 1-0. More on the win at Brotherly Game. Look for our photo essay from the game later this morning.

Fury owner and head coach Matt Driver tells the South Jersey Times that he expects to bring in former Puerto Rican national team coach Cris Vaccaro to coach the team next spring.

The Temple men’s team lost its season opener to Drexel on Friday, 1-0 in overtime, before bouncing back with a 3-0 win over visiting Sacramento State on Sunday.

Two Temple players picked up weekly ACC honors, with Olli Tynkkynen, who scored two goals in the win over Sacramento, named Rookie of the Week, and Jonah Williams named Defensive Player of the Week.

Drexel’s Michele Pataia scored the overtime winner against Temple and was named the CAA Co-Player of the Week.

A teenager drowned on Thursday evening in Kennett Square while attempting to retrieve a soccer ball from a pond.

A 14-year-old soccer player remains on life support after the vehicle she was in was struck by another car. The young player and her fellow passengers were on their way to a charity soccer tournament when the crash occurred on Saturday morning.

Best wishes to Star-Ledger soccer writer Frank Glase, who is leaving the paper after 19 years.


In Eastern Conference play, first place DC (46 points) defeated sixth place New York (31 points), 2-0. Second place Kansas City (42 points) fell 3-1 to ninth place Houston (28 points). Third place New England (33 points) defeated fourth place Toronto (33 points) 3-0 on the road. New signing Jermaine Jones made his New England debut as a 65th minute substitute. Fifth place Columbus (33 points) was defeated 2-0 by last place Montreal (20 points). New DP signing Ignacio Piatti scored both Montreal goals. Seventh place Philadelphia (30 points) had the weekend off. Eighth place Chicago (29 points) defeated Dallas, 1-0.

In the Western Conference, first place Seattle (48 points) defeated seventh place Colorado (30 points), 1-0. Second place LA topped last place Chivas (24 points), 3-0. Third place Salt Lake (43 points) drew 1-1 on the road with eighth place San Jose (26 points). Fourth place Dallas (42 points) lost 1-0 in Chicago. Fifth place Portland (34 points) defeated sixth place Vancouver (33 points) 3-0 on the road.

Kansas City, and any other MLS team who is interested in signing Kea Kamara, will have to wait until next season. Peter Vermes said on Monday, “The way he got out of his contract – it was after the deadline, so he can’t come back this season. So we’ll really have to see how things take shape in the offseason…He has to be out of contract when the window closed. So he can’t play for anyone in this league this season.” Kamara and Middlesbrough parted ways last week.

On Friday, Kansas City announced “a formal partnership with Brazilian club Fluminense FC that extends through 2016 that will directly facilitate cooperation between the two clubs for player loans/transfers, academy exchanges and commercial opportunities.

Yordany Alvarez, Orlando City’s second MLS signing, has retired due to an undisclosed medical condition.

The Las Vegas Sun reports the developers behind the efforts to land a MLS franchise in Las Vegas say that a new downtown soccer stadium “would generate $23.9 million in revenue per year and a profit of $1.2 million.”

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, “Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s push for a publicly subsidized soccer stadium lost steam Friday when Councilman Bob Coffin said he will vote against the city stadium agreement with two private partners, while Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian said she is “very, very concerned about the amount of taxpayer funds” going to the project.”


FC Kansas City defeated Seattle Reign 2-1 in Seattle on Sunday to claim the 2014 NWSL championship. Former Philadelphia Independence players were all over the scoresheet, with Amy Rodriguez scoring both Kansas City goals and Megan Rapinoe scoring Seattle’s goal. Going the full 90 for Kansas City were Jen Buczkowski, Leigh Ann Robinson, Nikki Phillips (formerly Krzysik), and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. More on the game from NWSL, The EqualizerSI,  SBI, and The Soccer Desk.


Soccer America has three story lines ahead of the USMNT’s friendly against Czech Republic on Wednesday (2:15 pm: NBCSN, UniMás, NBC Sports Live Extra). Look for our preview later this morning.

On Sunday, US Soccer announced that Geoff Cameron had removed from the US roster because of the thigh strain he picked up with Stoke City against Portsmouth last week.

Jozy Altidore said he’s taking nothing for granted in the Czech Republic game. “Playing for the national team is not a courtesy call, it’s not secondary to anything. I want to go out there and put in a good performance and help out these young guys who are going to get their first cap.”

US Soccer announced on Friday that the men’s national team will host Honduras in a friendly on Oct. 14 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton (8 pm:  ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio).

Jurgen Klinsman said Landon Donovan’s farewell USMNT game against Ecuador will “not be awkward for me at all.” Klinsmann explained, “As a player, obviously he deserves every piece of recognition for an amazing career. [He has] done so much for the national team program. It’s a pleasure to give him that farewell match and give him that recognition. That he is upset about that decision and not going to the World Cup is, for me, a good reaction. It means he cares.”

Bayern Munich has loaned Julian Green to Hamburg.

After Everton’s 6-3 loss to Chelsea, The Guardian says Tim Howard is overrated.

The 28-player USWNT roster for the training camp ahead of the upcoming matches against Mexico has been announced.

At ASN, more on the proposed changes to the Division I men’s college season format.


Demonstrating just how bonkers things have become in the world of soccer, Premier League teams spent a record £835 million — that’s $1.4 billion — before the closing of the summer transfer window on Monday, up some £200 million, or 30 percent, from 2013. ProSoccerTalk rounds up some of the transfer numbers from around Europe.

Reuters has more on CONMEBOL’s efforts to forge a deeper relationship with CONCACAF, including participation in the Copa Libertadores.

Soccer America on FIFA’s Putin problem.

Bart Simpson to Zenit St. Petersburg.


  1. Re: Pekerman. Res ipsa loquitur.

  2. I’m okay with Valdes being called up, just for big-picture reasons. There will be loads of US-based Colombians at that friendly, so they will get to see that ‘one of their own’ is playing here, and may generate some interest (and revenue) for the club. If said US-based Colombians are half as enthusiatic as our new Algerian fans on Facebook, this could be good in the long run.

    • I’m OK with Valdes being called up because it implies that Jose Peckerhead may be softening his stance about MLS being some kind of inferior league. If he doesn’t soften that stance, then Valdes’ tenure with the Union might only be a couple more years. If he does change his mind, then perhaps Valdes might stay with us longer.

    • Peckerman is well within his rights in calling Carlos up. The problem is that MLS refuses to get its act together so it can take the international weekends off. All of the elite leagues worldwide do it, so until MLS follows suit it will remain a third rate league.

    • Also probably had a lot to do with the fact that Valdes is a US based COL player too. Like how the US is using a lot of players from Germany in CZE.

      Cuts travel and wear and tear on the players. It would be more damning if Valdes wasn’t called up with such a short and easy trip to make.

  3. I tried reading that Central Winger article, but they lost me at ‘eigenvector’. It’s been way too long sinec I took a graph theory class.

  4. Of all the silly…

    “Toronto’s move could drastically change the coaching marketplace. But from the Union’s perspective, it shouldn’t. Whether or not the club has realized it yet, it has the coach that has earned the right to lead them, at the very least for the rest of the season…”

    Really? He thinks the FO (whats left of it) isn’t aware of Curtin? He absolutely will be the coach. If he wins the Cup, they’ll say he delivered the first silverware. We lose, “he got us to our first championship match, next step is to win it”. We make the playoffs “he turned us around”. Miss the playoffs, “He got us close and we feel we are on the right track”. There are no other candidates.

    • Hackworth stabilized the team in 2012, and was hired during a losing streak. He was in a considerably more difficult situation, coming off a playoff appearance which was followed
      by a complete dismantling of the team, plus rampant mismanagement of personnel. But to further your argument, Curtin has done more with the same players Hack had, while Hackworth just stabilized a dangerous situation. If I was arguing against you, I would simply make the point that an inside promotion didn’t work before, but my argument would end there.

      • I guess the argument against my comment is: No, there def are other candidates. Sak’s phone blew up and hes absolutely doing his due diligence.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    I watched that Chelsea/Everton game and I will say that it looked like Tim Howard aged 15 years since the Belgium game. I know goalies are rarely all to blame for a goal, but he couldn’t come up with one save to help steady that team, after they fought back twice. I love Howard, but I think time might be catching up to him.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      The same could be said about Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin. Some of those shots were past Timmy before he could blink. It did seem like the Tim Howard of old might have plucked one of those out of the air purely because he is magic, but man. Chelsea had a shooting gallery going from inside of 8 yards. Coleman and Baines went up the pitch trying to create something and those two big old CBs just don’t have the range to cover the way they used to.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah I’m not writing him off, by any stretch, I’m just saying (what you’re saying also) that the Timmy of old might’ve grabbed one of those.

  6. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the
    video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to

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