Daily news roundups

US Open Cup Final: pregame news, quotes, previews, and more

Tonight at 7:30 pm, the Philadelphia Union will host three-time champion Seattle Sounders in the 2014 US Open Cup final at PPL Park (click here to purchase tickets or call 877-218-6466). The game will be broadcast locally on The Comcast Network, nationally on GolTV, and is available via streaming video from Klowd TV.

Philadelphia Union

Here we go.

If tonight’s game is important to you, here’s how important it is to Jim Curtin said, “I grew up in this area supporting these teams so passionately, and now to be in charge of one is special. I don’t want to let the city down. That’s the feeling more than anything else. As a player when you win, you do think about the fans, but you’re a little more selfish. You play for each other. You talk internally about winning. This, now, is more of a responsibility to please a city instead of just a locker room. You do feel more weight, more responsibility, to give them a trophy.” More on the weight of Curtin’s hometown ties at Soccer America.

Will Seattle put out its first team? If it puts out its second team, is that better? Curtin said, “If you look at the tournament, they beat the (Chicago) Fire, 6-0, with those reserves, so it’s not like they still can’t put a good team out there even resting some guys. Then you also have the possibility of having guys like Martins and Dempsey coming off the bench for the last 30 minutes or so, which wouldn’t be fun to deal with either.”

Seattle’s Brad Evans said of dealing with fixture congestion and its affect on lineup decisions, “We’ve done it all year. It is difficult to travel across the country and put in a good performance. But when it comes to a final game, you throw everything out the window. You’ve got to be tight defensively but also know we have some very skilled players up front.”

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said at Monday’s press conference, “We haven’t made final decisions, there’s probably three of four things that are up in the air for us right now, and we’ll decide those tomorrow morning as to how we’re going to proceed. We want to approach every game just as Jim did: You approach every game to win it. Sometimes that means you make some lineup changes, sometimes that means you don’t.”

As far as the Union’s lineup goes, as a quick glance at the comment section will indicate, the only questions seem to be who will partner with Carlos Valdes — Ethan White or Maurice Edu — and who will start in goal — Zac MacMath or Rais Mbolhi.

Some thoughts from Union players on tonight’s game:

Sheanon Williams said, “It’s a huge honor to try to raise the club’s first trophy. I have been here since the end of the first year and know what it means to the city, the fans, to this team, to this organization, and we are gung ho on trying to win this.”

Said Ethan White, who won the Cup last year with DC United, “There’s no better feeling than hoisting a trophy. First of all, it would be the first for the club. This is why we sign professional contracts, to win trophies…And to be given that opportunity two years in a row, it’s unbelievable. I haven’t even really thought about it yet; I’m just really focused on one game at a time. And if we get that trophy, it’ll be huge.”

White also said, “[W]e’re a team that scraps. We grind out results, and that’s important. Whether it’s a playoff game or a regular season game or an Open Cup game, we grind out results, and I think that’s become our personality as a team.”

Amobi Okugo said, “We’re playing well as a group, and coach (Curtin) has done a good job of putting people in positions to succeed. He has a confidence and calm that the team feeds off of, and we all know how important this game is, and what winning it would mean for this city.”

Ray Gaddis said, “This is a massive opportunity. We all know the importance of this. We’ve worked so hard to get here. It is a great honor, because it is not easy to get the chance to play for a championship.”

Lancaster-native Andrew Wenger said, “The Union weren’t around when I was growing up but I was always a Philly sports fan, so anything we can get the Philly fans is awesome. I think trophies follow other trophies. So if we can get one, hopefully we can get going there.”

Sebastien Le Toux said, “It’s special. I’m sure all of us, at one time in our career, have won something. Even if it’s a small tournament or a big tournament, getting a victory is a great joy, personally and collectively. We want to bring the first trophy to this franchise. Everyone is motivated, and I’ll try to show my experience and leadership because I know what it takes to win this final. And I hope I can win again with Philadelphia.” Le Toux also has written a post for Soccerly about his Cup experience with Seattle, with whom he lifted the trophy in 2009: “I can’t help but find it ironic how it has come full circle and I will be playing against them in my 2nd attempt at the cup in this Tuesday’s final.”

Le Toux is the goalscoring leader of the modern era of the US Open cup with 14 goals. Seattle’s Kenny Cooper has 13. video and transcript of which you can see here at PSP — check out the very funny banter between longtime friends Le Toux and Cooper about how they’re long lost brothers.)

Nick Sakiewicz said, “Any club’s first trophy is the most important one,. It sets a tone. A great example in our league is Real Salt Lake. The snuck into the playoffs [in 2009] and ended up beating L.A. on penalty kicks [in the MLS Cup final]. That set the team on a course where they’ve enjoyed a lot of success. Our team, the players know how big this game is. There’s nothing I need to say.”

Previews from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Inquirer, Daily NewsDelco TimesBrotherly Game, David Murphy’s Philadelphia Union BlogSeattle Sounders, Seattle Sounders (video), Seattle Times (Full disclosure: I’m quoted in the preview. Happily, I don’t sound like a complete idiot), Prost AmerikaSounders NationUS Soccer, TheCup.usMLSSI, Goal.comUS Soccer Players, Playing for 90, MLS MultiplexBarstool Sports, and Last Word on SportsZolo Talk on why he/she hates Seattle.

At the Sounders website, three things to watch for in tonight’s game. Fellow SB Nation blogs Brotherly Game and Sounder at Heart ask each other questions.

One of the gratifying things for me personally about the Union’s Open Cup run has been the appearance of articles highlighting the area’s soccer history. At with a look at the Union’s past experience in the tournament, including the current campaign. At CSN Philly, Zeitlin also has a quick review of the 2014 campaign.

Power rankings! Soccer America moves the Union up two spots to No. 8.

Andrew Wenger has been named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week. Jim Curtin was named Coach of the Week.

In a profile piece at Goal.com, Wenger makes it clear that while he’s pleased with his recent good form, he still has a lot to work on.

That’s been satisfying, but it’s only been a little bit of a groove. The idea is to put it together at least for the rest of this season, and then going forward…It’s just great to feel like I’m having a positive impact on games. That’s really where I’ve found some confidence. I wouldn’t say I’ve done it consistently, but I’ve put a few good games together.

Wenger said of playing on the wing, “I think it suits my talents a little bit, and I’ve been able to run at guys and try to turn defenders around and be a handful. I’m still trying to make sure I’m aware defensively and making sure we’re compact back there. I’m also deciding when to come inside and come outside, and really make sure that my final ball is a little bit better.”

Speaking of coaches, in Monday’s Daily Doop, Kerith Gabriel dropped this teaser quote from a Q&A he did with Nick Sakiewicz that will run later this week:

I may or may not resume the coaching search. The team is in good form. We’re winning games. I’ve been very much in communication with Jim and the other staff members. They all know what the mission is and what the clear objectives and goals are for the club. And that’s not going to change. If there are additions to the technical staff, they’ll only be made to add to the current situation, because the current group of guys running the club is doing a pretty good job.

At ASN, the latest rankings of the top 100 US players is out. At No. 23 is Maurice Edu. Amobi Okugo is at No. 41, Sheanon Williams at No. 83, and Andrew Wenger at No. 99.

At the Brotherly Game, Andrew Stoltzfus has the good, the bad, and the ugly from Saturday’s draw with New York.

This just in from the Department of Left Field, Terratech has a report on the “Polymer soil stabilization” product it deployed in the creation of Lot A. Here’s a sample: “Terratech engineered a 6-inch deep infused application with polymer concentration of 25 ft²/gal and a topical seal coat at a coverage rate of 100 ft²/gal.”

Local

US U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos praises Lancaster-native (and teammate of Zach Pfeffer when he was on loan to Hoffenheim) Russell Canouse.

MLS

DC and Portland will be in CONCACAF Champions League play tonight, with DC in Jamaica to face Waterhouse FC (8 pm: Fox Sports 2, Univision Deportes), and Portland hosting Olimpia of Honduras (10 pm: Fox Sports 1, Univision Deportes)..

Toronto have signed midfielder Christopher Mannella to a homegrown contract.

Vancouver have signed attacking midfielders Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese as homegrown players.

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is re-assembling the team of strategists that successfully kept the Sacramento Kings in that city to work on winning a MLS franchise.

Over the next two weeks, at least six town hall meetings will be held in Las Vegas in an attempt to grow support among voters for a publically funded soccer specific stadium that will part of that city’s campaign to secure a MLS franchise.

US

Fox Sports on the complicated life and career of Hope Solo.

Elsewhere

At SI, Grant Wahl on the enduring sexism within FIFA.

8 Comments

  1. Here we go! Psyched!!!!

  2. He is to a new model in this city. Here is to arriving at the final game- the final series- the final moments with an absolute steadfast resolution of victory. Here is to starting something new in this place of almost- of close- of missed opportunity that has created its own form of language and pathos among its citizens.
    .
    Men, go forth and be Victors tonight. This Cup is yours. The new way begins now. REGULATORS! Mount Up!

  3. james Lockerbie says:

    GO UNION!

  4. Of all the quotes, Amobi ‘ s may have the most significance. That calmness & confidence the team feeds off of will be essential to tame the heart & contain the excitement, particularly in the first quarter hour. Play smart. Won’t be surprised if Sigi holds back and brings on Dempsey or Martins after the half. Keep it close and use the home crowd. Have fun! All the pressure is on the Sounders: nobody outside a 75 – mile radius expects the Union to win. Prove ’em wrong!

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Score early and score often… make tonight a party!! Come on the U!!
    .
    So wait, I park in Lot A… is that a new product put down, or is that what was originally used to build the lot? Just curious, cause I know it’s been a point of contention that the lot has never been paved. I personally don’t care that it’s not paved, but I can see why people get nuts.

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