Daily news roundups

Meulensteen says coach negotiations are in “fairly advanced stage,” Curtin says “We can bounce back,” more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Rene Meulensteen tells Fox Sports NL (crappy Google translation here) that negotiations with the Union to name him head coach are “in a fairly advanced stage.” He says, “I have a good feeling…When it comes to an agreement, I am the manager responsible for the football business. I will also have contact with the academy manager, but the focus is mainly on the first team.” (H/T Union rumors.)

Speaking after Thursday’s training session about Tuesday’s US Open Cup final loss and the need to focus on the playoff hunt and defeating Houston on Saturday (7 pm, TCN, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick, DirecTV), Jim Curtin said,

We’re disappointed that we didn’t win. We’re devastated that we let the fans down and the city down. But at the same time we know we can bounce back now and play against the Houston team that’s fighting for their playoff lives. So we have to have a killer instinct on our home field. If we play the way we played against Seattle against the rest of the Eastern Conference teams, we won’t lose. And that’s kind of the message. The guys are gutted but they’re going to be up for it. They now know they can play with anybody.

Carlos Valdes said, “I always say, if you want to be the best, you have to be the best every day, even if you lose of if you win. So we have to get this back and get better. We have a great chance to make the playoffs and make the team better, make our fans happy. That’s where we have to look now.”

At Union Tally, Matthew De George notes, “Not since 2007, a span of five U.S. Open Cup finals lost by MLS teams, has the loser of an Open Cup final won its next MLS game.”

Previews from PSP, Inquirer, Daily News, David Murphy’s Philadelphia Union Blog, Houston Dynamo, Houston Dynamo (video), and Orange in the Oven.

Said Houston’s DaMarcus Beasley, who hasn’t been terribly pleased with his play lately, of Saturday’s game, “The best thing about soccer is that you have another game to improve and be better. We’ve put ourselves in the playoffs, and that’s what this team’s about. I’m looking forward to Saturday, and I can’t wait to step on the field and improve tremendously from what I did on [last] Saturday.”

Curtin said of Vincent Nogueira’s performance in Tuesday’s final, “He was excellent. He played a great game – one of the best games I’ve ever seen anyone play in a final.” Curtin added, “I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s a guy I still don’t think enough people are talking about in this league. If you ask the people that play against him, they walk off going, ‘Holy cow, who was that?’ They know.”

For his part, Nogueira said, “I’m pretty happy right now the way I’m playing, especially right now that I am playing my favored position as a holding midfielder. It’s where I want to play, so that makes me happy to be on the field there. … Right now I feel great, and I’m pretty confident about what I can do on the field.”

Asked if he was still thinking about the shot that nearly won the final for the Union only to band off the post, Nogueira said,

Of course you think about it. It was a huge opportunity to score, and if I scored, we probably would win the game. But with lots of ifs, you can look at a lot of things in this game. We had a lot of opportunities earlier in the game to score and we didn’t, and after that, they did and they scored. We can redo lots of things…Of course I think about it. I don’t try to think too much about it and not get too crazy about it.

Two Union matches make Goal.com’s list of the top ten remaining games of the MLS season.

Speaking at the new league logo launch event in New York on Thursday, Maurice Edu said, “I think the culture is different here [in MLS] and our fans are different as well. But I think because this league is new, that’s a little bit different in itself. It has the potential for growth — where this league could go and where we’re trying to push it to go. I think that’s the most exciting part about MLS and what separates it from other leagues around the world.”

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders face Richmond Kickers on Saturday in the USL PRO playoff semifinals (7:00 pm: NSCAA TV, YouTube). Preview from Richmond Kickers.

Union loanee Antoine Hoppenot talks to Michael Bullock at Penn Live about playing for the City Islanders. “Hopefully, we win two more games and a championship and I can go back to Philly having a championship ring with the USL. It’ll be a successful year for me. Maybe it wasn’t a successful year in Philly, but soccer-wise it’d be a success for me.”

City Islanders head coach Bill Becher said, “Antoine’s just another one [of the Union guys] that’s come down here and when he’s gotten the opportunity to play games he’s taken it and he’s wanting to be the best player on the field…He’s wanting to prove that he can play with the Union or somebody in the MLS.”

MLS

Playing at home, Sporting Kansas City defeated Saprissa 3-1 on Thursday night in CONCACAF Champions League play.

The Orlando Sentinel reports, “Major League Soccer will hold its expansion draft on Dec. 10, Orlando City general manager Paul McDonough and coach Adrian Heath said. The draft will be held at 2 p.m. Teams must turn in their list of protected players on Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.” The report says officials from NYCFC and Orlando City officials will flip a coin in New York City on Wednesday, to decide which team picks first in the expansion and MLS SuperDraft.

Don Garber confirmed on Thursday that Chivas USA may not play in 2015, although a decision won’t be made until a new owner takes over the team, something Garber expects to happen by the end of the season.

Jeff Carlisle reports at ESPN, “[S]ources have confirmed to ESPNFC.com that some in the league office are dead set against the idea of Chivas USA going on hiatus. The thinking is that such a decision would create an impression of instability, despite the impressive momentum the league has generated in recent years.” One source, who confirms reports that the team will be sold for $100 million, tells Carlisle ,”The idea of a hiatus is likely a condition of a new ownership group buying the team at a big number.”

The league has fined LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena $20,000 for remarks he made regarding his team’s attempts at signing Sacha Kljestan. Arena says he stands by his comments.

Colorado Rapids are set to partner with new USL PRO club Charlotte Independence, which will begin play in 2015.

In an event in New York on Thursday, Don Garber said the new league logo “is about a new vision for our future.”

If social media is any indication, reaction among fans was not favorable to the new logo. (Surely, when the league website runs a story the title of which begins, “Forget the new logo,” things can’t be good.) On Reddit, fans offered adaptations of  the club-color themed versions of the logo, some of which are quite good.

ProSoccerTalk says it’s not too late for the league to abandon the new logo. At ESPN, Graham Parker on the new league logo.

Is Montreal Impact owner and team president Joey Saputo part of the group looking to buy Serie B side Bologna?

Real Salt Lake are installing what will be the largest video board in the league. An announcement on the RSL website says the board “will provide nearly 4,200 square feet of 13HD pixel resolution.”

Excitement is growing in Sacramento as MLS officials visit the city to consider it as the possible new home of a franchise. Reports from The Sacramento Bee, KCRA, and CBS Sacramento.

Meanwhile, Sacramento Republic remains focused on Saturday’s USL PRO semifinal game against LA Galaxy II, the team with whom former Union man Chandler Hoffman has been finding success. As USL PRO final with two Union-connected forwards sure would be interesting,

From the Las Vegas Review Journal, “A proposed publicly subsidized soccer stadium in downtown Las Vegas appears doomed as Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, the swing vote on the deal, said Thursday she would vote against the proposed financing plan if the council vote were held today.”

US


The USWNT defeated Mexico 4-0 on Thursday in their final warm-up game before the start of the CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. Scoring for the US were former Philadelphia Independence players Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe, as well as Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan.

Abby Wambach said the artificial turf at Sahlen Stadium had a lot to do with the rather ho-hum play, compared to last week’s game at Rio Tinto on natural grass when the US won 8-0.

Tonight we could’ve finished a few more chances, but maybe on a different surface it goes in. FIFA is probably trying to stall a little bit at this point to hopefully make this issue go away. They think that we’re probably not very serious but we are, we’re ready to go to litigation.

At the end of the day if you were to look at both of these games and see the difference in the quality of play, you would very vehemently see the difference in the game at Salt Lake and game here. The ball is bouncing here, players can’t get good touches on the ball.

USWNT coach Jill Ellis said, “Ultimately the game is meant to played on grass. It’s a different game when you play on turf. The bounce is different and the physical game is different. I let them have their voice and I’m fine with that.”

More reports from the game from SI, ProSoccerTalkThe Equalizer, SBI, and Goal.com.

At the Washington Post, Cindy Boren writes about Hope Solo, “[A]s the NFL grapples with its domestic-violence crisis, Solo, who has been accused of the same crime, continues to play for her pro soccer team as well as the national team as she awaits trial in November…Unlike some of the biggest NFL stars, Solo, their counterpart in women’s soccer and someone touted as a role model, quietly goes about her business of keeping soccer balls from going into the net. NFL stars like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer and Adrian Peterson were banished after massive sponsor, political and fan pressure, but Nike, for instance, has has remained silent on Solo.”

Just because the next USMNT friendly is two-and-a-half weeks away doesn’t mean Ives Galarcep isn’t ready to speculate “Will USA coach Klinsmann really bring ‘strongest squad possible’ to October friendlies?”

Should we believe the coach? Probably not.

Would Klinsmann seriously bring in older players with no realistic chance of being part of the 2018 World Cup team, but who might presently be top options such as Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and DaMarcus Beasley? Could he realistically call a squad his “strongest” and still include inexperienced young prospects?

More than likely, Klinsmann’s “strongest squad possible” notion was meant more to try and stir up some excitement in the team post-World Cup and shouldn’t really be taken at face value.

Well, that’s cleared up then.

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert is unlikely to reach final decisions in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding corruption probe until early next year and he also said that the details of the case will never be made public.” Reuters reports that Eckert said “only four people have seen the report,” while also emphasizing “he did not have the power to order a re-vote or strip either country of its hosting rights.”

England FA chairman Greg Dyke said of the $25,000 watch he and 64 other people had been given by the Brazilian FA at the World Cup, and since ordered by FIFA to be given back, “It was the fourth watch I’ve had since I started doing this job. Everywhere you go you get these watches. I wouldn’t know a £16,000 watch if my life depended on it. No one should give you a £16,000 watch without telling you what it’s worth.”

The AP reports, “UEFA has adopted a new procedure allowing referees to stop matches for up to three minutes to assess head injuries when a concussion is suspected.”

UEFA has announced that Wembley Stadium will host the semifinals and final of the 2020 Euros.

16 Comments

  1. I just realized something really annoying. The match in Columbus is on Sunday, not Saturday. Given what’s going on at PPL Park that night, any chance the Union might get it moved up to noon or 1pm and show it on the big screen? (Or even show the first half on the big screen between games?)

  2. Looking forward to the Expansion Draft, I think the Union actually ahve pretty easy decisions, and we still end up with all three keepers (as much as I’d like to deal M’bolhi).
    .
    I would keep:
    .
    GK: McMath, M’bolhi, Blake (exempt)
    Def: Gaddis, Williams, Valdes
    Mids: Nogs, Maidana, LeToux, Wenger, Okugo, plus Pfeiffer/McLaughlin/Hernandez (all exempt)
    Forwards:
    .
    Once we lose someone, pull back whoever is left of White, Pedro, Brown, and Edu, probably in that order). None of these guys can’t be replaced during the offseason easily (or in the case of Edu, easily with that much cash available).
    .
    Who am I not protecting? Berry, Casey, Carroll, Fred, Wheeler, LaHoud, Bone, Fernandes, Hoppenot, Fabinho, Cruz and Marquez. Some guys I would miss, but noone who I would regret seeing lining up against us next season.

    • I agree with most of this, but assuming you are right and it is 10 protected, I think the first one pulled back has to be between White, Edu, and Berry (assuming one of them is first chosen). As it is you are risking being VERY thin at center back if two of those three go.

      • Unless they change the rules this time around, in the last two expansion drafts, each team could protect 11 players, not 10.

      • If it’s 11, do you keep Ribeiro, White, or Edu (agree with Mark that as a DP we are mandated to keep Edu IF we exercise the option to buy)?
        .
        I’m not terrified by the depth issue at CB as we can go add one or two more this off-season. We need another LB, a strong winger, and a couple of forwards. If we lose two CBs, we obviously need to add some depth there too.
        .
        Watch, we’ll sign a couple of more keepers. AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!
        .
        P.S. It’s almost cute that you think we might keep Berry. Whether or not it is a good idea.

    • I wonder if White is protected because he is a homegrown player. We weren’t the ones that grew him but he is still on the same contract with the league that he initially signed

    • Have to remember Edu is on loan and could very well not be in MLS next year. Same goes for Brown

      • That’s true. Though I believe that if left unprotected, a team could still take them and would then have rights to the player if they indeed stayed in the league. I could totally be wrong about that though…

    • All DPs are protected. So Maidana and probably Valdes next season. maybe Edu

    • Choices my be easier than you think. There is a very good chance Okugo, Edu and Macmath will be gone by the time the draft rolls around. Carrol and Berry are probably looking at the door too…

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    These soccer officials are all so damned corrupt… they actually believe their own BS. Cracks me up…
    .
    Not sure how I feel about Meulensteen. I like his dedication to the technical aspect and youth development parts of the game. That is something we can benefit from for sure. On the other hand, foreign managers do not do well in MLS for a multitude of reasons. It will definitely be an interesting hire, assuming it happens.

    • Rumor is Muelensteen will take over as director of soccer operations leaving curtin as coach and albrite as technical director.

      • I don’t exactly understand this scenario. If this happens, would Muelensteen or Curtin be making player acquisition and match-day lineup decisions?

      • John O'Donnell says:

        That would be the perfect scenario for me if they make the playoffs. Rewards Curtin and Albright, but gets them some experience to lean on. Plus You have someone that can stand up to Nick, although I think he’s had a very good year for the Union.

  4. James Lockerbie says:

    First, I am not ready to think about who will or will not be with us next year. Second I would Say Muelensteen would be like a GM. He would identify the new players. Curtin would run the first team and make the game day decisions as far as the players are concern. I am sure behind closed doors the two will bounce ideas around. At least that’s my take on how it might work.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    A well designed partnership could… And I say COULD be amazing. Could, blow up… only time will tell!! Haha

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