Daily news roundups

“Difficult”: reaction to Dynamo draw, Hburg kicks Kickers to reach USL PRO final, league results, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Given the hole the Union dug for themselves before he was named interim manager, Jim Curtin has repeatedly stated that the team has no margin for error in their chase for a playoff spot. The dropped points in the draw at home against New York were easy to overlook at the time with the US Open Cup final only a few days away. After the loss in the Cup final, getting back on track in league play was the prime storyline. Saturday’s scoreless draw against Houston now means that the team, now in sixth place and two points behind fifth place Columbus, has dropped four vital points, points that if gained would have seen them level on points with third place New England and six points behind first place DC.

As Matthew De George writes at the Delco Times,

It had every possibility of being the most momentous week in club history. With games against fellow contenders in the Eastern Conference playoff race bookending the club’s first Open Cup final, it could’ve been the defining week in the season, if not the whole half-decade the Union have been in existence. For a coach vehemently disavowing moral victories at this point of the season, the week can only be regarded as a significant disappointment, not for the process but for the results…It’s the kind of week that could have made a season … or could well end up torpedoing it.

Curtin said after the draw against Houston, “You take the point, [but] overall I’m not happy with the week when you look back at it now, with only two points from New York and Houston, and then, obviously, the difficult loss at midweek. We’ll have to rebound. We’re down to five games; so, three at home and two on the road. It’s still in our hands but, you look at the scores and teams are starting to put together results that were behind us and in front of us, so, it’s going to be difficult. We’ll have to win our home games. By not doing that and taking care of business tonight, now we have to steal something on the road likely. Difficult.”

Difficult, but not impossible. Looking ahead to this Saturday’s game in DC, Curtin said, “When we go on the road, we can win on the road. That’s kind of our mindset. We haven’t dug a hole but now, by not picking up three points tonight, you certainly have to be a little more aggressive. We’ll probably have to steal a point or two on the road now, if you just look at the point totals and who has how many games left, and who plays home and who plays away. Would’ve been nice, we could have been controlling our own destiny but now we might need help in some regards.”

Sheanon Williams said, “We have to get a killer instinct and we have to get it quick.”

At MLSsoccer.com and Goal.com, reports on what was widely viewed (certainly among the Union players and coaching staff, not to mention the fans) as a blown penalty call when Vincent Nogueira was cut down in the box. Williams summed things up pretty well: “It’s a penalty. I don’t want to use that as an excuse [for not winning the game]. It is what it is. But that kind of stuff going down the line, you look back at it. It’s definitely a tough one to swallow.”

Asked if the recent lineups affect his mindset in a contract year, Okugo said, “That’s my agent and my family’s decision. It’s not an issue right now, we’re focused on the present, we’re focused on the playoffs. At the end of the season we’ll have a more clear understanding on that.”

For the second game in a row, Amobi Okugo started on the bench. Curtin described him as “the odd man out” in a midfield that features a spine of Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira, and Cristian Maidana. Okugo said, “It’s disappointing because I don’t feel like it’s based on my play. You just have to keep your head down, keep moving and keep playing…I feel like whenever coach needs me, I’m willing to play. I’ve played center back in the past, I’ve played center-mid in the past and I feel I played both at a high level. So whenever coach calls my name I’ll be ready.”

Recaps from PSP, here at PSP, video and transcript of Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference, video of postgame interviews with Sheanon Williams, Sebastien Le Toux, and Ethan White, and the postgame quote sheet.

Look for our photo essay of the game later this morning. In the meanwhile, USA Today has a photo gallery.

At Brotherly Game, Barry Evans has game changing moments from Saturday’s draw.

ESPN keeps the Union at No. 7 in its power rankings. “As wonderful as the U.S. Open Cup run was, one is left to wonder whether the more congested schedule took a toll on Philly’s playoff chances.”

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has a Q&A with Nick Sakiewicz. Asked what he’s looking for in his ideal candidate for the head coaching job, Sakiewicz said, “I guess the most important thing is the relationship between the CEO of the club and the team manager – with the manager being the top soccer executive in charge of the on-field product. That relationship, in terms of good communication and being able to work together through the strategy of putting an effective, competitive team together is the most important thing.”

Whatever the Union’s results on the field, Sakiewicz says the team is in the upper echelon of the league when it comes to the business side of things.

ASN tabs Zach Pfeffer, Union Academy alum Zack Steffen, and Lancaster-native Russell Canouse to make the US U-20 MNT squad for the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

At the Union website, a late report on the 2014 River Cup, which was played a little more than two weeks ago.

Union Academy

The Union Academy U-13/14s demolished Continental FC Delco 5-0 on Saturday. Aziz Saidi had a brace by the 22nd minute and Carter Emack, Daniel Bloyou, and Christian Contreras each added goals in the second half. The U-15/16s topped FC Bolts Celtic 4-1 on Saturday behind a hat trick from Max Silberg and a goal from Jerren Nixon. On Sunday, the team defeated New England Revolution 2-0 with a penalty kick goal from Alexander Soto and another strike from Nixon. The U-17/18s lost 1-0 to FC Bolts Celtic on Saturday before bouncing back with a 2-0 win over New England with goals from Will Campbell and Brandon Levano.


On Saturday, Harrisburg, the postseason bottom seed, defeated Richmond Kickers 3-2 in Richmond in the championship semifinals. Morgan Langley opened the scoring in the 27th minute but Richmond equalized five minutes later, Then, in the final minute of the first half, Jamiel Hardware put the City Islanders up, 2-1. Danny DiPrima made it 3-1 in the 76th minute before Richmond scored again three minutes later. Richmond nearly equalized in the final minute of regulation but the effort was cleared off the line and Harrisburg held on through stoppage time for the win. Match reports from Penn LiveUSL PRO, Richmond Times-DispatchBlack and Red United, and MLS.

Saying, “we did what we needed to do and got the result,” head coach Bill Becher singled out former Union man Morgan Langley for praise. “Morgan was huge. He came to play. I think he was a little disappointed that he didn’t start last week [in Orlando], but man did he answer the ball tonight. He scored the first goal, he played the ball that put Bahner behind the defense and led to the second goal and he assisted on the third goal…It was a great effort from the whole team, but I thought Morgan did what he can do tonight — which is cause a lot of trouble.”

The Harrisburg will face Sacramento Republic away in the USL PRO championship this Saturday, their first league final since falling to Orlando in 2011. Sacramento defeated LA Galaxy II 3-2 on Saturday, coming from behind a two-goal deficit for the win.

The win comes for Sacramento as the city and team are working toward winning a MLS franchise, with league officials visiting Sacramento and nearby Elk Grove, which also wants a franchise, last week. Reports on the visit from The Sacramento Bee (1), The Sacramento Bee (2), KCRA, and Reuters.

Penn brushed aside Temple, 3-0, on Saturday, scoring all three goals in a five-and-a-half minute span.


In Eastern Conference play, first place DC (48 points) drew 3-3 on the road with ninth place Chicago (31 points). Second place Kansas City (45 points) had the weekend off. Third place New England (42 points) lost 1-0 on the road to fifth place Columbus (40 points). Fourth place New York (41 points) defeated Seattle, 4-1, with Bradley Wright-Phillips netting his third hat trick of the season. Sixth place Philadelphia (38 points) drew 0-0 with eighth place Houston (33 points). Seventh place Toronto (37 points) defeated Chivas USA, 3-0. Last place Montreal (24 points) defeated San Jose, 2-0. Jack McInerney scored in the win, his first goal since June 29.

In the Western Conference, first place Seattle (54 points) fell 4-1 to New York. Second place LA (54 points) defeated fourth place Dallas (45 points), 2-1. Third place Salt Lake (49 points) defeated embarrassed seventh place Colorado (31 points) with a 5-1 stomping. FIfth place Portland (39 points) brushed aside sixth place Vancouver (37 points), 3-0. Eighth place San Jose (28 points) lost 2-0 to Montreal, and last place Chivas USA (24 points) lost 3-0 to Toronto.

Soccer America notes, “MLS is enjoying its highest-scoring season since it began its expansion push a decade ago. In the last three weeks, eight games have produced five or more goals and almost 70 percent of the games have produced three or more goals, pushing the season average to 2.93 goals per game.”

The roster freeze deadline was Monday, Sept. 15. So, Seattle Sounders announced on Friday, Sept. 19 the signing of Nigerian defender Onyekachi Apam. While teams can complete deals before the roster freeze deadline and announce them after, the fact that this is not mentioned in the announcement on both the Sounders site and the league site only serves to further the perception that the league rules are bendable for some teams.

At Al Jazeera America, Graham Parker talks to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank about why he wanted a MLS franchise in Atlanta.

MLS franchise hopefuls in Louisville are aware that the number of remaining franchises is much smaller than the number of localities that are interested in acquiring them.

The NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers have been purchased by a trio of Brazilian investors.


In view of recent scandals involving NFL players, attention is continuing to sharpen on Hope Solo being permitted to continue to play for the USWNT despite awaiting trial for domestic abuse charges. Reports from The New York Times, Philadelphia Daily News, ProSoccerTalkJezebel, and The Hollywood Reporter.

LA Times on how Megan Rapinoe makes a good US team look better.


UEFA president Michel Platini says he refuses to return the $26,000 watch that he was and other FIFA executives were given at the World Cup and will instead donate the cost of the watch to charity. Platini told the BBC, “I’m a well-educated person. I don’t return gifts.”

FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger believes the 2022 World Cup will not be staged in Qatar. As this report makes clear, Zwanzinger doesn’t exactly enjoy the full confidence of the German FA.

The Guardian reports, “Jorge Mendes, the Portuguese agent who has conducted many of the biggest transfers in European football, is serially involved in the third-party ownership of players in apparent breach of FIFA regulations.”


  1. Look on the bright side, atleast one good thing is that we’ve cemented the fact taht a DP/quality striker is now by far the #1 need this offseason.

    • should have been cemented during the season instead of getting another goalie; biggest mistake this season (besides getting rid of Hack too late)

    • Maybe they can try MacMath at striker.

    • And a left back. You can call Gaddis the best 1 on 1 defender all you want, but he’s just ok at that position every areal ball into his zone is a scare at best. He should be fighting Williams for the right back position.

  2. I like what Okugo says about the situation, and I hope he means it. He is an excellent player and I sincerely hope he stays, it’s great to have a young guy like that who is so versatile. I just hope not starting a couple games would not make him sign elsewhere, that is a little short sighted. Ultimately I think it will come down to the money.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Union have already had contract talks with Okugo and he has indicated that he wants to move on (maybe go to Europe). Hence why he isn’t starting anymore.

      • I think they must have had talks with him. If they already nailed down Gaddis there is n reason they wouldn’t have talked to Okugo.

  3. If not his play, what is the reason Amobi sits? Maybe a plan to convert Edu loan to contract & to let Okugo go. How is this going down in the locker room? In teammates’ hearts & minds? This is no time for distraction or divided loyalties. This team has to train and play united until the finish.

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