Daily news roundups

Reports say Union to remove Curtin’s interim tag, MLS playoff schedule released, #KickEbolaInTheButt event at Temple, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Interim no more?

On Tuesday afternoon, Kristian Dyer reported in Metro that “A league source” said that Curtin “will be named the head coach sometime this week.” Dyer will be familiar to readers for his work as a studio analyst during Union game broadcasts. Soon after,Goal.com (“Sources within the Union have confirmed”), ESPN (“multiple sources have confirmed”), Philly.com (“I’ve been told”), CSN Philly (“confirmed by multiple outlets”), and Delco Times (“Per various news reports”) reported the same. Needless to say, today’s weekly press conference, scheduled for 12 pm, just got a whole lot more interesting.

No Union players made this week’s Castrol Index Top 20 Performers list. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Conor Casey (No. 18), Andrew Wenger (No. 22), Sebastien Le Toux (No. 43), Maurice Edu (No. 59), and Amobi Okugo (No. 74).

More power rankings? ProSoccerTalk bumps the Union up five spots to No. 3 in their rankings: “Surely some will question Philly being higher than KC and DC, but the Union sandwiched draws around their US Open Cup loss vs Seattle to prove depth. They’ll have every chance to back it up Saturday against DC, so ask yourself: would you want to play Philadelphia right now?” At MLSsoccer.com, the Union remain at No. 7.

A #KickEbolaInTheButt event will be held at Temple on Sunday, Sept. 28 with the Union’s Michael Lahoud, Amobi Okugo,and Andre Blake from 2-4 pm.

You will recall the picture of a tearful young fan in PSP photographer Earl Gardner photo essay of the US Open Cup final loss against Seattle. Earl posted the photo on Facebook and it turns out the young fan is the son of Sean Doyle, Reading United’s director of social media and, before that, a contributor to PSP (believe it or not, many of us at PSP have never actually met one another in person). The Facebook post was also seen by Jim Curtin, who commented on the post, “Someone inbox me a way to get in touch with this kid, he needs something to cheer him up. Great photo too Earl.” At The 700 Level, Steve Moore reports, “Curtin and Sean Doyle have exchanged some private messages since the match, presumably working on something to help cheer up one the Union’s biggest fans.”

Congratulations to Aaron Wheeler, who got married over the weekend.

Union Academy director Tommy Smith is the guest on the latest ExtraTime Radio podcast.

Brotherly Game rounds up news of Academy alum in college play.


USL PRO released its All-League first and second team lists on Tuesday. No Harrisburg players made the first team list —  —  but La Salle-Ocean City Nor’easters-Reading United alum John McCarthy made the first team, as did former Union man Chandler Hoffman. Harrisburg’s Matt Bahner was named to the second team.

Ultimately, who cares about all-league lists when you’re playing in the championship final, right? Harrisburg head coach Bill Becher said, “I think the rest of the group may take this as a little slap in face since [everyone else thought we] only had one player on the team worthy of making the all-league team. I’m sure we’ll take that with us as we go after a bigger trophy.”

In the latest NSCAA national rankings of Division I men’s teams, Penn State is at No. 7, University of Delaware at No. 23. In the rankings for women’s teams, Penn State is at No. 8.

Temple hosts Delaware today at 4 pm. Drexel hosts Princeton today at 7 pm.

In the latest NSCAA national rankings of high school boys teams, Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) comes in at No. 14. In the girls rankings, Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) comes in at No. 11.


On Tuesday, the league released the schedule for the playoffs,which includes time off for the November FIFA international break:

Conference Knockout Round
Wed-Thurs, Oct. 29-30

Conference Semifinals: 
Leg 1, Sat-Sun, Nov. 1-2
Leg 2, Sat-Sun, Nov. 8-9

Conference Championships
Leg 1, Sat-Sun, Nov. 22-23
Leg 2, Sat-Sun., Nov. 29-30

MLS Cup Final
Sunday, Dec. 7, 3 p.m., ET

The format for the playoffs remains the same, with the top five teams from each conference qualifying. The fourth and fifth place teams in each conference will play one another in single knockout game, with the winner advancing to the two-leg conference semifinals to face the first place team in the conference. The winner will face the winner of the semifinal series between the second and third place team in the two-leg conference championship, with both the conference semifinals and conference championship series being decided on aggregate goals. The conference champions will meet in the MLS Cup final, which will be hosted by the conference champion that had the highest point total in the regular season.

In CONCACAF Champions League play, Kansas City made short work of Real Estreli with a 3-0 win, and Portland thumped Alpha United, 6-0. Tonight, DC hosts Panama’s Tauro FC (8 pm: Fox Sports 2,Fox Soccer 2GO, Fox Sports GO) and New York is in El Salvador to face CD FAS (10 pm: Fox Soccer Plus, Univision Deportes, Fox Soccer 2GO). In MLS play, Dallas hosts Seattle tonight (9 pm: MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick).

Michael Bradley has been fined for saying mean things about officiating. Referees are very sensitive souls, just ask Amobi.

Andrea Pirlo to LA Galaxy? Steady on, now, steady on.

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre on why the Supporters Shield means nothing in the race for the MLS Cup.

Sporting News considers how the league might fix the playoff format.

Toronto have announced their plans for renovating BMO Field, which includes adding some 8,400 seats. That skyline view sucked anyway.

MLSsoccer.com notes of the BMO Field expansion, “[T]he third phase, not yet approved, would see the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League move to BMO Field, which would mean demolishing the north stands and a portion of the southern stands to accommodate the larger CFL Fields.” Dwayne De Rosario is quoted as saying, “Just as long as we don’t have any football lines and the field is not dug up, I’m okay with it. But once we play on football lines, that’s when we have problems.” Yep.

Speaking of seats, they’ve started to install them at San Jose’s new stadium.

The Sacramento Bee reports that officials at nearby Elk Grove believe they still have a shot at winning the MLS franchise Sacramento seems increasingly likely to win.


While some are trying to offer some context to the Hope Solo story (see, for example, Slate, The Sport Spectacle, and The Soccer Desk), the Washington Post seems to be looking for clicks with this post, constructed of quotes from other articles, and complete with a screaming headline.

At ESPNW, Kate Fagan, who wrote an article last week saying that Solo should be immediately suspended, now writes, “I’ve seen too many people take my column to mean that it’s OK to equate Hope Solo with Ray Rice. That takeaway isn’t just false, it’s potentially dangerous. I feel like my column allowed too many people to reach a quick and easy resolution to a problem that is incredibly complex.” She adds, “Let me put it more simply. Discussing Hope Solo is a red herring.”

Speaking last week before the recent wave of commentary about her, Solo told SBI, “Nobody knows the truth, nobody knows the facts, people make assumptions. But at the end of the day I know I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of the choices I’ve made, the decisions I’ve made and my commitment to this team. At the end of the day, the people who really know me are the people that I have to face — and I can face them with loyalty and with a smile. Distractions aside, my one and only focus is the World Cup.” More from Goal.com.

In happier USWNT news: Sydney Leroux and Kobe Bryant, BFFs.

Jozy scored for Sunderland, hurray! Sunderland still lost, despite Altidore ending a 29-game goalless streak..


The New York Times on increasing evidence of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy among soccer players.

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, a member of FIFA’s executive committee, has called for the release of the report on the investigation into corruption in the leadup to the vote on the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups tournaments. Bin Al Hussein tweeted,

In the interest of full transparency, I believe it is important that the much-anticipated report on the ethics investigation that is crucial to ensuring good governance at FIFA is fully disclosed and open to the public.

This will only help the football community move ahead in reforming our institutions in the best interest of the sport.

The entire football family as well as its sponsors and those who follow the game worldwide have a full right to know the contents of the report in the spirit of complete openness.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle writes that Qatar being stripped of the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup, and the tournament then being staged in the US, “remains more fantasy than hope.”

The Guardian on the damaged caused by the growing trend of third party ownership of players and how FIFA is doing nothing about it.

15 rounds. 30 penalty kicks. And Liverpool won? Epic.

Partizan Belgrade will be investigated by UEFA after fans displayed an anti-semitic banner during the recent Europa League match against Tottenham.

Ghana national team player Asamoah Gyan has called a press conference to refute claims that he murdered two friends in order to gain magical powers.


  1. Run Amobi. Run. I fear your career needs to careen into a new direction if Mr. Curtain is given head job. They are hitching the wagon to Maurice. Run sir.

    • John O'Donnell says:

      I hate to say it, but I think Amobi gets overvalued like many athletes that play on Philadelphia teams. It’s not like he takes over games, like some of the better defensive mids in the league. Meanwhile Maurice Edu has clearly raised his game in the past month at more than one position. I have a feeling he gets back on the field this week, with Edu moving back to CB to cover for an injured White. Just remember, it wasn’t that long ago that many people were saying the same thing about Jack Mac.

      • Agreed. And not many people remember, but Okugo frequently had less than stellar performances at CB at the beginning of the season under Hack, which was one of the reasons he was moved to the center of the park. He had a good 2013 in the back line, but he was paired with a solid CB in Park who organized really well the back line. Okugo is a good player, but sometimes overrated.

      • Who the hell wants Okugo playing CB. I don’t. Whatever. None of it makes a difference. There is no way this team is better with him sitting and it is going to cost us.
        The proof is about to unfold on the field.

  2. Congrats to Aaron Wheeler, but shouldn’t he have scheduled the wedding for the off season (or at least an off weekend)?

    • “Getting married” is different then “wedding”.

      In an interview with WMMR a few weeks ago Le Toux said he was married recently but the ceremony is not going to happen until this offseason. I then had the pleasure of attending an autograph session later that day with Le Toux and he did confirm that to me after I told him of my upcoming wedding.

      I’m not sure if or if not there was a wedding in Wheeler’s case but I imagine it is the same sort of deal where it was just the paperwork and some family with the wedding to come at a later date.

      PS. As a side note, Le Toux also mentioned that he and his wife are having the ceremony here in Philly which I think really reflects his love for the team, city, and fans.

      • Good point. I hadn’t thought about that. And congratulations on your upcoming wedding too! Is your future spouse up for scheduling the honeymoon around a Union road trip? 🙂 🙂

      • Thank you! Haha, she is a fan but somehow I think that would be a solid “I don’t think so”.

        “Happy wife = Happy life” so I’m told…

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