Daily news roundups

Reports from, reaction to loss in DC, Hburg loses USL PRO final, standings, FIFA news, more.

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

With the club’s playoff hopes on the line, the Union suddenly can’t find the back of the net, with Saturday’s scoreless loss to DC making it two games in a row that the team has not scored.

As interim manager Jim Curtin said after the game, “Yeah, the goals have dried up.” He continued, “We are going to have to find a way to fight through it, and we need to now win three games in a row to give ourselves even a chance at the playoffs.”

With Saturday’s defeat, the Union drop to seventh in the Eastern Conference standings. SportsClubStats.com now puts their playoff chances at 16.7 percent.

The big talking point from Curtin after the game was a lack of commitment from players to getting numbers in the box.

Conor up there fighting with two center backs and that’s not good enough. We have to have more commitment from Chaco, from Vincent, from Amobi to get in the box late. You saw today there were probably ten crosses that get knocked down around the 8- to 12-yard-line and we don’t have anyone there to get on the end of it. That’s a commitment to getting in the box.

Conor Casey put it this way: “It’s just not finishing off our plays. That last pass, that last ball, just let us down.”

The Union may have to fight through it without Sebastien Le Toux, who left Saturday’s game in the first half with an ankle sprain. Le Toux was scheduled to get an MRI on Sunday but he told reporters after the game, “it doesn’t look so good.”

Danny Cruz, who came in for Le Toux, said, “We know that we have three huge games now at our home. And if we do the job, I have no doubt that we can make the playoffs.” Needless to say, they are all must-win games.

Recaps and reports from PSP, here at PSP.

USA Today has a photo gallery from the game.

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

The Union drop one spot to No. 8 in ESPN’s power rankings: “The Union look like a team that is running out of gas.”

At US Soccer Players, Jason Davis considers the debate over whether Jim Curtin should have the interim tag removed from his job title. His comments on the Union are worth reading for giving an outsider’s perspective on the team:

Curtin’s advantages on Hackworth would make his ascension to full-time head coach more justifiable. That’s if things were normal in Philadelphia. Nothing happens with the Philadelphia Union without the backdrop of parsimonious spending and unfulfilled promise.

Now in their fifth season, the Union have settled into the MLS lower middle class. That’s almost entirely because that’s where they choose to be. They’re big enough to draw attention, in large part thanks to a fine stadium and vocal fans. They’re also spendthrift enough to under deliver on the field. Philadelphia does just enough to remain competitive without stretching investor/operator’s Jay Sugarman’s checkbook.

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel profiles Amobi Okugo, who was recently named as part of the 24 Under 24 series aimed at promoting the league’s most promising young talent.

The Union websitethe Delco Times, CBS3, and the Washington Post on Michael Lahoud’s work to Kick Ebola in the Butt.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders fell 2-0 to Sacramento Republic in Saturday’s USL PRO Championship final. City Islanders manager Bill Becher said,

It’s difficult right now, because we believed and we really thought we were gonna win this. I know we were good enough to win it and I know the effort was there, but I don’t know that we were at our absolute best. In Orlando and Richmond, we were at our best.

It’s difficult when you’ve got to go through three teams in tough environments to win this thing. We came up a little short…

We couldn’t catch a break in the attacking third. Either we didn’t hit a good shot or we didn’t make a good decision…To get to this point, you’ve got to be good but you’ve got to get breaks. And we didn’t get any breaks.

Union loanees Antoine Hoppenot, Jimmy McLaughlin, and Richie Marquez each went the full 90, with Cristhian Hernandez seeing 13 second half minutes.

More from Penn LiveUSL PRO, MLSsoccer.comSacramento Bee (report), Sacramento Bee (photos), KFBK, SBI, and Reckless Challenge.

The Sacramento Bee says Sacramento Republic’s USL PRO championship win over Harrisburg City Islanders may mean the team is ready for MLS.

Sacramento Kings player Omri Casspi wants to become an investor in a Sacramento Republic MLS franchise.

At MLSsoccer.com, Andrew Wiebe on how USL PRO “will help form the next generation of MLS and US national team stars.”

Goalkeeper Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.), defenders Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.) and Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), and midfielder Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.) have been called up by the US U-17 BNT for the Panama U-17 International Tournament, which will take place Oct. 1-5. There the the US will face Costa Rica, Canada, and Panama.

Houston Dynamo defender David Horst grew up in Pine Grove, Pa. in Schuylkill County, so when the Dynamo recently faced the Union at PPL Park it was something of a homecoming with family, friends, as well as old coaches and young players from the Pine Grove youth soccer club where Horst once played.

MLS

DC (51 points) remains top of the Eastern Conference with Saturday’s 1-0 win over seventh place Philadelphia (38 points). New England (45 points) is in second place with its 3-2 win over now third place Kansas City(45 points) on Friday. Fourth place Columbus (43 points) defeated last place Montreal (24 points), 2-0. Fifth place New York (41 points) was thumped 4-0 by LA. Sixth place Toronto (40 points) came from being two goals down to defeat Portland 3-2. Eighth place Houston (36 points) defeated ninth place Chicago (31 points), 2-0.

In the Western Conference, first place Seattle (57 points) defeated last place Chivas USA (24 points), 4-2. Second place LA (57 points) defeated New York, 4-0. Landon Donovan had a goal and three assists in the win, which ties him for the league’s all-time record for assists at 135. It’s also the 37th time he’s had a goal and an assist in a game, which is another league record. Third place Salt Lake (49 points) lost 2-1 on the road to fifth place Vancouver (40 points). Fourth place Dallas (48 points) had the weekend off. Sixth place Portland (39 points) lost 3-2 at home to Toronto. Seventh place Colorado (32 points) drew 1-1 with eighth place San Jose (29 points).

Portland captain Will Johnson suffered a broken leg in the loss to Toronto and will be out for six months.

Soccer America on the different challenges MLS teams are facing in the CONCACAF Champions League.

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep says “it’s time to stop perpetuating the Homegrown Player myth.”

NYCFC’s Frank Lampard, on loan to Manchester City, scored his third goal in four games in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Hull.

Apparently, NYCFC’s David Villa is cutting it fine in arriving to his loan destination with Melbourne City, being scheduled to arrive with the team only eight days before the start of the season.

The LA Times considers some of the issues that might arise from Chivas USA going on hiatus while new owners (who have yet to found) work to rebrand the team and build a new stadium.

Is NYCFC eying a location near the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens as the site for a new soccer stadium?

Orlando City will have a groundbreaking ceremony for its new stadium on Oct. 16.

Hercules Gomez says Las Vegas, his hometown, is ready for a MLS team.

US

The US Paralympic National Team defeated Canada 3-0 on Friday to claim third place in the 2014 America Cup in Toronto.

Elsewhere

Regarding the report on the investigation into allegations of bribery in the leadup to the vote for the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, FIFA announced on Friday that the executive committee “demanded that the principle of confidentiality be respected, in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Ethics.” They just don’t get it.

In Women’s World Cup news, FIFA announced on Friday that the executive committee “ratified the decision to assign an independent company to travel to Canada in order to test pitches and training fields to ensure they fulfill the FIFA quality requirements.”

Meanwhile, with the Friday deadline of a response from FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to negotiate changing the playing surfaces of the 2015 Women’s World Cup from artificial turf to natural grass past, the lawyers representing the coalition of more than 40 international players are  preparing to file the gender discrimination lawsuit against the two soccer governance organizations with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Hampton Dellinger, lead attorney for the players, said,

The discriminatory plan hatched by FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to stage the 2015 women’s World Cup on artificial turf, coupled with their refusal to discuss ways to fix the mistake, have left the players with no choice. It’s now time to ask the courts to stop FIFA and Canada from forcing elite athletes to compete under game-changing, dangerous and demeaning conditions.

Dellinger says the trial is expected to take place in November More on the story from The EqualizerESPNW, and SBI.

At ESPNW, former USWNT star Julie Foudy on the artificial turf debate. The opinion piece begins, “I have non-breaking news for you: FIFA does not care what you think.”

Taylor Twellman says FIFA’s plan to institute three minute breaks to evaluate if a player has a concussion does not give medical personnel enough time.

18 Comments

  1. Wow I can’t wait to hire this guy based on the same honeymoon interim period Hackworth had.

    It will be hilarious when we bomb out of the playoff race and the next day we hold a press conference announcing Curtin is hired.

    • To be fair, Curtin’s “honeymoon period” has been longer and more successful than Hackworth’s. We still only have three losses under him. And this DC loss is 0-1 to the top team in our conference at home. The Hackworth comparisons are pretty superficial.
      .
      That said, I’ve never been totally sold on Curtin, and I’m still not. I’m very worried about his post-game comments about guys not running into the box to receive crosses.
      .
      The problem is the crosses themselves! We NEED different offensive looks than “get it wide and knock in a cross.” The problem is like 2013 Hackworth (not 2012). The team hasn’t had ideas about how to score through the middle in any of it’s iterations for years now. If Curtin can’t fix that, he’s not the guy.

      • Especially since Maidana and Nogeuira (and to an extend Edu) are a pretty damn good spine to start playing centrally.

        Those are probably 3 of the top 5 talents we’ve ever hadon this team. If a coach cant play better soccer with that core than he doesnt deserve to be coach.

  2. “They’re also spendthrift enough to under deliver on the field. Philadelphia does just enough to remain competitive without stretching investor/operator’s Jay Sugarman’s checkbook.”
    .
    This is exactly the problem (for us fans). It was mentioned 2 years ago during the fans/FO summit that there is not a lot of money to advertise/spend. We are trying to get ‘success’ the cheap way but will never be able to compete with the big guys unless some serious dollars are spent.

    • It bugs me that this idea constantly gets tossed around, because it’s simply not true.
      .
      In 2014 the Union was 9th in the league for total money spend on salary.
      Some teams who spent less: DC, KC, RSL, NE, all of which are having excellent seasons.
      .
      You don’t need to spend big to win in this league. You need to spend wisely–that’s what the Union hasn’t been able to do yet. Tight pursestrings are not the issue.

      • Four teams you identify. Two play in tiny markets. Two play in awful stadiums. There isn’t a team in a top media market, with a soccer stadium (their own, Chivas excluded) that has put as boring and flat a team on the field.
        .
        That said, the point is a fair one that money is not a requirement for success. The money we have spent on obviously marginally valueless pieces Cruz, Carroll and M’bolhi could have fixed the team’s real issues at left back and Striker. And that’s the same pattern that has gone on for years.
        .
        But what money does let you do is have enough depth to cover for a mistake, whether that is the series of weak LBs, wasteful excesses at CDM/GK, or the belief that Wenger was the next stud target forward.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        “Now in their fifth season, the Union have settled into the MLS lower middle class. That’s almost entirely because that’s where they choose to be.” — I thought this line from that article was the most telling. We as fans want them to spend more and spend smarter… but it is increasingly obvious that the team is very comfortable competing and being respectable… instead of shooting for #1

      • OMW. This is a searing indictment of Philadelphia generally and the Union specifically by the writer.
        .
        It’s too hard for me to tell how objective or fair it is but what I KNOW is what was so unbelievably hopeful in me 5 years ago now has this sense of comic tragedy.
        .
        I thought the Union were going to exist above the psychological pathos of this town and it feels more of the same.

      • I nodded in agreement until I got to Wenger. That was a good move because Jack wasn’t getting the money he wanted so we got something instead of nothing. Hackworth just plugged him into F because we had no one else, not because he was a stud. Signing Maidana, Edu & Noguiera were good. But they’re not part of a vision of how to build a winning team within the budget. That same group has squeezed out our best native star. Who signs 2 international GKs? No one else. Ironically the club got the political support needed for the park but the majority ownership isn’t local and isn’t motivated to change. Yet.

  3. Curtin’s run of positive results lasted longer than Hackworth’s, but he’s hit a wall. And it’s a wall of Nick Sak’s making. The FO needs to stop trying to run the club with less than a skeleton crew of a coaching staff. At some point, every coach is going to run into decision fatigue. If you have some trusted people to help make those decisions, that fatigue doesn’t last as long. Who does Curtin have as support — Chris Albright, and Nick Sak running in periodically like Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss to make absurd decisions.
    .
    Is Curtin ‘the guy’? I’m rooting for him. But I fear that, the way Nick Sak insists on running the front office, nobody can be ‘the guy’.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Curtain can only do so much. To me, he’s not ready to manage full time. I do not believe he has the coaching chops to pull a team out of rut, like the current one they are in. He is limited. He deserves a chance to run a club (maybe this one) one day, but he is not ready yet.

    • Turn the “Philly love” for Curtin on its head. He’s been in the organization from the beginning. If it’s not well run, how is he the solution?

  4. My issue with the Union has always been that they are in a major media and sports market with an elite fan base being run like a 2nd rate outpost. They talk a big game but when it’s time to put out they don’t. They settle and try to explain it all away with tired cliches and taking points aka BS! As for Curtin, he may very well have what it takes to be a damn good coach but look at the talent on the field. Vital talent needs are addressed at a snails pace or not at all. We get a “world class goalkeeper ” and use the top pick in the draft for another goalkeeper when it was NOT the pressing need for the team. LB,CB, STRIKER not really addressed to strengthen the team yet we are fed a load of BS about the depth. Depth? Going from Le Toux to a Danny Cruz is not depth. Casey who showed a while ago that he no longer has the legs for any extended or consistent play should be coming off the bench . The depth is Brian Brown, who looks lost and Ribeiro who is NOT a MLS level striker. The best CB on the team is Edu only because he is better than any of the so called healthy CB’s left. This team has been a case study in mismanagement by Sakeiwicz. Once the issue of manager is settled he should do the right thing and bring in a GM with a real soccer IQ and then get out of the way.

    • God I hate it when you are right. The ennui it generates leaves me feeling more dissatisfied. Spot on again LCB.

      • Trust me Joel I have no desire to be right. I remember when I’d send emails to MLS headquarters berating them and cajoling them to somehow bring a team to Philadelphia. 2000 my job transferred me to our headquarters in NYC. I tried supporting MLS in ny but it didn’t sit right with me. When I heard Philly was getting a team I was beside myself. I took off from work to be at the announcement at City Hall where I saw the SOB’s live and imperson. I just knew it was the beginning of something special. However now when I see how Sakeiwicz has mismanaged so much I can’t be silent. I want this team to be everything I dreamt it could be and should be. I don’t trust Sakeiwicz and starting with Nowak, this is all on him.

  5. James Lockerbie says:

    Lcb, When your right, your right!

  6. old soccer coach says:

    The real question is how do you find a quality striker or two for what MLS is willing to pay? Either you get lucky and find a Dom Dwyer, or you have to develop one. Developing strikers has always been what US Soccer does least well, judging by the repeated emphasis the national organization places on it year after year after year. And when we do, where do they go, because they are so scarce that they command top dollar/pound/ruble/yen.

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