Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin presser, Penn clinches Philly Soccer Six title, MLS news, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Transcript and video from Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference here at PSP.

Curtin said of the Union’s playoff prospects, “We’re in that mix right now. We know the urgency, we know what needs to be done. We know we have the advantage of being at home for three in-a-row. We like that, and we have to show the fight to do whatever it takes to get three points.”

More highlights:

  • Sebastien Le Toux (ankle) and Ethan White (hamstring) are both questionable for Thursday’s home game against Chicago.
  • Curtin described Chicago as a dangerous team, one that has played in a lot of tight games this season and which players will be fighting for their jobs.
  • Curtin said discussions with several national teams have just begun about callups for the upcoming FIFA international games.
  • Curtin said there’s no news on his interim coach status.

More on the injury status of Le Toux and White at Delco Times.

As we noted in Tuesday’s roundup, Rais Mbolhi is the sixth highest paid goalkeeper in the league. His salary total of $240,000, combined with Zac MacMath’s $120,000 and Andre Blake’s $113,000, means that the Union goalkeepers are making $473,000, the highest total in the league. De George notes “the cap ramifications for the Union aren’t quite so dire” because while the club is paying “the bulk” of that $473,000, “there are mechanisms such as GA that reduce the actual monetary expenditure by the club.”

Brotherly Game looks at the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

More power rankings. Last week, ProSoccerTalk took the bizarre step of putting the Union at No. 3 in their power rankings. After the loss to DC, the Union drop six spots to No. 9 in their latest rankings. “The Union faced a show-me something match against DC, and failed. If you think six spots is too dramatic a fall, you’re right: We had them too high.” Yep.

No Union players in the latest Castrol Index Top 20 Performers list. In the Full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Andrew Wenger (No. 22), Conor Casey (No. 23), Sebastien Le Toux (No. 46), Maurice Edu (No. 56), and Amobi Okugo (No. 80).

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin on Michael Lahoud’s Kick Ebola in the Butt campaign.

Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz will be in Barbados for the Soccerex Americas Forum, Oct. 21-22. Along with Orlando City president Phil Rawlins, Sakiewicz will lead “a debate titled ‘The Game of Opportunity’ that will focus on the trials and tribulations of running a professional soccer club with particular focus on the challenges arising in areas such as sponsorship, fan engagements and international expansion.” MLS commissioner Don Garber will be one of the keynote speakers at the forum.

Brotherly Game rounds up how Union Academy alum are doing with their college teams.


Penn clclinched the Philly Soccer Six championship with a 2-1 double overtime win over St. Joseph’s on Tuesday.

In Soccer America’s men’s college soccer national rankings, Penn State is at No. 4 and Delaware at No. 22. NSCAA also has Penn State at No. 4 but has Delaware at No. 25.

In Soccer America’s women’s college soccer national rankings, Penn State is a t No. 7. Same at NSCAA.

In NSCAA’s high school boys soccer rankings, Haverford School comes in at No. 23. Also receiving votes was Lancaster Mennonite (Lancaster, Pa.).

In NSCAA’s high school girls soccer rankings, Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township, N.J.) is at No. 22.

The AP reports, “New Jersey is a step closer to allowing youth soccer and other recreational activities in agricultural areas within the state’s heavily protected Pinelands.” A new bill was passed by the state assembly that “would permit sports fields to go up temporarily on agricultural lands in the Pinelands, so long as they do not include permanent structures.”The report notes, “The New Jersey branch of the Sierra Club objects, saying it would set a precedent for lawmakers ending environmental protections that they don’t like.” The bill next goes to the senate


At SI, Grant Wahl reports, “MLS will soon announce the owners of its new team in Los Angeles that will replace Chivas USA, and the ownership group that’s almost certain to land the team includes Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Vincent Tan and Tom Penn.” Who are these guys? Wahl explains:

Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American venture capitalist who recently brought the first McDonald’s franchise to Vietnam. He would move to Los Angeles as the majority partner. Guber is a Hollywood producer and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Golden State Warriors. Tan is the flamboyant Malaysian owner of Cardiff City, which played in the Premier League last season, and would be a minority owner. And Penn is a former NBA executive and analytics expert who has worked at ESPN.

The report says, “The group has committed to building a new soccer stadium in Los Angeles. Sources tell SI.com that two sites they are interested in are in downtown L.A. (‘not far from the Staples Center’) and near the Hollywood Park racetrack. The league has spoken about a possible site near the current L.A. Sports Arena.”

The salary figures released by the MLS Players Union on Monday had NYCFC’s David Villa making $60,000. SI reports Villa “will earn an annual base salary of approximately $6 million under a contract that will keep him in New York through the 2017 season.”

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre talks to Toronto FC Tim Bezbatchenko about how the fruits of the club’s big spending may take a few seasons to ripen. Bezbatchenko says, “Our vision is to be a consistent contender for titles in MLS, Champions League and the Canadian championship. But the ability to do that with a salary cap team takes depth, and building depth takes time. We never said we were going to win the Supporters Shield this season — that’s maybe three years down the road.”

Over the weekend, the Houston Chronicle reported that Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear had been given permission by the Dynamo front office “to leave after this season if the San Jose Earthquakes offer him a job,” adding that Kinnear “considers the San Jose area home.” The Earthquakes have issued a statement saying, “All decisions regarding our technical staff and players will be made at the conclusion of the season.”

Current San Jose manager Mark Watson said of the Kinnear talk, “It’s part of the business. When you don’t have a successful season, there’s always going to be that possibility and that speculation. All I can do is just keep working with the group and whatever happens, happens.”

Sporting Kansas City players are looking forward to visiting the White House before they play DC on Friday.


Attendance in the league’s second year dropped 3.5 percent. Soccer Wire notes, “the decline was far lower than the dropoff from season one to two of any of the three major women’s professional leagues in United States soccer history.” Portland Thorn’s total attendance of 160,341 over 12 home games is nearly three times that of the next highest attendance total on the list, Houston Dash’s 54,468, which is itself more than 10,000 higher than Seattle Reign’s 43,581, the third highest total attendance.


The USMNT roster for the upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras is tentatively scheduled to be announced on Sunday. Steven Goff writes, “This will not be a straight-forward list, however. With two matches and a 10-day window, some players will shuttle in and out after the first game.” Why the shuttling? As Goff writes, “Foolishly, MLS has again scheduled league matches during an official window.”

ASN talks to Miguel Ibarra, the NASL player with Minnesota United who ESPN reported will be called up by the USMNT ahead of the upcoming friendlies.

US Soccer has released its external audit for the calendar year ending March 31, 2014. SBI looks at the numbers.

Developers of the US Soccer national training center in Kansas City are asking for more flexibility in order to account for “the possibility of adding Olympic training to the mix of uses.”

Brian McBride has been named to the search committee that will “provide guidance and leadership in identifying and reviewing candidates” to be Fulham’s next coach.


The Guardian has a fascinating read on the forgotten story of Patrick O’Connell: “You know, the former Ireland and Manchester United captain who saved Barcelona from extinction, guided Real Betis to their only La Liga title and died destitute in London, where he lies in an unmarked grave.”


  1. I live in the Harrisburg area and have connections on the City Islanders team. They are telling me the team was just sold to a new owner and they were all advised to find other cities to go to. Can someone investigate what’s going on there? Is the team moving?
    I know there was supposed to be a rebrand and a new stadium, but that’s not adding up with what the players are saying.

    • I have absolutely no connections anywhere, but selling to the Union and rebranding the team as Union II would make sense. Hopefully they’re staying in Harrisburg; it seems like a pretty solid fan base.

      • I agree with this, but why ship the whole team out?

      • Old soccer coach says:

        On the basis only of logic, no evidence or connections, to get a better stadium if Harrisburg city council is unwilling to help improve what they have currently, perhaps?

      • To me, this would make alot of sense. The Union buy Harrisburg and turn it into a Union 2 team. As far as telling the players to look for other teams maybe it is because the Union would want to stock the team with their own academy players and draft picks.

      • Okay by me. Love it. I think.

      • James Lockerbie says:

        Eric, I think your on to something. I mean that is the logical answer.

        Union Academy + Union II = Union 1st team or be sold to the highest bidder

      • I hope – and would think – this would be the case. Clearly the future of development is having your own USL Pro team, not just one you can loan players to. If that’s the case, it’s a no-brainer. Wouldn’t mind them staying in Harrisburg, though, to keep the fan base extended as far as possible.

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