Daily news roundups

Latest playoff scenario, Union injury update, USMNT and USWNT roster news, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

A breakdown of playoff scenarios on the league website notes that the Union will be eliminated from contention if they lose to Columbus on Saturday and New York defeats Toronto.

Kevin Kinkead spoke to Jim Curtin after Monday’s training session and asked about the team’s mentality after the goalkeeping gaffe that led to Chicago’s stoppage time equalizer. Curtin said,

We had a good, hard talk. We talked about the obvious, which is that in those situations you know how we’re supposed to close a game out. The ball should have been played forward (from the set piece). But we move forward and we learn from it. We talked about not breaking off into little groups of two and three to discuss whose fault it was, and to pass blame as a technical staff and as players. That’s for losers, to go and separate yourself and start talking about who’s at fault. We’re moving away from that, and we’re just going on. Again, all of the performances this year mean zero because it comes down to one game against Columbus.

The Union interim manager also confirmed that Rais Mbolhi is the only Union player called up for international duty. He also said that Ethan White is good to go for Saturday’s game against Columbus, and Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux were also looking good to return for that game. No word on Sheanon Williams.

Columbus Crew’s Waylon Francis and Federico Higuain will both miss Saturday’s game with suspensions. Curtin said of the suspensions, “Huge, it’s huge. Higuain is their playmaker, he’s a great player. Francis, for me, has been one of the best left backs in the league. Again, you’re never cheering for guys to be out of important games, but that was break in our favor, for sure.”

The Columbus Dispatch looks at the Crew’s options to replace Francis and Higuain.

The Columbus Dispatch reported on Tuesday morning that the Crew have signed Kei Kamara, who parted ways with Middlesbrough in August. Thankfully, he will not be eligible to play until next season thanks to the roster freeze.

In Soccer America’s power rankings, the Union remains at No. 10:

The Union is fizzling at just the wrong time; it isn’t playing poorly but neither is it seizing opportunities to grab results. The acquisition of Algerian keeper Rais Mbolhi triggered incredulity when it occurred in July, and his ghastly error that gifted a tying goal to Chicago in stoppage time stripped Philly of two badly needed points. Philly set up its own demise from a set play by playing three backwards passes to put the ball at Mbolhi’s feet. Amobi Okugo’s goal in the 85th had triggered a raucous celebration at PPL Park, which echoed with jeers and boos at the final whistle.

The latest Daily Doop notes that Maurice Edu will be taking over the Union’s Instagram account on Wednesday. Also, next Monday through Friday, Amobi Okugo will be running a trivia contest on the Union Twitter account.

Penn State sophomore striker, and Union Academy alum, Conor Maloney gets a shout out in this college soccer roundup on the league website.

Local

In the Philly Soccer Six weekly awards, Penn’s Alec Neumann was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week, and goalkeeper Max Polkinhorne was named Defensive Player of the Week. Villanova’s Hayden Harr was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week, and Christopher Bared was named Rookie of the Week.

Villanova’s Aaron Dennis was also named Big East Offensive Player of the Week after scoring three goals and an assist in wins over La Salle and DePaul.

Coming off of two shutouts wins in a week, Philadelphia University goalkeeper Thomas Attamante was named Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference men’s soccer Defensive Player of the Week.

In Soccer America’s rankings of the top 25 men’s teams, Penn State comes in at No. 2, Delaware at No. 22. In Soccer America’s rankings of the top 25 women’s teams, Penn State comes in at No. 7. NSCAA’s rankings come out today.

Brotherly Game recaps Philadelphia Fury’s 2- loss to Western Mass.

The Intelligencer looks at key Catholic League games as teams enter the final two weeks of the season. The article also includes District One power rankings as well as regional and state rankings from the Southeastern PA Soccer Coaches Association and the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association.

MLS

Sporting Kansas City shirt sponsor Ivy Funds has signed a five-year extension of its deal with the team.

According to the New York Times, the arrival of Frank Lampard and David Villa at NYCFC will offer “authenticity” to MLS. Hahahaha!

As The Gothamist’s Dan Dickinson tweeted:

Empire of Soccer reports NYCFC “has reached an agreement with SUNY Purchase on a two-and-a-half year lease to develop a temporary training grounds on the southern portion of their campus.”

Atlanta Falcons Vice President of Finance Rob Geoffroy has been named Chief Financial Officer of MLS Atlanta.

UFC bantamweight contender Urijah Faber has joined the local investor group in Sacramento that is working to raise Sacramento Republic to MLS. More from Sacramento ABC affiliate News 10.

In view of the ongoing debate about building a soccer specific stadium in Las Vegas, the Review-Journal notes that such construction rarely happens without any public funding.

US

In a Q&A at US Soccer, Jurgen Klinsmann says of the roster for the friendly against Ecuador, “Our approach to putting together the roster is mainly to see younger players coming into the Senior National Team environment and proving their point. We want to continue the energy that was created in Prague last month when we won against the Czech Republic and see how far these younger players can take it.”

Describing the changes to the roster that might be expected for next week’s friendly against Honduras, Klinsmann said,

For us it’s always important to mix things up. For this first game we are mixing things up with MLS players and with players that are coming from overseas but they are not as established yet as we would like them to be, so maybe we let a few ones go after the Friday game back to Europe so they have a whole week of preparation for the next game, bring in some MLS players to fill in the blanks, and continue to grow this culture of competition and also of accountability. We want them to understand that they are accountable for whatever they do, no matter what their background.

More on the USMNT roster, and how it might change for the Honduras game, from ASNESPN, Goal.comProSoccerTalk, Soccer AmericaSI,

At ASN, Brooke Tunstall writes, “Little about using Friday’s friendly between the United States and Ecuador as a send-off for Landon Donovan feels right. Instead it feels like something U.S. Soccer thinks it should do, but doesn’t necessarily want to do.

Jill Ellis said of the 20-player roster for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifiers,

High focus will be on recovery. I’m definitely at a point with the players where I want to start to build continuity. I think the way we play, there will be a high-volume workload at certain positions. I’m going to be sensitive to that. We’re expecting a lot from our outside backs and our wide forwards, but I think trying to build a core consistent group will be a big part of it for me.

Ellis also emphasized that versatility was a key factor in determining the final spots on the roster.

More on the USWNT roster from SBI and SI.

A tough Monday if you work public relations for the USWNT. Soon after the release of the USWNT roster, an op-ed piece at USA Today from former USWNT goalkeeper Jill Loyden — a native of Vineland, NJ and a Villanova alum — addressed US Soccer allowing Hope Solo to remain on the team despite domestic abuse charges. “I believe that individuals are innocent until proven guilty, but in failing to take action against players’ behavior off the field, the league is not living up to its responsibilities,” Loyden wrote. “Solo is my teammate and a personal mentor. But I cannot stand by as young fans receive the message that this behavior — even if the allegations proved to be inaccurate — can go unnoticed.” Following the murder of  her sister in 2012, “allegedly at the hands of her former fiancé, who is awaiting trial,” Loyden formed The Jillian Loyden Foundation, which works to aid children affected by domestic violence.

More on Loyden’s article from The InquirerThe Equalizer, Fox Soccer, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Expect calls for Solo to be benched to rise with the USA Swimming’s six-month suspension of Michael Phelps following his arrest for DUI last week.

Elsewhere

The BBC reports, “The 2022 Winter Olympics may have to be rescheduled in order to accommodate football’s World Cup in Qatar, say Europe’s top football clubs.”

Speaking of Qatar, this year’s Supercoppa Italiana between Juventus and Napoli, which was postponed from August because of Napoli’s Champions League obligations, will be held in the emirate on Dec. 22.

At the Guardian, Taylor Twellman penned a powerful piece about concussions and how the Premier League’s new concussion protocol doesn’t go far enough, following Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ head injury in the win over Chelsea on Sunday.

How nice. Not only has UEFA president Michel Platini called for the public release of the report on the investigation into corruption in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, he has returned that $25,000 watch that he and a bunch of other FIFA bigwigs were gifted at the World Cup in Brazil.

Recently released FBI documents show that Malcolm Glazer and his family received telephoned death threats from “a male caller with a British accent” when the takeover of Manchester United was underway in 2005.

Bayern Munich and Oktoberfest. Love it, and also these pictures.

11 Comments

  1. I love it man. Keep adding teams to MLS or have a branch off MLS II or have the (AFL-NFL) force a merger someday that includes promotion and relegation and open competition. Lots of places knock knock knocking on the door and want in to soccer at the highest level in this country. We are moving closer. Inch by inch.
    .
    I want boutique clubs with rabid fan bases. Every stadium doesn’t have to seat 30K. I watched the Rayo Vallocano Barcelona game this weekend and those fans are nuts and absolutely devoted to the team. Win or lose just make it interesting. That is, in my estimation what separates this great game from all the others and that is why it is called the beautiful game.
    .
    Those fans in the condominiums of Madrid know they will likely never win La Liga but what they get to see every week is beautiful attacking futbol that in and of itself is entertainment art.

    • I will take the 16,000 Open Cup Final atmosphere over RBA any day. Watching an Red Bulls game on TV (let alone in person), the place looks empty. Regardless of how many tickets they’ve sold for “paid attendance,” it’s all about appearance. KC, Philly, Portland and Toronto all show what strong support can do, and I have no doubt Orlando will follow in those footsteps, as I’m sure Sacramento would too if they are so lucky.

  2. I’m not sure that promotion/relegation works with a playoff system, at least not one where 50% of the teams make the playoffs. For a team that is between the playoff line and the relegation line, do they take extra chances to try and get 3 points to try and make the playoffs knowing that it could also backfire and see them get relegated?
    .
    Imagine if Amobi hadn’t scored Thursday and the Union had a corner in stoppage time. If playoffs are the only consideration, they should bring M’Bohli forward as an extra body in the box, but if relegation is also an issue, it could be a big mistake to risk giving Chicago 3 points.

    • Sure. Fair points. My ultimate goal would be to do away with the playoffs. I know they are closure we so desperately search for in this country to fill the gaps in our lives. IMO though the Supporters Shield carries more weight cause you have shown over the course of a season that you are the best team and not leaving things up to chance as much. I would maintain the supports shield. The options could be limitless in the other leagues with relegating or promoting teams.
      .
      One thing I always think about is if the game continues to grow and multiple other viable leagues continue to grow and we begin to truly see a tiered system, or a joining of leagues– someday finishing 7th in the Premier Tier will carry a certain weight. Yeah, Everton is a middle of the table team typically but they happen to be the 7th best team in all of the UK on a regular bases and that means something. The people of the UK and Continental Europe know that. Sure ManU and Chelsea and Real and Barca tend to dominate the titles, just as the Galaxy and NYCFC will likely here but qualifying for the Champions League is the real prize which leads me to….
      .
      I would also like to see the CONCACAF Champions league qualification grow to include teams in South America and CONMEBOL. Now that would carry meaning and excitement to the growing US fans base. The Americas Champions League would carry cache. Imagine The Union being drawn with River Plate or Young Boys or Santos or Corinthians in the group stage for the right to play survive and play Internacional in the first knock out round. Now that gives me chills and would keep me up at night in expectancy. Playing NYCFC and Toronto FC is fine but paling South American teams would stratify our sophistication and understanding of the game.

      • I agree that eliminating the playoffs is the ultimate way to go, but I’m not sure it will sell in the US. After all, did anyone care in 1960 that the Phillies were the 15th best baseball team in the country, ahead of Kansas City and all of the minor league teams?

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I think the pro/rel discussion is where you lose a lot of people. Creating tiers and levels and maybe getting rid of playoffs are all things that can happen. We can have multiple tiers of soccer and not have pro/rel.

      • Could be. Until we unify under one governing body though I think too many players will slip through the cracks. I’m okay with MLS being in charge of it all because I am uncertain we can trust US Soccer to do it correctly. Entertaining discussion.

      • The first thing NASCAR did to kill its popularity was The Chase. I like the idea of MLS playoffs, but I think it would be best as a 4-team playoff, best 2 teams from each conference.

  3. The Chopper says:

    You will never have relegation in the USA. The system developed elsewhere long before the current MLS structure that requires millions of dollars in expansion fees and startup expenses. Owners will simply not agree to a system where they could be cut off from the revenue streams of first division play.

    • I understand, but we don’t know that.
      .
      If the second division teams are profitable and making money knowing that promotion only enhances those revenue dollars it could someday work. To hell with the teams that are relegated MLS could say- Then Stay up- do whatever it takes to be a Premier team. What’s toronto going to do if MLS goes to pro/rep- quit the league?
      .
      It would really kinda suck to have 3 or 4 viable soccer leagues with 120 or so teams and them not all be under the same banner. Unless you organize it in such a way that the 3 best teams from each league then qualify for tournament to have the WBO’s version of a unified champion. That I guess I could agree to. The more teams that knock on the door and are built from the ground up the bigger this thing is going to become and shame on MLS if they stick their noses out despite their face to realize the huge potential. I’m really believe soon enough a viable second MLS type league is going to hatch and gain momentum. It has happened in baseball, basketball and American football.

  4. The Chopper says:

    the last fully successful merger was football and that happened over 40 years ago. The NBA picked up the remnants of the ABA, brought in a few clubs, took on the players they wanted, but most associated with the ABA went belly up. Most associated with WHA went belly up. The NHL took a few clubs. USFL, XFL, WFL. Everyone went broke.

    No owners in the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB would agree to a system that would take their team off the top level. American soccer owners will not behave differently. They will protect their investment and since the league worms for them, that is is why it will not happen.

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