Daily news roundups

Zac looking forward to start, Prem considering games abroad, Captain Donovan, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

The Union officially announced Rais Mbolhi’s call-up by the Algerian national team for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Malawi on Oct. 11 and Oct. 15. The announcement notes, “He will miss Philadelphia’s match against Columbus on Oct.11 and will be available for selection on Oct. 18 against Sporting Kansas City.”

Mbolhi’s absence means that Zac MacMath returns to the starting spot. MacMath said, “I’m looking forward to it. Obviously it’s been a couple of weeks since I played. I’m excited to get back on the field and give the team a chance of making the playoffs.”

As for having the starting spot taken away from him rather than won from him, MacMath said, “It’s been like that for the last couple of months. You use it as a chip on your shoulder and more reason to prove people wrong and prove that you deserve to be a starter.”

By the way, MacMath has started a blog called Studs Up GK.

Injuries meant that the Union were without Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux, Ethan White, and Sheanon Williams last Thursday against Chicago. Looking ahead to Saturday’s must-win game against Columbus, Jim Curtin said, “We should have our full selection to choose from, which is positive.”

The updated playoffs scenario at the Union website says that, in addition to winning the three remaining games, reaching the playoffs will require:

  • One Houston loss or one tie
  • One Toronto loss and one tie OR two Toronto losses

Looking ahead to this weekend’s conference games, in addition to needing to defeat Columbus, these are the best results for the Union:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 8: Houston win over Toronto (7:30 pm, MLS Live)
  • Friday, Oct. 10: Chicago win over Sporting Kansas City (8:30 pm, MLS Live)
  • Saturday, Oct. 11: New York win over Toronto (7 pm, Univision Deportes, MLS Live)
  • Sunday, Oct. 12: DC United draw or win against Houston (3 pm, MLS Live)

More on the playoff numbers from Brotherly Game.

In the power rankings at SI, it’s a one-spot drop to No. 11. At MLSsoccer.com, the Union drop two spots to No. 12: “Gaffe of the Year, and almost certainly another season without the playoffs in Philly.” AT ProSoccerTalk, it’s a 3-spot drop to No. 12: “Those of us who were believers are feeling pretty spurned by recent events, but watching Rais Mbohli’s stoppage time error cancel out Amobi Okugo’s potentially-legend making late winner was hard to watch. Amobi deserved that thing.” Yep.

Maurice Edu talks to Campus Sports in this entertaining video. Apparently Edu, Ethan White, and Amobi Okugo have been blessed with the ability to sing and Edu says “We’re trying to gradually share this experience with the rest of the world.” Sadly, the video does not include footage of the trio performing.


The NSCAA college men’s soccer national rankings are out and Penn State comes in at No. 3. University of Delaware didn’t make the Top 25 but received 13 votes. In the women’s rankings, Penn State is at No. 6

Turning to the NSCAA high school rankings, Haverford School comes in at No. 17 in the boys rankings, Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township, NJ) comes in at No. 16 in the girls rankings.

Temple hosts UCF today at 3 pm.

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has launched a YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out.

Ben Olsen was in Middletown, PA. at his high school alma mater on Tuesday for ceremony to retire his No. 11 jersey.

Houston Dynamo defender and Pine Grove, Pa. native David Horst gets a profile.


The Guardian reports, “The Premier League is believed to be open to resurrecting the controversial idea of playing a round of competitive matches abroad, given its ever-growing popularity overseas.”

Tod Leiweke, former chief executive of the Seattle Sounders and brother of Tim Leiweke, said at the Leaders Sport Business Summit at Stamford Bridge of the possible staging of Premier League games in the US,

One of the challenges I’ve always thrown out there to the powers that be in football is will you be a pirate or will you be a pioneer?…Are you going to use North America just as an opportunity to make some additional dollars or are you going to commit to taking the sport to the next level and helping to grow Major League Soccer?

We need to be in a position where we understand that in the next 10 years the biggest challenge we have may not be the landscape and the competition within North America it may be the competition we have internationally.

Are those competitors our partners or do they see that North American landscape and want to take money out of that landscape?

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre on the pressing need for MLS to resolve its schedule conflict with FIFA’s international calendar:

We’re not talking about adopting the European schedule. This is fixable. It might mean starting the season earlier or moving MLS further into the month of December or playing more midweek games. But if MLS wants to continue to try to position itself as an attractive destination for foreign standouts at younger and younger ages — in other words, players still in their international primes — it must fix it in 2015. The status quo cannot continue.

New York Red Bulls have appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court in an attempt to recoup the $3 million the team paid in taxes to Harrison in 2010 and 2011.

A post on the Timbers Army website says that “the Emerald City Supporters, Timbers Army, and Vancouver Southsiders are pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with Major League Soccer in regards to the Cascadia Cup Trademark and its use around all MLS matches concerning the three Cascadian teams. The agreement was reach after a productive negotiation between the league and the Cascadia Cup Council (CCC) representatives, and the three supporter groups are pleased with the end result of the agreement.” The announcement makes no mention of the particulars of the agreement.


Landon Donovan has been named captain of the US team that will face Ecuador on Friday. A tweet from US soccer says, according to Jurgen Klinsmann, Donovan “will start and play 30 minutes.”

Klinsmann explained,

We have the understanding with Landon that he obviously starts the game, gets the captain armband out of respect to what he did for the program over so many years, an outstanding career. We want him to enjoy that moment…

The plan is that he’s playing about half an hour into the game. Two days later, he has a Galaxy game coming up and he’s coming in only on Thursday then as well. It’s obviously a special moment, it’s a special celebration for everybody involved, and hopefully it’s going to be a memorable day for him.

At USA Today, Nate Scott examines some of the reasons that Donovan could play only 30 minutes, namely that KLinsmann has little opportunity to see new players in game, and that Donovan has said his main commitment is to LA Galaxy’s title push. Scott concludes, “One hopes that the directive for the minutes limit came from Donovan, however. Klinsmann already embarrassed America’s greatest-ever field player once. If Donovan is only going to get a half hour in his send-off game, it should be by his own choosing.”

Donovan said on Tuesday of Friday’s send-off, “This summer, obviously, was tough, not only for me, but for my family…And you don’t want your last memory to be getting cut from the team, and my family didn’t either, so this will be a nice way to hopefully put a ribbon on my career. And I’m excited to have a chance to say goodbye to a lot of people who have been supportive of me.”

Asked if he believed the send-off wouldn’t have happened without the input of Sunil Gulati, Donovan said, “I don’t know for sure. But I’d say that’s a safe assumption.”

At the US Soccer website there are a number of articles paying tribute to Donovan, including posts from Jozy AltidoreBruce Arena, and other U-17 teammates and coaches, a twopart look at his dominance against Mexico, and more.

Chris Wondolowski has been added to the USMNT roster for the friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras. Be nice.

Klinsmann said of the addition of Wondolowski, “It’s simply because Julian Green is struggling still with his rib injury that he caught with the Bayern Munich game there two weeks ago. We just want to make sure that if Julian is not ready to go, then we would miss a little piece, so I called Wondo if he doesn’t mind and he’s thrilled obviously, as usual.”

Fox has announced that all 16 games in the upcoming CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifiers will be broadcast live “on FOX Sports 1 or FOX Sports 2 and streamed live via FOX Soccer 2Go and FOX Sports GO.” Except for the first match against Trinidad & Tobago on Fox Sports 2, all of the US group stage matches will be on Fox Sports 1. The semifinals, third place game, and final will all be played at PPL Park and, with the exception of the first semifinal game on Friday, Oct. 24 on Fox Sports 2, all of the PPL Park games will be on Fox Sports 1.

At the Union website, a look at the USWNT roster.

Villanova alum and Vineland, NJ native Jill Loyden has announced her retirement from the game. Loyden, who played for professionally for Sky Blue FC, made headlines when an opinion piece she wrote calling out US Soccer for not benching Hope Solo was published in USA Today on Monday.

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis said of the decision to include Solo on the roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, “There was a lot of thought and a lot of discussions within U.S. Soccer, and certainly we acknowledge that these are very serious issues, but after careful thought and consideration we just determined to stand by our decision to let this legal process play out and have Hope remain with the team.”


The AP reports, “Franz Beckenbauer called for the corruption report on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host contests to be published, and said Tuesday that he took no bribes before voting.” You will recall that Beckenbauer was briefly banned from the game for 90 days in June after he refused to cooperate with the corruption investigation.

The AP reports that former Chilean football federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the man who led FIFA’s inspection of bidding nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, is considering running against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency. More from ESPN.

Carlo Tavecchio the recently elected president of the Italian Football Federation, has been banned for six months by UEFA for making racist comments before he was elected.

ESPN has an interesting look at the revenue derived from kit manufacture and kit sponsorship deals.

At ESPN, James Young looks at the impact the ban on third-party ownership will have in Brazil.


  1. I wonder why MLS doesn’t adopt something a lot closer to the EPL orLa Liga schedule — 20 weeks between August and January. It’s getting cold here, but It’s getting cold in England, too.

    Having international call ups in the final playoff push weeks of October are hard to handle. And most MLS clubs don’t really have the depth to shuffle rosters around without suffering.

    I’m not sure I want to be at PPL park on a cold Jan. evening but if the games are in the day, maybe that would help.

    I guess the one thing MLS has to deal with tha other leagues do no is the competition with NFL and college football, which is in full swing …

    • I think you are dead on. I think it is the oppressive crush of NFL Football. Viewership, TV slots, stadium sharing all that jazz. I would love it. I am tired of old heads coming to ride out the sunset of their career here because of the balmy conditions. If I was Henry and my bones were growing weary, would I rather play in some outpost in the dead of winter in europe or NY in the summer for millions. Hmm.

    • I think you’re discounting the potential impact on weather. Some quick research – the average high temperature in London in the month of January is 49, the average low 40. In Manchester, it’s 43 and 36. In Liverpool, it’s 44 and 38.
      In Philadelphia, the average high temperature is 40, the average low 25. In Boston, high of 37, low of 22. In DC, it’s 43 and 24. In Toronto, it’s 32 and 19. Seattle, 46 and 36.
      Precipitation is another factor. In London, it’s 52mm (which Google says is 2 inches). In Manchester, 80mm (3 inches). In Liverpool, 64mm (2.5). In Philly, it’s 3 inches. In Boston, the average rainfall for January is 3.6 and the average snowfall is 12 inches. In DC, 3.5 inches of rainfall. In Toronto, 1.1 inches of rain and 1.5 inches of snow. In Seattle, the average precipitation amount is 5.13 inches total with 5 inches of snow for the month. (1 inch of snow isn’t 1 inch of precip, if I recall correctly. It has been 20+ years since I took my Meteorology 101 class, so I also don’t remember if the snow numbers are included in the “rain” average, or separate.)
      So, DC compares decently to England. But for everything above that – Philly, Boston, Toronto, etc – the weather is better there, both temps and precip.

      • Montreal in January would be a real treat.

      • Average temp is 16, average high is 22, average low is 10. And 80 mm (3.1) inches of precip.

      • Once MLS expands to 24 teams, there will be enough warm-weather sites that they could move to a winter schedule without worrying about playing north of DC in January.

      • You sure about that? Orlando is a given. Miami, I guess, is still technically getting a team if Becks can con the taxpayers into building a stadium. LA1 and LA2. Atlanta has average highs in the 50s and average lows in the 30s. So that’s 5. Houston and Dallas make 7 – though both, especially Dallas, do get snow and ice in the winter. Sacramento – if they get in – has temps similar to Atlanta. That’s 8. (Although January is, statistically, the wettest month of the year in Sacramento.) And… where else? (If Sac. doesn’t get a team, it’ll likely be Vegas or another Texas city I would imagine. So still a warm-weather location, but also still only 8.) Portland is 44/35, doable I guess, but still chilly. That’s 9. Vancouver is 42/33. Again, chilly but I guess functional. So 10. That gives us:
        LA Galaxy
        Miami (???)
        Sacramento or Vegas or Texas3
        But you still need 2 more locations, or else you’re not having every team play every week. And that list is already gambling with the Pacific Northwest and Texas and Sacramento.
        So no – I don’t think expansion solves that problem the way you think it might. Also, what you’re essentially suggesting is that half the teams in the league go on a 4-6 week road trip in December-January-February. And then the other half – the “warm weather” teams – take similar trips through the rest of the year, when the cold teams get a bevy of home game early or late.
        Sorry. I just don’t see a winter schedule working in North America. And if the only reason to go to a winter schedule is to avoid FIFA dates, you don’t need to do that anyway. I played around a week or so ago with next year, and I figured you could do a 37 game schedule plus playoffs and honor international dates, all while starting on March 7th and having the final on December 5th. Each team would have 6 weekday games through the season, not counting Open Cup matches. Three of those would be with “rivals” who are nearby, to reduce impact of travel. Three others would be “roadtrip” games, where you can give a team games in an area back to back – like having the Union travel to Salt Lake and Colorado the same week.
        It really wasn’t hard to make a 37 game schedule fit in those dates while honoring international dates. (Disclaimer: I did schedule game during the Gold Cup and Copa America.) I even squeezed in Open Cup games (which, to be fair, are more weekday games – though I also had the league take off on a weekend in September to get the OC final on a Saturday.)
        In short, it’s entirely possible to honor FIFA dates while having a summer schedule.

      • You’ve clearly put more thought into this than I have. But a 6-week hiatus for late Dec. and Jan. (avoiding the NFL Playoffs) and some clever scheduling could minimize the number of “I’m divorcing you if you make me sit in the snow to watch soccer” ultimata from my wife.
        BTW, I don’t *want* a winter schedule, either. I just see it coming down the line.

      • I’d be curious about the temperatures in Turin or northern France in January. Dortmund. Looks bone chilling to me. Point being its pretty cold in continental Europe through the winter too. MLS could take a 4 or 5 week winter January hiatus also and still have plenty of time. 4 games in February would be rough but that’s 4 games.

      • Google is your friend. 🙂
        Turin, Italy: avg high 43, avg low 28, avg precip 31 mm (1.2 inches)
        Paris, France: avg high 46, avg low 36, avg precip 18 mm (0.7 inches)
        Loison-Sous-Lens, France: avg high 7c (44.6 f), avg low 2c (35.6 f), avg precip 54.6 mm (2.2 inches).
        Dortmund: avg high 40, avg low 34, precip 78 mm (3 inches)

      • Old soccer coach says:

        As you cogitate, remember the Bundesliga takes a break in the winter. They also have a bright yellow ball that they use for snow games.

      • Is MLS strong enough to be able to take a 6 week break mid-season? Or would such a break potentially lose casual fans. How would TV partners feel about not having games during that 6 week period and not having games during July-August?
        Basically, I see no reason MLS needs to go to a winter schedule. “Europe does it” isn’t a good reason. “We need to honor FIFA dates” also isn’t a good reason, because a reasonable schedule can be built on their current summer calendar that honors FIFA dates.
        What is the advantage to MLS switching to a winter schedule? Especially if their best-option for doing so is shutting down for 6 weeks in the middle of the season.

  2. Dear Landon.
    Thank you.

  3. Querido Landon,
    Gracias por retirarse usted!
    Amor, Mexico

  4. Hopefully these games will be Wondolowski’s send-off from the National Team too.

  5. HOU 1 TFC 0. Hmm maybe.

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