Daily news roundups

“Killer mentality”: Notes from Curtin’s presser, Crew previews, Donovan’s farewell, more

Photo: Michael Long

Philadelphia Union

In Thursday’s weekly press conference (video and transcript here at PSP), Jim Curtin said the team will need a “killer mentality” if they are to defeat Columbus on Saturday(7 pm: TCN, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick, DirecTV):

We know where we’re at physically, we can run and compete and do all that with everybody. Mentally, getting past that hurdle of “Is something going to go wrong,” you have to push through that. You cannot be a team that goes out there hesitant and afraid to make a mistake. That is no way to play this game, you get exposed if you do that in this game.

Curtin said achieving mental toughness is part of the team’s goal of become a perennial playoff team.

[W]e’re pushing to become one of these teams that is mentally tough, can persevere through those moments, and are in the playoffs every year. That’s what our fans deserve, that’s what our club wants to become, where when the season starts and they hear Philadelphia Union, it’s a team that they know will be in playoffs. Right now, those are the Kansas Citys, the Seattles, the Galaxys, Salt Lake — when you hear those teams’ names, you know they’re going to be there. Right now, we’re not one of those teams, and that’s what we’re trying to fight through. In the course of 34 games though, I’m a big believer in you are exactly what your record says you are. I really do believe that and, right now, we’re about a .500 team. That’s what we are. We have an opportunity to improve that with these last three games. It’ll be sink or swim and up to us to take that next step.

On the injury front, Curtin said he expects Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux, and Sheanon WIlliams all to be available for Saturday’s huge game. However, Ethan White is dealing with a back issue unrelated to the hamstring injury that has seen him out of the starting lineup, and Christian Maidana is questionable after coming down with flu-like symptoms.

Casey said, “I have been off a week, but I’m feeling good. I am hoping to go.”

Le Toux said, “I am probably 80-85 percent now and hoping to be much closer [to 100 percent] by Saturday.”

More on the availability of Casey and Le Toux at the Inquirer and MLSsoccer.com.

Curtin praised Zac MacMath’s professionalism ahead of what will be his first start since the US Open Cup final. MacMath said of starting on Saturday, “I don’t need more motivation to go out there and play my best. This could be my last game [or] it could be one of many games that I continue to play this year. So I’m just going to go out there and give my best and hope that it gets the team a win.” More on MacMath’s return to the starting lineup at CSN Philly.

More on the press conference at the Union website.

Previews for Saturday’s game from PSP, Philadelphia Union (video)Daily News, Inquirer, CSN PhillyBrotherly Game, Columbus CrewSoccer America, and The AP.

Fellow SB Nation blogs Brotherly Game and Massive report ask each other three questions ahead of Saturday’s game.

SportsClubStats currently has the Union’s playoff chances at 12.4 percent following Houston’s win over Toronto on Wednesday. For some predictive fun, the website has the Union’s playoff chances depending on how the finish the remaining three games:

  • 3 wins: 98.9 percent
  • 2 wins and a draw: 62.3 percent
  • 2 wins and a loss: 10.9 percent

The kickoff time for the regular season finale between the Union and the Crew in Columbus on Oct. 26 has been moved from 5 pm to 6 pm.

Union Academy U-13/14 defender Cole Turner, and midfielder Michael Pellegrino, have been called up for US U-14 BNT camp in California, Oct. 11-19.

In view of the Crew’s rebranding, the Washington Post’s Steven Goff ranks the MLS club logos. He has the Union at No. 2.


Brotherly Game asks Philadelphia Fury GM Graham Charters five questions ahead of Saturday’s game against Icon FC.

Colts Neck, NJ resident and rising USWNT U-17 star Frankie Tagliaferri gets a shoutout from Shore Sports Zone.


In yet another example of the brilliant marketing that comes out of Portland Timbers, the team created permission slips for fans to root for Seattle against Vancouver tonight.

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of all of MLS games for the upcoming week.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has “deep reservations” about the proposed plan to build NYC FC’s new stadium at the Aqueduct.

The campaign to bring an MLS franchise to El Paso officially kicked off on Thursday.

The Times of India reports that three MLS referees will officiating the opening match of the Indian Super League between Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City FC on Sunday.

Raul to the New York Cosmos?

New USL PRO side Charlotte Independence is allowing fans to vote between 12 different crest designs. Can’t say I’m a fan of any of them.


Landon Donovan will make his last appearance for the USMNT tonight against Ecuador (7 pm: ESPN, UniMás, Univision Deportes, ESPN3, Watch ESPN, Univision Deportes en Vivo). Previews from PSP, US SoccerMLSsoccer.comProSoccerTalk, Fox Sports, and Playing for 90.

Jurgen Klinsmann says he believes Donovan could have done more with his career. “As a coach, you always want to see a player that drives for his 100 percent. I wished in a certain way, ah, he could have done a bit more here and a bit more there.” No doubt, but, you know, time and place, Jurgen, time and place. More on Klinsmann’s comments about Donovan at SI and Goal.com.

At SI, Grant Wahl asks Donovan about his best goals, the best players he’s played against, and more.

At ESPN, part 1 and part 2 of a look back on Donovan’s career as recalled by former teammates and coaches.

Klinsmann also said, “I’m a deep believer in promotion-relegation systems.” He explained,

It’s not up to me saying there should be MLS, and there should be second division (that) is NASL, and there should be promotion-relegation. I just wish that we would have a system in place where all the young players and all the players in general know that there’s the next higher level and there’s a lower level (and think), ‘If I play a bad season, then that lower level is waiting for me. If I play a very, very good season then there’s the chance to go up and play at whatever you describe then as the highest level.’

More on Klinsmann’s comments at Goal.com.

Klinsmann says the plan is for Brad Guzan to get 90 minutes against Ecuador, and for Nick Rimando to get 90 minutes against Honduras.

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent read on Miro Rys, a young striker with the NASL’s Chicago Sting in the 1970s who many regarded as one of the top US prospects before he was killed in an auto accident in Germany.


TSN reports, “Lawyers for a group of female soccer players who have filed a legal challenge over having to play the Women’s World Cup on artificial turf instead of grass have provided the Canadian Soccer Association with a proposal to settle their discrimination case.” The proposal is to replace the artificial turf with temporary grass fields for a total cost of $3 million.

In case you needed it, here’s another reason why artificial turf sucks: it may give you cancer, especially if you’re a goalkeeper.

When the Haiti women’s team, in the US training ahead of the start next week of the  CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifiers, heard about the plight of the Trinidad & Tobago women’s team, who arrived in the US with no equipment and only $500, the team asked their coach to give the T&T team it’s own expenses fund, which totaled $1,316. Soon after, the Haitian’s learned that the Clinton Foundation wanted to give their team long-term support.

Goal.com reports, “FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants UEFA to review the away goals rule in the Champions League and Europa League. He feels the system – in use since 1965 – is dated and favors sides which travel in the second leg.”

Reuters reports, “Belarus police detained scores of Ukrainian and Belarussian football fans who shouted patriotic Ukrainian slogans and chanted abuse against the Russian president Vladimir Putin at a match, a rights organisation and local media said on Friday.”


  1. I wonder how many MLS players know about the possible carcinogenic threat posed by artificial turf.
    edit: Just reread the article; how on earth could anyone think it is a good and safe surface to use when it contains benzene and lead

  2. Curtin keeps harping on this “we are what our record shows” comment, which while I agree, I’m not certain why it’s so important for him to keep pushing. As a player, I’d much rather hear my coach saying that he thinks we’re better than our record shows. Again, this is a game of confidence, and there’s nothing worse than hearing your own coach stress how “average” you are. THAT makes you play scared when you come up against the SKC’s and Galaxy’s of the world.
    The only reason I can think is that he’s trying to preserve his own status and not wanting a disappointing record to be a reflection on his coaching abilities. Seems a little self-serving to me. My 2cents

    • I think the way players take it depends on the atmosphere on the team. If they take it the right way they will think of themselves as a potentially very good team that needs to prove that they aren’t average. I think he keeps trying to stress the results as a true measure of the team to try to avoid having the players feel satisfied because they think of themselves as good but unlucky

  3. The Columbus match on 10/26 was moved from 5:00 to 4:00, not 5:00 to 6:00. Wouldn’t want anyone to tune in during the 90th minute and miss the whole game!

  4. Game in Columbus pushed back an hour? There goes any chance that they’ll show the first half at PPL Park between women’s games. It’s really annoying that the Union season could come down to a game that’s being played at the same time as the WWC qualifier final AT THE UNION’S STADIUM!

  5. JK and LD. One more little dig by the German great.

    • Can you also read it as saying that LD had the skills to play in Europe had he made that his goal?

      • Nope. It’s a dig. JK just can’t keep his mouth shut. Just shut up, let LD play his 30 minutes and it’s all over with. But no he can’t do that. I think it’s petty, unprofessional, and ultimately pretty pathetic.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I actually read it that way. The whole “last game” thing going on tonight feels forced and awkward. Donovan deserves a better send off. I’m a Klinsmann fan, but he should just be quiet and let LD have the send off he deserves… albeit kind of a lame one in my opinion.

      • Sure I can read it that way, but you need to say it now? Leave the guy alone. He was a good soldier and certainly deserved to be on the roster in Brazil. The fact JK left him off is a sleight enough. The fact his son inserted foot into mouth in embarrassment is sleight enough.
        LD grew the game in this country more than Clint Dempsey did playing overseas. I’m all for playing abroad but maybe it’s just not a right fit for some. I don’t get it. The whole situation reeks of ‘no class’ from a world class player and supposedly world class coach.

      • As soon as the draw was announced, ’18 entered the picture. Brazil would be an endurance test of huge proportions. If you’re judge by results,USMNT beat the odds survive it’s group. Tonight is what. LD was owed, not a place on that team. That place he had to earn in JK’s estimation. Only if you think that choice was not up to him do you fairly say LD was disrespected. That can’t be right. The easy way out for JK was to put LD on the team & eliminate the endless questioning of his judgment. Which hasn’t stopping LD from doing just that.

      • As soon as the draw was announced, ’18 entered the picture. Brazil would be an endurance test of huge proportions. If you judge by results, USMNT beat the odds it survive its group. Tonight is what LD was owed, not a place on that team. That place he had to earn in JK’s estimation. Only if you think that choice was not up to JK can you fairly say LD was disrespected. But that can’t be right. The easy way out for JK was to put LD on the team & to eliminate the endless questioning of his judgment. Which hasn’t stopping LD from doing just that.

      • I hear ya Phil. The guy has more goals and more assists than any player in US Soccer history. I guess his announcement of retiring brought credence to JK’s decision.
        That said, I sure would have preferred seeing him on the field then Brad Davis.

      • The only explanation I have for Davis is that JK wanted that to be Dempsey’s & Bradley’s team without question and that he wanted the kids to step up. Does Brooks shoot or Green play if LD’s there? Finally LD missed a couple of chances last night that he might not have missed before. But what a tribute, man! Hope you enjoyed it.

  6. Ok. But LD hasn’t been quiet about his opinions of JK, either. They’re answering questions in interview and press conferences, not reading a statement. So who thinks LD’S absence kept us out of the quarters?

    • I’ve heard a lot more “no comment” from LD than from JK. He’s often said he was disappointed but I think LD has handled things much more professionally. Also, nothing more than my opinion but I don’t think Donovan misses that sitter that Wondo flubbed.

      • LD was on ESPN criticizing JK before and after Brazil. We’d all rather LD have that chance but I think one of the differences of the beautiful game is how much it is the team and how little it is the coach once the match starts. It would have been a totally different WC were LD there. I was satisfied with the results. That’s why I asked the question. Maybe we go just as far, not as far, or farther with LD.

  7. Well, having no viable attacking options after Jozy went down kept us out of the quarters, that’s for sure. Whether LD was that viable option, I don’t know. His presence couldn’t have hurt though…

    • LD’s a natural midfielder. Maybe instead of Brad Davis. But there was no available replacement for Jozy. Unless you want Eddie Johnson in the locker room, which you don’t. You could also say what kept us out of the quarters was just Wondo missing an open net in the 89th minute.

    • Speaking of Jozy. Wonder what his next move might be as the ballast of his career is thrown overboard at Sunderland. Hey Jozy, have you seen the Betsy Ross House or had a Gino’s or seen the Ben Franklin Bridge at night? Hey FO, it’s called courting. As much as I am not a particular fan of Jozy for the MNT- he’d score 30 a year over here and I just wonder if he is growing a bit weary of the european experience.
      Altidore. Do it.

  8. old soccer coach says:

    My own guess why Brad Davis was on the team in Brazil was that he was needed as a practice player who could provide good service in scrimmages. We outsiders have no idea what the internal dynamic of the group with Donovan in it might have been. The chemistry of the locker room is something very hard to judge from outside of it. We will never know until all those guys are retired and somebody gets drunk and talks.

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