Daily news roundups

Sak backs Curtin, expects “significant” roster shakeup. USMT draws, USWNT WC qualification begins.

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The spotlight of discontent from local mainstream media after the Union’s elimination from playoff contention continues to focus on CEO Nick Sakiewicz. Following John Smallwood’s column at the Daily News, which said the responsibility of the Union’s struggles resides with Sakiewicz, fellow Daily News columnist Will Bunch writes under the headline, “Surprise! The worst sports exec in Philly is NOT Ruben Amaro Jr.”:

Philadelphia doesn’t deserve a lot of things — but we definitely didn’t deserve this…No one in the Union’s passionate fan base expected a title in Year One. Instead, the fans patiently filled all or most of their handsome riverside sports palace, PPL Park week after week  — and expected smart management that would patiently reward them with a winner. Instead, they were “rewarded” with a bizarre revolving door of players, coaches, and strategies that often zig-zagged several times in the course of a given season, going nowhere.

In an article posted today, Sakiewicz spoke to Smallwood and “all but affirmed the widely held belief that interim Union manager Jim Curtin will have that tag removed and keep his job for the 2015 season.” Sakiewicz told Smallwood he expects that the Union will have a “significant” roster shake-up in the offseason, adding,

You can quote me that Jim Curtin, [assistant coach Mike Sorber] and [technical director/assistant coach] Chris Albright will get all the support and resources they need to bring in the players that they want.

[Curtin] is the right man. We want to make the playoffs next year, the year after that and the year after that. Our absolute goal is to build a winning franchise.

In his weekly press conference on Tuesday (transcript here at PSP), Jim Curtin said the team was “devastated” and “crushed” by the loss to Columbus. “They feel like they let the fans down — we all feel that way.”

Speaking of his own reaction to the Columbus loss, Curtin said, “I’m a young coach, but I don’t think I’ll have two more devastating what feel like losses in a row in my career.”

Asked what kind of side he would field on Saturday against Kansas City, Curtin said, ” [W]e’re going to put the best team on the field, keep the integrity of the playoff race alive because there are still teams fighting for seeds. I’m not going to just throw out all the sudden all these guys just because the season’s over. I still believe in playing the guys who earn it during the week in practice.”

Asked about Amobi Okugo, who is out of contract at the end of the season, and his future with the club, Curtin said, “Amobi’s a guy that’s been here from the start, he’s a fan favorite. He’s a guy that has aspirations to play in Europe, and we’ll see how that goes in the off season, if he wants to explore that option, that’s an option. But, yeah, those are some discussions that will happen toward the end of the year. But, again, a very good player that aspires to play in Europe, so we’ll see how that goes.”

Will Maurice Edu be with the team next year after the expiration of his one-year loan from Stoke, with the Union having the option to buy? Edu said,

These are things that need to be discussed. It’s out of my hands a little bit. But I’ve definitely enjoyed it here. This is a group I believe in. I have a lot of confidence about things we can achieve. This year we could have achieved a lot but we came up a little bit short. But we have a good group here. And if we’re able to keep this team together, I think we can be very successful in the coming years.

I’m not sure how Edu’s hope that the club will be able to keep the team together jibes with Sakiewicz’s expectation of a significant roster shake up, but he had this to say about the 2014 Union: “You saw a team that competed every game for 90 minutes. Maybe it wasn’t always the best, maybe we came up short in some games, maybe there were some mental errors. But you can’t ever fault the effort. And I think from that, it’s a good starting point to build on.”

At the Union website, Ray Gaddis says, “Whether it’s left back, right back, center back, whatever the coaches need, I’m willing to do. I feel blessed to be in this position and I’m honored to be part of this club. They drafted me and have worked with me from the beginning. I want to reward them and the great fans here who support the Union. My goal and my focus is to do everything I possibly can to assist this club.”

In the Castrol Index Weekly Top 20 Performers list, Andrew Wenger comes in at No. 5 and Vincent Nogueira comes in at No. 19. In the Full Index, the top five Union players are Wenger (No. 20), Conor Casey (No. 27), Sebastien Le Toux (No. 51), Maurice Edu (No. 66), and Amobi Okugo (No. 71).

In MLSsoccer.com’s power rankings, the Union remain at No. 12: “That game was bonkers. For the second straight week the Union took a lead at home in a must-win game, and for the second straight week found an unimaginable way to blow it.” The Union also stay at No. 12 at ProSoccerTalk: “It was all so promising when the Union beat Toronto in early September to cap a three-match win streak. Five matches later, there have been just three points added to their total. Tough end to a decent ride.”

Brotherly Game has another look at the loss to Columbus.

Michael Lahoud talks to PRI and the BBC about the Ebola crisis, its effect on the Sierra Leone national team, and the #KickEbolaInTheButt campaign.

Local

Penn was thumped 4-1 by Rutgers on Tuesday night.

FootGolf anyone?

MLS

DC United’s Luis Silva could be out for 4-6 weeks and miss much of the playoffs with a hamstring injury.

The Houston Chronicle reports Dominic Kinnear is leaving the Dynamo to take over at San Jose.

Orlando City president Phil Rawlins says, “Orlando is the Soccer Capital of the South!”

NYCFC has passed the 10,000 season tickets sold mark.

Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders have taken fan engagement to a new level with the announcements on Tuesday of two USL PRO sides that will begin play in 2015.

The press release for the announcement of the Timbers USL PRO side, to be known as T2, says fans will have “an unprecedented opportunity to engage with and influence”  through the 1975 Trust program:

The 1975 Trust gives supporters the chance to be a T2 founding member and to help shape the direction of the club from the beginning. There is no cost to join the 1975 Trust, and enrollment is open only during the inaugural season to the first 1,975 people who purchase season tickets. Members of the 1975 Trust will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of team decisions and activities, such as choosing team kits on match day, helping choose the food and beverage options available at home games, helping shape the creative direction on club design projects and the ability to attend club meetings.

Seattle Sounders have announced the launch of Sounders FC 2, a USL PRO team that will begin play in 2015. Taking fan engagement to a higher level, the announcement says, “The team, known as S2, will operate under the management of Sounders FC and the Sounders Community Trust, an unprecedented, fan-owned organization that will hold a 20-percent interest in the team…The Trust will elect one representative to sit on the Second Team Executive Board with the purpose of both influencing and supporting the direction of Sounders FC through S2, as well as helping support access to soccer in the community.”

Similar to the 1975 Trust program, the Sounders “have created a Founders Club, which will partner with the Sounders Community Trust to provide members with various benefits, including Sounders Community Trust membership and full voting rights, discounted Second Team season tickets, in addition to access to exclusive events with players and staff.”

EW reports that ABC has signed a deal for a comedy called “Men in Shorts,” a “single-camera comedy inspired by professional soccer player Robbie Rogers.” EW’s reports says the show follows “a young pro soccer player who takes one small step out of the closet and one giant leap into the spotlight. The show will include family and workplace comedy.”

US

Women’s World Cup Qualifiers

The USWNT begins World Cup qualification tonight against Trinidad & Tobago (8:30pm: Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports Go).

At US Soccer, notes on the T&T squad. The Guardian reports that the T&T federation was embarrassed by head coach Randy Waldrum’s call for help on Twitter after the team arrived last week in Houston for training with no equipment and only $500 for expenses.

Previews from Fox Soccer, SITeam USA, and Soccer America.

Julie Johnston has been called into the squad to replace Crystal Dunn, who has a knee injury.

Christen Press continues to get good press, this time from SI. She’s one of my favorites.

USMNT 1-1 Honduras

Recaps from PSP, US Soccer, MLssoccer.com, ASN, Soccer AmericaOrlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Washington Post, ProSoccerTalk, SBIDirty Tackle, Goal.combeIN Sport, The Sports Network, and The AP.

Player ratings at ESPNMLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, and Goal.com.

Orlando Sentinel has takeaways from the game. MLSsoccer.com has three things. ESPN has three points. SI has three thoughts. Fox Sports has five points. ProSoccerTalk has three heroes and three downers.

Miami Herald has a photo gallery from the game.

How did Jermaine Jones do at center back? SI and Goal.com have some thoughts.

ASN was impressed with Mix Diskerud and Greg Garza.

ESPN and Yahoo Sports on how Michael Bradley has no regrets about leaving Europe for MLS.

Sunil Gulati isn’t so hot on the idea of Premier League teams playing competitive games in the US. “You’d have to look at the effects on the domestic league and on the other regulations of FIFA when you have cross-border play or in this case two teams from abroad playing in an official competition. That’s different from exhibition games, which are frequently played in various places around the world.”

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “A small drone dangling an Albanian banner and circling the soccer field touched off fighting between Serbian and Albanian players and fans Tuesday, forcing a European Championship qualifier to be called off.”

UEFA has opened an investigation into the incident, with The Guardian reporting, “Serbia are likely to have to play some of their remaining qualifiers behind closed doors, while Albania also face heavy sanctions from UEFA after it opened disciplinary proceedings following ‘inexcusable’ scenes of disorder on the pitch in Belgrade on Tuesday night.”

The Guardian notes, “The match was Albania’s first visit to Belgrade since 1967 and a highly sensitive affair given long-running tensions over Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has a majority ethnic Albanian population.”

Ganbold Buyannemekh, the head of the Mongolian FA and a former member of the Asian Football Confederation’s executive committee, has been banned by FIFA for five years for ‘soliciting and accepting” bribes from former FIFA executive and presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.

37 Comments

  1. fgdsfgsdfhdsbsd

  2. “Significant roster changes”? Hasn’t that been Toronto’s game plan every season?

    And I’ll believe “the technical staff will build the roster as they see fit” when I see it. We wouldn’t have the MBohli situation if that was the case

  3. I believe this is called getting ahead of the story. Sak know a significant roster shake up is happening weather he wants itvto happen or not. But coming out like he did makes him look tough and proactive.
    Floundering poseurs love to look tough and proactive.

    • Totally spot on. The “roster shakeup” is happening no matter what.
      .
      At a minimum, Casey will likely hang it up, Carroll might retire as well and if not won’t be re-signed anyway, Amobi is out of contract and will probably go to Europe, Zac is going to ask to be traded, we probably can’t afford Edu’s buy option, and Brian Brown’s loan is up.
      .
      Not a single one of these things will be due to Sak “shaking things up” as much as he wants us to think so.

    • James lockerbie says:

      I agreed with you he is putting this out there like it’s his idea. However the reality is the roster is about to fall apart. Young guys moving on if the opportunity is there to get away from this train wreck old guys hanging up the boots their out if gas. So it’s not nick cleaning house as much as it’s passengers diving off the sinking ship

  4. I love how they make resigning Okugo seem like something that can only happen during the off season. Like resigning Gaddis didn’t happen

    • To be fair, there was simply no way that Amobi was going to sign a new deal during the season. Why would he? It’s no secret he wants to give it a shot in Europe, and being available for no transfer fee raises his stock abroad significantly, as well as increasing his bargaining power in negotiating for a new contract with us.

      • True.
        But leaving that carrot out there needlessly only comes back to bite you later.

        Why leave out false hope when you have enough PR problems in the offseason as is.

      • James Lockerbie says:

        you still have to do something to get okugo to sign on the dotted line. He may have wanted more money, more respect or just a change in scenery. The Union may have wanted to get something done like gaddis or maybe not.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Gaddis was making pennies compared to Okugo. Gaddis was smart to take an extension, get a raise, and have some stability. Okugo on the other hand has been paid decently since entering MLS, and is ready to take the risk of more money in Europe. Plus if I’m Okugo, you couldn’t offer me enough to stay around this tire fire.

      • I really think they tried. I think ideally they wanted to announce the signing of Gaddis and Okugo at the same time. If they didn’t get it done then I doubt they would now after everything that has happened.

      • James Lockerbie says:

        True, that’s how I see it. It really is going to be a interesting winter.

        I will check my schedule, must attend the draft. See what curtin nd staff do

  5. Significant roster shake-ups every year are also probably part of the problem. If you look at the most successful organizations in the league, they’ve kept the same core of players every year and only add a few new pieces to improve here and there. How long have the core players in LA, Seattle, and Salt Lake been together? How long were the Spanish players in Barcelona and Madrid together during that 4 year run? Personally, I think the Union already has enough talent to make the playoffs consistently. Winning the cup is a whole other ball of wax that I think requires them to get their hands on a few bonafide, go-to stars that are consistent goal-scoring threats or defensive stalwarts. I think the Union’s roster is loaded with very good but not great players, and I think if we had 2 or 3 legitimate stars things would open up more for us (and lead to a deeper bench which is also something we lack).

    • Well LA, Seattle and RSL are winning with the players they have. There would be no reason to scrap their core players. The Union, however, are not winning with our core players. Thus changes are mandatory and needed.

  6. Wilkerson McLaser says:

    Good news, everyone! We’re the next Toronto, just without the deep pockets or a downtown view! yayy…

  7. Too bad Sakiewicz cares nothing about this fan base or the talk of major roster shake ups would only come after he brings in a GM and announces his own resignation. Once a snake oil salesman always a snake oil salesman!

  8. I remember my thirst for good baseball being so strong during the mid 90’s I took to watching the Yankees. A closet Yankees fan. An ardent fan of Derek Jeter- to this day even. Save the 09 Series I was always with one eye on the Yankees. Easy to enjoy good baseball. To respect the game when played well- despite who was playing it.
    .
    As the Phillies earned my trust & respect back I began to show support to the local team who was always my favorite child all along, wearily- and threw myself into the club for nearly 10 years when I thought they were healthy for good. Unfortunately, sometimes the drug-addled relative needs to be shunned until they earn back the right to be part of the family and here we go again with the Phillies, using again– and The Union now too— who for whatever reason can’t seem to make a go of it after the latest Rehab stint- don’t seem to truly be present to the necessary change of spirit that comes with sobriety- to my growing pain and emotional involvement.
    .
    The Union are so close to losing me. So close. I will always love them but I don’t trust them and cannot continue to sit by while they steal my money tell me how things will be different this time. I am truly disappointed in the direction and leadership of this club. For so many reasons. Major roster overhaul? We don’t need a major roster overhaul. We need clear concise pointed direction with a philosophy and a plan.
    .
    So what, where does one go to watch a good game? Obviously the answer is overseas – any saturday provides plenty of chances to watch the beautiful game- but that doesn’t help the local spirit of the game stateside- so I become a closet NYCFC fan- with their shiny toys just like in the mid 90’s. Hey Union this is my intervention- [email protected] YoU- get your life together.
    .
    The rhetoric by the club and by this fan sucks balls.

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head with these two sentences:
      .
      “We don’t need a major roster overhaul. We need clear concise pointed direction with a philosophy and a plan.”

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Joel… Are you available to speak to my younger brother?!? Cause he needs to get his shit together too…Ha. Well said my friend, well said.

      • One thing I know about is recovery and this team isn’t yet admitting it has a problem.
        .
        The boat of circular reasoning sails on.

      • The difference between baseball and soccer is the monopoly on your attention that MLB has on you versus MLS. If you like “good baseball” you’ve only got one place to go and that’s MLB. As you grow hungrier for better game inevitably you end up watching the Yankees even if it is to root against them. Then when your home team is “good” (AKA winning) you switch attention, hyper-focus and probably stick with them longer than should hoping they’ll turn it around or just to savor those “good” moments.

        MLS and the Union better be careful because it seems like they are treating us the same way, but it’s totally different in soccer. As you get a taste for “good soccer” you start looking for opportunities to see the best players, sometimes teams, sometimes even the manager is so great that you will follow him. All of that interest elads you across about a dozen leagues and dozens of teams worldwide. It all culminates with the national teams playing in majors tournaments; Euros, World cup etc. With all of the frequent and repetitive competition there is little doubt what “good soccer” is. Now for me I want to like the local professional team and I want to like the local professional league… mostly so I can do things like go onto a blog like this and have this great group experience. However, all my soccer interest begins and ends with how many guys in my local team/league are competing at that top international level? I really don’t care if the Union win or lose regular season games other than it either extends the season or it doesn’t. I do care that they have only a handful of guys that are or may potentially be at the international team level and the ones that they do have are regularly made redundant with trades, played out of position or not played at all. When I see negligence from the Front Office I lose interest because I have options. Again my focus goes back up to the international teams and will not come back down to the local level until I notice some guys up there that are down here. Why else pay attention? Winning? Winning what? Can’t win the MLS Cup wihtout making the playoffs. Can’t win USOC with some of your best players on the bench… yawn.

      • Ger N. I like it. My rant ends with the rhetoric comment because mostly the whole rant was just that- rhetoric- just like the slop they shovel into my trough. I’m not going anywhere- certainly not to NYCFC fandom. To hell with that team- I’ve already made clear at multiple spots along the blog journey here- my loyalties ‘abroad’ reside with the NY Cosmos. Btw, did you ever see my response to one of your comments about 3 weeks ago and Jungle Ball and the Brothers Kleiben? You familiar with the revolution they are televising? The shit they are doing and basically giving away for free is like studying at Emory Riddle or Standford.

      • Joel, I see it now. I am familiar with brothers Kleiban and yes I am guilty of stealing their phrase “jungle ball”. And while they ate a big piece of humble pie while The World figured out the Spanish system and exposed the vulnerabilities of “possession” at all costs, the world also discovered the simplicity and effectiveness of playing the ball out of the back like the Spanish. The Kleibans put out the best explanation of playing out of the back that I’ve seen online.
        http://coaching.3four3.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Possession-out-of-the-Back.pdf

        Most World Cup teams played the ball out of the back this time. Nowadays even most Mls teams play the ball out of the back.
        With Edu and Valdes at CB and the skill of our midfield we should be able to at least do this well, but again there’s this invisible hand controlling the Union that says Edu doesn’t play CB and somehow we get sucked into jungle ball when we get down, tired or panicky. I want better.

  9. This club needs a style of play shake up as much as a roster shake up……

    • Union5.
      .
      A philosophy. A plan. Human chess requires strategy. Soccer is human chess and the more you play or watch poor chess players play, the more they expose themselves as poor players. The FO is comprised of poor chess players. This is absolutely no different then the game played on a board with ranks and files. No different.
      .
      Sincerely,

      Dooped Again.

  10. OneManWolfpack says:

    I just want to say, I love when media reports come out… and everyone denies them… then like a week later they are 100% true. That just cracks me up. I’m referring to Kinnear & San Jose. Hilarious. Ha!
    .
    People think we Americans take sports seriously. That Serbia / Albania match got scary yesterday. I saw some clips, and it looked like a war was gonna erupt. Crazy.
    .
    I have no idea what to think anymore with this team. I will continue to both support and criticize them. Going into our 6th year, I think we are worse off than our 1st. It’s just really, really frustrating.

    • old soccer coach says:

      At the turn of the sixties into the seventies there was the soccer war in Central America, Belize and a neighbor.

  11. Haven’t read the Smallwood article yet, but I’ll set the over/under for number of times Sakiewicz says “we’re an ambitious club” at 3. It’s the new “that happened under previous management”, where he repeats something over and over every time he sits in front of a microphone and somehow thinks that makes it true. He must focus group his favorite talking point every so often to counter the current negative vibe of the fanbase.

    • …and after reading, he didn’t even say it once! There goes my future career as a Vegas line-setter. Don’t know how I’m supposed to know we’re ambitious now though without Nick’s assurances…

  12. Edu: “You saw a team that competed every game for 90 minutes … But you can’t ever fault the effort.”
    ——
    We did? When was that? July? Coming off a game where they looked average against a terrible Chicago team (see 17 ties), and when they finally scored they gave up the lead 2+ minutes later. To trump that, exactly 7 days later they give up a 2-goal lead in 5 minutes. This team has rarely played a full 90 minutes, and I recall several times this season where I can entirely fault the effort. I get he’s trying to say the “right things,” but I really hope the players and front office are not satisfied with this season.

    • enough of this talk of effort. You are professionals-effort goes with the job title. Don’t give me effort. Don’t give me more rhetoric- yes rhetoric is my theme for today friends. Your rhetoric is the same rubbish as saying he’s an athletic player- which means, skill-less. I SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE YOU- stop hiding.

  13. old soccer coach says:

    I gently disagree that they are worse than in 2010. How many starters are now starting or playing significant roles in the league, discounting for the depredations of age?

    Far and away our midfield this season is a significant improvement on its predecessors.

    Yes, our defense has not been as effective.

    And our offense shows the same inability to breakdown a bunker, we score only when space can be exploited through hard work, anticipation and speed.

    What has not yet improved is our immediate talent scouting. And it is too soon to know whether the heavy, sensible investment in a youth system will yet to produce results for the first team. Only Athena sprang into the world as a full armed adult.

    In 2010 they had no minor league affiliates; This season the Harrisburg coach changed his approach, improved his roster, got into the playoffs and made the final. REmember that in Major League baseball it was widely assumed that the Yankees triple A farm team in Newark was better than the Kansas City Athletics of the American league. The long-term plan seems sound.

  14. Do people favor bringing Edu back? Off the field, Edu is as polished and professional as they come; a great face of the franchise type player. On the field, I have no interest in bringing back Edu the midfielder. I’d love to have Edu the centerback return, but that’s largely up to him.

    • I have no major objections with Okugo gone and Valdes/White settled into the back we can build our team from this spine and move forward.
      If he decides to leave I can live with that too.

    • DarthLos117 says:

      I’m all for Edu back AND specifically back as our DMid…he was statistically our best DMid…his offensive stats didnt come from him playing the CB role.

  15. James Lockerbie says:

    CB EDU please and thank you. I was not impressed with Edu midfield,nor was J.K

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