Daily news roundups

Zac expects to be back, Edu says future out of his hands, Geiger controversy, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

In an interview with the Inquirer’s Marc Narducci, Zac MacMath said of his future with the Union, “At this point I expect to be back. Right now I have a contract with the Union and think I have proven I can handle the starting role.”

At the Daily News, Maurice Edu, his loan to the Union from Stoke about to expire, says of his future in Philadelphia, “I don’t know; that’s out of my hands at this point. It’s up to the clubs [Stoke and the Union] to come to an agreement.”

Whatever his future with the club, Edu backs Jim Curtin. “Guys bought into what he wanted to achieve and the style and direction he wanted to take the team. I think you saw the benefit of that. You can’t really argue with numbers and his numbers speak for themselves.”

Despite only playing 238 minutes over three seasons, Zach Pfeffer makes it clear he doesn’t want to play anywhere but with the Union. “I definitely want to be here. I want to continue to be here in Philly. I want to continue to keep taking steps forward. I want to continue to make an impact and be here with my hometown team…I think next year is going to be big for me.”

At Delco Times, Andrew Wenger talks about the conundrum of Union players individually, collectively, and consistently realizing their potential. “The positives are that we have both talented players, good people and people that want to get better and make sure we make the playoffs next year. And we’re trying to move forward in that fashion…So turning that, what is potential, into the real thing is really where we need to make the jump.”

Wenger’s  prescription for 2015:

I think what it comes down to is preparing properly in the offseason, having a good start to the year because it’s hard to make the playoffs when you’re always chasing it throughout the season. If you look at (Eastern Conference champs) D.C. United this season, from minute one, they kind of set the tone and grinded through results, and I think that’s what we need to do next year, is being able to grind out results from minute one through minute 90 through every game.

Amobi Okugo agrees that lapses in consistency hurt the Union. “If you take it down to stretches or moments where we lacked a little bit of focus – five minutes one game, 10 minutes one game – it wasn’t like the whole game we played bad. It was moments in the game, and that’s what let us down in achieving our goals.”

By the way, Andrew Wenger’s first goal in the 4-2 win over San Jose on Aug. 24 was in Group C for the first round of voting for Goal of the Year at MLSsoccer.com. Voting opened yesterday and closed yesterday at midnight. Tell me how that make’s sense.

Brotherly Game kicks off a “You be the GM” series with Amobi Okugo.

Local

The Drexel men’s team is out of contention for Colonial Athletic Association postseason play after losing 4-0 to Delaware on Wednesday. Drexel had won the previous two CAA regular season championships.

2-0 win over conference rival Chestnut Hill on Wednesday afternoon saw the Philadelphia University women’s soccer team win its first Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference regular season title since 2011.

On Wednesday, Archbishop Wood won the District 12 Class AA girls soccer title with a crushing 11-0 win over Science Leadership Academy. Wood will next face the District 11 champion (Northwestern Lehigh or Saucon Valley) at the South Philadelphia Super Site on Tuesday in the state tournament.

Conwell-Egan Catholic girls soccer team defeated Philadelphia Academy Charter 3-0 on Wednesday to clinch their third straight District 12 Class A title. On Tuesday, the team will play a first-round game Tuesday in the state Class A tournament against District One champion Christopher Dock at a yet to be determined place and time.

Brotherly Game recaps Philadelphia Fury’s 3-3 draw with Mass United.

At the Naval Academy Athletics website, video of the recent press conference with Navy head coach Dave Brandt and Army head coach Russell Payne ahead of the Army-Navy Cup III at PPL Park on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 pm.

MLS

Dallas defeated Vancouver 2-1 thanks to a controversial handball decision from Mark Geiger in the 82nd minute that resulted in a the go-ahead goal from the penalty spot. How controversial was the call (video here)?

Dallas will now face Seattle in the Western Conference semifinals, with the first leg kicking off at 9 pm on ESPN2 on Sunday.

The Eastern Conference knockout game between New York and Kansas City kicks off tonight at 8 pm on ESPN2. The winner will face DC on Sunday at 4 pm (Univision, MLS Live).

This from an interview at The Guardian with Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan: “‘I am looking to buy a club in Europe,’ he said, adding an announcement about US Major League Soccer was also imminent. ‘Investing in MLS, I think it’s long term. If we invest now, in 20 years it will be worth a lot.'” Tan is expected to be a part of the ownership group that is purchasing the Chivas USA franchise that will be announced by the league later today.

Columbus Crew have signed midfielder Mohammed Saeid from Sweden first division side Örebro SK. He will be officially added to the roster on Jan. 1.

Chicago Fire have re-signed Lovel Palmer.

Steve Zakuani has announced his retirement. At MLSsoccer.com, a look back over his “brief, thrilling” career.

A “source” tells ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle that Raul has signed with New York Cosmos. You will recall that rumors have been circulating for several weeks about the Spaniard signing with the club. Carlisle says, “The source added that in addition to his playing duties, Raul will take on an advisory role with the club’s youth academy, where he will help establish training guidelines as well as the academy’s overall structure.Upon his retirement, Raul will head up the academy full time.”

US

In his end-of-the-season press conference, Toronto head coach Greg Vanney has described conversations between himself and Jurgen Klinsmann about Michael Bradley. “Most of the conversation to be fair was Jurgen telling me how he thinks Michael should be played, and my conversations are more with Michael and how Michael feels he should be played.” Vanney added, “I think Jurgen feels he is a player who should be higher up the field, but I don’t know that Jurgen and Michael see things exactly eye to eye.”

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre considers the hubbub over Klinsmann making the Coach of the Year shortlist and notes that Klinsmann’s reputation in Europe is much higher than it is here. He then adds, “This isn’t a debate worth having. FIFA’s World Coach of the Year decoration is a hollow prize, an honor that is impossible to take seriously. The glaring omission of ex-Costa Rica boss Jorge Luis Pinto, who led the Ticos out of another fearsome foursome and got within a hair of a World Cup semifinal, guarantees that.”

Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera says, “I don’t know why Jurgen Klinsmann is on the list of the best 10 managers of the year, maybe because he’s German.”

Elsewhere

The European Club Association has presented its plan to FIFA for staging the 2022 World Cup on April 28-May 29 of that year. The AP reports, “Looking at a decade of statistics, the ECA said the hottest temperature in Qatar in April and May is 33.8 C (93 F). That would be ‘less extreme,’ according to the ECA, than the heat at Mexico in 1986, the United States in 1994 and Brazil this year.” Under the ECA proposal, the FA Cup and Copa del Rey would take place in June after the World Cup.

If you have the stomach for some executive level palaver, FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke takes part in a Q&A on the FIFA website. Among the chestnuts are:

  • “More and more [women’s] players are becoming recognised as professional athletes and, nowadays, can make their living out of football. This is thanks to the FIFA Women’s World Cup and its global prominence.”
  • The “sole reason behind the decision to play on artificial turf from day one” at the 2015 Women’s World Cup “is not a question of money, or of differences between men’s and women’s events, but it is a matter of the natural conditions in Canada: we want to guarantee consistent top-level playing conditions for all 24 teams during the event, both in the official stadiums and at the training sites.”
  • Making no reference to the lawsuit that has been filed against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association over the use of artificial turf, Valcke says, “Dialogue with the participating teams and, naturally, the players is very important to us and we keep open channels of communication with all parties before, during and after the event.”
  • Here’s the kicker: “It could well be that sooner rather than later the men’s World Cup will also be played on artificial pitches.”

More on Valcke’s comments at SI.

Information Nigeria reports, “FIFA has given Nigeria until midday Friday, October 31, to overturn a court ruling which annulled the recent election into the Executive Committee (EXCo) of its football federation or face international suspension until May 2015.”

SI weighs in on FIFA’s third-party ownership ban and its affect on South American soccer.

From The Guardian, “Hamburg have apologised to Bayern Munich after a fan invaded the pitch during their German Cup tie and slapped Franck Ribéry with a scarf.” A “a relaxed and smiling” Ribery brushed the incident off: “Fortunately, nothing much happened. It was a difficult situation, I didn’t see him coming.”

From the new issue of When Saturday Comes, reprinted at the Guardian, “Football futurology: how technology could change the sport in 50 years.”

This just in from the Department of Things to do in Moscow, Spartak and Dynamo Moscow supporters have a “tradition” of meeting up for a fight before their teams play one another. 38 participants are allowed on each side. Weapons are not allowed, although repeatedly kicking and stomping someone on the ground is apparently a-ok. When the sides are done beating each, everyone shakes hands. The 2018 World Cup is gonna be great.

36 Comments

  1. I fear people are overestimating Wenger.

    Yes, he had a good run at Winger … for a handful of games.

    This is the same player who did not have a position coming out of college and was anonymous as a Striker in the league. Not to mention people in the mLS think his best spot is as defender.

    IF we go into next year thinking this guy is going to be some sort of above average threat at winger we are scrwed.

    • I want him at LB.

      • I heard people say that he would be a great centerback because of his physical attributes, but never a left back. What makes you think that he would work well as left back?

        I think if you view Wenger as a target winger like Kei Kamara was for SKC, that position seems to suit him very well. Wenger has been bounced around way too much as a pro, playing different positions and I think if you keep him in this target winger role, he will improve upon this year’s performance. He’s got a lot of talent.

      • I don’t have a problem, per se with him in the role he is in… my comment is more hypothetical.
        .
        I’d even take him at RB.
        .
        I think he fits the mold of the new outside wing-back. Big and strong. Quick. Technically adept- able to get up the field and back- make well timed outside pushes to overlap, to create width to get in to the attack.
        .
        All this being said– if we adopt the 2 striker set and Maidana and Le Toux play as midfielders and Okugo and Noguiera also.
        .
        4-4-2, really- you know, when I am king and they ask for input.

  2. 1. Noooooo Zac… I guess you have to try and make the best of it seeing you are still under contract but Sak just threw you under the bus…again. Time to get out of here.

    2. I don’t see the problem with Klinsmann being on the shortlist.The shortlit is 10 names. Who else hould be on that list other than Klinsmann?

    3.I could see Quatar possibly Russia pushing pretty hard for artificial turf. Both don’t seem like prime grass growing areas of the world.

  3. Unless Zak is plucked from the expansion draft, he will likely be back. That will allow Blake to go on loan somewhere and get a full season of minutes. And while Sak may have indeed said what he really feels,about MacMath, it is not neccesarily a bad thing to put some doubt in the market place if he is going to be unprotected in the expansion pool.

    • It’s not exactly a good thing to lower a players value so when he does leave he is going for free. Instead of getting value back for him.

      • The Chopper says:

        MLS has an over abundance of capable, unspectacular and average American goal keepers. Zak doesn’t have a whole lot of value on the return market right now.

        He certainly could get plucked in the expansion draft, but I don’t see any club giving up much to acquire him. No one was beating on the Union door to get him was Mbolhi was signed or even when Blake was drafted.

      • Absolutely. So why break the bank on a keeper at all? For that matter, why throw a young kid in there to make mistakes? Forget these high draft picks, and these international names in goal, and just go get a cheap, decent veteran American and spend the money elsewhere.

    • I think what Sak said was bad. I don’t think there’s anything good about his comment. Maybe in 2015 he could restrict his comments to exclude anything that doesn’t have a dollar sign in front of it.

  4. Of course Jorge Luis Pinto should be on a 10-best coaches list, but I have no problem with Klinsmann on that list. Team USA far exceeded my expectations.

    • Wow. You must have had some really low expectations.

      • I’m not quite sure that is a fair statement and I will be the first to argue that team USA played like …. more of the same dreck- that speaks to our obvious lack of sophistication — blah blah blah- words words words yada yada yada.
        .
        Any time a team winds up in the final 16 there is a measure of success that has to be accounted for- particularly when everything you were hoping to accomplish went out the window with Altidore’s pulled hamstring in game one.
        .
        They survived Ghana. They botched Portugal though played quite nicely. They were fortunate Germany were happy with a 1-0 game- and empathic towards their former great player and MNT coach Klinsman. Had the Germans wanted or needed to win by 4 they would have.
        .
        As for Belgium- that game just put in relief how truly far away we are. Still though, they advanced which is more than Italy, England, Croatia, Spain and Russia were able to accomplish. That counts.
        .
        Believe me I am not a USMNT or US Soccer apologist by any measure either.

      • But they played the way they needed to play to advance. How many EPLers were on tbe Belgium side? Yet had stoppage time gone few more minutes (AS JK screamed at the officials it should), I’d like to think we score & Belgium barely escaped. Could we have played that way for 90 minutes? No. Especially not in those conditions & with all the travel. And MB -despite the turnover that cost us Portugal – was our MVP. Even over Howard’s epic performance against Germany. Also JK was already looking to’18.

      • Think we are arguing similar points mostly. Kids screaming in my ear- tough tracking.

      • I’m happy to be a JK apologist. Had USMNT not advanced at this critical juncture in the American sport’s development, it’s a huge setback. Like JC, JK knows it’s your record. And the results speak for themselves. How we got them doesn’t matter – except that the mantle was also handed from LD to Deuce & MB – because it was time. Bad draw & hostile conditions meant get out with what you can & look ahead. Mission accomplished.

      • I read somewhere then that most “experts” gave them less than a 30% chance of getting out of group. If your expectations were the quarters, you were by yourself. They did beat any reasonable expectations – especially after 20 mins against Ghana when Jozy was lost.

  5. On Maurice Edu’s comments about the numbers speaking for themselves:
    .
    Such rhetoric I am soooo tired of hearing from professionals in this age of political correctness. Do the numbers really speak for themselves? Do they? What do they say?
    .
    cause from what I see– the numbers SHOW me a team that got a bit of an expected ‘boost’ after the firing of Hackworth — which is often times typical— against some inferior teams — that pretty quickly became mayonnaise melting into some strange shit by the time the hot September sun came around.
    .

  6. Is Klinsman fixated on playing Bradley up the field? I don’t see it. Id rather Diskerud up the field and Bradley in holding role.
    .
    Seems odd to me.
    .
    And another thing- can we set up a rumble too? Sounds like fun. Who should we rumble against: DC United, NYRB, NE?
    .

    • Wilkerson McLaser says:

      How about the FO?

    • Agreed but maybe Klinsy sees all those assists from MB at the 10. They need more weapons.

      • Indeed just seems to be inverted IMO- interesting cause from what I’ve seen Diskerud is much more inventive with his vision and decision making than MB- even though MB is good for a little chip pass behind defenders once a game which is its own invention.
        .
        I’m not a big Diskerud fan (yet) but he is improving it seems and offers a kind of Helter Skelter unconventional whimsy to his play- which, in the absence of true genius or advanced IQ by all around the #10 — is the next best thing. He brings some right brain.

      • I think MB really impressed JK with the phenomenal work rate in Brazil so the fitness fanatic wants a more prominent role for him in the offense. Just a guess.

      • Could be. As for me, the talk of our players and athleticism and fitness is passé. Code words for not very good IMO. If the CAM knows what he’s doing, from my perspective fitness is of little recourse- assuming this is JK interest in MB as CAM.
        .
        What an interesting time to observe the direction this all takes- whether with our local boys or the men and women of the red white and blue.
        .
        For me, I see no way that we improve enough in the next four years to warrant a semi’s push. We’re still pushing the rock up the hill against old ingrained diabolically bass-ackward methods of teaching and learning the game. I think we are still at least 12 or 16 years away. It’s getting better, slowly.
        .

  7. I’m thinking that, after watching that call, the Geiger counter should go back to rating how terrible refs are again.

  8. Vintage Geiger. “You fellas run around all you like but I’ll decide the outcome of this game, thank you”. Such a tool.

    • Conspiracy theory alert: Whitecaps far more likely to beat Seattle than Dallas. Ratings nightmare: Sounders bounced in round 1. “Mark, please hold for Commissioner Garber . . . .”

  9. OneManWolfpack says:

    Is there a number lower than -999999999999999999999 for Geiger? That was terrible…

  10. old soccer coach says:

    the 2013 and 2014 Union teams were effective counterattacking against possessing attacking teams. There are two kinds of those; the ones that do it all the time (SKC) and the ones who are tactically adaptable (most of the rest).

    We now have the midfield to play more than one way in the central channel and in the left channel, as the skills there allow switching among small triangle one time passing, beating a defender one v one, and switching the field of play out of the channel and or out of the zone. I love Sebastian Le Toux to death because he absolutely maximizes his strengths and if employed correctly hides his weaknesses, but he is not as complete a player with the ball as he might be, he’s not beating MLS defenders one v one on the dribble. Without the ball he’s usually good at making runs to advance the ball or attack the goal. But his weaknesses limit our tactical adaptability, and my surmise is that adept coaches with competent players can neutralize him once they all realize what he is doing. He is an extremely important member of the club, everything should be done to have him end his playing career in Philadelphia, in the last years he will be depth and experience substituting off the bench when his skills and courage are called for. But is is time to see if more versatility can emerge in the right outside channel. Pfeffer is only 19 still, he may need a year at Harrisburg if they have a decent weight room and a good strength coach. McGlaughlin may be ready for the physical demands of of MLS, or may need another year on the farm. He seemed always to play on the left channel for HCI, probably because Morgan Langley is weaker on the left side than he. Do not despair of WEnger as a midfielder in the outside channel yet. He forced some teams to double team him out there. If he had the ability to hit the goal with his shots he’d likely be getting attention from outside MLS.

    The sine qua non is as complete a striker as possible.

  11. So Houston lost Hall, and MacMath might not leave in the expansion draft, but Sak threw him under the bus. Anyone else thinking a trade to Houston for Ashe?

    • Houston has a goalie, a homegrown player named Tyler Deric. Looks like he’s been on their roster since ’09 in one form or another, and took over for Hall after Hall went down injured. He played 11 games (10 starts), 3-5-2 record with 3 shutouts.
      .
      Maybe they’d want MacMath, I guess, and let the two fight to the death to see who’s the starter. But I’d wager they’re looking to ride their homegrown player.

    • MacMath has shown in the past he responds well to competition. Maybe (just maybe) he keeps improving in the offseason, and he shows up in 2015 and keeps his starting job on merit.

  12. Grant Wahl’s tweet is kinda funny. Geiger’s good enough for the World Cup, but not for MLS Cup?

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