Daily news roundups

Okugo says no offers from the Union, Chaco chats, LAFC, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

In an article at the Delco Times, Amobi Okugo, out of contract after this year, says “no offers have been put on the table” by the Union. Wherever he ends up, his continued development as a player will be a prime factor. “It’s a decision that has to be well thought out. You want to do what’s best for you in terms of development and right situation. Philly, I’ve been here five years. It’ll be cool to be here again, but you never know what’s going to happen.” I’m going to miss him.

In a Q&A on the Union website, Cristian Maidana says of expectations for 2015:

For the next year, I think we need to do better to win the games that we didn’t win this year. Too many times we walked off the field with games we should’ve won or at least gotten a result and we didn’t. I do think we did well even though we didn’t make the playoffs, but we were so close and for this team it was our biggest goal. So it’s important we all try to get better for next year to try to make the playoffs…

I think we have a very good team to make the playoffs. But now I don’t know if they will bring in other players, so I don’t know anything about that. But, we have a very good team, a strong team. I [personally] expect to be in the playoffs next year. I like it here and me and my family have made this home. So it’s important to me to do what I can to help win something important for the club.

In a post on the Union website on why reaching the playoffs in the Eastern Conference often seems to be a battle to the final game of the season with little separation between the teams, Jim Curtin points to the fact that Eastern Conference teams know each other well from playing against one another in the preseason.

Maurice Edu answers rapid fire questions at ESPN.

Brotherly Game’s “You be the GM” series continues with Edu.

Bernardo Anor’s goal against the Union on March 22 is one of the nominees for Goal of the Year. Jerk.

The Irish Independent on Jake Keegan, a 2013 Supplemental Draft pick for the Union and now the leading scorer for Galway FC, who are fighting for promotion to the League of Ireland’s Premier Division.


The Penn men’s team hosts Brown on Saturday as part of Homecoming Weekend.

The La Salle men’s team hosts St. Bonaventure tonight before going on the road to face Duquesne on Sunday. The La Salle women’s team is on the road tonight to face Duquesne before continuing their travels to play St. Bonaventure on Sunday.

The Temple women’s team is in Orlando tonight to face SMU in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament. If they win, they will face UCF on Sunday. The Temple men are on the road to play Memphis on Saturday for their last game in the 2014 regular season.

Holy Ghost Prep defeated Pottsgrove 3-1 to claim its fourth consecutive District 1 Class AA boys’ championship.

Plumstead Christian won its first District 1 Class A boys’ championship with a 2-1 win over New Hope-Solebury.

The Haddon Heights girls team defeated Haddon Township 2-0 to clinched their first Colonial Conference Patriot Division championship.


Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a brace as New York came from behind to defeat Kansas City 2-1 in Thursday night’s Eastern Conference knockout game. New York will now face DC on Sunday in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Here are the weekend’s playoff games:

  • Saturday at 4 pm: Columbus Crew vs New England (Univision Deportes, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick, SiriusXM FC)
  • Saturday at 8 pm: Real Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy (NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM FC)
  • Sunday at 4 pm: New York Red Bulls vs DC United (Univision Deportes, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick)
  • Sunday at 9 pm: FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, Watch ESPN, SiriusXM FC)

At ESPN, Graham Parker has a good interview with Thierry Henry published before Thursday’s game about what he’s learned from playing in MLS playoff games.

The ownership group of the franchise that was formerly known as Chivas USA was presented in Los Angeles on Thursday, and it’s one filled with some very deep-pocketed individuals as well as familiar names such as Mia Hamm, Magic Johnson, Tony Robbins, as well as Ruben Emir Gnanalingam (co-owner of Queens Park Rangers,) Vincent Tan (majority owner Cardiff City and FK Sarajevo), and Larry Berg and Bennett Rosenthal (co-owners of AS Roma).

The principals of the ownership group are managing partner Henry Nguyen (managing general partner of private equity firm IDG Ventures Vietnam), executive chairman Peter Guber (Hollywood producer and co-owner of the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Dodgers,), and club president Tom Penn (former assistant general manager of the Portland Trailblazers and NBA analyst for ESPN).

The team, which will begin play in 2017, doesn’t have a name yet and for now is going as Los Angeles Football Club (you can check out the team’s website here). The team’s name and colors will be decided by a fan vote.

Most importantly, the team doesn’t have a stadium, let alone a location to build one.

More on the announcement at ESPNSIFox Soccer, Washington Post, The BBC, Reuters and The AP.

This also came out of the press conference:

Robbie Keane says he’ll play for Ireland during the FIFA international break that will take place in the middle of the MLS playoffs.

At the end of April, Colorado Rapids signed a five-year, $8.3 million shirt sponsorship deal with Ciao Telecom. On Thursday, The Denver Post reported the team is suing Ciao Telecom’s parent company for two missed payments totalling $485,000 as well as attorney fees and unspecified damages.

San Antonio Express-News reports, “A group of City Council members is scheduled to meet Monday with a group of Japanese investors interested in bringing Major League Soccer to San Antonio.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune and MPR on possible locations for a proposed MLS stadium in Minneapolis.

On Thursday, the FIFA working group on banning third-party ownership met in Zurich “to discuss the prerequisites for the implementation of a ban on TPO.” At SI, Liviu Bird on what the ban might mean for MLS, whose single-entity structure, some observers say, could be interpreted as third-party ownership.

It’s official: Raul has signed with New York Cosmos.


Thursday saw the draw for the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualification tournament, which will take place in Jamaica, January 9-24. The US is in Group A and will face Guatemala on Jan. 9, Panama on Jan. 11, Aruba on Jan. 14, Jamaica on Jan. 18, and Trinidad & Tobago on Jan. 21 in group play in its bid to reach final playoff games  and final. (The tournament is using a new format this year. Click here for more info.)

Soccer America reports, “NBC set Premier League and MLS audience records for its coverage of Sunday’s EPL Manchester United-Chelsea match (1.29 million viewers) and Saturday’s Seattle Sounders-LA Galaxy to decide MLS’s Supporters’ Shield (699,000 viewers).”


Barbara Lochbihler, vice-chairwoman of the European Parliament’s human rights committee, has criticized Sepp Blatter over the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 tournament in Qatar. Lochbihler says the countries discuss human rights reforms but otherwise do nothing.

France and South Korea are bidding to host the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

From The Daily Mirror: “Rutherford Raiders of Kent University have been told they’ll be banned from playing in the university’s inter-college football league if they accept Pornhub as a shirt sponsor for the forthcoming season.”

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.


  1. With Raul joining the Cosmos with an eye for taking over their youth Academy down the road. I wonder If the Cosmos are thinking about making a run at buying the Red Bulls.
    Looks like the Union have chosen Edu over Okugo. Seeing the league now likes Maurice as a public relations rep they should be actively facilitating his purchase this time.

    When is Okugo out of contract? Can he start looking for other teams now?

    • I agree it seems Edu will stay. Not sure the Okugo story is straightforward, though. A lot will depend on what sorts of offers he gets from overseas, etc. I think there’s definitely a scenario where he stays; just not sure how likely it is.

    • I’ve read a good deal on the Cosmos and NASL and they want no part of the single entity MLS. From how I understand it, they hope and want for the NASL to continue to grow and become a legitimate rival of MLS. The Cosmos hope to use the US Open Cup as their litmus test against MLS and make no bones about it being the most important event on their calendar.
      The Cosmos are happy with their niche market at the moment and hope to build a truly remarkable world class team over a long haul, unlike in the 70s, when they just outspent everybody. They seem to recognize that is not the way to go this time and not helpful to the NASL. The new stadium opens next season and it looks lovely in theory- rather large which gives me pause: 18,000 seats- but I am hopeful they will grab enough of a fan base to fill it. I know I’ve written before how much I love the NY Cosmos- if for no other reason than what they symbolized and still do symbolize to US Soccer. I think the culture of soccer here is well served with a viable Cosmos franchise and rather like the idea of them remaining outside the MLS choke-hold. Bringing in a guy like Raul, while many scoff at it, I think is an excellent move. He can still score and he is a world class name to link to the franchise going forward, assuming he knows what he is doing with the youth academy.
      I think it is even in the ‘long term’ plan to have a promotion and relegation system. Could just be all talk but I love it. I think exactly what MLS needs is a viable alternative to soccer at the highest professional level. Love it.

      • Grew up with the Cosmos as my team so the name always makes me nostalgic for those days.

        Their stadium would be amazing if that Belmont redevelopment plan goes through, but there’s no way that gets completed before 2017 or 2018.

      • Yup. Well said George. Here’s hoping.

  2. Ed – That first paragraph is a heart breaker.

    • I agree. Is it that they don’t see, don’t believe, don’t want to see, want to believe or just have a whole other direction than the one I hope for. It sounds to me like he would like to stay in light of the ‘right offer’ not arriving from Europe.
      The guy is still 2 or 3 years from his prime. He is only going to get better. This is the center piece of your club. Your future captain. Your dead solid rock of a defensive midfielder- not some aged veteran who is only going to slow down and well- get older.

      • There are so many variables here, I’m not surprised at all that the Union are taking their time with Okugo.
        The expansion draft. Sign Okugo now, they have to keep him protected, wait and they don’t.
        The Chivas garage sale draft. Who knows what the U will be able to pick up, and how that changes the calculus of who to sign.
        A coach. They don’t have one.
        Okugo himself. His heart may be in going to Europe, so he may not be in a rush to sign a deal with the Union. Even if they were to guarantee him a starting slot at DM, multiple years, the armband, and whatever else possibly on the table.
        On a separate note, I’m encouraged to hear Chaco talk about next year. Give him a proper, aggressive striker and we’ll be back in the postseason.

      • I was looking closely at the Chivas roster the other day and aside from Torres there really isn’t any game changer to be had in the dispersal draft. Sadly they are another team without an actual leftback playing leftback. It’s pretty much Torres, Toia and a lot of older depth guys who would help teams who already have playoff caliber rosters. So unless the Union miraculously get the 1st pick were probably not getting any help from the Chivas draft.

      • How about Kenny Cooper in the re-entry draft if he isn’t picked up in the expansion draft.

      • If you told me Kenny Cooper was good for a goal every other game including all the ancillary Cup Games I’d take it.
        12-15 gols.

    • Rumor has it Okugo has a strong offer from one of the Scandinavian leagues and some interest from mid-table sides in the lesser “major” leagues. Doesn’t sound like much of an upgrade, but I understand that the dude’s gotta get paid…hoping Union come to their senses and step up with a competitive offer.

      • Interesting, I think that while the Union would like to resign Okugo, they probably are OK if he leaves on a free just as long as they can retain his future MLS rights by giving him a qualifying offer.

        It’s hard to imagine a better ambassador for the club than Amobi. He checks all of the boxes that you would want for one of your star players. I hope that they can somehow keep him.

    • Old soccer coach says:

      It may be, Wendy. But consider than the most expensive deal they have to resolve is Maurice Edu, most probably. It will determine how much they have left for all the other signings they have to make, Okugo, a striker. Also, recall that Jim Curtin commented some weeks ago on the delaying effect that expansion draft has had in the past, and is presumably having now, on the entire postseason process. Finally, most likely at the suggestion of his agent, in his classy, thoughtful, well modulated fashion, Okugo is putting public pressure on the club to act, part of any negotiating process. That chess match is now in its opening gambits. It is unlikely that it’s over already.

  3. Given that the Union season is done and winter is on its way, WHY ARE THEY WATERING THE PRACTICE FIELD???? (My office overlooks the practice field and I’m wondering how the heck am I not going to get fired next spring for spending too much time looking out the window at the team!)

  4. If the Union can’t find away to keep Okugo then they really are feckless from top to bottom. Edu needs to be the star CB with Okugo working with Noguiera and Maidana. That should be their core. I’m hoping some semblance of business and soccer intelligence starts to permeate this organization soon. Keeping Okugo and Edu is a win/win. They need to also figure out how to keep MacMath as back up for MBolhi. I still think trading Blake for a solid skilled LB would be great. I would make sure Gaddis understands that his game needs serious work. Otherwise I’d start Williams (if he’s stays) and put Gaddis on the bench. I know it’s controversial, but it would make RB stronger and keep Williams fit and on his toes. That’s the kind of depth the Union need at all positions to seriously stop being mediocre to lousy.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    If I’m the Union I offer Okugo a raise (not sure how much but don’t insult him) and a short term deal – like 2-3 years. That is good for him, and while not great for us, it lets us keep him while we still have Edu (assuming he’s here), Chaco, Nogs, Valdes, LeToux (not too old yet), etc. to try to make a run at the Cup. See… it’s just that easy. Haha. Get it done.

  6. Love that Maidana sounds like he’s here for the long haul. I think the lure of raising a family in America would be a great draw to MLS for other ‘family-guy’ types as well.

  7. Letting Jack Mac and Amobi Okugo go is proof to me that the Philadelphia Union has no business strategy.

  8. Not Sak's Fault says:

    I know it sounds crazy but I actually think Sak’s moves have been solid.
    He can’t sign Okugo until AFTER he sorts out Edu’s transfer costs.
    Many of us felt that the keeper position needed upgrading. My biggest regret is the mishandling of Blake. He should have started 15+ games this year. Somewhere. HCI? It’s a disgrace that he mostly sat around. Who’s decision was that? Hack? Curtain? Such a shame. A wasted season.
    If the players had come through as expected I’d be patting Sak on the back. Period.

    • Every once in a while a comment comes up that makes me think Nick Sakiewicz is actually in the house- commenting live on his own behalf.
      I sometimes wonder.
      if it was me I be arguing under an alias too.

      • Not Sak's Fault says:

        But Joel was it Sak’s decision to sit your favorite player Okugo?

      • Actually, I wouldn’t put it past him. If they approached him informally, before signing Gaddis, and Okugo said he wanted to see what might be available in Europe. It made absolutely no sense to sit Okugo for 120 minutes on Tuesday in the Open Cup final, and then sit him again that Saturday vs Houston. Unless the team was unhappy with him for some reason. Unfortunately, I could envision Sak sending word that Okugo wasn’t in future plans, and he only wanted guys committed to the team playing. Not saying that’s what happened but it wouldn’t shock me either with that guy.

      • Not Sak's Fault says:

        C’mon man let’s try to stick to reality.

    • By not playing Blake, he retains his Gen Adidas status during the expansion draft. Meaning he’s off the table and can’t be picked up
      I’m not sure what the rules are, but when a play reaches a certain number of minutes played, that status is dropped.

      • Not Sak's Fault says:

        Good info. Thanks for posting that. Makes much more sense now!

      • I was just having fun. No disrespect intended.
        I think if I was a GM or in the FO of a professional team, knowing how much I like to read and partake in this blog as an example I would be chiming in to arguing for my decisions.
        One thing for sure, I appreciate commentators who understand how the contracts work, who can play when and why they can’t or don’t who is protected or unable to be traded. All that stuff is way over my head.

  9. It won’t be in England, but i have a suspicion that pornhub will find a team to sponsor, somewhere, if they really want to

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