Daily news roundups

Valdes says Millonarios move “a very remote possibility,” report says “major changes” coming to Union-HCI, LA-NE MLS final, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

In an interview with Caracol Radio published on Friday (crappy Google translation here), Carlos Valdes spoke about rumored interest in him from Millonarios:

Two days ago I received a call from Millonarios because they wanted to know the situation in which I am. They also wanted to know under what conditions I‘m at at my current club. Certainly there is some interest from [Millonarios], but for now there is nothing concrete

The majority of my rights belong to MLS, to Philadelphia, with whom I have a contract until 2016. Actually I do not know if there is a formal offer or a request [from Millonarios] but I think that now it is not good to talk about these things because it is a topic that they will have to settle with MLS and then with my REPRESENTATIVE, but so far it is a very remote possibility.

You will recall that a week and a half ago, we linked to a report from antena2.com that said Valdes had two years left on his contract with the Union.

Futbol Red (crappy Google translation here) says that, given he is under contract with the Union, unless the club decides to sell the portion of Valdes’ rights they own, the defender’s future remains in Philadelphia.

At CBS Philly, Kevin Kinkead reports, “Major changes are coming to the Philadelphia Union’s partnership with affiliate club Harrisburg City Islanders.” Kinkead reports that sources tell him the club could be relocated to the Delaware Valley and “practice in Chester or Wayne.” If this were to happen, the team could still play its home games in Harrisburg, which seems rather bizarre. Kinkead says, “Other sources say the Union wants more control over player-development within Harrisburg’s setup, but [City Islanders] executives there need financial promises from [the Union] to get [Harrisburg’s] city council to buy into [a proposed] stadium renovation plan” at Harrisburg’s Skyline Sports Complex.

Kinkead says, “It’s not known whether the Union has the financial resources to do that, or to instead start its own USL Pro team,” adding “It’s also unclear whether the Harrisburg front office and technical staff would remain intact if any assimilation takes place, or whether the Union would assign new coaches and executives to the club.”

Also at CBS Philly, Kinkead has some off the podium remarks from Rene Meulensteen made after the recent press conference announcing his hiring as a consultant. “To get a good feel for everything,” Meulensteen said, “I think it takes at least getting into March or April, because the league starts. Then you get to a point where, ‘ok let’s evaluate everything’. That’s how I see it going.”

At MLSsoccer.com, Olivier Tremblay talks to Vincent Nogueira (and his fellow countryman, San Jose’s Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi) about moving from France to play in MLS. “It’s about discovery,” Nogueira said. “It’s an attractive country, like few countries in the world. It’s an immense country where you can live amazing things.”

Nogueira says of finishing one spot out of the playoffs and losing the US Open Cup final, “These are the two spots that are useless. They’re not bad, but they’re useless. As a competitor, that’s tough to swallow…This is a failure, and everyone’s concerned, everyone’s guilty, starting with me. It’s a shame that there was so much change for, in the end, objectives that weren’t attained.”

As to how long he will remain in MLS, Nogueira said, “I don’t know how long I’ll stay there at all. I don’t even want to think about it. That’s why I ended up in MLS; if my reasoning were any different, I wouldn’t be in MLS. I wanted to go there to change, to discover something new.”

From the Delco Times: “DART: To the still largely undeveloped plans that accompanied much of the initial planning for PPL Park. The economic downturn didn’t help, but it would be nice to see developers return to the initial vision for Chester’s waterfront surrounding the home of the Philadelphia Union.”

Union Academy

At the US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase in Florida, the Union U-15/16s have gotten off to a strong start. In their opening game on Sunday, the Union defeated Seattle, 2-0, with Tiger Graham scoring a brace.The team faces San Jose Earthquakes today at 11 am before finishing the tournament against BSC Connecticut on Wednesday, also at 11 am.

The U-17/18s have are not having a good time at the showcase. After losing 1-0 to Seattle on Saturday, the Union was crushed 5-0 on Sunday by Real Salt Lake. They will have a chance at some redemption on Tuesday when they face St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri at 9 am.

After the completion of the Winter Showcase, the U-15/16s and U-17/18s are off until the Development Academy schedule resumes in March.

Local

The Penn State women’s team’s postseason ended on Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Texas A&M in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.

Matthew DeGeorge on the Haverford School’s Shane Bradley, the Delco Times High School Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year.

Brotherly Game on the one-year anniversary of Media FC.

MLS

The MLS Cup final is set.

After winning the first leg on the road, 2-1, New England drew 2-2 with New York on Saturday to advance on to the final (3 pm: ESPN, UniMas). LA, 1-0 winners of the first leg, lost 2-1 in Sunday’s second leg game in Seattle but advance to the final on away goals. It’s the third time in five seasons that LA has eliminated Seattle from the playoffs. Needless to say, Landon Donovan, who will retire after the final, is stoked to be there.

The final will kickoff this Sunday in LA at 3 pm (ESPN, UniMas).

At SI, Brian Straus reports, “Major League Soccer’s playoff format will change again in 2015, when 12 teams will vie for the MLS Cup trophy rather than the current 10. An announcement could come as early as next week, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.” Straus explains,

The new MLS Cup format calls for an increase in knockout-round matches from two to four.

Under the current system, the fourth- and fifth-place finishers in each conference meet in a one-game playoff that sends the winner to face the top seed. Starting next season, the third-place team in each conference will host the sixth seed in one single-elimination game while No. 4 hosts No. 5 in the other. The four conference semifinalists then will be reseeded to ensure the first-place finisher faces off against the lowest-ranked knockout round survivor. The bracket will look like the one used in the NFL since 1990.

The Eastern and Western conference semifinals and finals will remain as two-game series featuring the away-goals tiebreaker. The MLS Cup final will remain a single match.

Straus says the new format will mean 60 percent of MLS teams will qualify for the playoffs through 2020, when the number is expected to drop to 50 percent due to expansion. This “compares to 53.3 percent in the NBA and NHL, 37.5 percent in the NFL and 33.3 percent in Major League Baseball.”

At SportsNet.ca, John Molinaro reports, “Toronto FC is looking to hire a new club president, and they have their sights set on Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey.” Under contract with RSL until the end of the year, Lagerwey told the Salt Lake Tribune, “RSL and I have agreed that we aren’t going to comment on rumors until my situation is resolved.”

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says the club will decide “in December” whether Frank Lampard’s loan from NYCFC will be extended. “We’re going to have to make the best decision for him, the club, New York City, for everyone.” Lampard scored his fifth goal for City in Sunday’s 3-0 road win over Southampton.

Noting that the DC city council is expected to approve a proposed deal to build a stadium for DC United at Buzzard Point on Tuesday, the editorial board of the Washington Post says, “lawmakers need to carefully examine whether other changes could sweeten the deal for D.C. taxpayers without threatening the project. Above all, proposed tax breaks for the team, judged to be unnecessary by the city’s chief financial officer, should get another look.”

US

At the Nike International friendlies in Florida, Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic scored a brace, and Bethlehem’s Kevin Silva had a strong outing in goal, as the US U-17’s defeated England 3-1 in Friday opening game. Click here for video highlights.

On Sunday, the US U-17s rallied after conceding an early goal to defeat Australia, 2-1.

The US wraps up the tournament on Tuesday when they face Brazil, who enter the game with a win and a draw. The game kicks off at 6 pm and will be streamed on the US Soccer site.

Elsewhere

A dossier compiled by the Sunday Times accusing Qatar, Russia, and England of vote-trading and vote-buying in the lead up to the vote for the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has been published by the British Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

Speaking to Asian Football Confederation members in Manila on Sunday, Sepp Blatter insisted the 2022 World Cup will be played in Qatar. “2022, it is Qatar, and ladies and gentlemen, believe me, with all that has been said around the world by whom? Those not involved with what happens in soccer. The World Cup in 2022 will be played in Qatar.” Reuter reports the remarks were “cheered and applauded loudly by Asian delegates.”

Reuters reports, “The public are growing tired of hearing about allegations of wrongdoing against Qatar’s winning 2022 World Cup bid, according to organizers, with the Gulf state more interested in improving worker’s rights than publishing Michael Garcia’s report.” Nasser Al Khater, a member of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, told reporters in Manila, “I’m pretty sure people are feeling tired of this story already, I think there is reader fatigue in terms of this story. I think the same stuff is being regurgitated so many times people are questioning the motive now, not the story.”

The AP reports, “One man died and 11 others suffered minor injuries after a fight broke out outside Atletico Madrid’s soccer stadium between its fans and those of visiting team Deportivo La Coruna, officials said Sunday.”

10 Comments

  1. The Realist Brian says:

    The Harrisburg City Islanders either need to be purchased and run by the Union or the Union needs it’s own USL team. Critical for the development of our younger players. Especially if we sign some more HG. It seems that many of our Eastern competition has started their own teams. Plus Los Dos and the other teams out west.

    • We don’t have the money to start our own team and truth be told we have a very limited amount of clout to tell HCI what to do.

      • Not if they invest more into HCI. They badly need a new field and stadium, and if the Union chips in some money for that to happen, then the Union have all the leverage. Not to mention the partnership has helped that team out quite a bit. They’d be stupid to not play along.

      • Well money is the issue innit

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      How can you preach youth, and building, and development, and NOT own your own USL team?!?! It has to happen. Either create one, or buy Harrisburg. Period.

  2. it seems like every daily news roundup has word of another goal by Christian Pulisic – is this guy on track to break some sort of youth record or what?

    • The Realist Brian says:

      That kid is very legit. Not to build up the hype machine, but people are already talking about him being international level. We will see.
      .
      And the Union had a chance to bring him into the academy, not that he would have chosen it. Dortmund is a much bigger team 😉

      • International quality indeed. Possible anchor mid fielding anchor for years to come. Since he was a little boy he’s been extraordinary.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Yeah I have read and heard nothing but praise. Hope he keeps developing and anchors the US in 2022… maybe even 2018 if he keeps it up. Good Luck kid!!

  3. Old soccer coach says:

    For whatever my opinion is worth, I thought the HCI coach did a good job last year discovering his best eleven and changing his style to adapt to them. They were much more of a possession and technical skill side by the end of the season than a physical hard-working one as they had been earlier. The best capsule illustration of my point is that by the end of the season, the two first choice defensive center mids were Jose Barril and Yann Ekra both of whom began the season as first choice striker and attacking center mid.

    No question they need an upgraded field, both playing surface and the locker room/restroom/shower amenities.

    They do have a relationship with their fans that the Union could examine for aspects to adopt, especially the accessibility of players on the pitch after the game.

    Unless Harrisburg City Council is being obstructionist on the stadium, starting a separate USL-PRO side seems a diversion of resources away from the Academy project. I would think the Academy needs to have an agreement of some kind with Reading United to give opportunity to appropriate Academy products, and only after that is in place and successful do they need to work on integrating a link between Reading and Harrisburg.

    There was quite a bit of informal representation of the Union on HCI’s roster last year above and beyond the formal loan slots. Several players had not made the Union but gone on to play at HCI. Upgrading training facilities and activities would make HCI a more attractive place for young players to come improve the physical, athletic sides of their games, which is what some of the Europeans were getting out of being here.

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