Daily news roundups

Commodore Barry Bridge to get a facelift, Mbolhi in Group of Death, league news, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

The Inquirer’s Paul Nussbaum reports the Commodore Barry Bridge, PPL Park’s majestic backdrop, “is about to get a $100 million makeover.” On Wednesday, a Delaware River Port Authority board committee “approved the first of three phases of sandblasting and painting that will continue for five years, starting in January and continuing through 2019.” The first phase will begin on the New Jersey side of the bridge in January and continue through 2016. Phase two, covering the Pennsylvania side of the bridge, should begin in January of 2016 and run through December of 2017. Phase three will cover the central span of the bridge and should run from January of 2018 and be completed by the end of 2019. Nussbaum says contracts for the first phase still need to be approved by the full DRPA board, which is meeting next week. Two thoughts: What color will be used? Will the “sandblasting and painting” affect walking to PPL Park from Lot A?

Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations draw saw Rais Mbolhi and Algeria drawn into the Group of Death along with Ghana, South Africa and Senegal. The tournament begins January 17 and concludes on Feb. 8.

Brotherly Game has a handy list of players available in the Re-entry Draft, phase one of which will take place on Dec. 12, followed by phase two on Dec. 19. Eugene Rupinski notes that, in addition to the Union, DC, LA, New England, Portland, San Jose, and Seattle have not yet announced which players will be available in the draft.

The latest installment in Brotherly Game’s “You be the GM” series asks which bench player most deserves to play.

The Union sent out an email on Wednesday outlining some of the season ticket holders can look forward to in 2015. Among the perks are: the chance to have your picture printed within the number on the back of players’ jerseys; a ticket exchange program; and two complimentary “U-Pass vouchers,” which are basically complimentary tickets you can use to introduce folks to seeing the Union at PPL Park. Details on the program in which season ticket holders will be able to have their name on their seat are still being finalized.

Union Academy

The Union Academy U-15/16s finished up play at the US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase in Florida with a 2-0 win over BSC Connecticut Academy, giving them a 2-1-0 record in the showcase. Justin McMaster opened the scoring, with Auston Trusty tallying the second.

Sons of Ben

The folks behind the Sons of Ben movie have an update on the progress of the film. Looks like a 2015 release is in the works: “Exact details are still being worked out, but we plan to release the film around a major MLS event, we’ll leave it at that.”


Reading United has 12 players among on seven of the eight teams that are in the NCAA Division I tournament quarterfinals.

I neglected to mention earlier this week that, along with goalkeeper Alex Bono, midfielder Lucas Baldin, who played for Reading United in 2012 and 2014, is also a Hermann Trophy semifinalist.

Harrisburg City Islanders is having an open house this Saturday, Dec. 6 from 12 pm to 4 pm. Morgan Langley, Garret Pettis, Yann Ekra, and Danny DiPrima are scheduled to be attending.

Ocean City Nor’easters will be holding open tryouts at Rutgers Camden on December 20-21 (Tryout I) and January 3-4.

The Daily Pennsylvanian profiles Duke Lacroix, the former Ocean City Nor’easter forward who just finished his senior season at Penn. “Lacroix is the only member of the Red and Blue to have ever won both Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year, having done so in 2011 and 2013, respectively.”

St. Joseph’s sophomore midfielder Emily Gingrich has been named to the NSCAA Division I Women’s All-Mid-Atlantic Region Second Team. Gingrich led the St. Jo’s women’s team in goals and points in 2014.

Penn State forward Connor Maloney and Delaware midfielder Guillermo Delgado are finalists for Philly Soccer News Men’s College Player of the Year award.


Robbie Keane was voted league MVP, the first European player to be so named (two-time winner Preki was born in Serbia but played for the USMNT). Bill Hamid was named Goalkeeper of the Year. Pedro Morales was named Newcomer of the Year.

At SI, Jeff Bradley on Kevin Alston’s journey from battling leukemia to reaching Sunday’s MLS Cup final with New England.

Robert Kraft will have a busy Sunday: The Revolution play LA in the MLS Cup final on Sunday afternoon, then the Patriots play the Chargers on Sunday night. He plans to see both games, “as long as we get the helicopter permits” so he can fly to San Diego. Kraft, who is perhaps the league’s most maligned owner, says, “I love it a little bit when people start to hate me.” It was not reported if he was getting on a helicopter when he made the comment.

New York Red Bulls have signed Bradley Wright-Phillips to a Designated Player contract. (Shaun Wright-Phillips to MLS?)

Chicago Fire have signed Trinidad & Tobago defender Joevin Jones.

At SI, Grant Wahl talks to Don Garber’s about his 15 years as MLS commissioner.

At Forbes, Patrick Rishe outlines several reasons why Garber’s statement that the league’s franchises combined are losing $100 million a year is not a concern for continued expansion. Nevertheless: “Of course, I must end this piece by wondering, cynically, just how accurate those $100 million losses are. Are Garber’s owners legally fudging the numbers to help make a sympathetic case in labor negotiations with the players? Roster depreciation allowances have been employed in other professional sports leagues for years, so why not in MLS?”

There’s this:

More on Garber’s CBA-related comments at Oregon Live.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta has eight takeaways from Garber’s State of the League address.

The Guardian uses a since deleted tweet from Orlando City to ask, “Why can’t female football fans just be football fans?” Some more background from Brotherly Game.

Soccer America has four keys behind the success of DC United’s latest bid to get a new stadium built.

Reuters reports, “David Beckham’s business group say his plan to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami will happen and that they hope to have ‘positive and exciting news’ soon.”

Taylor Twellman says an MLS franchise in Minneapolis “is a no-brainer.”

US Soccer Players on why the league will expand beyond 24 teams.

Don Garber said in Tuesday’s State of the League address that expansion discussions have also taken place with San Antonio, El Paso and St. Louis, “they are just not as far along for the next round.”

The NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies have named Thomas Rongen their new head coach. Rongen was the first head coach of the defunct MLS side the Tampa Bay Mutiny, which won the Supporters Shield in the league’s inaugural season, the same year Rongen was named Coach of the Year. Rongen later won the league title as head coach of DC United in 1999 before moving on to coach New England Revolution and Chivas USA.

The St. Petersburg Tribune notes that renovations have begun at the Rowdies Al Land Stadium aimed at making the former baseball ground more suitable for viewing soccer. The article also notes team owner Bill Edwards “has been pushing for a soccer-specific stadium, possibly as a first step toward moving the Rowdies up to a Major League Soccer team.”


US Soccer has announced the USWNT will travel to Europe to play France on Sunday, Feb. 8, and England on Friday, Feb. 13 as part of its preparations for the 2015 World Cup.

On Wednesday, ESPN published an excerpt from Tim Howard’s soon-to-be-published autobiography in which Howard says he was told by Manchester United that Brad Friedel had refused to sign a letter supporting Howard’s application for a work visa when United signed him in 2003. Freidel then denied the story to ESPN — “It’s complete garbage” — and asked for an apology. Soccer Gods has an overview. Excuse my yawns.

Chris Wondolowski is the first US player of Native American heritage to play in the World Cup. This week, he is visiting with the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma his mother was born into.


FIFA has confirmed to Inside World Football that Michael Garcia has proceeded with his appeal of the summary report on his investigation of corruption in the bidding for the hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

An illuminating read at ESPN provides some understanding of why less developed soccer countries remain very supportive of Sepp Blatter and FIFA. All India Football Federation general secretary Kushal Das says in the article, “It is mainly the rich, established football nations that have a problem with FIFA and Blatter and not nations like us. I speak to my counterparts across Asia and Africa quite regularly and believe me, they cannot speak highly enough of FIFA. It is not just a question of money but also about how they help us in developing a vision for the game.”

From ESPN: “Franco Antonio Nieto, a player in Argentina’s third-tier Aimogasta League in La Rioja province, died on Wednesday due to complications after being hit by a brick four days earlier during post-match fan violence.”

Hamburg midfielder Maximilian Beister has secured a European patent for his invention, “the Snaxcup.” Who Ate All The Pies reports, “the disposable plastic container consists of a cup (which also serves as a handle) with a bowl for food attached on top. The drink is then quaffable through a straw.”


  1. That was Jermaine Jones saying “i love when people hate me” not Robert Kraft.

  2. congratulations to the Snaxcup people because what the world needs is more disposable plastic items

    • You sir, are a genius. The most solid on point comment I have read on this beautiful website to date. Me and disposable plastic have a hate-hate relationship.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Having a 9 year old I am subjected to kids channels. I have see products similar to this already… how did this guy get a patent? Whatever. I don’t own one and never will. I agree that the last thing we need is to create more non-degradable garbage.

  3. It was not reported if he was getting on a helicopter when he made the comment.The better to escape projectiles.

  4. It takes 5 years to paint a bridge? Couldn’t a new bridge be built in less time?

    • it’s the sandblasting really….

    • this is not what i had in mind when i wished for shiny, new hardware for PPL park. hopefully it’s not the only thing we get between now and 2019.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      It took like 3 or so to do the I-95 bridge south of the stadiums… so yeah 5 years is about right. So the next time we hear from Sugarman the bridge will be done. Ugh. I am sure it will effect the walk from Lot A. I wouldn’t have that much luck, that it wouldn’t.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Also, how is Lee Nguyen not MVP?

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