Daily news roundups

Union decline options on five players, Okugo deal, interest in Kvist, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

The Union announced on Monday morning that it had declined the options on five players: Corben Bone, Fred, Brian Brown, Conor Casey, and Cristhian Hernandez. Additionally, Brian Carroll is out of contract.

Union technical director Chris Albright said in a statement, “The ongoing discussions we have regarding roster decisions are obviously difficult. We will continue to have an open dialogue with several players about their respective futures with our club and we’ll have further announcements to share as we continue to build our roster for the 2015 season.”

On Sunday night, PSP reported that Amobi Okugo will go to expansion side Orlando City in return for allocation money and a SuperDraft pick.

Soon after, Ives Galarcep tweeted that the Union would receive $100,000 in allocation money as part of the deal. In a separate tweet, Galarcep said his sources indicated no draft pick would be part of the deal.

Our report indicated that a deal could be signed as soon as today. A report on the Okugo deal at the Orlando Sentinel notes, “A trade window opens Monday morning at 9 a.m. and runs through 1 p.m. Teams must turn in their protected lists for the MLS expansion draft by 2 p.m. Orlando City is expected to receive those lists at approximately 5 p.m.”

A report at MLSsoccer.com on Friday said, “Orlando City general manager Paul McDonough told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week that the club have no plans to announce potential signings before Wednesday, and that the Expansion Draft will dictate what they do in terms of pursuing additional Designated Players to join Kaká and the Lions.”

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald notes that, with Okugo rejecting the bona fide offer, “Had Okugo signed with a European club this winter, the Union would have received nothing in return for his departure.”

The Okugo news underscores Kevin Kinkead’s report on Friday at CBS Philly that Danish international William Kvist, a defensive midfielder currently with Wigan Athletic, may be a transfer target for the Union. “One person close to the situation said they weren’t sure whether or not the Union would make an offer for the midfielder, but confirmed that he was on a list of players that the team was tracking.” CSN Philly, Brotherly GameMLSsoccer.com, and ProSoccerTalk pick up on the report.

At Union Tally, Matthew DeGeorge looks at this week’s schedule of events, from today’s mini trade window, to Wednesday’s Expansion Draft, and Friday’s first phase of the Re-Entry Draft.

Playing for 90 says the Union have a strong core to build on ahead of 2015.

Fansided’s NYCFC blog, Skyscraper Blues, offers their take on who will be available from the Union in Wednesday’s Expansion Draft.

Union Academy

At the Union website, a report on how the Academy U-15/16s fared at the Winter Showcase in Florida. Head coach Jeff Cook said, “Some of the quality we saw on the trip was really good. From an attacking point of view, we looked threatening all the time and probably should have scored a greater percentage of our chances, but we looked really solid. Some of our attacking play was creative and we’ve been strong defensively all year.”

Sons of Ben

At Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski talks to Sons of Ben Director of Philanthropy Bill Gusler about this year’s Help Kick Hunger charity event at Brauhaus Schmitz.


West Chester United defeated Junior Lone Star 4-3 in Sunday’s EPSA Open Cup final. Look for our report later this morning.


LA Galaxy defeated New England Revolution 2-1 in extra time to win the 2014 MLS Cup. It was a fitting ending to Landon Donovan’s career as a player. Robbie Keane was named MVP of the final.

With the Galaxy’s win, Real Salt Lake qualifies for the 2015-16 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reports, “Todd Dunivant, a member of the executive board of the MLS Players Union, says the organization has sent its first proposal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to MLS, but has yet to receive a counterproposal from the league.”

The Orlando Sentinel on how Orlando City has studied Seattle Sounders in devising its Expansion Draft strategy.

USA Today on how “the most intriguing tale surrounding North America’s primary soccer league right now centers on its financial mysteries and how they relate to the organization’s future health.” More from CNBC.

The New York Times reports that NYCFC and Manchester City officials will meet in England this week to discuss when Frank Lampard’s loan will end. More at MLSsoccer.com.

Capital New York on how soccer in that city has outgrown its media coverage. “Yet for all the soccer teams and money being spent to make soccer a success in the city—and despite the rapid growth in popularity and attention in America to European leagues, particularly England’s Premier League—the most meaningful, dedicated coverage of the local teams still comes from fans, rather than the city’s many media outlets.”

My Fox Houston reports Owen Coyle arrived in Houston on Friday to discuss becoming the next Houston Dynamo coach. More from Reuters.

Reaction from Minneapolis (Minneapolis Star Tribune, TwinCities.com), Sacramento (Sacramento BeeNews10abc, CBS Sacramento), and San Antonio (MySanAntonio.com).

Sacramento supporters made their presence known at Sunday’s MLS Cup final. Reports from Sacramento Bee and CBS Sacramento.

In more Minneapolis bid news, Minnesota’s Speaker of the House says the Minnesota United-backed bid group shouldn’t expect state funding for a soccer specific stadium. The Star-Tribune on how the Minnesota Vikings-backed bid is emerging as the frontrunner in Minneapolis.

Part of the plans for a new soccer stadium in Las Vegas hinge on funding for a parking garage for the stadium.

The Louisville Courier-Journal picks up on a report from the Wilmington Star-News that makes clear Louisville has MLS aspirations.

Empire of Soccer on the challenges facing the NASL in improving broadcasts of games.



The USWNT was drawn into the Group of Death in Saturday’s draw for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. They will open the tournament against Australia before facing Sweden and Nigeria. Head coach Jill Ellis says she’s comfortable with the draw. More from SI, Fox Sports, ESPNW, The Equalizer, SBI, ASN, Reuters, and Yahoo Sports.

More reaction to the draw from Lauren Holiday, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press, and Christie Rampone.

The Equalizer has a thought provoking piece on some of the questionable seeding that was done ahead of the draw.

At ESPNW, Jeff Carlisle questions the expansion of the Women’s World Cup field from 16 teams to 24.

Before Saturday’s draw, Jill Ellis released the 24-player roster for the International Tournament of Brasilia, Dec. 10-21. “The USA will open the tournament Dec. 10 against China PR (4:20 p.m. ET), face Brazil on Dec. 14 (3:45 p.m.) and finish group play on Dec. 17 against Argentina (4:20 p.m.). The final match day on Dec. 21 will feature the top two teams after round-robin play squaring off for the tournament championship while the two countries that finished third and fourth will battle for third place.”

SI, ESPNW, and the Equalizer on Lori Chalupny getting a USWNT callup for the first time since suffering concussion-symptoms five years ago.

Lauren Holiday has been named US Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year.


US Soccer president Sunil Gulati revealed the USMNT’s pre-Gold Cup schedule on Sunday night:

Jan. 28: at Chile
Feb. 8: Panama
March 25: at Denmark
March 31: at Switzerland
April 15: Mexico
June 5: at Netherlands
June 10: at Germany

The Chile, Panama, and Mexico matches take place outside of FIFA international windows so clubs will not be obliged to release players. More from Soccer America, Reuters,

The viewing numbers for Univision Deportes’ soccer broadcasts continue to be better than English-language broadcasts on NBC and Fox.


Reuters reports,

A privileged existence in Switzerland for some of the largest sports organizations in the world and their top executives including Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, may be coming to an end.

Responding to years of corruption allegations, lawmakers are poised to pass a set of laws known as “Lex FIFA” that would tighten oversight of the approximately 60 sporting bodies based in Switzerland.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told reporters before Saturday’s Women’s World cup draw, “If anyone is saying the use of artificial pitch is a question of discrimination it is nonsense. It is completely crazy to say that. It has nothing to do with discrimination. I can’t imagine no one will recognise what FIFA has done for the development of women’s football over the last 15 years.”

Reuters reports,

The Romanian champions, Steaua Bucharest, were stripped of their name, colours and emblem last week and for Sunday’s victory over CSMS Iasi, but they have been handed a reprieve for Thursday’s Europa League match with Dynamo Kiev.

Romania’s most famous club, who were founded in 1947 as an army side, had their registration cancelled by Romania’s highest court on Wednesday after losing a battle over their trademark with the country’s defence ministry.


  1. WTH is up with Cristhian Hernandez? I thought he was supposed to be a jewel of the academy system/youth movement…. I realize that some of this is hit-or-miss on youth talent translating into professional production, but we have to be one of the few teams without an academy prospect making some sort of impact in the senior squad.

    • Good point, this would be an interesting study to do/look at if it doesn’t already exist. Academy members time played/contribution by team.

      • Here’s a few examples. Notice the first three each play on the Cup finalists.
        Diego Fagundez, Revs – 88 apps, 22 goals (2011-14)
        Scott Caldwell, Revs – 53 apps over 2 seasons
        Gyasi Zardes, LA – 58 apps, 20 goals in 2 seasons
        Carlos Salcedo, RSL – 25 career starts in 2 seasons
        Harrison Shipp, Chicago – 33 apps, 7 goals this year
        DeAndre Yedlin, Seattle – 56 apps over 2 seasons.

  2. I’m not sure I understand this. Okugo leaves for allocation money. Okay I didn’t want that to happen but I can’t blame him at all. However, the Kvist interest is what doesn’t make sense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he is an excellent player, not that old, and has experience both Nationally and in the best world leagues. What I don’t get is why we would pay so much money to another defensive midfielder? Edu is expensive, and while Carroll or Lahoud shouldn’t be a consistent starter, they can certainly fill in for certain games.
    Don’t get me wrong, this kind of thinking is good for the team overall for sure, I just think the money would be better spent on a forward or winger or two. Even a left back. It just doesn’t seem to be a need. The only thing that makes sense is if both Okugo and Edu are leaving.

    • I Agree with you on A lot of things but when you said they should look into a left back I was confused…. Ray Gaddis had a hell of a season at left back… Plus he signed a 3 year contract so I believe the left back position is gone.

      • But Gaddis is playing out of position there. Conventional wisdom is that Williams is out and Gaddis returns to RB. That would mean we need a true LB.

      • Exactly, Gaddis is excellent, no doubt, but he would be better on the right. Plus then our only fullback depth wouldn’t be Fabinho, who is soon to be fired into the sun.

    • Well it looks like we are getting Sapong from KC and he is…. A striker. And Curtin is hellbent on turning Edu into a centerback. So most likely the Union are going to try and sell Valdes because there is way to much money tied up in the back.

    • It could be good and it is needed I think. so if Carroll and Lahould are not the consistent starters then who is? We do need another defensive mid. Edu should and will hopefully be playing in CB along Ethan White. Carroll and Lahoud will not change how weak the defensive midfield was last season, especially Carroll. So in my eyes Kvist could be a great option for that position. I think we still do need one more quality defender whether they play left back or right.

      • Sieve, I hope this article is true. Sapong would be a huge upgrade and a forward that we have been looking for. He is strong with the ball at his feet, comfortable under pressure, can hold the ball up top, his passing and distribution is even great let alone his goal scoring ability. I think it would be a great pick up if it is legit. The type of forward we desperately need.

      • I think valdes, berry and white could be more than serviceable as our center backs. Put it this way getting a proven guy is always good. But with the pieces he team already has, plus the cost of the player and the ownerships lack of spending, my fear is that it limits us from spending in a different, bigger area of need.
        For example, Kvist (DP- 385K plus more not on cap, Edu (385k plus more not on cap, and valdes (300k) is a huge amount of money on this team for a back center 3. Don’t get me wrong, they would be formidable, but I think the money would be more wisely spent on as striker. If they do both then hey that’s great. It just doesn’t fit their mold.

  3. Hey Front Office, thanks for pissing off every Union fan, damaging this team, and making yourself a laughingstock. How could you trade your most promising player within MLS? Why in the world would you pick up a foreign midfielder who can’t even hack it in the Championship? Meanwhile, Orlando is making moves that will make their team better than Philly’s on Day 1. Absolutely embarrassing.

  4. I’m very disappointed that they want to release Casey and Brown… This is making me worried that Curtin wants to go with Ribero as our main striker, in my opinion he was a flop and really does not fit on our team. I’m hoping this means they are investing in a quality striker because we haven’t had one since Le Toux, Danny Mawanga, and Jack Mac

    • Casey is broken down.
      Brown wasn’t ready (hope he goes to the Islanders)
      And we are getting a real striker.

    • I think Ribeiro becomes Maidana’s backup now that Fred is gone, which should get him on the field a decent amount at the CAM spot. They must still be looking at a higher end #1 striker, even with Sapong added. He’s a solid #2 option. I’d bring Casey back for a year as forward depth too if a reasonable deal can be made.

    • They can still resign both players, presumably for less money than the option would’ve paid.
      I have no issues with Casey being gone. He was fantastic, and brought a tough attitude to the field that the team needed. But as Sieve said, he’s broken at this point. Could he be a guy on the bench that gives an option? Maybe. But you don’t pay that guy what Casey would’ve made on his option.
      I’d love to see Brown sign directly with HCI – not a Union loan, that is. He showed occasional flashes, but he also showed that overall he isn’t ready to play in MLS.

  5. The Realist Brian says:

    I was not convinced that Okugo would have signed here. I love the guy, and he was a good player. But at least we got something for him, and there is no guarantee that Orlando can sign him. Similar to Bornstein (can’t believe I typed that) years ago with Portland when they got him. He never signed. Now, I am cautiously optimistic we can put more pieces in place. And I hope they make a VERY good deal for MacMath.

  6. “FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told reporters before Saturday’s Women’s World cup draw, ‘If anyone is saying the use of artificial pitch is a question of discrimination it is nonsense. It is completely crazy to say that. It has nothing to do with discrimination. I can’t imagine no one will recognise what FIFA has done for the development of women’s football over the last 15 years.'”
    Dear Mr. Valcke,
    Clearly, you’re an intelligent man; one does not get to the position you hold without intelligence. Therefore, I’m sure you’re aware of the “false dichotomy” fallacy. In short, a false dichotomy is when you present only two, opposite, solutions to a problem; you then argue that Option A clearly isn’t true so Option B must be. Often, but not always, a false dichotomy is presented as a misleading argument, meant to obfuscate a debate. The most famous example is, “you’re either with us or against us.”
    I believe, sir, that you are intentionally presenting a misleading false dichotomy on this subject. I believe you and your organization are embarrassed by this and want it to go away. Otherwise, you would clearly understand that what FIFA has done over the past 15 years for the development of women’s soccer is not at all tied to the specific issue of whether or not you’re discriminating by attempting to stage the Women’s World Cup on artificial turf fields.
    Your constituency deserves better than that, Mr. Valcke. I could go ahead and point out that FIFA’s recent track record of arrogance and corruption make it so nobody is surprised by your apathy or your tactics. But, then I’d be committing the same logical fallacy as you have. You can do better, Mr. Valcke.

  7. Is there any way the Union can work a clause into the Okugo deal such that Orlando is prevented from taking any Union players in the expansion draft? That would probably be more valuable than allocation money.

    • I don’t think so, officially. But they can have a gentleman’s agreement to that effect, of course.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        And if that’s the case, it wasn’t a bad move. Look, Okugo didn’t want to be here anymore. It sucks, but it is what it is. Like Jack Mac, the Union got something for him. That is better than nothing, which was a real option. I wish he was here. He’s an original, he’s young, talented, and on the rise… but to replace him with Kvist (assuming they do) isn’t the worse option.
        I admittedly don’t know much about Kvist, but I think it’s a little much to say he “can’t hack it in the Championship”. (And it’s the Championship, a league that still better than MLS) Altidore is benched at Sunderland, he can’t hack it either? Relax. We got something for a guy who was leaving anyway. And maybe an agreement to not have anyone else taken in the Expansion Draft. It’s not terrible.
        Now I want a LB, and another striker, and if we sell Valdes, an even better striker.

  8. I almost never comment here, and this is probably too late in the day for anyone to read, but I’m really, unbelievably sick of hearing people say “well, Okugo wouldn’t have signed here, so it’s good we got something.” Either you’re condescending or you’re missing the point.

    The easiest analogy I can come up with is if I’m watching a NFL game and I’m upset my team goes 3 out and has to punt, it would be like you saying “Well, you shouldn’t be upset they’re punting, otherwise they’d just turn the ball over.” Obviously I know that, I’m upset they put themselves in this position in the first place. Again, either condescending or missing the point (or so Pollyanna-ish that you’d probably defend bringing back Nowak).

    Who in this organization is responsible for making Amobi Okugo not want to sign here? Let’s identify that person and then fire him (and please don’t tell me “he wanted to go to Europe because I’ve been to Orlando and can assure you, unless they conned him by taking him to Epcot Center, he knows it’s not Europe). This is symptomatic of an organization that is incapable of asset management.

    So, yes, congratulations Union, you managed to badly bungle a situation but then managed to avoid the absolute worst case scenario. You turned “promising young midfielder” into “allocation money and draft pick” and, even though your track record indicates you’ll waste both those assets, we’ll pat you on the back and say “good job” because you avoided the worst case scenario.

    Please keep telling me about how “Okugo wouldn’t have signed here” and “If Sapong just reverses every trend his career has this will be a huge upgrade” and then, just maybe, this time when you go to kick the football, Lucy won’t pull it away. (SPOILER ALERT: She will, and the Union are going to keep being mediocre as long as this group is in charge)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *