Daily news roundups

Expansion Draft today, MLS Cup Final viewership numbers show big increase, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Today’s Expansion Draft will take place via teleconference and is scheduled to begin at 2 pm. You can listen in at MLSsoccer.com or on YouTube.

At CBS Philly, Kevin Kinkead on why the Union left Zac MacMath and Rais Mbolhi unprotected:

Instead of tipping the hand to show preference to one guy over the other, this move essentially delays the process and kicks the can further down the road. You defer to this pair of expansion clubs, and see whether they value one of these goalkeepers enough to warrant selection in Wednesday’s draft.

Maybe it was done on purpose, or maybe not.

But it’s smart, really, because you can dangle both players out there and see if a team bites, then pull your other goalkeeper back into safety through the mechanism provided by the league office.

Kinkead concludes, “The idea to leave Mbolhi exposed also tells me that Jim Curtin and Chris Albright have full control over player decisions. I can’t imagine that Mbolhi would be unprotected if Nick Sakiewicz was part of this process. The Union goalkeeper situation continues to be mocked around the league, but leaving both players exposed seems to signal a changing of the guard in the player-personnel department.”

MLSsoccer.com’s mock draft has Danny Cruz going to NYCFC, and Conor Casey to Orlando. On Cruz: “Never going to be a pretty player, but he’s 1000 percent committed and both smarter and more effective than most give him credit for.” On Casey: “Think of the space Casey could open for Kaka…”

SI’s mock draft has NYCFC selecting Zac MacMath with their first pick, followed by Austin Berry with their fifth pick.

Here at PSP, Dan Walsh did a mock draft and has NYCFC taking Berry in the seventh round, and Orlando taking Zac MacMath in the ninth round.

Speaking of Dan, if you read his Monday column before it was updated on Monday evening, take another look. It’s been updated with all kinds of interesting information.

No Union players are on ProSoccerTalk’s list of ten players NYCFC and Orlando City should take.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Reppert runs down the Union’s protected and unprotected lists. The review sees MacMath, Berry, and Michael Lahoud as possible NYCFC selections, and MacMath, Richie Marquez, and Pedro Ribeiro as possible Orlando selections.

At the Union website, a look at important offseason dates, beginning with today’s expansion draft.

At MLSsoccer.com, more on Chris Albright’s comments on the arrival of CJ Sapong.

At Brotherly Game, William Murphy considers what Monday’s moves say about the Union and concludes with a question: “Does this look like a successful club to you?”

Zolo Talk looks at Monday’s moves and concludes, “Believe or not Union fans, but it looks like this team has a plan for once.”

Playing for 90 is excited to see what CJ Sapong can bring to the table.

The Union’s Summer Select program has started a New Jersey chapter.

Sons of Ben

The Sons of Ben sent out the following message to its membership on Tuesday:

The Major League Soccer Family are mourning the loss of three DC United fans (Marie, Cole, and Devin Gemmell) who were among the six people killed on Monday when a plane crashed into their Gaithersburg, Maryland home. The Gemmells were members of DC United’s famous Supporters Group the Screaming Eagles dating back to 2003.  The Screaming Eagles (and DC United Family) supported us tremendously after the tragic loss of our dearly departed Sons of Ben brother Eric Shertz. For more information visit the Screaming Eagles website. DC United Family…we’ve got your back.

You can make a donation to the Gemmel Fund set up by the Screaming Eagles by clicking here.

Local

Reading United notes that the College Cup Final Four is “loaded with Reading players.”

MLS

Fox Sports on NYCFC’s preparations for today’s Expansion Draft.

The Orlando Sentinel says, with Monday’s acquisitions, much of the pressure is off Orlando City.

The club’s leadership has shown it understands the core of a team cannot and will not be found solely in the 10-round expansion draft — which, let’s face it, is largely constructed out of castoffs from other MLS teams.

That’s why Orlando City went out and built the spine of its team through other mechanisms.

Soccer America reviews some of the options in today’s Expansion Draft.

Houston Dynamo officially unveiled former Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic, and Burnley manager Owen Coyle as their new head coach on Tuesday. More from Houston Chronicle, Soccer America, and MLSsoccer.com.

Chicago have signed midfielder Michael Stephens, who played on Chicago’s PDL team, from Norwegian Tippeligaen side Stabæk. Stephens was selected by LA Galaxy, with whom he played for four seasons before going to Norway, in the 2010 SuperDraft.

Is Robbie Keane leaving LA Galaxy? He said on Monday, “I definitely need to recharge the batteries and see what the next chapter is for me, whether it’s here or it’s somewhere else…I’m not saying I’m going to leave, but what I’m saying is I need to consider what I want to do, you know? Sometimes change is good for everybody.”

Todd Durbin, MLS vice president for player relations and competition, says the league is open to the proposal from Liga MX that MLS teams join the Copa MX tournament.

An average of 1,907,000 viewers were watching last Sunday’s MLS Cup final, an 88 percent increase over the 2013 final, and the largest viewership since the 1997 final. Numbers for the combined Spanish-language broadcasts are triple what they were three years ago. More at Soccer America.

The LA Times on how despite losing Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry, the league is still rising. Whew. But wait — what will happen if Keane leaves?

The cost of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium that will also be the home of the Atlanta MLS team could rise to $1.4 billion.

While the Minnesota Vikings were focused on getting their stadium plan off the ground, many Minnesota soccer fans thought they were only paying lip service to the effort to land a MLS franchise. The Star-Tribune looks at the efforts the Vikings are making to turn such fans around, now that planning is mostly complete and construction has begun.

Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports, “San Antonio Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman remains optimistic that San Antonio is on the short list for a Major League Soccer franchise.”

New York Cosmos unveiled Raul on Tuesday.

US

We linked to news of the USMNT pre-Gold Cup schedule on Monday, but on Tuesday, US Soccer made it official with an announcement that includes the broadcasters for the games:

Jan. 28: at Chile (location TBA), Fox Sports 2, UniMas, UDN
Feb. 8: Panama (in Carson, Calif.), ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN
March 25: at Denmark, ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN
March 31: at Switzerland (in Zurich), Fox Sports 1, UniMas, UDN
April 15: Mexico (location TBA), Fox Sports 1, UniMas, UDN
June 5: at Netherlands (location TBA), ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN
June 10: at Germany (in Cologne), Fox Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

The USWNT begins play in the four-team International Tournament of Brasilia today at 4:20 pm against China. The game will not be televised. Next up is Brazil on Dec. 14.

Brandi Chastain is concerned all the attention on the artificial turf issue at the 2015 Women’s World Cup is a distraction. “Unfortunately, I think it is a topic of conversation that potentially can derail the focus needed on the game itself. As a player, I wouldn’t want to play on it. I’m in the camp with the players who are protesting it. But unfortunately, I think it could take up too much time and energy when they should be doing and focusing on something else. I hope that it gets resolved in the way that they want — which I don’t think will happen — but they can’t dwell on it if it doesn’t change and allow it to get in the way of what the ultimate goal.” Yes, if the US does poorly at the World Cup, it will be because they were distracted by the artificial turf lawsuit. Moving on.

Elsewhere

On Tuesday, CONCACAF announced “an official partnership with Scotiabank, designating the international bank as title sponsor of the CONCACAF Champions League and official bank of the Confederation.”

The Guardian reports, “A Peruvian player, João Contreras, who was struck by lightning during a Copa Peru match and was initially reported to have been killed during the incident, survived and is now in hospital.

Vice Sports on vanishing spray.

22 Comments

  1. I completely disagree with Kevin. Mbolhi is unprotected because they know neither Orlando or New York is stupid enough to take a goalie with a near DP level salary. They are going to spend that money on real stars. Why protect a player that is clearly not going to get taken. Macmath on the other hand still has movable value so if we lose him for nothing today I am not going to be happy.

    • The Black Hand says:

      They are PRAYING that someone takes M’Bohli!!

    • I agree. They left Mbohi unprotected because there is very, very little chance he gets taken, and if he does we’ve cleared a huge unnecessary salary. This would have been smart, except they used that extra place to protect Fabinho sooo….

      • Yea I agree with all the above. I think they correctly assume that neither team will want M’Bohli’s salary, although I think his talent warrants it (even though WE haven’t seen that yet), but if one does we get him off the books and move forward with Zac. Zac should’ve been protected over Fabinho, but I think that spot still had to be used for an international player, but I need to refresh on the rules about that.

      • By my count the Union have 7 international slots occupied (not counting Cristhian Hernandez who had his option declined and would be automatically protected anyway) and thus would only need to protect a minimum of 3. Protecting Fabinho puts the number of protected internationals at 4 (along with Nogs, Maidana and Valdes), so they could have used that slot on anyone.

      • Thanks for the clarification

  2. How do you know the game is growing. Tackling NFL Football Sunday with a Championship game and living to tell about it. Course had it been Houston and Toronto, the rating likely would have been hardly complimentary. Good job anyway MLS.

  3. Just out of curiosity…will there be real-time updates of the Expansion Draft at 2pm today? I see that it’s conducted via conference call. I can see MLS withholding the results until Friday or some nonsense.

  4. ” You defer to this pair of expansion clubs, and see whether they value one of these goalkeepers enough to warrant selection in Wednesday’s draft.”

    because our FO isnt smart enough to do their own player evaluations?

  5. Ribeiro: Gone. So bummed.

  6. I’m done with The Union and their dopey front office. I’m now offically an Orlando City fan . . . I’m putting money down that they’ll win a trophy before us. What a superb haul we have from that 2014 draft!

  7. Losing just Ribeiro isnt too bad for a two team expansion draft considering what some of the other teams lost.

    • Even so, he could have been protected over Fabinho. Who backs up Chaco?

      • I don’t know they need to address that in the off-season because Nogueira is not the answer.

      • That is what is frustrating about this. They just addressed it by drafting Pedro in the LAST off season.

      • I know its definitely frustrating. At the same time I don’t think Ribeiro is ready to be an everyday player at attacking midfielder quite yet in MLS. Hopefully someone with a little more pedigree is on their way in.

  8. Danny Mwanga to Orlando in the 8th round. Hopefully that won’t come back to haunt us.

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