Daily news roundups

Curtin on Sapong, Mbolhi on his happiness in Philly, latest MLS signings, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

On Friday, PSP, Philly.com, Delco Times, and CSN Philly.

In a Q&A at the Union website, Jim Curtin said of CJ Sapong,

CJ is a guy I’ve liked from when he was back here playing at Reading. He’s a guy who I’ve followed closely in the league and who I’ve always put my two cents in to make a move for. When the opportunity rose, we jumped on it. To have that as one of my first moves is to bring in a player of CJ’s quality and a double-digit goal scorer and he can play any of the front three spots. It’s a guy who gets on the end of crosses, runs hard in the box, he’s been a champion in Kansas City. I can’t say enough about him. I’m really excited to have him on board and I expect big things from him. I had a phone conversation with him the other day and we talked for a while. The conversation ended and I said, ‘All I need is double-digit goals.’ He said, ‘Great.’ So he’s ready to go and he’s excited.

Curtin also said the mantra at the Union is “playoffs”:

I’m going to ask from our front office on down to constantly speak about the playoffs. So much so that it becomes engrained in our players mind. I want them to hear it (playoff talk) so much that they’re sick of it. It’s part of the goal of the team. Once we get into the playoffs, we’ve proven we can play with anybody. You saw that in the Open Cup run. In one-off games, we’ve proven we can go toe to toe with anybody. Our goal is to get into the playoffs and from there we think anything can happen. We have the quality in our team to do that. We will add some pieces to put us over the top.

At the Union website, a two-part YouTube video series on from French video blog Clique TV on Rais Mbolhi (click on the “CC” button to enable subtitles). Mbolhi says of joining the Union, “Honestly, after all these years of struggle, I’m finally happy. On and off the field. Because I’m in the United States, I live near New York and Philadelphia is a great city. So, I’m very happy.”

When the interviewer asks Mbolhi about whether people in the US remind him that he’s an Algerian Muslim, Mbolhi responds, “Don’t believe everything you hear about the USA. You can practice your own religion, nobody’s going to bother you. I live in Philadelphia and I’m amazed by the Muslim community. Big bearded guys, wearing a qamis — nobody bothers them, and when I arrived I was very glad to see that…People say ‘The USA this and that…’ But in the USA you’re free, you can do what you want.”

Mbolhi’s kind words about Philadelphia and the US aside, it really is a remarkable pair of videos and gives real insight into a player that, through no fault of his own, has been more of a symbol since his arrival than a living, breathing, person with a fascinating history, not to mention a sense of humor.

Volksblatt reports (crappy Google translation here) the Union are interested in German attacking midfielder Markus Neumayr, who currently plays for FC Vaduz, a Lichtenstein club that plays in the Swiss Football League. The report says Bundesliga 2 sides 1860 München, St. Pauli, and FSV Frankfurt are also interested in the forward, as is Columbus Crew.

Brotherly Game talks to fellow SB Nation blogs about reported Union target William Kvist.

Freddy Adu is again without a club after Serbian side Jagodina released him. More from the Daily Mail and L’Equipe (crappy Google translation here).


It’s official: Brek Shea has joined Orlando City from Stoke. Orlando Sentinel reports Shea’s return was enabled by a pre-Expansion Draft agreement between Orlando City and NYCFC. “In the days before the draft, McDonough agreed to a deal with New York City FC, whose coach, Jason Kreis, was formerly in charge at Real Salt Lake: Orlando City would agree not to take an RSL player if Kreis and NYCFC passed on Shea at the top of the allocation order.”

The Orlando Sentinel report notes, “Amobi Okugo had been a trade possibility months before, then re-emerged a few weeks before the draft…Certain players immediately stood out — Danny Mwanga might be a risk worth taking…Pedro Ribeiro came highly recommended by Okugo.”

Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath tells SBI, ““We’re still working on the finishing touches with the team, so we’ll look to add 3-4 exciting international players in the coming three weeks. They won’t come from Europe, but from South America, so it’s just a matter of time until our supporters receive these nice gifts for the holidays.”

Chicago Fire have signed Ghanaian striker David Accam as a Designated Player. He joins the Fire from Swedish side Helsingborgs, where he scored 38 goals in 81 appearances.

Maybe Mix Diskerud isn’t going to Tijuana after all. Is his dad — who is also his agent — a loan shark?

Reports from England, confirmed by MLSsoccer.com, say the DeAndre Yedlin has secured a UK work permit and will soon join Tottenham.

Tim Howard on the Frank Lampard loan situation:

The MLS have made their own problem. New York are owned by Man City. Frank Lampard is playing at Man City, doing very well…Man City own the world … and I think Frank being part of a title-winning team is a little higher up their priorities. [MLS] made that bed…Perhaps they will have to slap Frank on the wrists and tell him he has to go to New York. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Vice Sports on New York Red Bulls, NYCFC, and the New York Cosmos: “The battle for New York: Cash, corporations, and soccer.

Toronto won’t have a home game until May 10 when work is completed on expanding BMO Field to 30,000 seats.

Now that the DC city council has given its approval for DC United’s new stadium, MLSsoccer.com looks at what’s next in the development of the stadium.

The New York Daily News reports that NYCFC is now looking for a stadium location in Queens and Brooklyn.

New York property attorney Martin Edelman, a member of Manchester City’s board of directors, told The News that the search has now moved to Queens and Brooklyn.

“We had focused on the Bronx, but that didn’t work out, and we weren’t able to find anything else in the Bronx that made sense,” Edelman says. “So we’re looking in Queens and Brooklyn, and each potential (site) has to be analyzed for construction, for access to public transportation, for parking, it’s a very complicated process.

“There’s no rush, but there’s a rush. In other words we’re not going to just settle for something, we’re going to find a place where everybody is comfortable doing it, and it makes economic sense to do it. But we’re not just sitting and waiting for the place to come to us.”

More from Empire of Soccer.

Big Apple Soccer reports, “the Red Bulls are set to announce Ali Curtis as their next sporting director, replacing the recently departed Andy Roxburgh.”

Looks like plans for a Detroit USL PRO team have been delayed until 2016.


The USWNT faced Brazil in the final of the International Tournament of Brasilia on Sunday after first losing 3-2 to the host team. On Sunday, the teams finished with a scoreless draw, giving the US a second place finish in the four-team competition.

Christen Press, who scored four goals in the 7-0 win over Argentina last Thursday, was not available for the US against Brazil after returning home following a death in the family.

ASN wonders why isn’t USWNT head coach Jill Ellis “inspiring better, more consistent performances?”

The US U-20 MNT defeated Honduras 2-1 on Sunday, the same scoreline with which they defeated Honduras on Thursday.

The US U-18 MNT was defeated 3-2 by Germany in Marbella, Spain. Union Academy player Sebastian Elney scored the first US goal after the team was trailing 2-0. The US defeated Germany 2-1 last Wednesday.


Reuters reports, “Sepp Blatter declared FIFA’s crisis to be over on Friday and said he would not abandon soccer’s governing body.” Just how delusional is Herr Blatter? How about these quotes:

We have been in a crisis (but) with the decision of the executive committee today, the crisis has stopped…If there are problems inside FIFA as we have faced, then it’s not the moment for the president, the man at the helm of FIFA, to say he will abandon his work…It’s not the first time that I have found myself as president of FIFA in a critical situation and I have to tell you that we will fight.

Blatter also explained he’s likely to run for a fifth term as FIFA’s president “because I have been asked by a lot of national associations to do so.” Looney Tunes, I tell you, Looney Tunes.

Additionally, Blatter said FIFA’s disciplinary committee will investigate who was responsible for leaking the names of three FIFA executive committee members under investigation by the ethics committee.

Blatter also said, “Public opinion is important because football is the greatest game in the world, connecting people, giving emotions, passion and hope in this world. So it’s very important for me personally at the helm of football to restore credibility.”

Inside World Football says that, despite what Blatter may think, he is still facing plenty of unanswered questions.

Real Madrid won the Club World Cup on Saturday, defeating San Lorenzo, 2-0. Auckland City finished in third place on penalty kicks after drawing 1-1 with Cruz Azul.

On Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo flew to his home on the island of Funchal to unveil a ten-foot bronze statue of himself. I’m not sure if he was as, shall we say, excited, as the statue appears to be.


  1. I believe this is among the most significant info for me. And i am happy reading your article. But want to remark on some basic things, The website taste is wonderful, the articles is actually nice : D. Excellent activity, cheers

    • actually we haven’t seen much activity from D in a while, although I agree he has been a good commenter

    • Fake Hackworth says:

      I presume they are talking about Ronaldo. That’s how I feel looking at the Orlando roster.

      • +100. I like Christian Ronaldo. If we talk about signing him, will everyone believe we are taking it seriously? Can we cash a few more ticket orders?
        We miss you John!

  2. Man, I’m going to hate Orlando.

  3. Lol on the statue comment.

  4. Did anyone explain to Mbolhi that “I live near New York” is not a quote that will endear you to Philadelphia fans?

    • I have a feeling that New York (the city) is recognized abroad just a little more than Philly.

    • Give him a break. He said Philly’s a great city. It’s not his fault that people from other countries don’t dream of one day living in Philadelphia.

      • No, but it is his fault that he kicked the ball to the other team at the very end of a must-win game.

        And honestly, I wouldn’t go to Barcelona and tell everyone that I love it because it’s in the same country as Madrid.

      • No, but you might go to Seville and say that it’s nice to be close to Madrid; or you might go to Valencia and comment how it’s nice that Barcelona is just a short ride up the coast.
        Rob’s exactly right on this. He’s just using a geographical reference that people world-wide will understand.

      • +1

    • I hear you, but if your audience is international, then being within 100 miles of NYC is regarded as an unquestionable positive. Many of us Philadelphians also enjoy the fact that it’s easy to get into NYC. I’d like to think that soccer fans have a broader view of things, in any case. But you are basically correct.

    • This is all so funny. To your point though John, I imagine those in Seville could be saying the same thing about Valencia- particularly if there is a heated rivalry between clubs. I love this stuff. Fun.

      • Yeah, I have no idea who is a rival for who over in Spain, to be honest. I just opened a Google map and found two places I knew had teams that were close(-ish) to Madrid and Barcelona.

    • As a life-long fan of all of the Philly teams, I have no problem with what he said. I love Philadelphia, New York City and this country. Hopefully, everyone can appreciate the context/audience, especially considering that his comments are rooted in his own experience here in the USA.
      Thank you, Rais.

    • For whatever reasons, some within his control (1 bad goal) and some not (going to a club already overstocked at his position), Mbolhi’s had a rough start in Philly so his agent may want to do some research for him on what he should and should not say to become popular with the fans here.
      I haven’t spent much time abroad, but I would guess the Philadelphia is at least somewhat well known given its historical importance.
      And all this comes from a transplanted Northern New Jerseyite (me) who still roots for one New York team in another sport that most of you probably hate.

  5. Let’s cut Mbolhi some slack. He is our starting goalkeeper and a very good one. if you want to be pissed at the front office for the acquisition go right ahead, but let’s not bastardize every thing this guy says and does just because he accepted the best deal for him and his family and chose to join our club.

    Lets hope that when all is said and done, that shank is just something we will all look back at and laugh at.

    • I don’t think we are bastardizing it. I think Andy was being coy with his original statement regarding Rais, NY, and Philly. Truthfully, the comment is dead spot on from my POV and rather funny. Let’s all just accept it for what it was. Humor. And good humor at that.
      Goof ball clearance aside I think we all realize Rais is going to be an upgrade in the position. Welcome to Philly Rais. Now some clean sheets please.

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  7. Pedro was highly recommended from Okugo, are they saying Okugo was behind us losing Pedro? Probably would have happened anyway but that still messed up Okugo damn

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