Daily news roundups

Edu deal could be announced today, Sak on the Academy, Philly in running to host 2016 Copa America games, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reported on Thursday that, according to “a source with direct knowledge” of the deal, Maurice Edu will remain at PPL Park with a new multi-year contract. Expect an announcement Friday making the deal official.”

Tannenwald reports, “The negotiations required a transfer fee from the Union to Stoke, the exact value of which I was not able to confirm. But it’s noteworthy enough that there was a transfer fee paid, instead of it being a free deal.”

The Delco Times reports the Union “did not confirm the move Thursday,” but sources later confirmed the Edu deal CSN Philly and to ESPN.

Dave Zeitlin tweeted after the Philly.com report,

Brotherly Game wonders if, with the Edu deal done, the rest of the Union’s offseason moves will begin to fall into place.

Taylor Twellman tweets:

Discuss.

A mock draft at Top Drawer Soccer has the Union selecting midfielder and local lad Manolo Sanchez (Clemson) with their first pick in the second round (31st overall), and left back Jordan Murrell (Syracuse) with the pick (41st overall) they received in the Zac MacMath loan to Colorado.

According to MLSsoccer.com, the Union have the ninth toughest schedule of the league for 2015, fourth toughest in the Eastern Conference.

Vavel analyzes the Union’s schedule.

Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz participated in a NSCAA-hosted Google Hangout on Thursday (click here for our transcript). Sakiewicz discussed a variety of topics, including diversity within the academy and plans to add a girls component. Asked what would constitute success for the academy ten years from now, Sakiewicz said “a handful of players on our first team lining up as starters for the Philadelphia Union, and a pipeline of players coming through the system.” He added,

You know, Richie and I always kind of think the day we have an academy player play and start for our team, and score a goal, and go in the corner and kiss the badge will be the day that we look at each other and say, “We’ve been successful.” We hope that day comes sooner than ten years but that’s kind of the measure of success.

Sakiewicz also said, “In ten years, I envision having a professional women’s team playing at PPL Park every Saturday, and a pipeline of girls and women coming out of our youth academy feeding that team, as well.”

Here’s a listing of Philadelphia Foundation events at next week’s NSCAA Convention.

FIFA provides clubs compensation for players who are called up for the World Cup. Based on information from the European Club Association, ProSoccerTalk reports the Union received $17,733 in compensation from FIFA. “FIFA paid $2,800 for each day players were on official national team duty for the World Cup. That sum was shared between clubs that the player had been registered for in the two years leading up to the World Cup.”

Local

CONCACAF announced on Thursday that Philadelphia is among 24 cities “which have indicated interest” in hosting 2016 Centennial Cup America games. The announcement says, “The deadline for the venues competing to host a portion of the tournament to submit a proposal is March 16, 2015. The winning communities will be announced in May.” More at US Soccer.

Former Reading United goalkeeper Alex Bono, who just signed a Generation adidas deal, is a Hermann Trophy finalist. The men’s and women’s winners will be announced today and St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a preview.

Russ Bono (no relation to Alex Bono — I think), the North Catholic grad who played for La Salle University, 1979-82, setting the school record for career goals and career points, has been named to the La Salle University Hall of Athletes.

MLS

The Guardian reported on Thursday,

The Premier League says Manchester City have not broken any rules regarding Frank Lampard’s contract extension and that there is no agreement in place between the club or its owners and New York City FC over his registration…

Neither City nor NYCFC have responded to detailed questions from the Guardian over the nature of the deal. However, the League is satisfied that City have not breached any rules.

The Guardian report quotes a statement from the Premier League: “The Premier League has sought and received assurances from Manchester City that there is no agreement in place between the club or City Football Group with New York City FC relating to the player.” Mercy.

Noting, “there is no written guarantee for Lampard’s services to Major League Soccer or NYCFC,” Empire of Soccer says,

It is also now clear that Manchester City, NYCFC and MLS have all mischaracterized the nature of Lampard’s deal. He never signed a DP contract, was never on loan and was never guaranteed to start the season with NYCFC.

These revelations fly right in the face of statements made by MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott, who recently told Fox Soccer’s Alexi Lalas, “There is no possibility (Lampard) is not coming at all. He’ll be playing for the MLS team in 2015.”  If any assurances were made to guarantee Lampard’s arrival stateside, they certainly were not written, putting NYCFC in the exact same position they were in prior to this entire controversy.

Not so fast! Frank Lampard has issued a statement “to make it completely clear about my situation as I have read a lot of lies and nonsense over the last few days”? Over to you, Frank:

When released from Chelsea last year at the end of my contract I signed a commitment to play in NYCFC for two years starting January 1st 2015. I was then offered the chance to train and be a part of the Man City squad in the interim to keep myself in the best shape going into New York.

This period has since been extended by Man City and I will now start playing for NYCFC at the end of this current Premier League season. There has always been a constant dialogue between all parties in this time to find the best solution for everyone.

I can say that I am very excited about arriving in New York and giving everything to the team to make us a success in the MLS as soon as possible. Thanks everyone for your ongoing support and I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2015.

Moreover, ESPN reports, “Frank Lampard has signed a deal to join New York City FC on July 1 and will not play for Manchester City in the next Premier League season, the player’s agent Steve Kutner has told talkSPORT radio in the UK.”

New York Daily News reports Red Bulls fans have set up a fundraising campaign on indiegogo.com to pay for a billboard to display their displeasure at the firing on Mike Petke. They quickly surpassed their fundraising goal.

At the Guardian, Graham Parker writes that Petke is a victim of the Red Bulls’ addiction to re-invention.

At Metro Fanatic, an open letter to the Red Bull front office begins, “Dear Red Bull idiots”.

The Daily News report also notes Red Bulls have sent email invitations to season ticket holders for a town hall meeting on Jan. 16 to discuss changes at the club. In attendance will be general manager Marc de Grandpre, sporting director Ali Curtis, and new head coach Jesse Marsch.

Regarding the interest that the Red Bulls reportedly had in Jozy Altidore, Doug McIntyre reports at ESPN that the club is likely out of the running because Altidore’s price is too high. Not including whatever transfer fee Sunderland would want, Altidore’s asking price is reportedly in the $5-6 million range.

Empire of Soccer reports, “The New York Red Bulls will field a USL Pro team in 2015 — and they may be playing ball in the Big Apple.”

At ESPN, Jason Davis on how January has been a tough month for New York teams. At SBI, The current results of a poll at SBI asking which New York team is more of a mess has 37 percent picking the Red Bulls, 25 percent NYCFC, and 34 percent saying the two club are equally messy.

The league has announced five Generation adidas signings ahead of next week’s draft.

The MLS Players Combine begins today.

Houston Dynamo have acquired 21-year-old Argentine midfielder Leonel Miranda on a season-long loan from Club Atlético Independiente.

Emmanuel Adebayor to MLS?

Shola Ameobi to MLS?

At MLSsoccer.com, a collection of free agent players MLS teams might consider pursuing.

The US Olympic Committee has named Boston as the host city in its bid to land the 2024 Summer Olympics. New England Soccer Today considers how this may affect New England Revolution’s stadium plans.

NWSL

An investment group in Atlanta is working to bring a NWSL franchise to that city. The team would reportedly be terribly named the Atlanta Vibe.

US

The US begins play in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship tournament in Jamaica today against Guatemala (5:30 pm: Fox Sports 2, Univision Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go). Zach Pfeffer was left off the squad as he recovers from a minor injury, but local lads Russell Canouse (Lancaster, PA.; Hoffenheim) and Zack Steffen (Downingtown, Pa.; Freiburg) are central to the team.

At the US Soccer site, a look at one technique Tab Ramos has used to instill a “tradition of success” in the U-20 team since becoming head coach.

The latest FIFA rankings are out and the USMNT remains at No. 27. Actually, the positions of the top 45 teams are unchanged.

Elsewhere

The French Football Federation has announced that “a minute’s silence will be held at every soccer game this weekend to remember those killed” in Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Paris. #JeSuisCharlie.

Reuters reports, “The Asian Football Confederation supports Sepp Blatter’s bid to secure a fifth consecutive term as FIFA president, according to AFC general secretary Alex Soosay.”

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of the upcoming week’s live games on TV, online, and on satellite radio.

53 Comments

  1. So if we got Kljestan (which I find unlikely), would we just move to a narrow diamond with two up top? Or would we just end up playing yet another player out of position? If the Union FO are seriously going after Kljestan at the expense of other targets (in more needed positions, i.e. LB, ST, CDM), it just reaffirms how inept they are.

    • Dunno.
      Is he gonna be a new CDM or play in Nogs spot.
      Will he go in Maidana’s spot and push Chaco out wide.
      .
      I am assuming he would be a CDM. If that happens a central defense of Rais, Valdes and Edu would be expensive.
      .
      So yea we are selling Valdes if we get him.

    • He can play CDM, but I’m not sure that’s his natural position. I actually think he can play that, CM or CAM. But if they do get him, I think it’d be him and Nogs pairing at CM with Maidana in front of them at CAM. That would allow both him AND Nogs to get foward while the other covers, and give the team two midfielders who can create and move about in space. Especially with Edu and Valdes in behind them I don’t see it being a bad move. Financially maybe, but not tactically.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Both of the MLS finalists played with two guys who are defensive midfielders by trade. Sarvas-Juninho vs Jones-Caldwell. Seattle uses 2 defensive mids. I think that trying to compete in MLS without a ball winner in the center of the park would lead to the Union getting carved up. Kljestan is not a DCM by any stretch.
        .
        I think your midfield works when the Union are chasing the game or playing a vastly inferior opponent, however most of the time that threesome would end up getting bulldozed.

      • most teams today play with two holdings…….doesn’t matter if its 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1…….two stay home and screen the back four. Even the US at the World Cup in a 4-4-2…..played with two holding mids. Usually one is a destroyer/ creator……the other is the pivot guy to switch the attack. If you have Yaya Toure….you can get away with one holding!

      • The Chopper says:

        Perhaps The Union are not as deep at CB as we believe. Valdez will likely be moved if possible. No one is saying it to keep up potential deal value, but his knees may be pretty much finished. The Union don’t see him contributing in 2015. They should have moved him right after the World Cup when his value was higher, but they thought he could help them reach the playoffs just to discover he used himself up in the World Cup Run.

        Nobody seems to want Austin Berry, including the Union. So that leaves, White, Marquez and maybe Edu, but I still think Curtin sees Edu as a CDM.

        It will make heads explode, but I do think the Union will sign another CD soon.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        I agree with you, but the proposal above was pretty much all out attack. The double pivot requires at least one ball winner and in the case of the two finalists, two. Kljestan isn’t that guy at all, neither is Nogueira. I’m all for playing with two at the base of midfield, but think you need either Edu or a new 6 alongside Nogueira. Nogueira covers ground and has an excellent workrate, but he is a tiny man, necessitating pretty much an all out destroyer to partner with him. Okugo looked good in that slot because he provided hard nosed tackling and was a deferential 1 and 2 touch passer.
        .
        Mostly my point is that Kljestan really doesn’t fit with the Union.

  2. I think I’m officially tired of hearing about Frank Lampard.

    I am interested in hearing more about Klejsten. He seems to be having a pretty good season this year, but I don’t follow him or his career and don’t know if he’s the kind of defensive midfielder we’d be looking for to replace Okugo.

    What do those in the know think?

  3. Quietly quietly quietly the Huston Dynamo are reinventing themselves.

  4. Edu and Nogs need to be our CDM’s.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      Agreed. Edu, for my money, was fantastic in defense but with other options at CB and limited options at Dmid, it makes the most sense that he plays there. For the money they just paid to acquire his rights and resign him, going out and getting another no. 6 seems a tad foolish. Similarly, not sure what the thought process is with Kljestan. He’s another deep-lying, low scoring distributor. The Union are A-ok in that department. They either need a guy who is a midfield ball winner/destroyer or a goal scorer. Kljestan is neither of those things.

      • The Union could switch formations to a diamond 4-4-2. Edu as DM, Nogs and Kljestan as shuttlers on the sides, and Chaco as the CAM would be pretty decent. The two forwards would be some combination of Casey, Le Toux, Wenger or Sapong.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        They could change to a 4-4-2, but that puts a lot of pressure on your fullbacks to provide width and be excellent decision makers about when to stay and when to go.
        .
        Changing the formation seems a drastic move when simply spending their money on positions of need would be more sensible.

      • ….and we already play some real narrow footy!

      • you run a 4-4-2 these days when you don’t have the horses to run a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1! Or…..if you have two really good strikers… most teams today in that situation are running the 3-5-2 again…..like Man U.

      • Yup Eli, +1

      • Exactly. Where are the center forwards? You can’t rely on Sapong alone.

      • I would have Sapong as your lone target striker……..and Wenger and Seba on the wings….to play off of and run behind the oppositions back four. Thats a pretty strong attacking three you have there.

      • We’ve seen KC use Sapong that way at PPL……

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Still think they need to make a splash on a big time forward (and are actively trying to do so). Sapong is a good signing and would be the first option off the bench for any of the front three and an ideal spot starter, but asking him to come in and carry the offense from day 1 is asking a little too much, in my eyes.

      • +1. Plus, strikers go cold, and they get injured. Now if Sapong started as the striker, Casey could be his understudy, and that would be great depth. But we would be totally lacking in depth on the wings. Danny Cruz seemed a clearly improved player in the last half a dozen matches of 2014, but we need additional wing options if we’re playing that hybrid 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 thing that Curtin played last year.

      • Agreed. Please get us more of a sure thing. Curtin not that long ago talked about pressure to put together a team that can win now. Taking a chance on a Sapong bounce back with only Casey behind him isn’t enough. I like the Sapong pick-up, but they need a big time forward option with a more proven track record.

      • I agree…..but we have no one else right now to play a target forward role……

      • Eli………..didn’t one of the coaches tell Sapong……..I need ten goals from you this year? While your probably privy to information I’m not….why would you tell a reserve or spot starter that?

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        I feel like I remember something like that. 10 goals from a starting no. 9 is decent but probably not enough. However, if Sapong can reel off 10 goals from a variety of positions as a starter and substitute, I’d call that a successful first season with the Union. Time will tell. I like CJ, just think they need another goalscorer to solidify the attack.

  5. Kljestan is just another sad attempt to convince us that FO cares and is “all in” and can sign USMNT players. Like the Michael Bradley fiasco. They don’t really want or need him.

  6. Has Nogs been confirmed to be coming back yet? His deal was up.

  7. Sunderland paid ten million dollars for Jozy and his, what, one league goal? he’s on over 2 million pounds a year and he wants more? this is Tebow-level insanity

  8. In other news, hosting an Ought16 Copa game or three would be sweet.
    .
    Also, related to my post on other spots about certain things…. a man can only be a man when his word is bond, so well done Union resigning Maurice Edu- I rail and rail but also will give congrats when they are due.
    .
    Clearly, this is a team in need of Maurice Edu. He is consummate and I will keep this post to only the positive aspects. Find it very interesting in what manner he will be playing for us but at least he is staying local. Good job FO.
    .

    • This is clearly related to their letting go of your beloved Amobi. He and Edu were rather redundant, plus expensive. We could argue about which one they should’ve kept — and I think there are very good arguments in favor of either player — but keeping both was unlikely. It always hurts to get bad news in the form of a strong player leaving for another team, but that news needs to be put in context of the whole picture of team moves, and this is a very important part of that context.

      • Early this week I said I’d leave for the Cosmos if they let Edu walk so I needed to give a solid to the organization for signing Maurice.
        .
        Trying to be intellectually honest as most of my posts are cynical in nature or scathing in nature. and I’m so over Amobi anyway wink wink.

  9. OneManWolfpack says:

    Agree with you Joel, on the Edu front. He was a necessity, and they made it happen. That is the first step. The Kljestan thing to me is just smoke, and personally, I am fine with that. I actually don’t really want him. He doesn’t fill a need. I, as would I think most people, want that money to go to a striker… a proven striker. Step One: Edu. Step 2: striker. Step 3: LB?

    • Shane (new official OC FC supporter) says:

      I’m more apt to believe this is Sak’s amazing plan:
      .
      Step 1 – Collect underpants.
      Step 2 – ?
      Step 3 – PROFIT

  10. Steve OMalley says:

    We are all complaining about the union finally doing stuff and Toronto is waisting close to $30 mil on bradley and defoe While nogs, kljestan and edu would be deadly

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      What is this based on? Sure Toronto spent a lot of money, but it’s money that they have. Even in an injury shortened season Defoe was a double digit scorer. Why would Nogueira, Kljestan and Edu be deadly? Based on what? Kljestan would force a shift of formation, as discussed above, or move an existing player, potentially Nogs and/or Maidana, out of their most comfortable spots while more pressing concerns would not be addressed.
      .
      Yes, Toronto has spent a lot of money, but it is their prerogative to do so. If the Union had that kind of money, they’d spend it too. They are frugal because they have to be.

      • Steve OMalley says:

        Its based on the transfer fee of Michael Bradley being 17 million bucks and he didn’t do have the stuff edu and nogs did then add in kljestan we gave arguably one of the top 5 midfields in MLS

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Michael Bradley was actually very good, better than Nogs and Edu, that doesn’t say that he was value for money at all. The team around him was a bunch of stiffs, that is Toronto’s real problem, they’re becoming the washington redskins of MLS in that regard. Still, Toronto have the money to spend. The transfer fee is irrelevant if it gets them the player they want.
        .
        How would Kljestan fit? You’ve made the same points again without justifying either. It’s good to be pro-Union, but Kljestan does not fit into what the Union want to do, imo. Simply acquiring talent without a plan seems to actually be part of Toronto’s problem. The Union have to be shrewd with their purchases, given their lack of resources. So, how does Kljestan address the issues with which the Union are struggling?

    • There’s no room for Klejstan unless there’s a formation change. He’s not the d-mid they need next to Nogueira. They need a #6, which Klejstan is not.

  11. Steve OMalley says:

    Kljestan would sure up the midfield to allow Valdes and edu play back so he can play cdm kljestan that is so he would fit

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      Ok, so to clarify, you’re proposing converting Kljestan to a D mid? That leaves the Union very lightweight in midfield, without a true ball winner (as discussed above) and isn’t a great use of the Union’s limited resources. Also, it would be a lot of money to spend on a “D mid” when they just paid a transfer fee and likely gave a raise to Mo Edu.
      .
      If/when Kljestan returns to MLS, my guess is that it will be for a team that wants to use him a a creative, attacking midfielder.

  12. EPS, first off great job on the podcast this year. Gets me through a lot of crap commutes and I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot from it.
    *
    Second, could you toss in some examples of the kind of ball-winner they should be targeting if they’re keeping Mo at CB? Not necessarily someone you think they actually have a shot at, but that’d be of interest too.

  13. Steve OMalley says:

    Well it was all just for argument sake because there is no way in hell we get kljestan who do you think we need at any position altidore? EPS

  14. Steve OMalley says:

    We should all tell him how smart he is because he wrote an article on the same subject plus he works with cbs philly and gets more info then us care to share some inside scoop

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      Honestly, I don’t have a scoop. I’d be surprised if they beat out the other 3 interested teams for Kljestan purely because of the $$$. Sacha also fits a lot better with Toronto (stupid, loves to spend money but could form a real partnership with Bradley), Portland (slots in for Will Johnson as he continues to recover), NYRB (Eric Alexander should be renamed “BOOOOOOOO You Suck” cause that’s what most people call him) than he does with the Union and all 3 are looking to make a splash.
      .
      The no. 6s who are having success in this league are no longer the Chris Armas’ of MLS past that cut people off at the ankles, make a 2 yard pass and that’s job done. Guys like Trapp, Caldwell and Chara have the steel required but also read the game well and can pick a pass when required. I believe that under Adrian Heath, Okugo will quickly get added to that list.
      .
      The problem for the Union is that they’ve shown that they do not have the patience to develop young players and let them grow into their roles. Both Caldwell and Trapp started with some very, very shaky performances, but Heaps and Berhalter didn’t give up on them and it paid off with the former playing in MLS Cup Final and the latter being called into his first USMNT camp.
      .
      It is easier to find MLS ready/capable centerbacks than defensive midfielders. For that reason, I would use Edu at the 6 and look to add defensive reinforcements. Edu won’t play the position like Okugo, who held his ground in the middle of the park because everyone surrounding him, Maidana, Nogueira, Edu and Valdes consistently goes on walkabout. Okugo held his ground in the center of the park and allowed himself to be absorbed into the backline when needed. Edu will roam much more freely, which has the upside of making the Union theoretically more dynamic, but the downside of requiring Nogueira to win more tackles and play more structured defensively.
      .
      So for me, it’s Edu. And while I would not be a fan of the decision, don’t rule out Michael Lahoud. Lahoud started 4 of Curtin’s first 5 games in charge, I believe. So I wouldn’t be shocked to seem him get spot starts, and potentially even more, though again, I would not advocate for that.

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