Daily news roundups

Curtin & Albright on draft, Edu, Kljestan, and more, Union preseason opponents, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin and Chris Albright spoke to reporters on Monday via conference call on a number of topics (transcript here). Some highlights:

  • Curtin said the Union are considering trading up to gain a first round pick in Thursday’s Superdraft: “[W]we have targets. I’ll be blunt, there’s two guys right now that we are debating moving up for in the draft, and they’re the guys that are at positions of need. If that price gets too high to move up, we won’t do it. It’s as simple as that.”
  • Curtin emphasized that neither he nor Chris Albright had a final say in last year’s SuperDraft strategy.
  • Curtin said of trading their No. 10 pick to acquire CJ Sapong, “[T]here’s no player that’s [in the Combine] that represents his quality right now, so we’re happy with that.”
  • Given that the team — pending any deals — won’t pick until the second round, Curtin stressed the importance of acquiring role players in the draft: “The guys that give you 34 games — maybe they just make 100,000 dollars a year, but that can give you 34 games — are so valuable in this league. You don’t have to worry about them.”
  • Curtin said the team will go after the best available player rather than pick for a position of need: “Obviously if it’s one of the key positions slips to us, and a guy that we’re shocked falls into our lap at a left back spot, we would do it.”
  • Regarding the status of the reported deal to secure Maurice Edu on a permanent transfer from Stoke, Chris Albright said, “I think we’re close to being over the line, and look forward to getting that behind us and having Mo be a big piece for us in the foreseeable future.”
  • Regarding reports of the Union being interested in acquiring Sacha Kljestan, Albright said, “[W]e’re always going to be interested in players of that quality. We’re not going to get into speaking about specific players that we’re targeting. But I think a player with Sacha’s resume and CV obviously speaks for itself, and I think he’d be a great addition to MLS no matter where he ends up if he were to come back.”
  • Regarding other signings, Albright said, “[W]e’re still very active in looking for players. We’re in some conversations right now internationally and that’ll continue as we go on here over the next few weeks.”
  • Albright added, “[W]e’d like our roster to be judged on March 7th. And I know that everybody’s eager for additions or subtractions or announcements, but our comment would just be to remain patient…March 7th obviously is one time to judge us, and then whether or not we make the playoffs is another time to be able to judge the roster. But for now, we’re active in trying to improve the roster daily and hope to have some announcements over the next few weeks.”
  • Curtin said discussions with Union Academy alum Darius Madison “are ongoing.” Curtin added, “I will say that Darius as the tools to play pro soccer. He’ll be a pro player. We’ll see how that goes in the coming weeks.”
  • Albright and Curtin both affirmed the importance of Homegrown Players. Albright said, “[W]e’re not going to reveal any specific discussions we’re having as far as signing homegrowns, but it’s something we’re committed to as an organization and as a staff.”
  • Curtin added, “[T]he importance of the homegrown player in Philadelphia is a big one because we know where we are as a club: We’re not going to spend like the Galaxy or Seattle. So our academy is going to produce those role players that I talked about.”
  • Curtin said of Zach Pfeffer, “He came in last year and had a very good preseason, and then maybe didn’t get the opportunity early on. We’re hoping he’s a guy that comes in and makes an impact and is a guy that makes it hard for us to not put in our lineup.”

More from Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com, Delco Times, CBS Philly, Philly Soccer News, and MLSsoccer.com.

Zolo Talk considers where Sacha Kljestan would fit in the the Union.

Empire of Soccer reports the lineup of this year’s preseason IMG Tournament will include the Union, New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew, Toronto FC, HB Koege of Denmark, and the Costa Rican U-21 team. The tournament will take place Feb. 18-28 in Bradenton, Fla.

In a mock draft conducted by SB Nation MLS blogs, Brotherly Game selected Manolo Sanchez and and Alex Shinsky.

Another post at Brotherly Game reviews the best and worst Union SuperDraft picks.

At the Union website, a look at some of the events being run by the club at this week’s NSCAA convention.

Union Academy

Rayshaun McGann (D: Drexel Hill, Pa.) has been named to US U-16 BNT squad for Aegean Cup International Youth Tournament in Manisa, Turkey that will take place Jan. 19-24.


Harrisburg City Islanders have launched a fan engagement campaign asking fans to design their version of the 2015 City Islanders kit. Fans can design a kit here and then share the design using the hashtag #HCIKit on Twitter.


Following a tweet from New York Times sports writer David Waldstein, ESPN reports that Mix Diskerud has signed with NYCFC and plans to formally announce the deal today. Ives Galarcep then tweeted he heard the deal had not yet been signed.

DC United have signed 30-year-old Finnish international midfielder/defender Markus Halsti from Malmö FF.

Orlando Sentinel reports that Orlando City have come to terms with former Union man Danny Mwanga and Jairo Arrieta, both of whom were taken by Orlando in the Expansion Draft. However an agreement could not be reached with Heath Pearce, “and the veteran defender is seeking options elsewhere.”

New New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch understands the furor over the firing of fan favorite Mike Petke. “There’s no issue there, and I think it’s great that these fans have such passion for our team. Frankly, that’s kind of how I am as a person and I think my passion and how I translate my passion into what this is and into our team will resonate a lot with our fans…It’s going to take some time and even some of them have told me to be patient with them and their emotion and I’m okay with that.”

Empire of Soccer talks to Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis about his 300 page “plan for the future” titled “The Vision.”

Silicon Valley Business Journal has a slideshow of the San Jose Earthquakes’ new Avaya Stadium.

Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers is backing a petition drive aimed at denying the use of public funds for a downtown soccer stadium.

San Antonio Business Journal says the petition drive, if successful, could help San Antonio’s chances of landing a MLS franchise.

The Charlotte Observer reports an agreement is close to fund an upgrade of American Legion Memorial Stadium, home of new USL PRO side Charlotte Independence, that will make it better suited for soccer, “a $4 million renovation that includes widening the field.” It is hoped the renovations will help Charlotte’s chances of securing an MLS franchise.


The USMNT’s 2018 World Cup campaign will begin in November, 2015 with the start of the the fourth round of the CONCACAF qualification tournament. The Hexagonal will commence Nov. 7-15, 2016, and run through Oct. 2-10, 2017.

Local lass Carli Lloyd talks to ASN at about the USWNT as it prepares for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. “Right now, I think we have some work to do. But, I think we’re going to peak at the right moment. The thing about this team, when we’re in [tournament] mode, everybody takes it up a gear or two. Everybody will be ready—Abby, Rampone, Hope, myself. We’re going to be ready.”

Multichannel News has an interview with Fox Sports 1 general manager and chief operating officer David Nathanson about how the channel has done in its first year and its plans for the future. Asked about whether the network would seek to acquire the rights to the Premier League, Nathanson responded,

We’re building ourselves as the home of soccer and we have the rights to prove it, from FIFA to [Major League Soccer] to CONCACAF to the [English soccer] FA Cup, etc. So ultimately, the Premier League has been an important part of our past and it could be an important part of our future. So will our coverage of the Women’s World Cup. Our coverage is going to be unprecedented to any coverage of that event in the history of that event. We’ll have 16 games on broadcast television and 30 on Fox Sports 1.


Cristiano Ronaldo and Nadine Kessler won the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards for the best male and female player in the world. Nike is congratulating Ronaldo on his third Ballon d’Or with diamond-encrusted boots.

Before Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, Abby Wambach and Kessler met with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke about the use of artificial turf at the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Canada. Wambach is not hopeful that the turf will be replaced with natural grass:

I think FIFA has made their decision and they are sticking to it. The powers that be, the logistics, the timing — it just may not happen…It’s tough because as female athletes we want to be treated equal and we want to be playing on grass…If we had better dialogue over a year ago, two years ago when these decisions were really being made maybe we could have put together a coalition sooner to fight this.

Reuters reported, “Players at this year’s women’s World Cup, trying to settle a lawsuit against FIFA, will play on artificial turf as long as the final matches are on natural grass, their lawyer said on Monday.” Grant Wahl tweeted, “Offer appears to be rejected.”

The Press Association reports, “The FIFA presidential hopeful Jérôme Champagne has accused his rival Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of having no program, just slogans and insists he is not being squeezed out of the race despite another contender entering the contest.” Taking swipes at a fellow opponent to Sepp Blatter seems like a good strategy.


  1. Darius would be a great homegrown signing and gives you an immediate impact scoring goals. He can give Wenger and Seba breaks and is already 10x’s better than Danny Cruz! Sign the lad! Bonafide goal scorer!

    • You clearly have not watched Darius Madison play. He’s a good player who is not ready to make an immediate impact in MLS, but has the tools to do so one day. He should go back to UVA for his senior year and spend a year being the leader on the defending champions.

      • You are clearly wrong on so many levels its not even funny…………I’m not going to get into it on a public forum…….but notice I didn’t start posting here till a few months back? Well…..because the coaching job I had…..didn’t allow me to post comments on here. I know he and his family well. I have watched the young man play and develop for almost 10 years, I myself coached him for 4. So, your powers of induction really, really need work. Having said that, I’ll agree that he should stay for his last year. It all depends what the deal they offer entails. He will be the man next year at UVA and have his picture all over the TV..if he stays healthy…he’ll be even more marketable. UVA will already let him come back and finish his degree whenever his pro career is over….they do it all the time.

      • He played with their reserves as a senior in high school……….was he ready three years ago?

      • John……….go get your shinebox!

      • So you are biased because you know him personally.I said he has the tools to make an impact in MLS someday. Its not like I said he was garbage. Ive watched him since he was 14 from his days at Philly Soccer Club and he has undeniably been one of the best prospects in the Union Academy since it started. But he hasn’t scored more than 6 goals in a college season so I feel like its a little much to say he should slot right into an MLS lineup. At the same time though that UVA team is one of the worst I have ever seen to win a national tittle so maybe it does make sense to sign with the Union now for his development. Sorry to offend you but I feel like I am being a little more realistic here. Also plenty of Union academy players have played with Union reserves including the three they signed. They clearly weren’t ready yet.

      • yes…..I am biased because I know him personally. He had a tough year this year because of injury and that UVA team flipped formation between a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3 after they got flamed by Notre Dame 3-0. In the 4-3-3 he played a target forward…..which as you know, really isn’t his best spot. The other three they signed weren’t goal scorers…..one was a flank back for Colgate and the other two are midfielders. Goal scorers are different!

      • and……as you said, he’s a product of Philly Soccer and La Salle…….not the Union academy. They really didn’t even have an academy yet when he played!

      • it looked to me like UVA took a page out of UNC Charlotte’s playbook from a few years back…….park the bus, get to PK’s….win title. Not the sexiest, but it works! I’m glad they won for obvious reasons….but I’m also glad because UCLA and their coach seemed to be quite arrogant….even in defeat.

      • Exactly. He got absolutely stranded in the title game because UVA pretty much conceded they weren’t good enough to go toe to toe against UCLA. I wish nothing but the best for Darius and he is in good hands considering his U-18 coach was Jim Curtin so I think he knows him better than most.

      • So, have we reached a conclusion on who has the bigger e-peen yet? Or is that still being worked out?

      • hehehe….I was waiting for something like this…..I had it coming….+1. Now, to be a smarta$$: why don’t you come see? I heard your a great judge of talent!

      • Whoever is telling you I’m a great judge of talent is lying, my friend. (Also, note that I’m not John S.)

  2. So it looks like Blake won’t be available for the August 29 and September 5 games due to international duty with Jamaica playing in World Cup qualifiers.

  3. I saw the report that M Farfan is looking to move back to MLS or Europe. Over the holiday break I was at YSC with my son wearing his M Farfan jersey. Guess who walked up behind him and tells him he likes his shirt. None other than Michael himself! He said he was leaving Mexico. Guess he was here to check out his options. I think it would be great if we picked up Farfan and put him on the flank.

    • A Heartbeat.

    • Yep, a heartbeat.
      I feel like he went on a free transfer, so the Union has his rights still. Unless City, LA or Seattle decide they want him.

      • Pretty sure I remember hearing that the league got money for that deal. I’d love to have Mike back on the team, and played in the position he actually excels at, but I don’t think it would be worth it if the Union had to trade up the allocation order for him.

      • There was a transfer fee.

    • He is exactly what we need. A depth winger who can challenge and take a starting spot.
      No brainer really.

      • No brainer. Lub-dub.

      • I betcha his game has improved a bit too.
        putting him in the hole and asking, “Carry the team” was egregious.
        and my wife would be happy as she was a big fan of MFarfan.

      • Yeah, we really do need depth on the wing. Everyone is focused on a center striker (which we do need, even with the Sapong signing) and a left back (which we should only do if we can get a very good one, because otherwise I’d rather have Gaddis, even playing wrong-sided). But a team playing a 4-3-3 needs depth at those wing positions. And Danny Cruz is OK, but we could definitely use more and better.

      • I agree, especially because Le Toux is getting up there in age and becoming a bit injury prone. If there is ever a Union HoF, Sebastien is the no-brainer first name on the list, but the team cannot fall back on him forever.

      • Invention. Flair. Panache. Balls. No fear. Solid adjectives for his game.
        Farfan would do exactly what he is supposed to do on this team which is push Danny further down bench- with all due respect for Danny who I believe is an improving work in progress but not a legitimate first bench option.
        Let him and Wenger duke it out for starts. epic practice sessions pushing each other. do it. is he signed yet. done. let’s go. I’m waiting FO fingers on the desk -tap tap tap tap.
        hell he was in town, as Laz said above, probably pounding a blue slushy.
        my alter ego to speculative cynicism is impatient impish hurry up already noodge.

  4. How happy do you think Nick is that the Red Bulls imploded this winter? He went from the worst exec in the league to the second-worst by default.

  5. JC and CA would like to be judged March 7? That goes without saying. However clicking on the MLS site and seeing the moves being made around the league makes it nearly impossible not to judge what the Union has, and primarily has not, done to date.

    • many other clubs like the queen gambit opening – power move early.


      we here are watching the French Defense- slow, controlled methodical pace to the play- long haul gruel of a chess match. sometimes boring as shit to watch. quite effective though for a beginner player i.e. beginner coach.
      tapping my fingers still for Farfan but otherwise willing to let them do their thing. So much to learn at Union FO Headquarters- seems they are taking their sweet time.
      no worries…… yet.

      tap tap tap.

      • I prefer the Sicilian Defense. Dragon variation. Though I sure wish we could at least play the queen’s gambit, which is a strategic showing of initiative, and avoids the temptation to go for a tactical situation that may fizzle out.

      • Where I come from, the Sicilian Defense has a very different meaning. Let’s just say you’d need Corben Bone for that.

      • Well played to the both of you.
        She is alluring and I enjoy getting her moving right off- if only because it unnerves most players of marginal quality- myself included.

  6. The Black Hand says:


  7. Steve OMalley says:

    What happened to the red bulls not that I care but there in total flux the fo and the fans and farfan returning would be cool no chance madison signs

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