Daily news roundups

Clock ticking on Valdes, Curtin pleased with camp so far, Philly roots, league and NTs news, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Editor’s note: If you have questions about the MLS CBA negotiations, put them in the comment section of this week’s roundups or tweet them to PSP using the hashtag #MLSCBA2015. Labor lawyer, and PSP contributor, Steve Holroyd will answer them in an upcoming post.

Philadelphia Union

Full training began at YSC Sports on Monday. The big story out of the first day?

Carlos Valdes was there — in street clothes — but it looks likely he’s just passing through.

After the conclusion of training, Union technical director Chris Albright told reporters, “All I can say regarding Carlos is there’s a negotiation ongoing. Nothing is finalized as of yet. We hope to have further news shortly but in the interest of the negotiation, we’re going to resist commenting any further.”

For the past few offseasons, the coming of winter has been accompanied by rumors of a Valdes departure, and things have been no different this time around, with reports out linking the defender to Uruguayan side Nacional.

A Union spokesperson would not name the club the Union is negotiating with but did say it is in South America.

Asked for comment on his future, Valdes said, “We will see.” And so we shall.

Upon his return to the Union in August after the World Cup, Valdes said, “When I left from Philly, I always was thinking to come back one day because, as I told you before, I think this is my second family and I love the fans, I love the team, I love the people in Philadelphia, I love my teammates.”

Union fans frustrated by incessant rumors and the defender’s apparent desire to once again leave the “family” can be forgiven for, while wishing him the best, hoping that what they see is Valdes’ final exit from the club, one that is accompanied by a nice transfer fee.

More on the Valdes news from CBS Philly, Delco TimesMLSsoccer.com, CSN Philly, Philly.com (1), and Philly.com (2).

Speaking to reporters at YSC, Union head coach Jim Curtin reiterated that, even though preseason training has started, signings are on the way. “There will be signings. This is not a final product, by any stretch. There’s always things that come up to the final finish line. It takes time to close a deal. But we’re close on some things – pieces that will help in a major way.”

Curtin shared some of the advice he gave to players with the start of preseason:

I told them that this is the only time that they can be selfish and just focus on individual stuff. When we hit Florida, it becomes about the team – only about the team. Take this week and do whatever you need to do and get your body right and prepared.

I told all of our young guys that you’re not going to impress us in the first four minutes of a training session. You’re not going to make the team after four minutes by doing a trick or a stepover. It’s about guys putting together a good day, then a good week, then a good two weeks and a good month.

Curtin said he was pleased with the first day of full training. “There’s always rust, but I thought everybody was in pretty good shape.” He explained, “It’s no coincidence that the guys that were in here a lot this winter are the sharpest guys. And they’re the most fit guys. There’s no real offseason in our sport anymore. … I can tell guys came in focused and a lot more dialed in.”

Danny Cruz explained, “Everyone has bought in [Curtin] wants from us. So everyone even the guys on trial came in really fit and ready.” He added, “It’s going to be a big preseason. Things are hopefully going to go in the right direction. We know what we need to do: It’s playoff or bust, and it starts today.”

Sheanon Williams added, “Everyone thinks we can do good things and I think we’re long overdue to have a good season. I think the coaching staff will gear us up to really the start the season off well.”

Regarding possible additions or subtractions to the team, Williams said, “You can’t worry about who’s coming in and who’s going to be leaving. You’ve just got to worry about what you can control. I know the coaching staff is doing a good job in trying to build the team the right way and bring in the players that are going to fit the team well.”

Brian Carroll and Rais Mbolhi were not at practice on Monday, Carroll because of illness, Mbolhi because he’s with Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations. Tournament favorites Algeria find themselves in third place ahead of their final Group C game today against first place Senegal today (12:45 pm, beIN Sports Connect).

At the Daily News, John Smallwood on how the Philly roots of Jim Curtin and Chris Albright color their thinking. Albright says,

If you look at the career of guys who came up through Philadelphia soccer, we made careers off of being dependable. We may not have always been the best players on our teams, but you knew what you were going to get from us — effort. It was just a given that we were going to give everything we had, because we knew we had to. In our roles now, we are in a very similar space. We know we are not the big-spending team, so we have to work that much harder to become relevant and stay competitive…

Absolutely, there is a Philadelphia type, and we try to find guys who have that same mentality and personality. That’s how we played the game, and that’s how we do our jobs now.

Albright said, “We’re ready to prove to everyone that we are in these roles for a reason and can be successful. This is a big responsibility and it is one that we do not take lightly.

Noting the MLS playoffs mean teams with less financial clout can still contend, Curtin explained, “[W]e can be mid-table, get into the playoffs and we can win the trophy. That’s kind of the difference. The playoff structure provides a chance for the other guy. We’re the other guy in some ways, but we can still punch above our weight.”

Curtin said further, “We’re charged with finding a way to perennially contend. I think we can put together a team that can contend during the regular season and put us in a good position in the playoffs to take that shot. You get a core group of players and you still sprinkle in a piece of the special, the difference-maker, the goal-scorer type guy.”

At Brotherly Game, what if PPL Park had been built in Philadelphia or Camden.

Local

In ASL news, Brotherly Game reports, “The Philadelphia Fury and former General Manager Graham King Charters mutually parted ways.” Replacing him is former AC Crusaders assistant coach Victor Malagisi.

MLS

Orlando City were active with player announcements on Monday. The club has signed Colombian midfielders Carlos Rivas and Cristian Higuita and also announced the arrival of Northern Ireland international striker Martin Paterson, who joins the team on loan from Huddersfield Town.

Toronto had another busy day of announcements, too, acquiring defender Eriq Zavaleta from Seattle in exchange for a second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, and signing Polish international defender Damien Perquis. Apparently, Perquis consulted with Vincent Nogueira, a former teammate at Sochaux, before making his decision to join MLS.

LA Galaxy has re-signed midfielder Rafael Garcia.

Vancouver have signed midfielder Ben McKendry to a Homegrown contract.

RSL’s Joao Plata broke a bone in his left foot while training on Sunday. After successful surgery on Monday, he is expected to be out three to four months.

Is Juan Agudelo on his way back to New England Revolution?

Iker Casillas to MLS?

DC United and Inter Milan majority owner Erick Thohir says, “There are possibilities to send Inter players to help D.C., maybe some hot prospect youngsters to help them get minutes. It will be a great opportunity to play in a big league like MLS.”

New Houston Dynamo manager Owen Coyle has widened the field at BBVA Compass Stadium by three yards. “Without giving too much away, we want to use the width so we can go from side to side quickly in terms of passing through and coming out the other side and moving opponents. And when you move opponents, all of a sudden you get (one versus one) and (two versus one), and you get overlaps, and you get chances to create chances to score.”

RSL have come to an agreement with local authorities to build a new $18 million, 8,000 seat stadium that will be the home of the club’s USL PRO team, Real Monarchs. The stadium could also be the home of a new women’s team. The stadium “will be completely funded by Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen.” More here.

US

US Soccer announced on Monday the pre-World Cup schedule for the USWNT. The schedule includes six games in Europe — friendlies against France and England in February as well as the Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal in March — and four friendlies in the US in April and May, all of which will be broadcast. The final game before the World Cup will be at Red Bull Arena on May 30.

Fox Sports reports Hope Solo “will have to make progress toward a series of objectives” before being allowed to return to the USWNT following the conclusion of her 30-day suspension. Sunil Gulati said, “There are a number of things that Hope is being asked to do in that 30 days. We’re not going to get into the specifics of that. We’ll evaluate where things stand at the end of that period and then make a decision going forward.”

Asked if Solo could be left off the World Cup squad, Gulati said, “Look, that’s possible. We hope that’s not the case. We hope she’s making progress and joins the team. That’s certainly the goal, hers and ours.”

ASN wonders if its time for the USWNT to cut ties with Solo.

SBI says Solo’s suspension exposes the inexperience of the team’s backup goalkeepers.

Alex Morgan is back to training with the USWNT after the ankle injury suffered during the CONCACAF Championship in October.

Look for our preview of Wednesday’s USMNT friendly in Chile later this morning. In the meanwhile, ESPN ranks the top 25 US players while observing the January camp has been Jurgen Klinsmann’s most intriguing yet thanks to the looming MLS CBA negotiations, and Goal.com looks at a possible move to a 3-5-2.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “Dutch FA president Michael van Praag is to stand as a candidate for the presidency of world soccer body FIFA, the Dutch FA said on Monday.”

At the Guardian, Kwesi Nyantakyi, president of the Ghana FA and a Confederation of African Football executive committee member, says,”Africa is solidly behind Blatter. You will find he is very popular on the continent…He has done a lot for the continent. It is he who has set up the financial assistance programmes and who through the Goal project has built infrastructure in all of the countries. The Europeans don’t understand that. They say it is not his own money but FIFA’s but that’s not the point. He is the one who set up all the assistance programmes that have helped boost African football.” The Guardian report notes, “Under FIFA’s financial assistance program, introduced in 2001, each of the ruling body’s 209 member associations receive generous grants with more than $1bn (£660m) paid out during Blatter’s tenure.”

ESPN reports, “Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has suggested that a worsening of the ‘social and political’ situation in Qatar has led the club to question its commercial relationship with the Gulf State.”

The Asian Cup final on Saturday, Jan. 31 will feature host country Australia against South Korea.

Real Madrid have issued a statement regarding reports of a FIFA investigation into the club’s youth transfer policy.

70 Comments

  1. John Terry may be the slowest man alive and also a wily defender so all the talk of Carlos to me losing speed is moot. Last year was a long year and he is not the only WC player to come back with struggles to find form. In this league he is a strong central defender and a player I would like to have back. It is a bit troubling to me that Carlos has ideas of moving on and Amobi had ideas of moving on. Leaves one to wonder about players concerns over continuity.
    .
    That said, if you don’t want to be here…move on man. Since taxing in to PHL, you seem to be an underbelly luggage bag in need of losing a few articles of clothing to help get the plane off the ground in preflight layover.
    .
    We need continuity and commitment. and a few more players.

    • How many married players do we have? Just curious how many players’ wives would be fair game of John Terry played here…

  2. I am so F-ing sick of the no money, small market, little fish, no name mentality. It is such BS. That stadium is filled most times, there is tons of merchandise being sold, and Philly is a huge market. If we don’t have money, it’s by choice, the owners choice. It is so frustrating, now we’re wearing it as a badge of honor? Give me a break. I don’t want it thrown in my face anymore.
    .
    Valdes leaving isn’t really a bad thing, he was a shadow of himself and makes big money. But let’s not kid ourselves, this is about the money and nothing else. Right back to that small market mentality. We’re not spending on other guys, and all this does it make us take another hit to the depth of the team. Guess what? People will stop ranting and stop worrying when SOMETHING is done. ANYTHING. There is absolutely no way anyone can argue that we aren’t significantly worse off right now than we were when we flames out at the end of the season.
    .
    Also, all this core of the team and youth and growth is BS. Leo Fernandes was loaned out, Okugo let go, and Ribeiro let go, and we resigned Carroll, Fred and Casey. They are feeding us BS all the time and we need to stop eating it.
    .
    All I know is that it’s January 27th, and the only hint of anything going on right now is another player leaving and “we promise”. I’m sorry, rant over, I just really don’t want to be frustrated with this team anymore.
    .
    In other news, The Union express interest in Iker Casillas, he formerly played at a little club in Europe we may have heard of.

    • Magic. Badge of Honor. I could not agree more. Then on the Union website they laud the resigning of the Methusalas.
      .
      When the coach admits to us being mid table and maybe sucker punching a big fish? Makes me want to vomit: one part because he said it, one part because it is true, one part because it is fucking ridiculous.

      • Really makes you wonder if this is the real reason they stuck with Curtin. Would a bigger coach has pushed the ownership group to open the pockets a little more and demand to be in the next tier?

      • A reasonable conclusion sir. And now this is the second time through with this style/mentality. All I know is edu at CB now that Valdez could leave is eerily similar to a season ago.
        .
        Rookie coach. Just happy to be here. No boat rocking. Amenable. Yes man. I could go on.
        .

    • Yep. Absolutely agree, especially with your first paragraph. I got sick when the Phillies pulled that shit, and it won’t fly now. There is no reason that Philadelphia should be a “small market” for any sport.
      .
      I don’t want to spend money stupidly. That might be worse than “moneyball” thinking, to be honest. But I also am getting tired of hearing this BS. And I’ve been awfully patient (at least in my opinion) this off-season…

    • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Big time market with a franchise run like it’s in a 2nd rate outpost! Curtin and Albright know what Philly is all about? Perhaps but there is nothing about this franchise that is Philadelphia or “Philly Tough!”
      The only reason the Union can’t compete financially with their biggest rivals and the rest of the way MLS is trending is because they have chosen not to.
      The Union are fooling no one. Expecting us to accept being finacially 2nd rate is not an option in Philly sports. Curting, Albright the FO and the weak ownership can tell their story walking!

  3. .
    “[W]e can be mid-table, get into the playoffs and we can win the trophy. That’s kind of the difference. The playoff structure provides a chance for the other guy. We’re the other guy in some ways, but we can still punch above our weight.”
    .
    feels more like a low blow to me than punching above our weight.

    • I also hated that quote so much. We have a handful of pretty damn good MLS players, only a few away from being a very good team on paper. Why do we have to be the “other guy”? Why is mid-table and/or sneaking into the playoffs the goal? I like Curtin’s candor in general, but I just can’t get on board with the mentality evinced by that statement.

      • Agreed. I don’t think most fans dislike Curtin at all in general. I really like the openness he has. It’s the way of thinking that is bad.

    • Curtin seems to be trying to install an “us v. them” mentality on this team. I think some of these quotes are more for his players and less for us fans. Late game collapses and late season losing streaks seems to indicate that this team is mentally weak (i.e. not “Philly Tough”). And I think that mindset is what Curtin really wants to change.

  4. Reality is we’re not a big soccer market. The stadium is 75-90% full most games, but teams don’t make money off tickets and this team does not sell a lot of merchandise. They just took a pay cut from their jersey sponsor and they don’t have deep pockets to pull from. If the team could be run on the passion of a few, core fans, it would be a giant. But unfortunately the economic reality is that this is a mid-market team, revenue-wise, operating income-wise, owner-wise, and sponsor-wise.

    • None of us dispute that. That is what is painfully obvious. What we dispute is the acceptance of that. I will never accept it. Never. It is incumbent on the fans, The Sons of Ben, this very BLOG to argue and rail and be unwilling to accept this reality. Period. The End.
      .
      Small market club for a small market— sure…..If we lived in Peoria. If we lived in Suffolk. If we lived in Flagstaff. If we lived in Bismark. If we lived in………
      .
      There are plenty of fans in the DelVal, Lehigh Valley, mid central and South Jersey. This argument holds no water IMO. Win and the market share grows. Win and the cash comes in. This is about financial backing only. This is not about the piddling money from the fans who do attend or buy merchandise.

      • Farnsworth’s article chronicling the history and love of the game in this city debunks your conclusion that this is a small market soccer mindset. Did you pay any attention to it- read it? I am stunned by your first comment. Stunned.
        .
        If stadium seating is lagging or merchandising is behind other clubs that is a reflection of the product not the consumer.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Agreed. One thing we know in Philly is when we are being fed crap, or witnessing a crap product. We won’t, and don’t, stand for it. That is what’s occurring right now with this team. It’s not the lack of a fan base, it’s the lack of a quality product. We need an owner who cares (i.e. SPENDS MONEY) as much as the fans. We don’t have it. Period.

      • Does “quality product” = “front running fans”? The Phillies attendance dropped precipitously when they stopped winning. Still a fan of the U regardless of missed playoffs.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Absolutely, a winning team brings fans to the stadiums. This is true with every team in any sport.

      • Actually, it all comes down to this: BIMBO! A franchise will never be successful with that name on the front of its uniform. Don’t believe me? Check out the Cubs. That’s right, I just said that. That just happened. Shake an’ Bake!

      • Even the Mighty Ducks won a Stanley Cup and that has to be the worst name in history.

      • LOL hopefully the New Orleans Pelicans won’t win any championships!

      • I think the fans of Club America would probably disagree with you.

    • Look at the open cup, look at the run in the summer, the stadium was full. The 75-90% is the rest of the time when really the team is doing nothing. I think most teams in most sports would take that all day. Also, I see a lot of merchandise sold. The team switched to Rally House from Angelos this year too, which should help boost numbers.

      • When did they switch to Rally House from Angelo’s? I must have missed that. No knock on Angelo’s, which has been around for a long time, but I love Rally House. Good staff at their Moorestown location!

    • I totally disagree.This is not the Unions opening season so those arguments don’t hold up. The ownership is not financially competitive. That is not acceptable on any level in a division boasting 2 NY franchises, and NE team opening it’s pocket books, Toronto, Montreal, DC United and its Inter-Milan connection, and Orlando City. It’s time for this ownership to step up financially or sell off. There would be plenty of takers now the way MLS is trending. The Union and their hometown boys touting to company line of poor mouth won’t fly in this market with this fan base.

    • Even at 75 – 90% full, that stadium should generate at least $6.5 million per season in ticket sales alone, not to mention stadium advertising, parking, television revenues and merchandising. Assuming, conservatively, that the other sources of revenue break even with all of the peripheral costs (coaching staff and front office, game day employees, utilities and stadium maintenance, etc.), these owners are pocketing nearly half of the ticket sales. The owners aren’t supporting the team; it’s the other way around. Furthermore, if the owners actually kept the profits invested in the team, and used those retained earnings to invest in better players, I’m sure attendance would increase and the revenues would be that much more significant.
      .
      So I’d conclude that we are a small-market team owner-wise, and the avid fan base results in mid-market attributes.

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Jay Sugarman runs iStar Financial, described as a REIT, i. e., a Real Estate Investment Trust. To the degree that I understand anything about them, they sell shares, use the capital to buy different types of commercial buildings, and provide lease opportunities to interested commercial ventures. They have a set period of time to get themselves up and running, and then they must take the company public, putting the shares onto a stock exchange where other investors can acquire and trade them. REITs market valuations reflect market conditions for the businesses leasing the properties, and for investors generally. I know nothing about Sugarman’s company aside from its name and that its headquarters is in NYC. My purpose in sharing these points is so that we fans have some idea what the financial underpinnings of the principal owner are, qualitatively. My own opinion is that he may be interested in getting the property around the stadium to start showing a return. We have no quantitative idea how much money has gone toward the Academy, it’s school, and YSC. Of those, only YSC generates any revenue of its own I would imagine. Last, I have no idea whether there is a relationship between Keystone Sports and iStar Financial, and if so what it may be.

    • +1 Good points.

      The ownership took a big blow when the real estate market tanked in 2008/09. At the same time MLS has taken a big step forward in nearly all respects in the past six years.

      It sounds crazy, but I hope there’s some deep pocket investor that rides in and saves us. There has to be more than a few groups out there that see Philadelphia as a underutilized market.

      Maybe even one that’s based in Philadelphia and is building a giant skyscrapper next to the one they built a few years back…

  6. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Question reference the CBA: can the CBA be used to obtain greater transparency from MLS about all of its rules and procedures and greater consistency in the application thereof? Current MLS behavior brings to mind the former President, then Prime Minister, and now once again President of Russia.

  7. J in Section 125 says:

    This talk of signing players is starting to feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football and Lucy keeping on pulling it away. Hopefully we fans don’t land flat on our back again

  8. This club has the distinction of being the only MLS franchise to have decreased attendance year over year EVERY year for each of the past 5 years.
    .
    The clubs match day attendance drops an average of 200 fans every year.
    .
    Just doing some fuzzy math tells you in ticket revenue alone that’s at least 100K each year. When you factor in other revenue it’s gotta be double. So in 5 years they’ve missed out on another 1 Million they could have pocketed. I wonder what their break even point is? At what point do they start losing enough money where selling the team is a real option. I have hit the point where I honestly believe that’s what needs to be forced upon them.
    .
    Philadelphia is the #5 viewership market for the EPL for city’s that have MLS teams and it’s evident the club’s leadership clearly doesn’t get. The fans are there but you have to do something to draw them in. Just running 11 guys on the field every week isn’t going to cut it anymore, the people who go to your games demand more. We understand soccer, we follow soccer, we watch soccer and we know good soccer from bad soccer! I doubt that MLS will ever contract the team due to our clear value for future TV deals . . . so how do the fans go about pushing for the change themselves?

  9. If the USWNT cuts ties with Hope Solo it will be 8 years late. Should have been done when she complained openly about the coaches decision not to play her in the 2007 semi final.
    .
    She may be the best keeper in the world but how many great saves has she really made with the team? How many times a game does she even need to distribute the ball? 95% of her job could have been done by any other professional keeper.

    • Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. It’s been hard to root for their success while seeing she was becoming one of the most well known faces of the team after what she said about Scurry. It would have been different if she just said she got carried away in the moment and apologized, but she actively refused to do so. Maybe I can root for them to win if she’s not a part of the team.

  10. Man, I can’t wait for the matches to start so people can stop parsing every word that Curtin and Albright say before hyperventilating over the state of the team.

    It’s only Jan 27th, people. There’s no need to panic yet, there’s still plenty of time to do that if it ends up being warranted.

    • +1. Chill.

    • What else should I/we say? The writers write the articles. We respond. You know the only thing worse than criticism or genuine concern?
      .
      Silence. What do you want false praise?
      .
      Try the midwest then. SoCal. I read Portland Timbers blog all the time, as I lived there for awhile, and the fans out there have as much to say as us here. As much if not more as the fan base is older and more ingrained and more tied to the organization. Everything and I mean everything gets scrutinized. Please stop with telling us to chill. If that is the case, then stop the Blog. What the hell else is there to do when you see from the outside the direction your club is taking and then writers write articles.
      .
      I have read multiple times, chill people there is plenty of time.
      .
      Yes there is. No there is not.
      .
      Again, the writers right the articles. We respond. That’s it.

      • Come on, Joel. “Relax” has become way too trendy so John went with “chill”. Is that so bad? 😉

      • Thanks! And when the window closes and no one comes into camp, feel free to go guns a-blazin’. I’m choosing to take the wait-and-see approach, since it’s only 5 days. After that…yeah, invectives will be hurled.

    • So 5 days is what you consider to be plenty of time? That’s how much time is remaining in the international transfer window. After that, we’ll be dependent on trades from within MLS. The only position that we need that I think could be filled from within MLS is left back with Corey Ashe.
      .
      And Curtin’s not the problem. The ownership group is; Curtin is just the yes man.

      • The MLS international transfer window doesn’t shut in five days. Roster registration is still open for quite some time. The window closing in other leagues around the world doesn’t preclude the Union from buying a player from one of those teams.

      • But no team is going to sell a player unless they can replace him. So unless you know of teams with excess, underpaid, starting quality strikers, defensive midfielders and center backs, we’re not getting anyone from abroad past the (european) international window close in 5 days.

      • True, but players walk on frees all the time from clubs who want to pare down their payroll.

      • So the Union are treating the transfer window like Xmas shopping – waiting til after the end and get something 50% off? Except most stuff still in stores on Dec 26 was stuff nd one wanted.

      • ^ This analogy is perfect

      • Was thinking maybe the Union might try to take advantage of Toronto having too many DPs by trading for Gilberto. Not sure if he fits our hold-up man style though.

        On a side note, saw an MLS site article yesterday that a former MLS striker was looking to get back in the league from Spartak and had already turned down the offer of one unnamed MLS team. He was a hold-up man and thought maybe that team was us. I didn’t recognize his name, but in the comments there were people quite excited about him coming back. Forget actual signings or even rumors of signings, I’ve been reduced to reading vague transfer rumors, and fantasizing that it was us who got turned down.

      • I saw that article about Movsisyan also. They referenced Chicago, but he did look like the perfect striker for the Union’s system. Also, Chicago has already signed their international quality striker. I’m hoping that Chicago was the team he turned down, and now he comes here.
        .
        Agreed, Gilberto is good, but not quite the player we need for our system.

      • Yes, that’s him. I think Maidana played very briefly for Spartak. Maybe they were teammates and became best pals and want to reunite. Boy, I’m getting desperate trying to connect these dots…

      • Would love to see Movsisyan back in MLS with the Union.

  11. All this Union BS makes me look forward to watch Chelsea destroy Liverpool today at 2.45 at Tir Na Nog.

    • And destroy they shall.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Poor Liverpool….

      • The Black Hand says:

        The mighty Reds put in a valiant effort, against a very talented and deep Chelsea. It came down to a Union-like defense of a set-piece and they were made to pay. It was a GREAT semi-final!!

      • It was! Liverpool had some good chances but could not finish them. Great atmosphere at TNN. Circa 20 Chelsea fans watched it.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Hendo’s in extra-time was the one. They don’t get served up like that too often.
        .
        Courtois is an incredible keeper…and I hate him for it.

  12. Steve Holroyd – I got a question. How in the world does free agency even make sense in a single-entity system? Why are the players fighting for free agency when there’s only one team (ie MLS) to contract with? Thanks.

    • I second this question. If there is going to be any free agency in this deal it’s probably going to be some convoluted MLS-special style silliness because they have to do it within the single-entity system. So a follow up question from me is: since the single-entity system has already survived a court challenge, is there anything else that could force the league out of it short of the owners deciding to do it themselves? Was the court decision a full and overarching opinion that MLS could continue doing it indefinitely, or was it upheld on some technicality or a limited opinion due to special circumstances with this league?

  13. So I know this was in another post but since we are ranting about curtain I though I would add it here. Does it worry anyone else that Curtains big thing is that he and Albright know what it takes to win in this league? The MLS has changed drastically in the last 2-3 years. With the addition on new clubs who are interested on spending money. Other clubs who are willing to bring in bigger names. I’m just not sure they really do know how to win in the new league. And I’m really worried.

  14. Yep, Braden, I worry about that too. Curtain’s other big thing is the “straight shooter” personality. But he doesn’t shoot straight.

    Fabinho is a valuable trade commodity.

    Trust us, reinforcements are on the way.

    We value Okugo, but he wants to go to Europe.

    Then: We did great with Edu as CB, I want him to play there. Now: Edu will play DM if we find a CB to bring in.

    None of those things were/are true.

  15. While the roster definitely needs upgrades, we have to keep in mind that at least 9 times last season they let up a goal in the 75th minute or later that caused them to lose or settle for a draw. It might be tough to imagine, but should we really count on them blowing it THAT many times again? Even with their shortcomings they were in the playoff hunt up until the final month.

    I’m not willing to be 100% pissed about the offseason until the transfer window is closed. If they bring in 1-3 players it’ll probably resolve the lack of depth or at the very least force the coaches’ hands to see what the youngsters have which can’t be the worst thing considering the franchise keeps wanting to commit to their youth program. Its time to see what they’ve got.

    • Gruntled Fan says:

      It is a good point, and I agree that if they close out games better this year it should make a difference.
      .
      With that being said, seems like every other team is improving while we are at best a step below last year’s team (at least in terms of current roster).
      .
      I’m with you about getting angry at this point, just doesn’t make sense as the season hasn’t started and the roster isn’t finalized, but it sure would be nice to see these signings that are supposed to be happening sooner than later.

  16. I for one applaud Jim Curtin’s candor. No bullshit, just the truth. They are a mediocre team that can make the playoffs (cos its easy for a mediocre team to do in MLS) and then anything can happen. What else should he say? It would be a lie to say anything else.

    Would I prefer he said “I just got a magic wand that will make money rain out of Sugarman’s pockets and we’re gonna use it to buy the best studs Euro football has to offer”? Sure I would. I’m sure he would too. But Curtin’s playing the hand he is dealt, that’s all he can do. Time will tell if he plays his cards right, but its too early to declare Curtin and Albright are in over their heads before the season has even begun.

    • Good one and it is likely your point has validity. Most of my personal rantings are because this is fun and I certainly do not pledge my POV as be all end all. Somewhere in the middle is discernment. I really do find the mid table talk disheartening on the first day of camp whether filled with candor or not… “hey we are going to be just okay- but that’s okay. Okay?”
      .
      One thing for sure, I personally find the middle table teams making the playoffs uninspiring and all part of the weakness of the league because you know as well as I know that means shit-zo in the long run- but this is what we have I guess— in echoing your statement.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I would prefer that Curtin say nothing, rather than use words like “mid-table” and “punch above your weight”…if he is talking about his club. That said, I don’t think that he was directly speaking about the Union, rather the league in general.
      .
      If Curtin and Albright are simply playing the hand that they have been dealt, than jettisoning valuable cards (Okugo/Ribiero) may show that neither should be playing cards.
      .
      Three days remain in the transfer window…we need four positions filled.
      .
      What is Meulensteen’s role with the club and how much money is he getting for his assistance?

  17. Steve OMalley says:

    Do we all have to buy players since the fo won’t do shit

  18. Atomic Spartan says:

    Only proper goal for any ownership group to state: win Supporters Shield

    • I'm Sak, Please Fire Me says:

      PROFIT! Slash costs! Profit! We want your money you SUCKERS! Gimme Allocation Money! Not to acquire players, ha, just to pay down costs. GIMME MONEY!!!!!

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