Daily news roundups

Notes from camp, Mbolhi on to ACN quarterfinals, Academy callups for US U-18s, big trades, USA-Chile, 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

Andre Blake is happy to be back with the team. “It’s great coming back and joining up with the guys, I have been looking forward to this. It was a long offseason and going back to Jamaica was a great experience for me, but I am looking forward to showing that I can be strong in goal for my club too..” He explained,

My first goal is to come in and be better than my first season, so I have to show that I have improved and have gotten better. I plan on not rushing into anything and taking it one step at a time…I can feel that I know what to expect and what the coaches expect from this position heading into this year. My goal is to play relaxed and more comfortable, which any goalie will tell you makes you play to the best of your ability. It’s only been a week, but I can feel the difference so far.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle says while the Union may “covet” former La Salle, Ocean City Nor’easters, and Reading United goalkeeper John McCarthy, who plays for Rochester Rhinos and is currently trialing with the Union, the club “will have to pay to get him.”

Venezuelan trialist Hermes Palomino was recommended to the Union by Tiago Lopes, president of Harrisburg City Islanders. Union manager Jim Curtin said of the 26-year-old forward, “We’ll give him a good look in this first week, and make an assessment from there. Whether he’s a guy who comes to Florida remains to be seen.”

The latest Daily Doop reviews more happenings at Tuesday’s training session at YSC.

Rais Mbolhi got his first shutout of the tournament (and his first yellow card, awarded in the 76th minute for time-wasting) as Algeria defeated Senegal 2-0 on Tuesday to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals (highlights here; full game here). Algeria, which finished second in Group C, will play the winner of Group D, which will be determined in the group’s final round of play today, on Sunday, Feb. 1.

You will recall that in Tuesday’s roundup we linked to a report that said French-born Polish defender Damien Perquis consulted with former Sochaux teammate Vincent Nogueira before signing with Toronto. Nogueira said of Perquis,

A really good player. They’re very lucky. I played with Damien for a long time, and I learned from him how to be a professional. He was there when I turned pro. I played two or three seasons with him. He’s a competitor. He hates losing. He’s someone who can do really well in this league. We still talk a lot. It’s a really good thing for Toronto. They’ve signed a really good player.

At Soccer America, a review of what’s been happening with the Union roster since the end of the 2014 season.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Albaugh reviews the issues surrounding the current CBA negotiations.

Also at Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski says everyone should just chillax about the latest Carlos Valdes saga and wonders what if PPL Park had been built in Wilmington.

Philadelphia Union Academy

Midfielder Sean Wilson and forward Sebastian Elney — both of whom were on the Union’s preseason training camp roster — have been called up by the US U-18 team for the Copa Chivas Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, which begins on Jan. 30. In Group A, the US will face Monarcas Morelia, Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, Club Tijuana, and Universidad Católica de Chile.

Sons of Ben

The new SoB Lot at PPL Park is half sold out. If you have already purchased a parking pass, the deadline to move it to the SoB Lot has been extended until Friday.


A review at ASN from Brian Sciaretta of the US at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship praises Zach Pfeffer’s Hoffenheim teammate — and Lancaster, Pa. native — Russell Canouse as “a major reason why the team advanced” after stepping up at defensive mid when team captain Kellyn Acosta was injured. “The Hoffenheim product did the dirty work that the position required. He helped shield the backline and he opened the game up for Emerson Hyndman to move forward and create chances.” The review says of Pfeffer,

Another player who was not in Jamaica due to an injury. Despite a lack of regular first-team minutes with Philadelphia, Pfeffer performed well with the U-20s throughout most of the cycle. He will certainly be in contention for a spot in New Zealand.

At ESPN, Zack Steffen and Christian Pulisic come in at No. 7 and No. 10 respectively in Jeff Carlisle’s list of the top 10 US players under 21.

Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.) and Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), are among the 28 players invited to the Spring Semester of the US U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla.

Joe Krantz is retiring after 36 years as head coach of the Archbishop Wood boys’ team.

Donovan Wu (D/M, Continental FC, Medford, NJ) has been named to the roster for the 2015 id2 National Selection International Tour to Argentina, Feb. 28-March 10.


At SI, an in-depth review of various strategies, legal options, and outcomes concerning the CBA suggests players may have a weapon in challenging the league’s single-entity status. Good read.

A busy day for the Red Bulls on Tuesday. First came word that Eric Alexander, Ambroise Oyongo, an international player spot, and allocation money (the kitchen sink was presumably unavailable) had been traded to Montreal in return for midfielder Felipe Martins and the top spot in the allocation order (Sacha Kljestan anyone?). Then came word of a trio of defensive signings: Damien Perrinelle was re-signed after joining the club in July from Istres in France; Andrew Jean-Baptiste comes to the club after last playing for Chivas USA; and Ronald Zubar comes to NYRB from French side Ajaccio.

So, that allocation spot? Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch says in a post on the club website that mentions reports linking Kljestan to the team,

Part of the issue of the longevity of this deal getting done was making sure how we’re going to use that allocation, for what player we were going to use it, that we’re very, very certain that we would come to terms with that player. We’ve obviously earmarked that specific player, we’re very close to getting something done and we think it’s a guy that’s really going to add to our team and make us much better.

The report concludes by noting, “Marsch spent four seasons playing with Kljestan at Chivas USA and also previously coached the Anderlecht midfielder while serving as an assistant to Bob Bradley with the U.S. Men’s National Team.” THe updated allocation rankings (the Union are at No. 6) can be viewed here.

Montreal’s dealings for the day were not over. Later on Tuesday the club announced it had acquired forward Dominic Oduro from Toronto in exchange for allocation money.

Kansas City has signed midfielder Servando Carrasco, whose rights were acquired Houston Dynamo during the SuperDraft in return for the club’s second round selection and is known to some as Mr. Alex Morgan, and re-signed defender Kevin Ellis.

Chicago has signed goalkeeper Jon Busch, who was with the Fire 2007-10.

Amobi Okugo on training with Kaka at Orlando City: “He’s played with some of the best defensive midfielders, like [Gennaro] Gattuso, Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo. It’s intimidating, but it’s a blessing to play with someone of his caliber. I’m hoping to learn a lot.” More on Kaka at SI.

Looks like the Sounders will have to wait another season before the artificial turf at CenturyLink Field is replaced. The report says the Sounders are working on a new lease for the stadium that will reportedly formalize the process of when the artificial turf will be replaced.

At Soccer Gods, Steve Davis on why expanding the playoffs is a terrible idea.

Sacramento neighbor Elk Grove is continuing with plans to annex land for a new 9,000-seat stadium that could be expanded to house an MLS team. While Elk Grove’s MLS hopes have been overshadowed by Sacramento’s for some time, Mayor Gary Davis says the city is “ready to go” if Sacramento’s downtown stadium plan falls through. More at Sacramento Business Journal.


The USMNT kicks off 2015 with this evening’s friendly against Chile at Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua (6 pm: Fox Sports 1, UniMas and the Univision Deportes). Incredibly, this is the first USMNT friendly in South America since the 2-1 win over Chile on Jan. 29, 2000.

Previews from PSP, US Soccer, Soccer AmericaSBIGoal.comWorld Soccer Talk,

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre reports, “Arsenal prospect Gedion Zelalem is currently ineligible to play for the United States and will be for at least five more years, FIFA rules state, but U.S. Soccer could receive an exception for him to play earlier.” He explains,

Zelalem is a naturalized American citizen, as opposed to becoming one through lineage or birthright. His parents and his grandparents were also born overseas, meaning he’s subject to a little-known stipulation in FIFA’s statutes that would require him to live in the U.S. for five years from Jan. 26, his 18th birthday, before suiting up for the Yanks in official matches.

McIntyre notes, “FIFA can and does grant exceptions to players who are able to show that their naturalization didn’t violate the spirit of the law.” He quotes Sunil Gulati: “We’re going through the FIFA process and hope to have Gedion eligible by March or April. We don’t expect any issues.”

At SI, a report on the Hope Solo wonders if “any sort of alcohol treatment program was being required of her by the USSF” during her 30-day suspension. Sunil Gulati says, “Since we’ve got health-related issues here, we need to be a little bit careful about how we get into various parts of this…So 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, and then we’ll evaluate where things stand at the end of that period and make the decision going forward.”


CNN reports, “Luis Figo has entered the race to become FIFA president determined to change an organization he describes as all too often associated with ‘scandal.'” Yes, that Luis Figo.

Goal.com reports, “Mino Raiola has decided to pull out of the race for the FIFA presidency after Dutch FA (KNVB) chief Michael Van Praag announced on Monday that he will challenge Sepp Blatter for the position.”

The Guardian reports, “The Football Association is set to back the nomination of Jordan’s Prince Ali in his battle with Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.” Who will US Soccer support?

At ESPN, Gabriele Marcotti reviews the field of candidates for the FIFA presidency.


  1. If we are “coveting” any goalie other than as emergency backup, you will soon see a news story about a man who walked into traffic in Warminster…

  2. Have to admit, I’m getting antsy. Keep hoping to pop open Twitter and see news from PSP, Tannenwald and Kinkead about a new signing or two. But I’m not panicking yet.

    I’m having pretty positive feelings about a couple things: 1) I think Mbolhi is going to be a real gamer next season. A guy who is going to give us plenty of reasons to forgive him for that horrible clearance last October. 2) I think Catic may have been the steal of the Super Draft. I think he might be plugged into the starting a lot sooner than later. 3) I’m bullish on a Sapong rebound, too.

    Don’t confuse this with blind optimism. I want to see more. I’m a little tired of reading about every team in our conference signing international players and making trades and hearing that “we have signings coming.” I expect a lot more.

    • The Black Hand says:

      We should be careful not to rush Catic into the XI. Confidence is the key to success, for a young player…especially a striker. Let him watch Casey’s 60 for a bit. Hopefully, another striker is brought in.

  3. Can Zack Pfeffer get an Amen! Can Zach Pfeffer get a sniff please.

  4. A little known stipulation from me here in Philly regarding Zelalem that says “Hey. FIFA. Suck on my Balls.”
    ….Coming from a guy who absolutely detests hearing that down the river.

  5. I wonder if Curtin will have to take a ride to the ATM with Sugarman so he can check the teams bank account balance before the Union are allowed to conclude a deal.
    “Sorry Jimmy no can do this week, only $45.32 in there. Look on the bright side, next Friday’s pay day and we can come back for another look and stop off for some ice cream . . . you’ll have to pay for that yourself though!

  6. netherprovidencepops says:

    Everybody is getting shiny new toys but us :/

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