Daily news roundups

No new Valdes news, Union GK signing coming soon, Cruz on CBA, US falls to Chile, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Some news out of Wednesday’s training session at YSC. Kevin Kinkead tweeted, “Update from Curtin on Valdés – there is no update, negotiations ongoing.” Matthew De George tweeted, “Curtin says a decision on the third goalkeeper has been made. Announcement in the coming days.”

At CBS Philly, Kevin Kinkead has a Q&A with Paulo Grillo, the goalkeeping coach who came to the Union along with Rais Mbolhi. Grillo says Mbolhi is in a better mindset than he was last season:

This season is different for Rais because of what I saw last season. Every two months Rais was going to the national team and playing two games. It wasn’t good for his work here in Philadelphia.  So he was here one week, then over there for three weeks. Now it’s different. When he finishes the AFCON, he’ll be working with us here every single day. He’s a high level goalkeeper with a winning mentality. He talks a lot about Philadelphia and wants to make an impact in the MLS. I want that for Rais and for Philadelphia.

Mbolhi and Algeria will face Ivory Coast on Sunday in the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Grillo seems to suggest in the interview that John McCarthy will be the Union’s goalkeeper signing.

Cruz on CBA

Danny Cruz, who along with Brian Carroll is the club’s Major League Soccer Players Union rep, spoke to reporters on Wednesday about the ongoing CBA negotiations. “We disagree with the league on what the future is for it and how we can best get there. Right now we remain far apart. The players are unified and we are far apart on the main issues, and right now it’s not looking good…We are 100 percent behind a work stoppage in order to get what we believe that we deserve…We stand firm behind that as a union, as a group, we are unified and we will continue to be unified.”

Cruz explained that big earners such as Michael Bradley supporting the union’s efforts to raise the salary of the bulk of the players in the league who are receiving more modest incomes is crucial. “We believe the money needs to be spread throughout the team. Right now, it’s very top heavy and the guys at the bottom are just that; they aren’t making what we think they should be making. That, along with free agency, those are two key [points] that we fundamentally disagree with the league on.”

While underscoring the willingness of the players to strike, Cruz emphasized a work stoppage is not their goal. “[W]e want to help the league grow, we don’t want to go into a work stoppage, that’s not our goal here. But we do believe we deserve a fair deal and we’re going to do everything we can as a union to get that deal.” He added, “We’re fighting for the things we believe we deserve, and I don’t think we’re asking for things that are completely outrageous. I think our entire group, we’re unified in that. We all believe that and that has been voiced throughout every single meeting we had, in our locker room certainly and every other locker room throughout the league.

In a comparison at American Soccer Analysis of MLS players salaries to those in other American professional leagues, Drew Olsen notes, “[I]f all 145 players that made less than $50,000 last season were given a modest wage increase to $50k, it would cost MLS about $900,000. That sum is less than 1/7th what players like Defoe, Dempsey, and Bradley made last year, and pales in comparison to the $200 million that is about to be spent to build a new stadium for DC United.”

Orlando Sentinel breaks down some of the key issues involved in the CBA negotiations from the point of view of players and the league.


Philadelphia Union Academy director Tommy Wilson will be a featured clinician at the 2015 National Coaching Seminar March 6-7 at Notre Dame.

FC Greater Boston Bolts, the club where Sheanon Williams played his youth soccer, has a new partnership with Roma.

At the Washington Post, Steven Goff reports Freddy Adu has received tryout offers from two MLS clubs. “Sources familiar with the situation declined to identify the clubs but said none of his former MLS employers (D.C. United, Real Salt Lake and the Philadelphia Union) are interested.”

Brotherly Game wonders what if PPL Park had been built in Glassboro.


Former Ocean City Nor’easters and Union man Ryan Richter has signed with NASL side Ottawa Fury. The Southampton, Pa. native spent time with Ottawa on loan from Toronto during the NASL’s fall season last year.

Downingtown-native and former Union Academy player Zack Steffen on signing with Freiburg:

I think everybody’s dream is to play overseas. The offer they gave me, you can’t really turn it down. The whole offer and the setup, when I went over to check out the city, I just loved it. The whole team and the staff was just so welcoming and very professional. It was a no-brainer. Obviously it’s going to be challenging going overseas on my own, playing with the reserves. Training is going to be tough. Hopefully I’ll get as many games as I can. But that is going to be tough adjusting to that lifestyle. I think the national team and Maryland have set me up with a good foundation.

James G. Kidd, former president of Philadelphia Oldtimers Soccer Association — the forerunner of the National Soccer Hall of Fame — and president emeritus of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 87.


It’s official: New York Red Bulls have signed Sacha Kljestan. With the signing, the Union move up to No. 5 in the allocation rankings.

The NBA’s Sacramento Kings are supporting Sacramento Republic’s bid to become a MLS franchise by investing in the club. More from Sacramento Bee, News10, KCRA, Fox40, and the NBA.

NASL side Indy Eleven has released renderings of their proposed $82 million, 18,500-seat stadium.


Leads? They come and go. Unfortunately for the US, lately they seem to keep going. On Wednesday, the US gave up the lead twice before losing 3-2 to Chile.

The US played the first half with a 3-5-2. The experiment’s results were decidedly mixed. Jozy Altidore, who scored a fine goal (as did Brek Shea with the opener) said after the loss,

With the 3-5-2, I think, it was difficult because we had a lot of guys in camp. [We had] younger guys from the Olympic team, and also guys that hadn’t been around, and we were just trying to see if we could play that formation.

Obviously in the first half we allowed them too much time and space to pick out a man, especially in the wide areas, so we tried to switch back to the more comfortable, which is the 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2, but we just couldn’t [get] a rhythm.

That’s what it came down to, we couldn’t keep ahold of the ball…

Look, a lot of us coming back to MLS, they don’t have their legs yet.

We’re all kind of coming in preseason form so it’s not going to be perfect, but the good thing is that we got a good 90 minutes under our legs, and we need to bounce back against Panama at home.

Jurgen Klinsmann said, “The formation had nothing to do with the fact that we then conceded two goals in the second half…you just clearly could see, after minute 60-65, it’s getting tough for the guys. Some are in good shape already, and some need to catch up. It will take them another couple of weeks to get into match fitness. When you have maybe three or four guys not having match fitness at all, then it’s a struggle.”

The US hosts Panama on Sunday, Feb. 8 (4 pm: ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMás, UDN.com).

Match reports from PSP, US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com, Fox SportsASN, ProSoccerTalk, ESPNGoal.com, SBI, the Guardian, and the AP.

Player ratings from ESPN, MLSsoccer.com, ASN, ProSoccerTalkSoccer America, Goal.com, and the New York Times.

ESPN, SI, and MLSsoccer.com have three thoughts on the game. More reaction at ProSoccerTalkYahoo Sports and SBI.

Deutsche Welle has an interesting interview with Klinsmann about his identity as a German, as well as soccer in the US. Klinsmann said, “When I first came overseas I thought, we have to do certain things a certain way. But actually, it’s not like that. The people are different here. I had to change my own ways. After all, millions of people certainly weren’t going to change just because of me…That’s why I like it here, because I have learnt to assimilate but I haven’t lost my German values. That’s a win-win situation.”

You will recall the article we linked to on Wednesday describing some of the procedural obstacles Gedion Zelalem will have to overcome before being eligible to play for the US. At SI, Grant Wahl reports that Sunil Gulati expects Zelalem will be able to suit up for the US some time in the spring: “The question is whether he’ll be called into a senior team or an under-20 camp.”

Former USMNT head coach Bob Gansler was hospitalized over the weekend after suffering a stroke. Gansler, who coached the US at the 1990 World Cup, also was head coach of the Kansas City Wizards.


Reports out of Spain say Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium could be renamed the Abu Dhabi Bernabéu. The Guardian’s Sid Lowe reports the club has not confirmed the stadium re-naming but club president Florentino Pérez “was caught on camera admitting to a member of the regional government that the stadium will be called whatever the Abu Dhabi investment group Ipic wants it to be called.”

Goal.com reports the stadium will be renamed Cepsa Santiago Bernabeu. Cepsa is an an energy company owned by the Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company, which is funding the €500 million renovation of the stadium and expansion to 90,000 seats.

This just in from the Department of No You Didn’t, fans upset at Zawisza Bydgoszcz, bottom of the table in the Polish first division, broke into the stadium after the team lost a friendly against a second division side last weekend to place 15 coffins on the field. “Leaving no room for misinterpretation, each coffin featured the initials of a Zawisza Bydgoszcz player, drawn onto genitals, with one specially reserved for the club’s owner.”


  1. I’m neither expert nor insider, but I have feeling that the reason this Carlos Valdes negotiation has come down to the wire is that the other side is driving a hard bargain due to the knowledge that we have to sell before making any more signings – a situation that Curtin more or less admitted to the other day. And that, to me, speaks volumes about the financial position (whether enforced by economic reality or unwillingness to spend) of this club right now.

    • I think it speaks more to the competence level to the people involved if they let out a public statement to the press that damaged negotiations like that.

      Financial position has nothing to do with it … competence does.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      My guess is that the U want to sell and the other anonymous south american team (read Nacional) just wants a loan. Add in the fact that Santa Fe owns 40% of his rights and it makes fot tricky negotiations. However, they’ve had months to work on transfers and this deal going to the wire or falling apart should NOT proclude the U from making the signings that they promised. And a goalie from the 2nd or 3rd tier in the USA does not count enough for me.

      • Fire Me. Now. says:

        It’s all Nowak’s fault.
        P.S. Fire Me. Now.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Agreed. Valdes’ transfer situation should not have prevented the Union from signing players. Granted, his move would give us a decent sum of money to play with but we should have brought in a couple of pieces…regardless of the Carlos Valdes Transfer Saga.

      • The Chopper says:

        Moving Valdez is becoming more tricky, because the word is leaking out that he may be finished.

        The Union should have moved him for peak value right after the World Cup, but mistakenly felt he could help them make the playoffs. Another FO miscalculation.

    • I think the reason Valdes’ salary needs to be cleared is far more likely to be about the salary cap than it is about the Union’s finances. Remember that all salaries below the DP threshold are paid by the league anyway–not the union directly. I guess they could need the money to pay transfer fees and such, but transfer fees aren’t even relevant if a new player’s salary won’t fit under the cap.
      Likewise, I don’t think its a huge deal that Curtin was willing to talk about the deal as much as he did. Anyone involved is going to be able to look at the Union’s cap situation and use that as leverage whether Curtin discusses it or not.

  2. old soccer coach says:

    A speculation on no evidence whatsoever, – they may have needed the Klestjian deal to finish so they move up one slot in the allocation rankings and have to account for one fewer club ahead of them, also.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I guess it’s possible, but we need a bit more than one player.

    • Maybe, but allocation is only for returning nationals, isn’t it? I mean, who else is even out there? Farfan could come back, but he’s not at a position of extreme need, and I’m not crazy enough to think we’d be in the mix for Aguedelo. Is there anyone else?

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Those Polish fans have given me an idea…

  4. I’m trying not to panic (yet) so I thought I’d attempt to be more optimistic. Let’s assume the Union unload Valdez and sign better than everyone else we have Striker X and starter caliber DM Y; What would be the best starting 11 and what formation would the Union have to run to accommodate the top talent? What are your thoughts?

    • Mbohli; Williams, Edu, White/Berry, Gaddis; DM Y, Noguiera, Maidana; Le Toux, Strike X, Wenger
      That effectively sticks to the 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 they ran last year.

  5. Just want to put this out there: I totally support the players’goals in the CBA negotiations.

  6. Atomic Spartan says:

    Another day without a signing or even a rumor of a signing – except for another GK of course. Another day in Union offseasonland.

    Where is that nice, reassuring “Don’t Panic” button? Which BTW IMHO should be flashed on the PPL Diamondvision board at the 80th minute of every game.

  7. Steve OMalley says:

    Union are reportedly signing freddy adu and michael farfan but using allocation on farfan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


%d bloggers like this: