Daily news roundups

Sapong, Wenger, and Maidana on preseason progress and goals, league news, a USMNT legend passes, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

In the latest Daily Doop, CJ Sapong gives his assessment of how the attack has been coming together. “I think the offense has been really good – the ideas are there. People are still trying to get their legs underneath them and it’s going to take us a while to get used to each other. That will come with time, though. Right now, everybody is still trying to find their flow and to make sure that we’re peaking come March 7.”

Andrew Wenger says of playing with Sapong, his former teammate at Union affiliate Reading United, “We’ve just been talking about more on-the-field type things, trying to find each other and build a relationship there…I kind of understand how CJ moves and where he’s looking for balls and things like that. It’s just trying to find those opportunities on a consistent basis.”

The Union has a nicely subtitled video of Cristian Maidana discussing his preseason thoughts on the team. Maidana said the playoffs are an obvious expectation: “Truthfully, I see the team doing very well, not a lot of players left the team, which is an important thing for a team heading into a new year, and we hope to do things better. I see the team doing very well.”

What are his personal goals? Maidana said, “Personally, try to score more goals. Also, try to help the team out more and more recovering the ball in the midfield…Score more and and play closer to the box and then help the team out more. I am going to work hard on that.”

At Brotherly Game, Barry Evans says it is not the time for Union fans to panic — yet.

Union Academy

Sebastian Elney and Sean Wilson both started for the US U-18 team in the 1-0 loss to Club Deportivo Universidad Católica de Chile on Tuesday in their last group game at the Copa Chivas in Guadalajara. Presumably, the team’s 1-2-1 record will prevent them from advancing, which means Elney and Wilson should soon be joining the Union in Clearwater.

A post at the Union website reviewing topics that were part of Academy staff presentations at the recent NSCAA Convention includes links to session plans from Tommy Wilson and Peter Fuller.

Local

At the La Salle University men’s soccer site, a review of four grads now playing in the pros: John McCarthy (Union trialist, Rochester Rhinos), Jason Plumhoff (Harrisburg City Islanders, FC Sydvest 05 in Denmark), Ryan Richter (Ottawa Fury, Toronto FC,Charleston Battery, Union) and Jeremy Ortiz (Rochester Lancers, New Jersey Ironmen, Philadelphia KiXX).

At Philly.com, Kate Harman rounds up college commitments from Southeastern PA. girls and boys players.

MLS

The Denver Post reports Colorado Rapids have signed attacking midfielder Juan Ramirez. The 21-year-old joins the club from Argentinos Juniors and is the Rapids’ second-ever designated player. No confirmation yet from the Rapids.

Looks like Real Salt Lake is about to sign 22-year-old Guatemalan national team center back Elias Vasquez. RSL confirmed Vasquez was on his way to join the club in camp but did not confirm a deal had been signed.

Columbus Dispatch reports that the league and Jamaican club Portmore United “have reached a deal that will allow Crew SC draft pick Sergio Campbell to sign a professional contract with the league.” Portmore was claiming $7,500 in training compensation from MLS for Campbell’s time in their youth system but MLS “does not pay such fees while citing child-labor laws within the United States.” This despite Chapter VII, Article 20 of FIFA’s Statutes and Regulations, which states, “Training compensation shall be paid to a player’s training club(s): (1) when a player signs his first contract as a professional and (2) each time a professional is transferred until the end of the season of his 23rd birthday.”  More background from Jamaica Observer, which notes a similar deal was reached last year when the Union drafted Andre Blake, and Vice Sports.

Sure, your Kakas, Lampards, Gerrards, and Giovincos get the headlines. ASN has a look at some below-the-radar international signings who could prove to be very important.

DC United played Swedish second-division club Jönköpings Södra to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday. Toronto defeated Montverde Academy, 4-2. LA Galaxy defeated Georgetown 2-1 in a scrimmage. Sacha Kljestan had his first day of training with New York Red Bulls.

Kaka will make his Orlando City debut today when the team plays FC Dallas.

At ASN, UCLA law professor Steven Bank says it is the league’s desire to retain its single entity status that is holding up negotiations rather than objections to free agency in and of itself. “True free agency might weaken the single-entity structure even further and lead a court to find in the players’ favor in a subsequent antitrust suit.”

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young predicts winners and losers for some of the central issues of the CBA negotiations.

Proving once again that he’s one of the funniest people in the league, Bruce Arena said when asked what he and Barack Obama talked about when the Galaxy were honored at the White House for winning the MLS Cup, “He is befuddled by the fact we don’t have more rounds in the supplemental draft.” If that was not funny enough, Arena said when asked what the Galaxy’s win over Georgetown proves, “It tells us everything. It tells us we would be one of the top 10 teams in college soccer.” Honestly, the entire interview reads like a comedy skit.

At SI, Liviu Bird has a fascinating read on the uncertain future of the Chivas USA academy — particularly its very talented U-14 team under Brian Kleiban — that includes quotes from former Union manager John Hackworth, now head coach of the US U-15 team.

Inside World Football reports, “Major League Soccer (MLS) has extended its deal with Sportradar Security Services to monitor the global betting market in relation to MLS matches for the 2015 and 2016 seasons…Sportradar has been working with the MLS for two years, but the new deal is a significant increase for the league in the battle to keep match fixers out the game. As well as deploying its Fraud Detection System (FDS) that will process betting patterns and movements on both the regulated and unregulated markets, it will also provide a series of integrity workshops.”

Miami-Dade County officials have approved Florida International University’s stadium for use as a temporary home for David Beckham’s proposed Miami franchise, but a Beckham spokesperson doesn’t seem to hot on the idea, saying, “Right now, our focus is on identifying the location for a purpose-built stadium that will be the team’s permanent home. Careful consideration will be given to FIU when we address the opportunities for a temporary facility.”

A Beckham spokesperson told Reuters, “The Miami Beckham United team is actively looking at four or five sites.”

CBS St. Louis on how the odds are against St. Louis getting a MLS team.

Soccer Gods must be desperate for clicks, it has not one, but two posts on promotion-relegation in the US with two more on the way. I’ll pass.

US

Frank Borghi, the goalie for the US team that defeated England at the 1950 World Cup, passed away on Monday at the age of 89. Philadelphia soccer legend Walt Bahr is now the only surviving member of the 1950 team.

At SI, Grant Wahl relates that when told on Tuesday he was now the last surviving member of the eam, 87-year-old Bahr quipped, “Well, that’s not quite true. I’m half-dead.” Bahr said of his former teammate,

Frank was one of the nicest people you’d want to meet, and he was an outstanding goalkeeper. Frank had an ability to play the whole goal area, and he was sharper than most goalkeepers in coming off his line. Lots of people gave the credit for that ability to his baseball talents…He was always one of the best goalkeepers for cheering players up after a game if someone had cost us a goal. Frank would never complain, and he never put the blame on anyone else.

More on Borghi’s passing from US SoccerSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS St. Louis, SI, ASN, MLSsoccer.com, and the AP.

Jermaine Jones says if he has to play as a center back, he’d prefer to do so in a four-man backline.

So, will Jurgen Klinsmann go with a 3-5-2 again when the team hosts Panama on Sunday? Klinsmann, who said the 3-5-2 works only “if everybody in midfield does his defensive job,” explained, “This week, we’ll see. I want to see different training sessions, different systems. Over the long term, I think [the 3-5-2 is] definitely a card that we should have in our back pocket. I don’t have a preferred system – I’m not a freak for the Dutch 4-3-3 or the German 4-2-3-1 or the 4-4-2 in a diamond. I try to adjust systems to the player materiel I have.”

Goal.com says it’s time Klinsmann gave Lee Nguyen a start and the chance to lead the US attack.

At Soccer America, Paul Kennedy reviews Klinsmann’s comments about the lack of a culture of fitness in the USMNT and says if fitness was a problem, the players should have been sent to a fitness camp before the January camp. He concludes, “Klinsmann’s bully pulpit has become a distraction.”

At the Guardian, Jack Williams on Team America, the short-lived NASL experiment from 1983 that was supposed to give the men’s national team pool an opportunity to play as a team in a club setting in order to improve the chances of the US to qualify for the World Cup. It didn’t work.

Elsewhere

Goal.com reports Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein hopes to work together with fellow FIFA presidential candidates Michael van Praag and Luis Figo to unseat Sepp Blatter.

At SI, James Young on how the stadiums built for the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil have largely proven to be a underused burdens.

The AP reports, ‘Tunisia’s football federation was fined $50,000 on Tuesday and threatened with a ban, while a referee was sent home and suspended for six months in the fallout from the chaotic African Cup of Nations quarterfinal against host Equatorial Guinea.”

Vice Sports on how FIFA killed the lawsuit aimed at forcing the use of natural grass at the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Could Pep Guardiola be tempted into coaching Qatar at the 2022 World Cup? Slow news day in Germany, or something?

At the Guardian, Marina Hyde on the “footballer jihadist” fantasy.

36 Comments

  1. “People are still trying to get their legs underneath them and it’s going to take us a while to get used to each other. That will come with time, though. Right now, everybody is still trying to find their flow and to make sure that we’re peaking come March 7.”
    .
    I look forward to the Union saying they’re not bringing in any new players at this point because there’s not enough time to integrate them. This franchise is a joke.

    • Team Pup and Suds says:

      You should check out the Brotherly Game piece linked above as to why we shouldn’t panic just yet. My attitude before reading the piece was that the Union missed on their plans A, B, C, and D and are now scrambling for any warm body to trot out to the fan base. But after reading the article, there are some very sound and logical reasons why the Union COULD have chosen to wait til now (whether that was the plan all along or not, only Curtin knows). But it definitely allayed some of my fears that no news means only bad news at this point.

  2. Did the MLS just claim that youth academies violate child-labor laws?

    • I don’t see how if the kids never sign a contract………and they are not 23 years of age. Interesting going forward with the academy movement in the States.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      NO, MLS cannot receive training fees when players they’ve trained leave for clubs in other countries due to US Labor Laws. A good example would be the multitude of kids who were brought up in the LAG and Chivas academies that went and joined Mexican clubs since they had no where to play except the senior squad (this is why so many MLS teams are starting USL teams but I digress). MLS clubs invested money in the kids and then saw no return when they left. All over the world, the original training club is compensated when a player signs their first contract and can reinvest the money back into their academy. In this instance MLS didn’t want to pay training fees since they can never recoup training fees. But in a nutshell current US Labor Laws are helping to maintain the status quo of pay to play in the US. If one of these Union academy kids who are with the U18 NATs now are scouted and then signed by one of the Mexican teams they are playing, the U will get nothing but a loss of time invested. Mexico is aware of this and have been raiding US trained players for quite some time….

      • Wow, great explanation, thanks. But doesn’t this make the stated Union philosophy of building through the Academy kind of dunder-headed?

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        It could… But if you sign a kid (U18)to a proffesional contract then you would receive the transfer fee. So when Pheifer trialed in Germany, if head signed they could have gotten a transfer fee but not the training fee since he was signed to a contract. Right now, if you go and live at the YSC/Union academy, most kids pay to be a member of the academy. I feel it is mostly setup to get kids into D1 and they may get the rare gem once in a while. The reason I say this is because there is no USL team (partnership with Harrisburg not with standing)and no player has ever jumped from the academy to getting significant time with the Senior team. So, any kid who enters the U academy almost has to go to college (or sign over seas) or they will regress due to lack of games. That is why I haven’t bought into the U’s claims of relying on their academy. The infrastructure isn’t there to support their claims of bringing kids through from the academy to the senior team. I think those claims are just another way for Sugarman and Sak to try and buy patience from the fans while fleecing money from talented kids by dangling the senior team carrot on a stick. But, that is just my opinion based on what I see, hear, and read.

      • good points……..+1

      • Erudite. Well written. Bass Ackwards. Come on the USA- futbol is not like anything else.

      • I knew they were raiding the academies in SoCal and Texas………a lot of American kids playing in Mexico……….but are they working their way east? Just curious, haven’t heard anything like that on the EC.

  3. That Bruce Arena interview is gold. Absolute gold. The section leading up to the Dan Gargan part is priceless.

    • I laughed pretty hard several times at that interview. The guy may be an entitled jerk at times, but he’s got a pretty good dry sense of humor.

    • He is a great interview. Imagine how much fun it would be to sit next to him at a bar and hear his opinions on things. A few months back, the Howler pod had him on with some LA players and Arena was by far the most interesting one.

  4. Rest in Peace Frank Borghi, Legend.

  5. Brian Kleiben. A name you should all get used to hearing. The revolution is coming. The revolution is coming.

  6. I try to adjust systems to the players I have. Hmmm. Sounds like forever the philosophy of US Soccer. How bout molding players to a system- you know that is used from the time they are 12 or 14 on. IDK.

    • …and by the way- this is a philosophy of play (espoused by JK) that Mr. Kleiben above finds repulsive- which in one part explains his unparalleled success with his US teams internationally. He has taken on the best youth academies in the world (Madrid/Barca/Ajax) and won against them with his team(s). – with the adopted/adapted Barca 4-3-3.
      .
      If Natalie Portman said The Shins will change your life in Garden State then I’m telling you blog.4-3-3.com will change it too.
      .
      Enjoy.

      • Why would you limit players to only learning to play in one formation? Then you hurt their marketability as a professional to the tens of thousands of club teams around the world who don’t exclusively play 4-3-3.

        Plus, winning lots of youth tournaments doesn’t automatically translate into producing better players who then become professionals.

        BTW, I love the Shins and Garden State

      • Hey George.
        .
        So traveling to europe on multiple trips over the course of a few years and beating teams from the best academies in the world doesn’t tell you anything? Tells me a good bit. This is not the Europa FC Cup or Delco Cup. Feel free to check out the site and the arguments and the posts.
        .
        John (Xuxuh) Hilton trains with Manchester City- RB.
        .
        Ben Lederman is in Barcalona Youth Academy- Midfielder. First ever US born player to be invited to Barcelona.
        .
        Choco Gomez Atalante FC new signing. Midfielder.
        ..
        They are producing excellent, wickedly smart highly intelligent footballers clear understudying of the patterns of the gamce that ocur over and over and over.
        .
        These are 3 boys in about a five year window.

      • Joel – I’ve read the blog. Brian has some interesting and thought provoking ideas. It’s great to see people talking about these types of things.

        The point that I was trying to convey above was that the great thing about this sport is how it evolves and adapts as years go by. And while it appears that Brian has had some short term success, we shouldn’t confuse correlation with causation because the soccer world is constantly changing.

        I grew up playing in the 70’s and 80’s where the English influence was so strong here in the States. And with good reason, the English style was seen as the way to go. Unfortunately, the game adjusts and what worked well in the past for me and similar players would not be as effective in the future. The game adapted. The same thing can happen today as tons of gurus espouse the benefits of the 4-3-3 or whatever else that they happen to be selling.

      • Good stuff George.
        .
        Formations do come and go with this I certainly agree.
        .
        What sets the Kleiben’s apart is the philosophy and the plan that exacts that philosophy with as he calls it exact precision. Players need to learn about the responsibility each one has to the over all implementation of that plan and philosophy to the group. This level of detail and responsibility is sorely missing still around these parts. .
        .
        Learning at Neu Camp and bringing that knowledge stateside and implementing a teaching style that has young boys playing with a rigorous tactical understanding is unrivaled here as evidenced by the wins and individual players being noticed by huge clubs overseas.
        .
        I submit there are very few youth coaches with similar acumen.
        .
        IMO the formation is flux the set tactical training is principal.
        .
        What I appreciate about the blog and now the coaching website is the unbelievable attention to even the smallest of detail. This is what is missing in this country- the quality of the teacher teaching to the young developing player and that is why the revolution is coming because more and more people are recognizing the framework they have is the proper vehicle. The framework was derived from a country that has arguably comprised the most beautiful futbol in the last decade. Kick and chase soccer. The model we modeled for 50 years is not the spanish way. The difference in level of understanding and intelligence is quite obvious IMO.

      • Agreed, Joel. Well put.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        Wow nice New Slang reference…..

  7. Prince Al-Hussein is on to something. Hoping they can topple the head of state. That way we can regain legitimacy at the FIFA headquarters for a year or two before the next head of state begins to think he is master of the universe. Absolute power rules absolutely.

    • I’m starting to think of Don Garber as mini-Sepp. Can’t get his quote “demanding” Klinsmann not criticize MLS out of my head. Could be bad news for CBA negotiations. People who accumulate a lot of power don’t give it up easily- I’m sure he loves running the league any way he feels like it.

  8. It was a big mistake reading that ASN piece about all the under the radar players signed by the eastern conference and then reading the brotherly game piece about how the Union are fine and the team is better and we are actually better off not signing anyone yet. Really infuriating…

    • Team Pup and Suds says:

      That’s not what I got out of the Brotherly game piece at all. I don’t think the article mentioned anywhere that we’re fine as is. The gist of the article, IMO, is that there is still plenty of time in the MLS transfer window (which doesn’t even open until Feb. 12 and stays open til May)for the Union to sign the players that have been alluded to several times by Curtain, hence why we shouldn’t be panicking yet. The evidence is there that they are trying and not their fault that Deltort chose to remain in France rather than come to the U.S. But it happens and you move on to your next target. I’m just as frustrated as everyone else is with the lack of moves, but I’m not yet ready to hit the panic button because the season doesn’t even start for another month. If no moves have been made by then, then I’ll jump on the doom and gloom wagon…

      • J in Section 125 says:

        Agreed with Team Pup. I haven’t gone into full panic mode yet. I would like the pieces to be in place ahead of March 7 so these guys can be in sync with one another. The point of Brotherly Game piece that really stuck with me is Curtain’s credibility. He has been saying that the signings are coming so this fan is holding him to those words.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Have to admit, I’m a little panicky. I don’t doubt that a signing will come…but we need a lot of signings to come. We are behind the ball…

      • Pup and J, I was a little over reactive about that article. But I literally read them one after the other. The one is telling me I can’t and shouldn’t panic until June (!?!?) and that our team is already better than last year (crazy). The other lists name after name of player within our own conference who have already been brought in, and those were only under the radar players. Supposedly that should be the Unions targets. I guess my question is, why are we the only ones who are so smart and waiting for these other transfer windows? Couldn’t we have done both?

      • Team Pup and Suds says:

        I think that every team’s situation is different, and for the Union I think our lack of moves right now is hinging upon Valdes’ move to Uruguay being completed one way or another. My guess would be that the FO and coaching staff need to figure out what’s happening with Valdes first so they know exactly how much money they have to play with (which makes sense if you’re a cash-strapped team, as we’ve been reminded time and again). I think once Valdes’ loan deal is finalized (hopefully today), then that’ll be the first domino that falls in a series of others over the next several days. Time will tell I suppose…

      • This all make sense and I hope you’re right, then we would be much better off. I just don’t know how much I trust them.

  9. Joel Prushan says:

    Bruce Arena, the Greg Popovich of MLS. Excellent coach, championship coach, and hilariously gruff and private.

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