Daily news roundups

Valdes signs with Nacional, Union target Benfica center back Steven Vitoria, notes from camp, Sunday’s USA doubleheader, more

Photo: Courtesy of Nacional

Philadelphia Union

Carlos Valdes

Carlos Valdes and his Philadelphia Union-branded luggage arrived in Montevideo early this morning to sign a loan deal with Uruguayan club Nacional.

Valdes with Union luggage

Futbol Red reported (crappy Google translation here) that if no issues arose from his physical that an official announcement of the signing would be made later today.

Later on Friday morning, Ovacion reported (crappy Google translation here) that Valdes had passed the physical and signed with Nacional.

Mercifully, Nacional confirmed the signing on Twitter soon after. As of this writing, the Union has not confirmed the deal.

Reports say (particularly crappy Google translation here) that the loan is for one year with an option for both Nacional and Valdes to end the deal after six months. I probably speak for many Union fans when I say I hope the six-month escape clause doesn’t mean we’ll have to deal with all of this again in July.

Speaking to reporters via conference call on Thursday, Jim Curtin said of the Valdes negotiations that the team had been trying to “do what is best for the Philadelphia Union and for the player. Both sides are kept in mind there, so we’ll do what is best. And we do have things lined up for whatever scenario happens one way or the other with Carlos.”

Curtin explained, “He’s at the point of his career where now financially, he’s looking to make his family comfortable, to be quite honest. I want to coach the guys that fully are going to be here, and that’s kind of controlling what I can control. Our relationship is the same, but at the same time I have to move forward as a coach.”

Curtin also indicated that the conclusion of the Valdes negotiations will allow the team to move forward on several signings that are in the works, saying, “We have targets and are actively pursuing them. It’s by no means a finished product.” That so much is contingent on Valdes is probably a good indicator of how little ownership has provided Curtin to work with for new acquisitions.

Union targeting Benfica center back

Soon after news out of Uruguay that Valdes had signed with Nacional, Kevin Kinkead tweeted,

Stay tuned, folks.

Curtin on forward needs

Curtin said of the Union’s needs at forward, “Conor is a target forward, CJ is a similar forward – a target-type guy – and Catic is a big body. We’ve discussed maybe getting a different type of striker, whether that’s more of a speed guy, a taller guy. You want to find the right mix. You don’t want three or four of the same types of forwards; you want that change of pace. That has affected the type of guy that we’re targeting, for sure.” More on Curtin’s comments on forwards at Playing for 90.

More notes on the conference call at SBI. Look for our transcript of the call later this morning.

Camp notes

The Union play Jacksonville Armada on Sunday in their first preseason game. PSP understands that the game, which kicks off at 5 pm, will be available for viewing as a live stream but details are still being worked out.

The latest edition of the Daily Doop notes a new trialist is with the Union, University of Tampa goalkeeper Zak Downes. The trial should help area soccer fans who were wondering if there were any more possible diminutive spellings for Zachary other than Zac, Zach, and Zack out there.

The Daily Doop also notes Vincent Nogueira, Brian Carroll, and Michael Lahoud are all back to training after nursing minor injuries.

If you’re on Twitter, CJ Sapong will be taking over the Union’s account today between 1:30 pm-2:30 pm.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young has a counterpoint to Thursday’s post from Barry Evans that said now is not the time for Union fans to panic. Young says even with new signings, there is plenty of reason for concern.

The 700 Level notes the Union are in Florida and you are not.

Union Academy

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald highlights comments from Jim Curtin about how the Academy players in camp with the Union are impressing. Reading Curtin’s comments, its seems very possible that Derrick Jones Amanimpong, Yosef Samuel, and/or Sebastian Elney could be given Homegrown contracts sooner than later.

More on the college commitments of Union Academy players.


Don Garber said of the current state of negotiations over the new CBA, “There is no doubt that neither the players, as they’ve told us, nor ownership, is interested in a work stoppage. We’ll get help from federal mediation if that’s necessary and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to solve our differences.” More from Garber at WFTV.com.

Robbie Keane will support a strike by the players if it comes to that:

I’m supportive of the guys. I spoke to [Galaxy teammate and MLSPU executive board member] Todd [Dunivant] about it and he asked my views and I said, ‘I’m 100 percent behind this. We all have to be united together’…

If 90 percent of the players in the league want that, if 55 percent of the league wants that, it should be. It’s a majority. If the majority wants it, I’m behind it.

Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo has expressed concern about how big money signings could hurt the league. “Over time, only certain teams will keep spending, that is Los Angeles, Toronto and New York, and there will be those three teams and then all the rest. On one hand, it’s good because it brings credibility to the league, but long term, I fear it may hurt the league.” Yep.

Montreal has acquired German goalkeeper Kristian Nicht on loan from NASL club Indy Eleven until March 4. What the short loan spell? Impact technical director Adam Braz said, “We needed to add Kristian due to a unique circumstance. We needed another goalkeeper for the Champions League as Maxime Crepeau has a shoulder injury and Eric Kronberg is ineligible for the tournament after having played with Sporting KC.”

FC Dallas has waived midfielder/forward Brian Span.

In preseason play, New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto 2-0 in the first game of a doubleheader — Sacha Kljestan scoring one of the goals — before losing 4-1 to Jacksonville Armada with a different lineup. Training in England, Chicago and Norwich City played to a 0-0 draw. Seattle defeated UCLA, 5-0.

Richmond Kickers will remain as DC United’s USL PRO affiliate for the 2015 season.

Oregon Live talks with Mick Hoban who, in 1974, was the first-ever player to be signed by the Portland Timbers.

Soccer Gods concludes its three-part look at promotion-relegation.


Sunday will feature a US national team doubleheader, with the USWNT taking on France at noon (ESPN2, Watch ESPN), and the USMNT hosting Panama at 4 pm (ESPN, UniMás, Univision Deportes, Watch ESPN, Univision Deportes En Vivo).

Look for our previews of both games later this morning. In the meanwhile, previews of the USMNT game from MLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, and World Soccer Talk.

Jurgen Klinsmann is standing by his comments about a lack of fitness among some players who were called into the January camp. “My comments aren’t meant to criticize anybody, it’s just where we are right now. It’s understandable. But I think it’s important that the players are not getting away with it.”

Goal.com says Klinsmann is placing blame for the team’s shortcomings on everyone but himself. World Soccer Talk says don’t blame Klinsmann for the team’s shortcomings.

Soccer America on the reality behind Klinsmann’s call to extend the MLS season to 11 months and how it might be achieved.

At ESPNW, Julie Foudy looks at the USWNT’s goalkeeper depth chart, “Three very good keepers with one thing missing — they all lack big game experience…Let’s hope the U.S. women do not pay the price for what should have been a very good return on investment: playing more goalkeepers when games mattered.”

Fox Sports on how the USMNT and US U-23 team are coordinating efforts in preparation for Olympic qualifying.


Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final will feature Ivory Coast against Ghana (1:50 pm: beIN Sports, beIN Sports Connect). The semifinal match between Ghana and tournament host Equatorial Guinea on Thursday was halted for nearly 40 minutes with only ten minutes left in the game as local fans reacted angrily to their team going down 3-0. Riot police were called in to protect Ghana fans and players.

Vice Sports on Against Modern Football.

Checkout the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of the week’s live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio.


  1. I was just thinking about the CBA negotiations. If there is a strike, what if the players call the leagues bluff and sign to other leagues while on strike. Signing to a lower division won’t mean that much a difference to the lower salary guys in the league and you know the Cosmos will sign some money players just to thumb their nose at the MLS. It seems like a good tactic to force the leagues hand.

    • Yup, this is one reason why the players have a lot of leverage this time around. The other reason being that the league has pegged its future on rapid growth and if anything were to stop it’s progress it would be a catastrophic disaster that the league might not recover from.

    • FIFA may not let them sign to other leagues. Not entirely sure what the rules are though

      • I was thinking similar. Also, the courts may not let them, since the players all have binding contracts with the teams. I’d think that option would exist more if the teams locked the players out.
        But unlike Steve, I’m not a lawyer. So I’m just guessing.

      • NHL players went to other teams while on strike. And if FIFA or the league intervenes and stops players from joining other teams it weakens the MLS’s position that they are not a monopoly and players have other options

      • Pretty sure the NHL work stoppages were lockouts, actually. Not 100% certain, though.

      • Yeah I think with the NHL the league locked the players out. Different situation then if the playeres go on strike.

  2. “That so much is contingent on Valdes is probably a good indicator of how little ownership has provided Curtin to work with for new acquisitions.”
    I don’t understand why people keep saying this. Valdes is a huge hit to the salary cap, which prevents bringing in new players, which has nothing to do with how little money the front office is willing to put towards a new player. I get the desire to rage against the front office, but not everything comes down to its cheapness.

    • Nothing stopped the Union from signing a striker while Valdes was in limbo. He cost a fair chucnk of change but he wasn’t the entire budget.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        According to my math, Valdes’s salary cap hit at around 390,000 against a cap of 3,200,000 is around 11 % of said cap. That is a huge hit when the roster is 26 players.

      • We dumped a fair amount of salary… Like I said its not the whole thing.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I was reading that Valdes’ cap hit is more like $450K. Big number, but the club should have been able to sign another player of need.

      • The max hit for a designated player is $387k, so it’s not that number.

      • Right the max salary cap hit. What’s more important is the out of pocket expense, the amount above the $387K

      • I’m sort of with Sieve.
        Fuzzy math says Okugo (225K) MacMath (120K . . . who’s paying the $120 is based on negotiation, but let’s say Colorado pays 1/2 ,) so another $60K free. Salary decreases for Fred, Casey and Carrol . . . and they better have been signed at decent discount from last year or that’s all on Curtin’s shoulders . . . should free up minimum $50K. Casey made 190, Carrol 185 Fred 65. And let’s not forget Christian Hernandez at $75K Edu salarywise should be same, transfer amount paid out of allocation they’ve been accumulating (Okugo/2014 draft/and the freebies each year for not making playoffs/etc). So let’s say before raises are included they’d have $410K less in salary from last year. Subtract Sapong at $110. and they’ve got $300 to start.
        Now Gaddis gets a bump say + $50K, but that’s offset at least temporarily by Brian Browns departure. Assume Bone’s position is also consumed by one for the draft picks and other small raises so another $50K offset
        -110 Sapong
        So they should have theoretically have had $300K to play with before the Valdes transfer saga even came up. And don’t even get me started on Fabinho and his $100K which is for some reason still on the books despite his presumed Godlike status among the other MLS clubs. That’s 100% on Curtin. if not for that they would have had $400K to play with which is more than enough for a quality striker and a CDM/CB.
        So as Dan points out they should have had about 1/10 of their cap to spend without going above and beyond last years budget.
        We’d all like and endless flood of money from a sugar daddy, but the logical fans don’t expect that. But that doesn’t preclude Curtin from using the money and budget he has to build craft a quality team. When Carrol and Fabinho are taking up roughly 10% of you salary and that’s the coach’s decision to keep them, then the coach can’t turnaround and cry poor when he doesn’t have enough available to address other needs

      • True enough, but my point was that none of that reflects on the financial resources of the club itself. The league pays salaries under the cap anyway.
        You can make a claim that it shows mismanagement, sure, but that’s a different conversation.

      • I know you don’t even want to get started on Fabinho but..the Union just got flat-out played on that one right? My first reaction was less “poor decision” and more “you’re being lied to..” And now we hear nothing about it. With all the rules on protecting players (international, etc) and maybe a little inside info, it wouldn’t be hard for an expert to predict that (at most) only one of Fabinho and Ribeiro end up on the list. Any connection between Orlando and any Western Conf GMs that could’ve drummed up the Fabinho interest with the sights steady on Ribeiro?

  3. Zacques

  4. I’m to the point with the Valdes saga that I hope they sell him off. Here’s hoping they sign a name striker, a solid LB and Vitoria.Of course the Union have been playing us with “targets” all off season while every other team in MLS has gone out and signed players.

    • I’m pretty sure the Union would like to sell Valdes off and be done with it, too. I have a feeling that the whole issue with some other club in SA still owning part of his rights is what’s complicating the deal. Thanks for that headache, Nowak!

  5. and we even get the pictures of him signing then leaving town. shrug sigh.

  6. regarding an article from yesterday about Academy players signing college letters of intent, I am pulling my post over to this tangent article because, as “Cat Steven’s sign, I gotta let it out, no I can’t keep it in- I’ve got to show the world- world’s gotta see.”
    Interesting reading about all the academy kids committing to college. The day when a Professional soccer academy player ceases to sign a letter of intent to play amateur/college soccer, which is totally oxymoronic, will be a great day for the game in this country. Proof positive then, to me, that we are really on the right track. I know I know. Lighten up Joel.

    • Or the NCCA could get rid of its archaic rules and let players sign with teams and still go to college…
      Just a thought…

      • I assume by NCCA you mean NCAA (if not, and NCCA is some soccer-related organization I don’t know of, my bad.) If so….

        Nothing stopping players from going to college and signing to play professional soccer for a different team while in college, they just can’t play for their college while receiving any kind of income.

    • Only 3 percent of Academy players in Europe wind up playing professional soccer, is not moronic to play college;; what do you do after you get cut? work in a factory and play in a pub league?

      • +1
        How many kids are going to college on a scholarship? Only a small percentage of them will play pro.

        It’s hard to turn down a free or discounted education when there are no guarantees on the other end.

  7. I’m confused, is the @NotSteveVitoria twitter not him or is it? I kinda hope it is cause if so he seems like a pretty funny guy.

  8. OneManWolfpack says:

    So Vitoria seems like a nice get, assuming it does happen. Hey, it’s something. Thoughts?

    • He looks a lot like the Property Brothers guys – anyone ever watch that show?

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      Lemme get this right, we are supposed to be excited about a straight swap of Valdes for Vitoria. Step up FO. Or stop calling about renewals. You don’t see my money until I see you spend some of your profits from the first several years.

      • Valdes looked bad last year and at this points its clear he doesn’t value us as much as we valued him.

        So at this point I am done holding Valdes as a special player for us and this Vitoria guy sounds good enough for us.

  9. The article in World Soccer Talk regarding JK is dead on and Alexi Lalas is a complete nincompoop.
    We Americans do not like to be criticized even when it is the truth. Ultimately he will get criticized either way so at least he shoots straight. For the most part, he is dead on IMO.
    I don’t like some of his tactical aptitudes but from a culture standpoint. Boom like that JK- keep speaking your truth.

    • OK, let’s accept your premise that this all has to do with Americans not liking to be criticized.

      How would you defend Klinsmann against what Phillip Lahm and Uli Hoeness have said about him?

      The bottom line is that he’s lived in the US for quite some time now and understood the landscape of US Soccer when he took the job. If he doesn’t like where things are at and how this has evolved, he shouldn’t have renewed his contract and continued to receive his huge salary. Instead, he’s been found out as a poor manager who overtrains his players and is tactically naive. He’s probably better suited for more of a big picture role in the USSF so he can pontificate about being “proactive”, tec..

      Being a manager, especially at the nation team level, requires a pragmatic approach and he just doesn’t have that club in his bag.

      • Lahm and Uli are on a whole different level than the USNT that it’s not fair to even compare.

        Landon Donovan wouldnt even get a fucking autograph from those two guys.

      • Your reasoning makes no sense.

      • My reasoning is even if Lahm and Uli are 100% right, it means nothing since we are several tiers below German NT standards and JK is at this point one of the best we can get leading us.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Poor manager? Don’t know if I would call him that. He underestimated how far behind American football REALLY is.

      • He delivered roughly the same results in the World Cup as his two predecessors (Bradley & Arena) who were viewed by most U.S. soccer/football fans as inferior to Klinsmann as a manager.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that our national team has displayed moments of play that are far superior to anything shown before. The WC results may not be all that different but the quality of play, in my opinion, has been better under Klinsmann.
        Klinsmann task is daunting…to say the least. There was no philosophical foundation, for which he could build upon.

      • George I just like stirring shit up – some things stick some don’t.
        I’m not a huge fan of JK- I think he is tactically naive myself as well —- and if Phillip Lahm questions his tactical accumen i’m going to listen cause Pep Guardiola called Lahm the smartest footballer he’s ever met. I think he is best served in a bigger picture role too- trying to sway the culture. Our problem is a culture problem and until that is addressed nothing else will really change IMO and I think JK speaks to that and he needs to speak to that- over and over.
        The european media, as the article states, would have been all over the players for reporting unfit or the lack of perceived fitness in a national team game regard;ess of season, whereas here it seems, the attention is placed on the coaches who makes the assertions and give a get out card to the players, who were clearly gassed -some 20 minutes in to the game. it is a reasonable question by JK IMO. Could he have done something about it to ensure fitness? Maybe. Should he have too? IDK.
        All this to say, yes BA and BB were “successful” coaches- moderately, but that doesn’t mean the play was any good. We did a smash and grab on spain one time and ‘oh USA Soccer look out.” Please. Espanyol beats Barca once in a while as well- doesn’t mean espanyol is challenging any time soon. I’m not sure what needs to change first- i could pontificate and argue ad infinitum – what I am pretty sure is JK rubs alot of people the wrong way and maybe that is a good thing for the game in this country.

  10. Finally some good news today! Am I in the majority with liking Edu in the midfield?

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Love him in the midfield. You can argue Edu, Nogs, and Maidana in our midfield is one of the leagues best.

    • I like him better at CB for a few reasons:
      1) Career longevity – less miles on his legs
      2) Playing out of the back – he would be one of the best distributing defenders in the league
      3) He gets caught upfield at times when playing midfield
      4) He would still get goal opportunities on set pieces
      5) If the team is chasing a goal late you can push him higher and go with a 3-man backline – no sub needed for help in the midfield
      With that said, I’m cool with him in either position. It really just depends on who the team can bring in – a DM or a CB? Steven Vitória sounds like a quality signing if they are indeed close to a deal.

      • I agree, especially on number 3. The question is whether he got caught pushing up too much because that’s what he was told to do under Hack, because you can bet that Curtin will tell him to prioritize his defensive responsibilities. If he can do so, then great. If not, I worry about him being the no. 6.
        We already have a midfielder in Nogueria who, despite his many good qualities, is not especially positionally disciplined. I don’t see him and Edu being able to constantly interchange very well. I do think that midfield works, though, if Edu primarily sticks to his defensive responsibilities. Hopefully that’s what happens if he stays in midfield.

      • Agreed. Issue #3 is my primary concern with having Edu in the defensive midfield spot.

    • I thought he was better for Union at CB, but with Okugo gone if they bring in a new CB I’m fine with him in MF. His prefered position and a massive upgrade from LaHoud or Carroll.

  11. Looking at some of the pictures of the fan violence in the CAF semi-final, I can understand why the ref called a phantom penalty for Equatorial Guinea in the previous round.

  12. Steve OMalley says:

    Kevin Kinkead is wrong is not loan is a dp deal

  13. This Zak Downes goalkeeper is a very talented young goalkeeper. Iv watched him train and play before great talent. Does anyone know anything else about this deal or about him. Union need to pick him up.

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