Daily news roundups

Linc Gold Cup final announcement expected, Union take on Crew, Berry loan report, more

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

CONCACAF has scheduled a media event at Lincoln Financial Field for March 12 in which it is widely expected the confederation will announce the Linc as the site of this year’s Gold Cup final. You will recall Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald first reported in January that the Linc would host the July 26 final, with PPL Park the site of the third place game on July 25. More at SI and the AP.

Philadelphia Union

The Union face their first MLS opposition of the preseason today when they face Columbus Crew in their final group game at the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic in Bradenton, Fla. Kickoff is at 5 pm and the game will be live streamed. If the Union win today, they will face the Group A winner in the tournament final on Saturday at 7:30 pm. If they lose they’ll play in the consolation game at 5 pm. (Click here for the group standings.)

Four Four Crew has a preview. Nine other preseason games will be taking place today.

The latest Daily Doop has an update from Clearwater.

Fernando Aristeguieta continues to get acclimated with his teammates, and there’s been plenty of two-striker looks alongside C.J. Sapong to take note of. Much of the workload Tuesday was during full-length intrasquad scrimmages that were eight minutes long.

On the injury front, Vincent Nogueira is back practicing with the team. He was held out of Saturday’s game as a precaution. Everyone else with the team is healthy and practicing. Second round draft pick Eric Bird is working through a groin injury.

The team returned to training on Tuesday after having Monday off.

SBI reports that Austin Berry is going on loan to second division South Korean side FC Anyang, and will arrive with the team today.

Berry says the loan deal “moved pretty quickly” and he has no hard feelings about how his time with the Union has played out.

I’m just focusing on taking it one day at a time right now. Nothing’s really going to happen for me if I don’t stay healthy and have a good year. I’m really going to embrace this experience and I can really see myself staying overseas for a long time now. It’s a good situation and I like it. I’m not looking at it as a stepping stone. I’m looking at it as a possible permanent stop for me.

I’ve just got to get some games back under my belt. I want to go in, compete, earn my spot on the team, get some games in and show what I can do and see where it takes me over there.

The Union have not yet confirmed the loan.

Metro has three things you should know about the Union’s offseason. For most Union fans, it’s more like three things you already know.

Local

Midfielder Danny DiPrima is returning to Harrisburg City Islanders for a second season.

Reading United is celebrating its 20th anniversary this season. An announcement at the club website contains an informative history of the team and also includes a link for fans to submit designs for a 20th anniversary logo:

Fans wishing to participate in this unique opportunity should submit a three or four color logo and a single color logo to the club at [email protected]. The logo will feature on team apparel, merchandise and communications. All fans who enter the design contest will receive a complimentary ticket to Reading’s 2015 home opener versus Ocean City F.C. on Saturday, May 30th. The winner of the logo design contest will receive a Reading United season ticket package, a scarf and a t-shirt.

Soccer America and Paste Magazine have articles on Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic, whom Paste calls “The next great American soccer prospect.”

Pulisic, who is with Borussia Dortmund, was one of several players announced to the US roster for CONCACAF’s U-17 Championship. At ASN, Brian Sciaretta talks to US U-17 head coach Richie Williams about the team. Interesting comments on the increasing number of young US-born players who are on foreign teams.

MLS

RSL’s Nick Rimando on the CBA negotiations:

We’re more united than we’ve ever been. When the word strike comes up, I believe it this time. I believe the players are ready, I believe our lawyers have prepared us well and it’s a [more] real feeling than in past years.

I know the big issues aren’t being discussed right now, and as the time continues to move on to [the season-opener], it’s going to be brought up and that’s when I think things will start moving.

Rimando said meetings between the league and the MLSPU were scheduled to take place Tuesday and Wednesday.

At the Daily News, John Smallwood says a delayed start to the season could bring irreparable harm to the league.

Orlando City have acquired Middlesbrough defender Sebastian Hines on loan with an option to buy. Orlando also announced Kaka will be the team’s captain.

Kansas City has waived Haitian international midfielder James Marcelin and mutually agreed to part ways with Honduran international midfielder Jorge Claros. Wonder who they’ll use those two open international roster spots for?

Montreal Impact drew 2-2 with Pachuca in CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday evening. The Impact will surely rue blowing a 2-0 lead courtesy of Dilly Duka’s brace but road goals sure are nice.

Sky Sports has announced that it has signed a four-year deal for the rights to live broadcasts of MLS games in Britain. Two games will be broadcast per week.

Release dates during the upcoming Jersey Week are up at the league website. The Union’s second kit will be officially unveiled at the Meet the Team event at Dave & Busters on March 3.

At ASN, Leander Schaerlaeckens says put aside the weather, the real reason MLS should not move to a winter schedule is that during the summer, the league’s primary competition comes from baseball.

Of the so-called Big Four leagues, the NHL and the NBA are off from June until October and the NFL doesn’t begin until September. That means for the bulk of the March-October MLS season, its only competition is Major League Baseball. We can bicker about how much overlap there is between the fan bases of those leagues, but it’s inarguable that it’s easier to cut through the clutter in the summer.

Frankly, the weather is a good enough argument for me.

Vice Sports on how David Beckham’s Miami franchise stadium deal “turned into a disaster.”

The Wall Street Journal on the “explosive growth” of lower division soccer in the the US. “Explosive” seems appropriate for USL (4 new clubs in 2014, 13 in 2015), not so much NASL, which adds Jacksonville Armada this season, but has delayed the launch of new clubs in Oklahoma City and suburban Washington DC, and taken over the Atlanta club.

Indy Star reports the Indiana House of Representatives will vote on a funding bill for the proposed new Indy Eleven stadium “after an amendment passed requiring the team owner to guarantee half of the debt” of the construction project.

US

By the time you read this, Good Morning America will have aired an exclusive interview with Hope Solo in which she discusses the domestic violence charges against her that were eventually dismissed, and her recent suspension. Some early quotes from the interview at ProSoccerTalk.

At the Guardian, Michael Lewis on the career of Kyle Rote, Jr., “America’s first soccer Superstar,” not so much by being a soccer player as for being the soccer player who won the “Superstars” competition on ABC — a kind of proto-reality show featuring big name athletes from American sports competing against one another: “football greats OJ Simpson, Roger Staubach and Lynn Swann, future baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer and Pete Rose, NBA superstar John Havlicek and tennis legend Stan Smith, among others” — three out of four seasons in the mid 1970s.

ESPN reports, “More visitors to Real Madrid’s website come from the United States than any other country, according to the club’s director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno.”

Elsewhere

The fallout from the recommendation to move the 2022 World Cup to November-December continues.

Reuters reports, “European clubs want compensation if FIFA stages the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November and December while the leagues said such a move would cause ‘great damage’ to domestic soccer.”

Such a desire will come to naught as another Reuters report says, “FIFA flexed its muscles again on Wednesday when it announced that clubs will not get any compensation for losing players and suffering domestic disruption due to a 2022 winter World Cup in Qatar.” FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said, “There will be no compensation. I mean they have seven years to reorganize soccer around the world for this World Cup.” He added,

It’s not perfect, we know that — but why are we talking about compensation? It’s happening once we’re not destroying football.

Why should we apologise to the clubs? We have had an agreement with the clubs that they are part of the beneficiaries. It was $40 million  in 2010 and $70 million in 2014.

CONCACAF issued a statement that read, “Considering the welfare of our players and fans as the main priority, CONCACAF fully supports the recommendation made by the special task force to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar in the November-December timeframe.”

FIFPro endorsed the switch out of concern for players safety, However, the international players union says it remains concerned about a number of other related issues, including the burden of a compressed schedule on players, as well as workers rights in Qatar.

Meanwhile, FIFA also announced that the 2021 Confederations Cup will not be staged in Qatar. An ESPN report says, “Indeed, Valcke claimed it would take place ‘in an Asian country’ but added that the host has not yet been decided.”

The adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee has concluded “there is insufficient evidence to suggest” FIFA official Michel D’Hooghe violated any rules during the bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

ESPN on how a winter World Cup could impact leagues around the world. Reuters says the switch would have little effect on South American leagues.

Commentary pieces on the calendar switch at the Guardian and Goal.com. Marina Hyde kills it in the Guardian piece.

At the 91st Minute, Will Parchman dissects recent comments from Sepp Blatter that suggest we are all “genetically” racist.

The AP reports, “UEFA has punished Steaua Bucharest for racist behaviour by the Romanian champions’ fans for the third time this season.”

The AP reports that, as a result of a series of violent incidents this season, “Greece’s highest sports official says the country’s top football league will be suspended next season unless all 18 clubs introduce smart-card ticketing and security camera systems at matches…The Greek league has already been suspended twice this season because of football-related violence.”

The AP reports, “Egyptian authorities have decided to allow matches to resume in closed stadiums without fans following a 40-day mourning period.” You will recall that play was suspended this earlier this month after a rush of ticketless Zamalek fans tried to enter a stadium in eastern Cairo, resulting in confrontations with police and 19 deaths.

The Guardian reports former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro “has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for breaching orders to keep out of his property after it was seized by authorities.”

46 Comments

  1. Wow Berry really got banished. But hey good new start for him, plus we cleared the money off the books.
    .
    Is it just me or does the Sky sports announcement only bolster the players stance? There has to be more money coming from that now, us with it being the first year and MLS 20th season, no way they want to start late.
    .
    Let’s get a good showing today. Real question to everyone. If we go between our normal 4-2-3-1 (4-3-3 whatever) and a 2 striker set, it almost certainly will be at the expense of either Nando/Sapong or Wenger/Le Toux right? In which case one of our 3 central mids get pushed out wide. What is the preference? I say stick to the norm and have Sapong off the bench as a replacement or formation switch later on.

    • Someone between Chaco, Nogs, Edu, Wenger and LeToux is not playing in that set up. That will be interesting to see how Curtin puts together a 4-4-2… My guess is it would be Nogs or Chaco out unless of them replaces LeToux on the right. But that’s a wild guess.

    • The British audience won’t care at all about MLS until summer, at the earliest. Missing a month of games while EPL is still going strong, as well as Champions League, won’t matter at all to anyone in England, except for possibly American students or ex-pats.
      I like the idea of a 2-forward set, but only when the opponent calls for it. Let’s see what kind of game shape CJ and Nando are in. But I can see switching to a 2-striker set in an effort to give LeToux or Maidana a break during the season.

      • J in Section 125 says:

        I would compare the British audience that tunes into an MLS game as the same fan of college football that stays up late to watch a PAC-12 or Mountain West game. Their local teams have played and they just want to stay up and watch another match for the love of the sport because it is available.

      • Great analogy. It just stays on in the background while you finish your beers.
        We’ll take it to start. Maybe in a heavily-inebriated state, they’ll start thinking that the game looks pretty good!

      • The Black Hand says:

        They’re watching dart re-runs before they’re tuning in to our “soccer”.

      • You said it.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Or Nogueira, as happened tonight. To my eyes it looks like a 4-1-3-2, dropping into a 4-1-1-3-1 defensively with whichever striker is closer dropping back.

    • I had the same thought about the Sky Sports announcement. The players have to love that bits of news.
      .
      In a 4-4-2, I’d wager it would be Le Toux who loses a lineup spot. While he can play the wide role in a 4-4-2, I think history has proven that he’s far less effective in that situation. I’d suspect you’d see Edu and Nog in the middle, with Wenger and Chaco wide. I’d also wager that in such a lineup, Chaco would drift inside, and leave the fullback to pressure the wing on his side.

  2. I’m trying to wrap my head around the thought that in a pub in Hogsmeade – “Oi! Columbus are taking on Portland on Sky Ocho, go on then luv, flip it over! I’ve floated a quid on Timber Joey losing a finger!”

    I’m certain that surrounded by the 96 teams in the top 4 flights there, plus whatever rest of Europe access they get ‘down the pub’, end of the night showings of The MLS will be met with nothing more than deep appreciation. British hipsters arguing how they are RCTID cause it’s unfashionable to pull for the team across town.

    Amazeballs.

  3. Can’t fault Berry’s attitude. Good for him.

    As for a winter World Cup, the idea that anything—especially the most popular soccer tournament in the world—will somehow irreparably damage European domestic leagues is laughable in the extreme. Leagues and clubs that are tenuous financially have done that to themselves through bad business practices, and if they go under for lack of game revenue from missed games, then that is not the World Cup’s fault. For everybody else, the glitz and glamour of the World Cup will only do what it always does—get everybody excited for more soccer.

    • Second division South Korea? This is the same guy who last week said lots of MLS teams were looking to trade for him. Then he gets rejected by the Cosmos and ends up accepting second division South Korea. His entire cry-baby interview with PSP was Agent driven non-sense.

      • Exactly. He trashed Curtin and Albright and the best he can do is the South Korean 2nd division? I thought there were lots of good offers.

        His agent could not find a better situation for a guy just a couple of years removed from being rookie of the year in MLS. He will have plenty of time in South Korea to look in the mirror.

        Clearly there was no interest in him. But so many here were quick to assume that Berry was being wronged by the front office.

        Meanwhile the Union now has his salary off the books and can use the money to sign some of the younger talent in camp.

      • Counterpoint: Union, without a GM and one of the smallest technical staffs in the league, held on to Berry too long and got nothing in return.

    • Respectfully disagree Jeremy……it will be the worst WC in history. There are a number of people out there who really don’t give two S*&ts about international footy…..they are loyal to their club and nothing else. Lets face it……in 2015, clubs are much better than national teams, and these clubs are catering to a global following. So fans, like many players unfortunately……don’t care as much for their national teams these days. Part of the success of the World Cup in viewership is that there isn’t really any domestic footy going on during the WC…….leagues are closed and the CL/Europa leagues are closed too……so the only quality footy to watch ( sorry MLS!) is the national teams. That is why the Euro’s are even more popular than the WC in Europe…..better teams in the Euro’s than at the WC. Thats not even bringing up the players’ health………having to stop halfway through for your domestic season to play in the Wc will pose problems. At least players who aren’t in an FA Cup/Copa del Rey etc. and CL finals have a couple weeks off in May before the WC starts….the players who make it to cup finals have virtually no time off………and that would be the case for all players this time around. It will suck on multiple levels…..should have never put it that part of the world….epic fail.

      • Oh, I don’t disagree that Qatar hosting the WC has been a monumental screw-up by a woefully corrupt organization that thinks it can do anything it wants at any time (and is right, unfortunately). I just don’t think Euro leagues will suffer because of it. Yeah, players might get injured, and the disruption will affect how teams perform, but the leagues themselves will not suffer as a result of the break. Look at the new EPL TV deal with Sky. These are some of the most successful businesses in history. It’s nonsense to think a short break in the middle of one season is going negatively affect their bottom line in any real way.

        And you’re right that a lot of fans don’t care about international play, but that just means they’ll be even more excited for club play to return.

      • I gotcha……your speaking from a business perspective while I’m more concerned about the quality that will be on display. And your right in the fact that to the big hitting clubs……..it will only effect their bottom line in fractions. To smaller clubs worried about gate……thats a different story.

    • The MLS took a World Cup break in June of ’10 and ’14 and the league survived. If MLS wasn’t affected by thag break, i doubt the Premier League will collapse. Just make sure the UCL group stage ends in October or extends into January, and play some mid-week games in March and April.

      • But Steve……a majority of EPL players play for their national teams…….the majority of MLS players….do not. The ones that do…..many of their teams don’t make it to the WC finals. The MLS uses the WC to get casual fans to go to matches…..and there is an upswing actually in attendance on a WC year…..the opposite would happen everywhere else…….

      • Hasn’t anyone noticed that your best ballers usually have crappy World Cup showings? Its because they usually make it to the CL final and have had no time off before the World Cup….and they are beat, playing at 60% for the tournament. Thats 20-25 players…………now, with the plan to have it in Nov/Dec……….you just did that to all of the players. You will have no teams at their best and fittest………injuries, jammed up fixture lists, etc……….it will be a mess. Jammed up fixture lists suck on many levels……….they are not healthy, squad rotation so the best aren’t even on the pitch…….this shouldn’t happen.

      • I wasn’t making a point about player fitness and health, just talking about ratings and fan support.

        In terms of player fitness and health it is a major inconvenience, and of course dangerous. I get all that, but I highly doubt the ratings will suffer. The teams can actually start earlier, into early August or July even, to alleviate some of the schedule fixture, and extend the season if need be. It’s an inconvenience, but they have 7 years to plan for it and I’m sure they can figure something out.

        It’s probably no worse than having them play in 122 degree weather for a month.

    • The Football League should suspend the Premier League for the duration, and have only Champo and below play. Then have December be The League Cup in March Madness fashion with games each week until the finals the last week. It would be epic and bring life
      Back into that cup tourney. There would be real parity with all the team’s and it really would be anyone’s cup to win

  4. Hey, don’t knock the Superstars. I used to watch them religiously every year when I was a kid! Plus Kyle Rote Jr’s Complete Book of Soccer taught me the history of the World Cup from 1930-1974 long before I could look things up on the internet!

  5. I’m starting to get worried about a strike. I think it would really hurt the league. There has to be a way they can introduce a free agency system that can remain controlled by salary caps. NFL and NBA seem to be able to do it, granted they have a lot more cash, but it’s not like baseball — or every other futbol league in the world.

    • all of the crying from ownership about free agency driving up wages to an unmanageable cost is ridiculous. we have a salary capped league- the wage bill for every team has a pretty hard ceiling

    • UnitedPenn13 says:

      Has anyone heard what the Union FO will do if the players strike? As a season ticket holder I will be really pissed if the play a shortened season after paying for 18 games unless we get a pro rata refund.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      The real issue may well be preserving their status viva vis anti-trust actions not costs. The RSL owner floated the balloon that there might be substantive money forth-coming but that free agency was not going to happen. Steve Holyroyd did a good job explaining the point several days ago.

  6. Does anyone know the tiebreaker if tonight’s game ends in a draw? Currently the Union and Columbus are both on 9 goals scored and 0 goals conceded so goal differential won’t work.

    • Drawing lots, most likely. For a preseason tournament, I suspect they haven’t thought too hard about it.

    • If it’s a beard-off, I like our chances.

    • Turns out it’s PK’s according to the announcers on the stream. Of course, if they are correct, the Union are at a decided disadvantage since they only announced 10 starters for the Union. (If I can see correctly Pfeffer is in but wasn’t announced…no Wenger or Nogs.)

      • Slight neck strain for Wenger.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        They said Nogueira is still precautionary with the groin, on a wet field in preseason that seems eminently wise. And his absence means they had an ideal situation to work on the two striker shape. Edu is the only one credible to me as the single DCM. Nogueira goes wide too much when we have the ball.

  7. And PK’s it is. Brutal watching through all of that fog.

  8. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I saw what Adam Cann was talking about last game concerning Eric Ayuk Mbu! Movements were instant, fast, precisely accurate. He “felt” like he belongs with the big club. Jury still out on him one v one in space offensively, but There were encouraging signs. Maybe Hoppenot goes to Harrisburg, instead? The two striker set argues for Catic staying here because he seemed to understand his role in it (to the degree that I have any idea what his role is supposed to be in it!), but he needs game time.

  9. IMO, there is no question Catic needs to stay with big club. He has good hold up skills and yet seems to move well when sharing responsibility up front. Looks quite comfortable to me.
    .
    And yes, Ayuk has an excellent skill set. I stand by my POV from LU game which was…..
    .
    …..”Let’s see how many I can get to agree with this first comment as it will give me a barometer. Here goes, are you all ready? Eric Ayuk was the best player on the field for the first 32 minutes. Yes he was….- AND he seems to have that most rare of qualities- La Pausa.”
    .
    When you watch players from the best leagues in the game they have uncanny body control and Ayuk has a complementary skill set. The way he moves the sharpness and precision and quickness of it demonstrates extreme agility….. maybe Noguiera can be compared to him with the torque he is able to generate, but I would pretty well limit it to that for the players on this club.

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