Daily news roundups

Union defeat Crew, MacMath on being loaned, preseason game results, more

Photo: Courtesy of Columbus Crew

Philadelphia Union

The Union met MLS opposition for the first time this preseason on Wednesday and came out the winners on penalty kicks after drawing 1-1 in regulation time.

Mercifully, two quick and early Columbus goals were called back for offside before Fernando Aristeguieta scored his third preseason goal to give the Union the 1-0 lead (click here for video of the goal). The Columbus equalizer from a defensive error was quickly followed by a Conor Casey blowing a penalty kick. Level at the end of 90 minutes, the teams went to penalty kicks. The Union were perfect from the spot and Rais Mbolhi stopped regulation time goal scorer Justin Meram’s penalty kick attempt.

If you tried to watch the livestream, you know conditions were quite difficult: wet, windy, with thick fog often obscuring play. Thankfully, PSP contributor Davis Russell was in the press box at IMG Stadium, so check out his recap. We’ll have an analysis of the game up later this morning.

Head coach Jim Curtin admitted his team “started the game a little slow” but praised his team for playing through tough conditions for the win.

Curtin said of Aristeguieta, “He’s good. He’s a handful. He’s a guy that fits our league. He’s a guy who’s athletic, can run, fight for everything, and is very strong like we saw in the box today. He was busy. He was active. He got a lot of good shots from distance off. We’d like him to hit the target on a couple more of them but he did well.”

Curtin also confirmed a tweet from the club that Andrew Wenger was a late scratch due to a neck issue. Curtin said, “He just slept funny, nothing major, so he’ll be ready to go during the weekend.”

Recaps from PSP, as well as a postgame quotes. More recaps at Philadelphia Union, Philly.com, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer NewsColumbus Crew, Massive ReportFour Four Crew, Total MLSUSA Today has a photo gallery of the game.

Next up is the tournament final on Saturday when the Union face New York Red Bulls, who defeated Toronto, 2-0, in the game that followed the Union-Crew game.

At CBSPhilly, John McCarthy talks to Matt Leon about his happiness over signing with his hometown team. He sounds like a really good guy.

Ocean City Nor’easters also talk to McCarthy about signing with the Union. McCarthy played for Ocean City in 2011 and 2012 before joining Reading United and is third Nor’easter to sign with the Union after JT Noone and Ryan Richter.

In SBI’s Union season preview, Jim Curtin says Maurice Edu has taken on a more vocal leadership role.

He’s usually more of a lead-by-example kind of guy. But he’s talking more, he’s barking at guys. I love it, it’s the loudest group we’ve had. I think we had a good team last year but I think the fact that you add in Steven, who talks, Mo taking a more vocal role, C.J. will speak. It’s good, it helps you get through games in those tough moments.

SBI’s projected starting lineup somehow leaves out Aristeguieta.

At American Soccer Analysis, Jared Young concludes his Union preview:

Optimism is cautious in Unionland as they learned hard lessons last season. The talent upgrades really have only happened on the offensive end of the field, leaving the defense as the big unknown. That’s where the improvement is really needed. No playoff team allowed more than 50 goals last season and the Union allowed 51. If they can improve that number, they’ll make it to the playoffs for the second time in their six year history.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph says the Union will benefit from continuity, “starting with the front office and lead all the way down to the players.”

MLSGB predicts the Union will finish 9th in the East in their season preview.

At Goal.com, Zac MacMath describes his reaction to the Rais Mbolhi signing: “It was a shock. My first reaction was disappointment — and a little bit of anger.” He continued,

Coach Curtin pulled me into his office and told me the deal, said it was really out of his hands. I took it as best as I could, and it gave me a little bit of a chip on my shoulder…

I thought we had a really good core of players. There were a bunch of guys that were learning on the job because it was their first couple years as a pro, but we were making really good strides. It seems like the coaching staff or the front office felt pressure from the fans — that they had to change things right away, instead of making it a five-plan where they wanted to let these young guys develop into seasoned pros. It looks like they just didn’t have the patience.

Ah, yes, the old fan pressure chestnut.

Curtin says in the article of loaning MacMath to Colorado, “Zac served the club well. He’s still our property, he’s still getting games, he’s still a young goalkeeper. When you have three good ones, it doesn’t make sense to keep them all here and have two sit on the bench.”

Former Union backup goalkeeper Brian Holt is trialing with New York Cosmos.

Michael Lahoud’s “Building Dreams with Mike Foundation” is holding a kid’s soccer equipment drive at Media FC on Sunday from 2-4 pm. “All donated gently used gear will be shipped to Mike’s native Sierra Leone to benefit the Schools for Salone project and their most recent school. This school, through the foundation’s donors, will be the 1st to have it’s own soccer field. Mike and other Union players will be on hand.”

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders have announced their preseason schedule, which includes games against University of Maryland (March 8), St. Francis University (March 11) and University of Maryland Baltimore County (March 11).

The City Islanders tweeted on Wednesday that Colin Zizzi is leaving the club after three seasons. As of this writing, no announcement is up on the club site to say officially what Zizzi’s future holds but, judging by the description on his Twitter account, Zizzi is leaving the game to work as an investment advisor.

MLS

CBA

At the Nation, Dave Zirin wonders if the players can win a strike. Zirin notes several obstacles, including limited resources to support players in the event of a strike, and the possibility that big name foreign players are more interested in being paid than supporting the union. Zirin quotes Grant Wahl:

I talked to a team executive who said he expects some of the highly paid foreign players, especially those who arrived this year or last, to want their salaries and want their paychecks. That could be an issue that threatens unity on the players’ side. If you’re a highly paid foreign player who has just came over, you might not have a stake or interest in the long-term security of the rank-and-file American player. So that’s going to be a big test for the union.

Zirin adds, “But the biggest concern for those who want to see the players victorious is that there is no sign of a contract campaign: a concerted effort by the MLS Union and players to reach out to both fans as well as other unions, explain their position and seek their solidarity. You go to the MLS Union website and would never know that an earthshaking strike could be imminent.”

Soccer America has some historical perspective on the CBA negotiations.

Preseason games

Lots of preseason games on Wednesday. San Jose defeated NPSL side SF Stompers FC, 4-1. In Carolina Challenge Cup play, Houston defeated NYCFC, 2-1. The match between USL side Charleston Battery and Orlando was halted with the score tied 1-1 after 27 minutes due to the lightning.

In IMG Suncoast Pro Classic play, Philadelphia defeated Columbus 5-3 on penalty kicks after finishing regulation time tied at 1-1. New York Red Bulls then defeated Toronto, 2-0.

At the Desert Diamond Cup, Colorado defeated PDL side FC Tucson, 1-0. New England defeated Seattle, 2-1, and Real Salt Lake defeated Kansas City by the same score.

In Simple Invitational play, Vancouver defeated Norwegian side Stabæk, 3-2, and Portland drew 1-1 with Chicago

Signings

DC United have signed goalkeeper Travis Worra, a native Lancaster,Pa. who played for University of New Hampshire and Carolina RailHawks before trialing with DC.

Sporting Kansas City have signed forward and SuperDraft pick James Ansu Rogers.

More

New York Cosmos have rented billboard space “within a stone’s throw” of Red Bull Arena. More at Empire of Soccer. Can MLS just let the Cosmos buy the NYRB franchise, already?

Real Salt Lake has rescinded its offer to develop a stadium for the Real Monarchs, its new USL side, on grounds controlled by the Utah State Fairpark. Team owner Dell Loy Hansen said in a club release, “Unfortunately, the timing and process involved with this project no longer make the venue a viable option for the business plans regarding the Monarchs and ancillary properties.”

Indy Star reports, “The Indiana House on Wednesday passed the Indy Eleven stadium bill, which moves to the Senate — apparently with a lukewarm reception from the chamber’s leader.” Senate President Pro Tempore David Long said of the stadium plan, “I don’t get too excited over it, but at the same time, I haven’t delved into it too deeply this year. We’re really focused on funding our priorities. Those have to come first. If the soccer stadium makes fiscal sense, we’ll certainly consider it…That’s an additional issue that might have to wait…and even then, I don’t know where it would go.”

We’ll all soon be subjected once again to that terrible MLS fanfare that is played when the teams enter the field before the start of a game. The question of which is worse, being subjected to the original or the Euro dance remix version, is something all of us will have to decide for ourselves.

US

So, Hope Solo was on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning answering questions about the domestic violence allegations and her husband’s drunk driving arrest that led to her recent suspension from the team. Frankly, I can’t be bothered to read what she said but here’s a selection of reports if you’re so inclined: ABC, Washington Post, New York Daily NewsCBS Sports, Yahoo SportsPeople,  Reuters, and the AP.

In other goalkeeper news, Deadspin on Tim Howard’s “sad-ass season.”

Elsewhere

At ESPN, Gabriele Marcotti outlines why the 2022 World Cup shouldn’t be played in the winter. Buried in the article is this:

Ever wonder why clubs have to release players to FIFA for internationals?

Well, it’s governed by something called a “memorandum of understanding” (European clubs signed one with UEFA in 2012, and it runs through 2018). It covers issues such as insurance, the FIFA calendar and revenue distribution. Theoretically — and not so theoretically — clubs could simply refuse to agree to a new one that covers 2022. Then what? Then there would be absolute chaos, and we’d be far into uncharted waters, possibly with Mr. Kurtz hanging in the background.

In other words, the “memorandum of understanding” is like a CBA. Negotiations in 2018 could get interesting. Or as Marcotti puts it, “With FIFA and the stakeholders stuck knee-deep in an ocean of horse dung and mutant worms, this is one more mess they’ll need to clean up.”

The BBC reports, “The Greek government has backtracked on its decision to suspend professional football in the country indefinitely. The suspension — the third one of the season — will now last a week and cover just the Greek Super League.”

Reuters reports, “A player with the Serbian top-flight club Novi Pazar has been threatened by the team’s own supporters at gunpoint after missing a penalty.” More on fears of players in Serbia over violence from”fans” at Goal.com.

On the video replay front, the Press Association reports, “The International FA Board (IFAB) will hear details of a trial by the Dutch FA (KNVB) where a video assistant watches a match on television and liaises with the referee via a headset…The KNVB wants permission to trial the system live in Holland’s main cup competition.”

Liverpool Echo reports, “Dunkin Donuts has issued an apology for tweeting out an altered version of a Liverpool FC crest that upset many fans of the club. The company, who are an official sponsor of the club, used their Twitter account to tweet out a alternative Liverpool crest which featured donuts and coffee.”

Reuters reports, “An unexploded World War II bomb was found near Borussia Dortmund’s stadium on Thursday, forcing the Bundesliga club to shut down some of their operations.”

21 Comments

  1. Nice work Dunkin’ Donuts!

  2. Zac’s comments are understandable, but I don’t think it is a lack of patience, but a desire to upgrade. Rais is better than Zac. Wenger is better than Jack Mac. Maidana is better than Farfan. The only one I wish we could keep was Okugo, and I’d still rather have Edu, if I could only have one of them. Plus money spent on Aristeguita seems well spent at the moment.

    • Zac’s comments are weird. What’s a “five-plan?” Is that like a five-year plan? He does realize that last year was the fifth year of the club, doesn’t he?

    • The blame was shifted to the fans. Only the foolish pointed to MacMath as being anywhere near the problem. Yes, Rais is “better” than Mac, but not in terms of $ for $. Moreover, MacMath’s upside is a lot better. I’m over it for now, but signing M’Bolhi was a prime example of front-office mismanagement. It’s not a knock on Rais, but MacMath has improved every year and has a huge upside.

      • I think the ownership knows, for the continued growth and financial viability of the team, that the Union absolutely need a playoff appearance ASAP and, right or wrong, they didn’t see MacMath’s present day ability and/or leadership of the backline getting that done, or at least not as likely as with M’Bohli at the helm.

      • You’re probably right–right or wrong decision by the club. But it is what it is. I live in Tucson, so I might go to the DDC final on Saturday to let Zac know that it wasn’t “us”. lol

  3. The New York Cosmos don’t want NYRB.
    .
    An unexposed bomb from 60 years ago. Almost unbelievable.
    .
    Hope Solo’s indulgence continues. Issue a statement and get back to work. Good Morning America. Please Hope even Han pulled his head out of his ass eventually.
    .

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    Nando seems like the piece we all demanded this team acquire. I’m not saying we’re MLS Cup bound, but I will give kudos to the FO for his acquisition. Now, if we could start the season next weekend…

  5. “Pressure from the fans.” That always makes me laugh. Players and teams use that as an excuse to basically do whatever they want and have an alibi. I hear fans of all sports complain about parking prices (justified), concession prices (justified), ticket prices (justified) and merchandise pricing (justified), yet all those things keep going up. Nowak used it when he shipped out Ruiz. And I remember people begging Hackworth to make a lineup change in 2013, and put the young guys or Kleberson in, but they didn’t give in to “pressure” then.

    “We have a new keeper we want, and I think I heard someone say they didn’t like Zac one time or something, so here ya go! Oh wait, you guys said a new striker and left back? Sorry didn’t catch that, say again?”

  6. “Coach Curtin pulled me into his office and told me the deal, said it was really out of his hands.”

    Zac is directly contradicting Sak’s story, isn’t he?

  7. Note to self: Never sign for a Serbian soccer team or attend a match.

    At first glance, I thought that Liverpool fans should lighten up a little, but after reading the Echo article, I have concluded that Twitter is the Devil, just like Mama said. I knew it.

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