Daily news roundups

Ready for RSL, Philly Gold Cup, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Right then, the first road game of the season!

In Wednesday’s weekly press conference, Jim Curtin spoke at length about the challenges Real Salt Lake will pose for the Union on Saturday (9:30 pm: TCN, MLS Live, Direct Kick, Direct TV), and how important the counterattack will be for the Union in exploiting a side that is using a new formation.

The sense of the importance of the Union’s counterattacking in securing a result at RSL was echoed by Sheanon Williams: “They have a lot of players that can make situations uncomfortable for us. To be honest, we don’t necessarily need to have the ball the whole time. . . . We just have to be patient with our defending, and just wait for moments where we can press them and get at them or nick things off the counter.”

Previews from PSP, Philadelphia UnionPhilly.com, MLSsoccer.com, and Brotherly GameRSL Soapbox has three things they’d like to see against the Union.

More on Bird’s signing at MLSsoccer.com.

Zach Pfeffer was one of the topics discussed by Jim Curtin in Wednesday’s weekly press conference, with Curtin saying, “this preseason, something has clicked with him.” At the Delco Times, Matthew De George has a good read about Pfeffer’s work toward a bigger role with the team. Pfeffer, who said getting even limited minutes in the home opener “was huge,” talked about what his role with the team could be:

We’re a very good counterattacking team, but the coaching staff has expressed the fact that we don’t want to just play one style. We want to have the ability to play counterattacking soccer as well as also possessing the ball, slowing it down. I think I can fit into both. Obviously I’m good technically and I can help us slow the game down and keep possessions, but then again counterattacking, that suits me, too.

More on Pfeffer from Dave Zeitlin at MLSsoccer.com.

You will recall Kevin Kinkead’s CBS Philly report that the referee for last weekend’s draw against Colorado, Silviu Petrescu, had been suspended by PRO for his poor performance. The league disciplinary committee announced on Thursday,

Defender Bobby Burling, who was ejected in the 68th minute of the 0-0 tie at the Philadelphia Union, was fined for failing to leave the field in an orderly manner (VIDEO). Rapids defender James Riley received a one-game suspension and a fine for serious foul play on a foul against Andrew Wenger in the game’s 81st minute (VIDEO). The Rapids also received an official team warning for violating the league’s mass confrontation policy in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time (VIDEO).

here at PSP. Also, check out our interview with Bird from January.

The Platt County Citizen notes the signing of local lad Raymond Lee with the Union.

At Philly Soccer News, former Union man Michael Farfan, now with, cough, DC United, talks about his time with Cruz Azul, which he describes as “an opportunity I felt like I couldn’t pass up.” Farfan emphasizes the many questions he got there about what it was like playing in MLS. “I think people don’t realize how much people would like to be in this country playing here.”

Former Union man Nick Zimmerman has signed with USL side Wilmington Hammerheads after four seasons with NASL side Carolina RailHawks.

Union Academy

More on the upcoming Generation adidas Cup final at MLssoccer.com.

Local

Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald first reported it in January, but on Thursday, CONCACAF made it official: The 2015 Gold Cup final will be played at the Linc, with the third place game at PPL Park.

Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said of hosting the games came about: “Hard work and collaboration, and we’ve got both of those in spades here between the city and the Eagles and the Philadelphia Union. It’s that hard work. It’s always great to beat New York in anything. This was a great get, and it’s a testament to that collaboration between all the entities coming together and putting together a bid that CONCACAF couldn’t refuse.”

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb said it best: “This is a big city, man. This is a big city, with a big heart. A big sports town. A huge history. Why not Philadelphia?”

Tickets will go on sale on March 19. At the Delco Times, Matthew De George reports that Sakiewicz called the tournament “a ‘treat’ for Philly soccer fans that will likely serve a season-ticket holder perk.”

Hosting the Gold Cup final also boosts the city’s chances of hosting games during the Copa América Centenario in 2016. Sakiewicz said, “We are actively bidding.”

More from Philly.com, Delco TimesPhiladelphia Business JournalMetroPhilly Soccer News, Philadelphia Union, Soccer America, Inside World Football, and Brotherly Game.

Every now and again I make the mistake of clicking on a link to a Bleacher Report article. I did so again with this one, which asks if Philadelphia is the right place to host the Gold Cup final and only took four brief paragraphs to bring up “fans who boo and throw snowballs at Santa Claus.”

The Ocean City Nor’easters have a report on the signing last week of former forward Leon Brown by USL side Real Monarchs.

MLS

Sod is being laid down at Yankees stadium for Sunday’s home opener against New England. Don Garber said, “We’re confident the field will be ready.”

In former Union goalkeeper news, Colorado’s Clint Irwin seems to have the edge over Zac MacMath, while Dallas’ Chris Seitz has the edge over Dan Kennedy.

What appears to be a press release from social analytics company General Sentiment at Sporting News says a new report “reveals that when compared to the four major North American professional sports, MLS’s social footprint is growing far faster than any of the other four traditional sports brands.”

Momentum appears to be picking up for Minneapolis’ bid to land a MLS franchise. You will recall the ASN report we linked to on Thursday describing Minneapolis as “a near-lock for one of the two expansion teams,” with sources saying “a group headed by Minnesota United owner Bill McGuire—and backed by the owners of the NBA’s Timberwolves and MLB’s Twins—are preferred to an ownership bid led by Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.” Minneapolis Star Tribune reports McGuire “has received a letter of support from the MLS, according to a person with knowledge of the correspondence.” More at Northern PitchTwin Cities Business Magazine, and Fox Sports.

US

The groups for the Gold Cup have been announced and the US will face Panama, Haiti, and either Honduras or French Guiana, who meet in a qualification playoff game this month. More at US Soccer, SBI, SIASN, and the Guardian.

In Philly for the Gold Cup announcement, Jurgen Klinsmann said of the draw,

Right away, it puts you on your toes and you have to start the competition focused, concentrated and determined from the first game on. It’s good because there’s no time to waste at all…I’m totally fine with a tougher group…

When you play a Gold Cup, you want to have your best team possible, no matter what. Yes, you want to win the Gold Cup in order to qualify for the Confed Cup, but we try to develop a national team program that is catching up more and more with the big teams in the world. In order to catch up with the big teams in the world you need to have your best players all the time in camp, if possible.

More at Goal.com.

Complaints about MLS? Yeah, Jurgen’s still got them.

Klinsmann said Gedion Zelalem, should he gain eligibility to play for the US, is “already at a level that he can definitely play on the senior team,” adding, “He’s a special player.”

Klinsmann discussed a number of topics with reporters in Philadelphia. ASN has a summary. SI does the same.

The US will face Jamaica in the third place game at the CONCACAF U-17 championship in Honduras on Sunday (Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports Go). The winner will qualify for the U-17 World Cup. Jamaica defeated the US 1-0 on a penalty kick goal to close group play on Wednesday.

At Soccer Gods, Ryan Rosenblatt says the USWNT needs Jurgen Klinsmann more than the USMNT does: “Talent isn’t the problem with the U.S. women. Attitude and ambition are…The women’s national team needs a manager who doesn’t just want to be good today but great tomorrow, even better in a year, then to keep growing for the next four.” Truth.

At Soccer Gods, Noah Davis looks at the “growing pains” being experienced by the American Outlaws and observes “spend enough time talking to fans of the United States national team and you begin to hear concerns about ugly displays of nationalism, racism, sexism, and other negative aspects that are cropping up at AO events.” He adds there is a growing sense “that the heavy-drinking frat boy vibe is winning the battle for the soul of the Outlaws.”

The AP reports, “A weekend soccer player whose punch killed a referee is returning to court for his sentence in a case that inspired Michigan lawmakers to discuss a new class of sports crimes.”

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “In a move that will encourage opponents of Sepp Blatter in May’s FIFA presidential election, CONCACAF said on Thursday they will not push their members to vote as a block.”

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, who is also chair of FIFA’s Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force, told ESPN of the 2018 World Cup, “Russia poses a huge challenge for FIFA and the World Cup from a racism standpoint…It’s a huge opportunity to influence some change and we better influence some change over the next three years. We have to. We can’t have a World Cup there under the current conditions.” More at Goal.com.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald talks to Webb on a range of subjects, including efforts to clean the confederation’s tarnished image, to hosting the 2026 World Cup.

The AP reports, “UEFA will improve its anti-doping program next season with steroid profiling of players.”

Radio Free Asia reports that FIFA “has withdrawn plans to provide impoverished North Korea with U.S. $1.66 million in financial assistance to cultivate domestic growth of the sport, as the country’s regime continues with nuclear development, despite global sanctions.”

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

22 Comments

  1. A question: Is there a place in the city to watch the game? Most of the Union Pub partners don’t really have a great turnout. And you kind of have to hide in the corner and watch the game over the usual Sat night bar action.

    • I’m in the burbs but if I wanted to watch any footy in the city I’d go to Brauhaus Schmitz. I can’t believe you’d have to hide in the corner there. Plus they have good food and beer.

      • Brauhaus is my default for weekday and afternoon games. But even then I sometimes have to fight for for a seat and a TV. nighttime games on weekends are sometimes hard.

    • I’ve been to Kings Corner in Jenkintown — an official pup partner — and had to ask to have the game turned on both times. :-/ The third time, was the Open Cup final, and at least they had the game on for that one. Bar was packed, but only one other fan in the place for the game.

      Good place otherwise, though not in the city.

      • That’s BS. Pub partner means pub partner. You should let the club know. I never have to ask at Oakmont. H-Town representing!

    • 700 club has had a pretty good turnout the times I’ve been there

    • I agree, I’m in montco/bucks co. Any ideas?
      .
      Iron Abbey can be hit or miss. Side door Pub I’ve had to ask to turn the game on all 4 times I’ve gone.

  2. “This is a big city, man. This is a big city, with a big heart. A big sports town. A huge history. Why not Philadelphia?”
    .
    Why not spend big-money form deep pocketed owners and be a BIG fish in a little, though growing, MLS pond.
    .
    Nah.
    .
    Hey we got the Gold Cup though…….and a puncher’s chance this weekend.

  3. “Talent isn’t the problem with the U.S. women. Attitude and ambition are…The women’s national team needs a manager who doesn’t just want to be good today but great tomorrow, even better in a year, then to keep growing for the next four.” Truth.
    .
    Talk about disenfranchised voices- the female soccer player. Boy it’s not their fault what was once an excellent team is now likely also-ran and mediocre. Maybe the lethargy is in direct-exhausted-correlation to the apathy they are feeling.
    .
    Hey your 20, in the prime of your life, entering the prime of playing, college is wrapping up soon and we have no real viable option for you— but that RN degree you earned, that RN degree can earn you a nice living. We keep coming back to this incentive argument again and again when it comes to the game in this country. At least I keep coming back to this incentive argument. Talent is never really a problem with our game in this country. We have talent. It is just misdirected.

    • ….oh yeah by the way keep having camps once every other month or so and good luck maintaining your level of intensity and play.

  4. That bleacher report article is the worst piece of journalism I’ve read in a long time, what an ass.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Well, if fans are throwing snowballs at the Gold Cup final, it probably wasn’t the best place to hold it…

    • Can the journalism gods please place a moratorium on any snowballs at Santa Claus references? What a tired, lazy reference.

      • Phew. Though I rather think the story about the dude who shot a flare gun across Vet Stadium in early 90’s I recall- doesn’t get enough airtime nationally or locally.
        .
        Snowballs at Santa or flare gun at humans. No contest.

      • Why? It just points out who the lazy, inept, unimaginative, cliche, writers are. That way you know in the future they have no moral fiber and their opinion isn’t worth much.

    • That’s exactly what I thought. The same writer referenced the poorly-marketed Italian game last summer as if that’s a true telling of the Philadelphia soccer fan. What really gets me though is it’s written as if future Union games are going to be poorly attended. As a season ticket holder, over 5 years in, attendance has averaged pretty much around 17,000-18,000 or at almost near capacity every single year. The Union, fan-wise at least, are one of the success stories in MLS. Are Chicago and New York, who’ve hosted Gold Cup finals in the past, near capacity for every game? Just a silly article.

    • Agreed, Nick. That article contains nothing of merit

      What’s odd is if you click through to the author’s Twitter account, his main page has a pic of PPL. Clearly his goal was to write something controversial in order to drive eyeballs and comments.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Wow with the disgrace that was Colorado and the lack of refereeing last weekend, can we play the game again?

  6. The difference between last week’s match and the one tonight is that RSL will actually be trying to win the game, and will not be playing a cynical, violent, park the bus match. The Colorado showing was embarrassing, but the referee’s was shameful. It is only small vindication that two players and the ref will miss their next matches.

  7. I think that the game was quite successful despite some issues which are not actually serious enough.

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