Daily news roundups

Curtin on Maidana and Pfeffer, Cruz loan, Wambach takes pro season off to focus on WWC, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

In Wednesday’s weekly press conference (full transcript here), Jim Curtin discussed the knee injury Cristian Maidana suffered in training on Tuesday as “a freak injury,” adding, “It’s not serious, so they’re cautiously optimistic [he’ll miss only] two weeks or so. I’m always on the shorter end of the diagnosis, hopefully he gets back quick and doesn’t lose any fitness.”

Which begs this observation: Maidana’s injury surely increases the possibility that Zach Pfeffer, a player Curtin described as “definitely an option to slide right in for Chaco,” will be seeing starting minutes over the next few games.

So, consider this: Pfeffer, a US U-20 regular, is likely to be called up this weekend for the team’s pair of games in England next week (including England U-20s on March 29, the same day the Union are on the road in Chicago). The US squad will be in England March 23-30 for the games, the team’s final games before the U-20 World Cup kicks off in New Zealand at the end of May. If you’re Jim Curtin, do you refuse to release Pfeffer because of Maidana’s injury? If you’re Pfeffer, do you turn down the call-up because the benefits from (possibly) playing MLS minutes over the next two games are greater than playing in a couple of friendlies? We shall see. If you were Curtin or Pfeffer, what would you decide? While you’re thinking about that, here’s video with Pfeffer about life on the road.

Curtin also said the team is being cautious about the return of CJ Sapong, who suffered a facial fracture and concussion in the season opening draw. Curtin said Sapong had surgery on Tuesday to put a metal plate in his face.

Curtin said of FC Dallas, Friday’s opponent at PPL Park, “[F]or me, if you go back to about the midway point of last season, is in the upper echelon, they’re right on the cusp of being in the discussions of the LA and the Seattles — they’re that good, I respect them that much, they’re that dangerous…they’re a strong team, one that we respect a great deal but, at the same time, we don’t fear.” More on Curtin’s comments about Dallas at SBI.

It’s a grim weather forecast for Friday’s game: “Snow before 4pm, then rain and snow. High near 37. East wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.”

Curtin also confirmed Kevin Kinkead’s report at CBS Philly that Danny Cruz would be going on loan to Norway, and discussed the motivations behind it.

He’s at an age now, and I’ve had good discussions with Danny about it, he’s at an age now where he needs to be getting starting minutes. He’s still young — people forget how young he still is — but he needs to be getting 90 minutes, and we thought at this moment of his career that was more likely to happen in Norway…I said, “Yes, you have the quality to be a MLS starter, but with the players that we currently have, I can’t guarantee 90 minutes.” That was kind of where he was at, and he respected that…it’s a hard decision, for sure, because he is a spark off the bench, for sure. But at the same time, we have some young players that are coming up now, too, and I thought it was the best move for Danny and the Union.

More on the reasoning behind the Cruz loan at MLSsoccer.com.

Soon after Curtin’s press conference, PSP,  Philadelphia InquirerDelco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer NewsBrotherly Game, Zolo TalkMLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, and Goal.com.

Fernando Aristeguieta gets an honorable mention in SBI’s Best XI for Week 2.

Zolo Talk profiles Jimmy McLaughlin.

At Forbes, a look at the average secondary market cost of tickets using info from TiqIQ to reveals Seattle is the most expensive with an average cost of $129.46, and Chicago is the least expensive at $34. The Union come in at No. 17, with an average secondary market cost of $49, a 16.6 percent increase from last year’s average of $42. I suppose that means that, because folks looking for tickets to games at PPL Park can do so easily enough through direct purchase, there is not enough demand to drive up the cost of tickets on the secondary market. (A quick look at the face value price of tickets  — ranging from a high of $105 in sections 106-108, to a low of $27 in the River and Chester Ends –on the Union website yields an average cost of $49.67. I’m not sure if last year’s face value average was also approximately the same as the average secondary market cost.)


In CONCACAF Champions League semifinals play, Montreal Impact defeated Costa Rican side 2-0 on Wednesday. The second leg will be played in Costa Rica on April 7.

San Jose and defender Brandon Barklage “have mutually agreed to part ways.”

New England have signed forward Timi Mulgrew, who was on trial with the club throughout the preseason.

Transamerica is the new shirt sponsor for Colorado Rapids.

San Jose have their first game of the season at the new Avaya Stadium on Sunday. MLSsoccer.com looks back at the opening of past stadiums. June 27, 2010: Good times, good times.

At Soccer Gods, Steve Davis on how we no longer get worked up about the league’s attendance figures.

Maybe now our main concern is TV ratings? Soccer America reports, “UniMas drew more viewers for Friday’s Houston-Orlando City match than ESPN2 or Fox Sports 1 did for Sunday matches. ESPN2 viewership for New York City-New England was down 46 percent from its coverage of NYCFC’s opening weekend match at Orlando City. FS1 was down 29 percent from the opening weekend doubleheader.”

Also at Soccer America, Ridge Mahoney on why expanding the playoff field to 12 teams is a bad idea.

You will recall the news earlier this week that Seattle has signed a new deal to remain at CenturyLink Field for the next ten years. Sounders minority owner Adrian Hanauer said of concerns about the artificial turf, “As part of our agreement, the turf will get replaced every four years or earlier – if the two organizations agree – which is a step in the right direction for us.” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said he’s OK with the artificial turf if it is regularly replaced, but he’d like all involved to continue to consider installing grass.

Hanauer explained the main reason the club extended its deal is because of stadium capacity: “We eventually want to sell CenturyLink out every single game. We eventually want 67,000 people in CenturyLink for every single match and thankfully, we don’t have a 22,000 seat stadium in the suburbs because we wouldn’t have as big as a home field advantage as we do today and we have lots of room to grow.”

The LA Times reports that LAFC “is closer to picking a place for its new custom-built home…the focus now is firmly on the site of the Sports Arena, next to the Coliseum in Exposition Park.”

Las Vegas Sun reports, “The Las Vegas City Council voted [on Wednesday] to add language to the city charter barring public funding for a soccer stadium at Symphony Park, preempting a vote on the issue on the June election ballot.” More at Las Vegas Review-Journal, which also notes the city of Las Vegas spent $3.1 million on the soccer stadium project in Symphony Park before MLS announced the city was not going to be a part of the league’s current expansion considerations.

Soccer Gods on how the “days of caution” are over with MLS expansion. Meanwhile, The Telegraph says, with talk of the league possibly expanding to as many as 40 teams, maybe a little more caution would be a good thing.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young ranks the top ten leagues in CONCACAF. At No. 10 is USL, No. 7 is NASL, and MLS is No. 3. The rankings have the Mexican first and second divisions at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Click here for the rankings’ methodology.

Heineken’s CMO Nuno Teles talks to Marketing Land about becoming the official beer of MLS.

Patrick McDarby, the designer of the old MLS logo, has died.


This just in from the Department of Are You F’ing Kidding Me, Abby Wambach has announced she will not play for the NWSL’s Western New York Flash this season so she can focus on preparing for the World Cup. Wambach said in a statement released by the Rochester, NY based club, “At this stage of my career, I know what I need to prepare mentally and physically for this summer. My sole focus is to help bring a World Cup back to the US.”

USWNT coach Jill Ellis said in a statement, “Abby made a personal decision to do what she feels is best for her to be mentally and physically prepared for the World Cup. The NWSL provides a beneficial environment for our players, but her situation is unique and I understand and respect her thought process.”

Wambach’s coach at Western New York Flash, Aaran Lines, who confirmed Wambach will not rejoin the club after the World Cup (and is unlikely to do so in 2016), told ESPNW, “Wambach has been a great servant to our club for the two years that we’ve had her. We’re proud to have had her here at the club, and her statistics speak for themselves. What I don’t really understand is how can a player make that decision to not play at club level, and still be able to play for her country? If you don’t play for club in the men’s game, you don’t get the opportunity to play for country, do you? We need to head in that direction of the men’s game.”

Noting the possibility of injury if she were to play the three Flash games on the schedule before the USWNT’s gathers to prepare for the World Cup, an editorial piece at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle calls Wambach’s decision not to play professional club soccer this season “smart”: “Is she putting herself and her legacy above the Flash? Absolutely. But she’s also putting the hopes of a lot more American soccer fans ahead of Flash fans because a World Cup means a heck of a lot more than an NWSL title. Who could blame her for that?”

Wambach tells SI her year off from the NWSL doesn’t mean she’s retiring from the professional game and is considering a season in Europe.

Broadcasting & Cable reports, “The opening match of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is a mere 80 days away, and Fox Sports has about 75% of its advertising inventory sold, with still many opportunities for marketers not yet onboard.”

US soccer has hired Belgian consulting company Double PASS, whose clients include the Bundesliga, the Premier League, the J-League, and the German, Belgian, and Hungarian football federations, to “accelerate its mission of developing world-class players.”

Following the news that USMNT target Gedion Zelalem has been called up for Germany’s U-18 team, Leander Schaerlaeckens writes at ASN that “Zelalem would be better off reneging on his commitment to the United States and going back to the German program.”


The AP reports Sepp Blatter has turned down the joint invitation from the BBC and Sky to join in a televised debate with his rivals for the FIFA presidency. More at the Press Association, SI,  and the Guardian.

The Press Association reports, “Britain’s FIFA vice-president has said he is confident that Boxing Day club matches will be protected when the world governing body announces the final dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Friday.”

The AP reports, “There is no Plan B yet for the Olympic football tournament if Sao Paulo drops out as a host city, local organizers said Wednesday.”

In banning third party-ownership news, Bloomberg reports, “A London-based hedge fund filed a complaint with a Paris court seeking to overturn a ban on investors acquiring soccer player transfer rights.” More at ESPN.

Also from the AP: “UEFA is prepared to soften its Financial Fair Play rules for Russian and Ukrainian clubs that are being battered by their countries’ economic problems.”

Vice Sports on the penalty kick.


  1. If Pfeffer gets called up, he should go, and Curtin should let him leave … as soon as the game on Friday is over. It’s better in the long run for the player and team. We’ll make due with Fred and Noguiera to get the draw in Chicago.

    • I’m cool with Fred. I think the decision should be made after Friday’s match, not before. I’m not sure I have as much faith in USSoccer’s youth development as you do. I am positive that VN should NEVER be asked to play higher up. The guy is best when he is deep. Now, Conor Casey in a withdrawn forward role, I got no problems with that.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I think Zach should weigh the options as to where he’s going to get playing time. If he will be playing on the U-20 team then he should go. If he thinks he’ll be riding the pine and maybe getting some sub time there but Curtin wants to start him, then he should stay with the U.

    • I’d rather see Pfeffer stay and get real minutes while Sapong and Maidana are out. But even if he does go i don’t think it will hurt the team to badly. The Union’s prospects of making the postseason are iffy at best. A few games without Pfeffer won’t make a difference.

  2. I appreciate Seattle’s belief and feeling that they want to sell out every game, but- don’t you think it’s time to build your own stadium? If they can grow beautiful grass in England during the rainiest months than I’m pretty sure Seattle can have a grass field too. There is no replacement for watching a game on grass. Artificial turf. Jeeze Louise. Make your argument Sigi. Grass or me. Or a new stadium. Plenty of space in the Emerald City for a shiny new 65,000 seat spectacle. They could name it Oz.

    • Seattle is 44th in the nation in average annual rainfall for major US cities. Some MLS cities that get more rain are New York, New Jersey, Boston and Philly.

      • Well there you go. Grass field. Build it.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Being in complete agreement about grass fields, and remembering videotape of utterly horrendous looking pitches in the 80s in England towards the ends of seasons, can someone explain how you build a grass field that survives English weather? Clearly it can be done; look at the current pitches of the EPL.

    • Sounders fans say there is absolutely no room for a new stadium that big within the city limits. I definitely agree with the turf, can’t stand watching ping pong soccer. Replacing the turf every 4 yrs accomplishes nothing, if the Seahawks cut it,roll it,or whatever they do to get it to their liking. They have to come to a better compromise,cuz saying they get too much rain is a cop out.

  3. Abby, would you like me to send you the clue via Fed Ex or Brown. Both could arrive tomorrow.

    • She has 178 international goals, Olympic gold medal, and won the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award. I think she has more than a clue….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: