Daily news roundups

Pfeffer suspended additional game, depth concerns, Minnesota’s in, another late USMNT collapse

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

It’s official: Zach Pfeffer has been suspended one more game in addition to the automatic one-game suspension he received along with the straight red card for elbowing Mauro Diaz in the face in last Saturday’s loss to Dallas. A league release says,

The committee deemed Pfeffer’s elbow to the head of Mauro Diaz…was ‘violent conduct’ and also levied additional fines for his conduct and failing to leave the field in a timely/orderly manner. Pfeffer will be suspended for a total of two games.

Pfeffer’s suspensions add to the Union’s mounting injury woes. At his weekly press conference, Jim Curtin said Cristian Maidana is, “optimistically,” still a week or week-and-a-half away from returning to play, Conor Casey is dealing with a sports hernia, and Sheanon Williams is dealing with injured hamstrings in both legs. As Matthew De George notes, “Coupled with the ongoing absence of CJ Sapong (concussion/facial fracture) and Zach Pfeffer…the Union (0-1-2, 2 points) are missing five regular players for the trip to Chicago in an early yet vital matchup of teams not wanting to fall too far off the pace in the East.”

(We normally post a transcript of Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference, but, given that all of us at PSP are at our real jobs when the weekly press conference takes place, we use the video the club posts on YouTube to do so. Unfortunately, the club didn’t post the video on Wednesday.)

Curtin said of the injuries, “You’d like to have a full stable of guys. We had that for 45 minutes in the first half against Colorado (in the opener), but every team in the league is going through injuries, international callups. Everyone is a little shorthanded. There’s no excuses in that regard.”

With Maidana and Pfeffer out, Curtin said Vincent Nogueira has been training for a more directly attacking role. “I think when he’s a little higher up on the field, and we worked on it today, he has a pretty good understanding with Fernando (Aristeguieta) and combining with him when he did take reps at the 10 spot today. He’s a guy who knows how to move on the field. He’s a very intelligent soccer player. You try to work on the little extra things that help with the final pass, final shot.”

At Delco Times, De George has an in-depth look at the Union’s, er, depth concerns.

Curtin also told reporters that Rais Mbolhi has scaled back his national team commitments in order to focus on the Union. “He wants to be here. He’s a guy that’s fully committed and really wants to have this be his home full-time and not have to do all the travel for friendlies. If it’s an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, then, yes, those are different discussions. But for friendlies that are going on, he’s going to be here full time, which is a huge commitment on his end.”

He didn’t make it out of the first half thanks to hamstring concerns, but Sheanon Williams was wearing a microphone while he was on the field in Saturday’s loss to Dallas.

Look for our photo essay from Tuesday’s Meet The Team event later this morning. In the meanwhile, the Union have posted a photo gallery on their Facebook page.

The location schedule for broadcasts of the 90th Minute Radio Show is up at the Chickie’s & Pete’s website. Basically, it goes like this:

  • March 31-June 2: Chickie’s & Pete’s in Drexel Hill
  • June 16-August 4: Chickie’s & Pete’s at Roosevelt Boulevard in the Northeast
  • August 11-September 29: Chickie’s & Pete’s in Warrington
  • October 13-20: Chickie’s & Pete’s in Drexel Hill

Rick Jacobs, the Union’s vice president of operations, will be among those honored by the Delaware County Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women at its fifth annual Dr. C. Delores Tucker Honorary Brunch on Saturday.


On the USL website, a season preview of the Harrisburg City Islanders, who begin 2015 on the road in Pittsburgh on Saturday.


It’s official: the NASL’s Minnesota United is the latest MLS expansion side, bringing the current total of teams in the league or about to join to 23. On Wednesday, the league announced the Minneapolis-based team will begin play in MLS in 2018 (Atlanta and LAFC are scheduled to join the league in 2017). Presumably, David Beckham’s Miami franchise will join the league as the 24th team.

The announcement on the league website notes,

A key element of the new club’s bid was the proposal to build an outdoor stadium that is centrally located and accessible through public transportation. The proposed stadium would be located in the Farmers Market neighborhood on the western side of Target Field and immediately adjacent to Interstate 94. The club is working to finalize the plan for the new stadium by July 1.

More on the importance of a new stadium at Minneapolis Star Tribune and CBS Minnesota.

The AP reports, “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is reiterating broad Capitol opposition to a direct soccer stadium subsidy for a newly announced pro franchise, but he hasn’t closed the door on assisting in other ways.

More on the announcement at Minnesota United, Minneapolis Star Tribune (commentary, commentarypro soccer timeline), Pioneer Press, MPR News (report, commentaryMinneapolis City PagesMinneapolis Downtown Council, Fox Sports North (report, pro soccer history), WQOWNorthern PitchSIUSA TodayLA Times, New York Post, ProSoccerTalkGoal.com, BBC, Sky Sports, The Sports NetworkReuters, and the AP.

KARE11 on Minnesota United’s team crest, which is “turning heads.” Team president Nick Rogers hopes the logo will stay the same when the team joins MLS.

Chicago’s Mike Magee was quick off the mark following the Minnesota United announcement:

Sacramento Bee and CBS Sacramento on how efforts to secure an expansion spot for Sacramento will continue. CBS Sacramento says, whether the Miami franchise is abandoned, or the league expands beyond 24 teams, “Sacramento is rumored to be next in line for a MLS team.”

WISHTV in Indianapolis says Minnesota United being awarded a MLS franchise proves Indy Eleven will need a new stadium if the team hopes to leave NASL for MLS. Indy Eleven president Peter Wilt makes a curious statement in the article: “You don’t have to be in Major League Soccer to be a first division team but without a stadium, that option doesn’t even exist.”

More on San Antonio Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman search for someone to buy the club in order to improve that team’s NASL prospects.

Meanwhile, New York Cosmos are still waiting for approval word from the state of New York on their proposed $400 million stadium complex, which was submitted two years ago. Team COO Erik Stover, says, while two years “is way too long for a business to be waiting for a decision like this,” adding, “There are plan B’s but nothing that we would lock in on and say, ‘This is our first choice.’ Everything is still in its infancy, and it’s not worth discussing because we’re not far enough along, but there are a lot of irons in the fire. As an organization, we haven’t narrowed those four or five things to one or two leaders, but, having said that, Belmont is clearly the best choice.”

Vancouver have signed Robert Earnshaw, who trialed with the club over the preseason. Earnshaw, who has 59 caps for Wales, says he has retired from international soccer.

NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis says he’s “on the fence” about signing Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez as a DP this summer. “I’m a huge fan of Xavi Hernandez. I think he would be a huge player in this league, no doubt about it. But positionally, I don’t think that it makes the best sense and the most sense.”

Kreis also says Frank Lampard, who will visit with the team over the international break, will not be permanently joining the team early from Manchester City. “We’re approaching this in the exact same way that we have since in January when we found out for sure that he was staying until the summer, and we need to prepare ourselves and be ready for him to join us in the summer. We’re still very excited about that prospect, but we’re not going to speculate on anything happening sooner than that.”


Another late collapse, another loss.

The US lost 3-2 in Denmark on Wednesday, bringing their post World Cup record to 2-4-2. After scoring first, the US went on to give up two equalizers before conceding a 91st minute game winner.

Jozy Altidore, who scored the first goal of the game, said, “The goals we gave up were just soft. We’re not hard enough to play against, and it’s really disappointing to give the game away like that. It’s just frustrating.”

Jurgen Klinsmann said, “We have to step it up in terms of managing the game all 90 minutes. We didn’t do that.”

Klinsmann explained, “Obviously, what we don’t like are late goals because of losing focus for a second or losing your marker or heavy legs. You never want to give a game away where you’re up 2-1. Overall, it’s a bit frustrating in the end, especially when you lose last minute.”

Recaps from PSP, US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com, ESPN, Fox Sports, SI, The GuardianASN, Soccer America, Goal.com, ProSoccerTalk, SBIWashington Post, CBS Sports, and Philly Soccer NewsSoccer America rounds up the US’s late game collapses over the past year.

MLSsoccer.com has three things from the game (including, “The US under Klinsmann are more direct and have fewer ideas in possession than at any time over the last two decades.”), as does SI and ProSoccerTalk. Fox Sports has five points, and Goal.com has eleven takeaways.

Soccer America says, “For long periods, the Americans looked lost. There’s always confusion and miscommunication with players who in many cases are unfamiliar with each other, but there were far too many breakdowns in a system well-known to all participants. Elite players are expected to adapt to anything: worsening conditions, erring officials, rallying opponents, shifting situations.”

Soccer Gods says, “We don’t know where Klinsmann is taking the U.S. and whether there is reason to worry. What we do know is that right now, they are a better team when they play direct, no matter what more ambitious goals anyone may have for them.”

Player ratings at MLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, Goal.com, and ProSoccerTalk.

Hope Solo has started a blog. In her first blog post, she talks about a variety of topics, including the support she received from her teammates upon returning from suspension. “I told them that for the first time in my life, I’d been seeing a therapist and dealing with a lot of my issues, and finally addressing all the pain and anger that was inside of me.” More at USA Today and Goal.com.


Good news on the Gold Cup front. As you will recall the final spot in Group A, which so far includes the US, Panama, and Haiti, will be determined by a two-leg playoff between French Guiana and Honduras. On Wednesday, French Guiana defeated Honduras, 3-1, in the first leg. The second leg will be played on Sunday in Honduras.


  1. I am a temple student and also volunteer on that game day operations staff at ppl for the union. I noticed that line about not being able to make the press conference.
    “(We normally post a transcript of Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference, but, given that all of us at PSP are at our real jobs when the weekly press conference takes place, we use the video the club posts on YouTube to do so. Unfortunately, the club didn’t post the video on Wednesday.)”
    If you ever need a hand with those press conferences I would love to help. Fortunately I am still in college and live in philadelphia and do not have a real job yet…just thought I could offer the help

    • love it! give than man press credentials!

    • not to knock Harrisburg down anymore, but after their kit unveiling we see Minnesota’s crest and seriousness — granted they’re a division above — i just don’t see how HCI’s is acceptable.

      • They also are in a major metro area that features the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB so comparing them to Harrisburg doesn’t really work for more reasons than just NASL v. USL.

  2. Hearing that Rais is committed enough to the club to forgo some national team appearances is encouraging and commendable.

  3. Quick question: how many games did the guy who broke CJ Sapong’s face get suspended?

  4. So about moving Noguiera up to the attacking role: if Fred isn’t going to play and is merely a coach at this point, why is he taking up a roster spot?

    • You know. One would wonder. We have seen the team function with Noguiera in an advanced role. We have a pretty natural attacking midfielder in Fred. Is he not able to play a full 90 minutes or something- rather interesting choice.

      • My guess is he can’t play a full 90 anymore. Fred subs in for Lahoud at 70-75mins if down or tied at that point.

    • Fred will get in as a sub. He’s pretty much an emergency attacker if we’re piling up injuries and suspensions, which is what we have now with Sapong, Maidana and Pfeffer out. It’s basically a choice of who you want starting and who you want coming off the bench, and I think the right call is Nogueira first and Fred later if we need him. Our other subs will probably be Casey and Ayuk or McLaughlin.
      I also like the fact that Fred on the roster to begin with. He won’t take up a lot of salary room, and he allows us to send our younger guys to Harrisburg so they can get actual playing time while he hangs out on the bench until needed.
      If you think we could use his spot to provide depth at other positions, I’d argue that we have the right quantity of depth, but maybe not the right quality of depth.

  5. Well at least Hope Solo is getting some therapy…… then blogging about it. From the department of some people should just avoid social media.

    • pragmatist says:

      Absolutely not! Hope is the kind of person that makes social media fantastic! I signed up for Twitter during Charlie Sheen’s “#WINNING” meltdown just to watch the train wreck.
      Just sit back and wait for Hope to say something that will make headlines…

      • ebradlee10 says:

        Or hope for her to get mentally & physically healthy and lead the USWNT to the World Cup title.

      • Fair enough. The stove is hot, some don’t touch. The story is compelling, some love to follow.

  6. The Indy stadium argument: “You don’t have to be in Major League Soccer to be a first division team but without a stadium, that option doesn’t even exist.”
    Argle bargle or foofaraw?. . . Kent Brockman will discuss next on Smartline!

  7. UnitedPenn13 says:

    Can someone explain to me why Minnesota can’t enter the league until they have a soccer specific stadium but the Manchester City “B” team, NYCFC is permitted to enter the league without a soccer specific stadium and is allowed to play their matches in a Baseball park? That’s like playing basketball on a tennis court. special treatment?

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      Money, prestige, marketing, population, TV Market, Garber’s penchant for NY2, etc. etc. etc.

    • Of course it’s special treatment. The league desperately wanted a 2nd team in NY, and this gave them the opportunity to latch onto Man City money and Yankees money.

    • I’m sorry. Were you under the impression that the same rules applied to all MLS teams? Silly UP13.

      • UnitedPenn13 says:

        I guess it really was a silly question. It just ticks me off how NY and LA get all the preferential treatment. At least Minnesota won’t have cry-baby baseball players bitching about soccer players tearing up the pitch, oops, I mean Diamond.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Look up John Reed to the Portland Chamber of Commerce on WW1, in a word.

      • The John Reed, Reed College is named after? That place was a bastion of free spirited thinking and living when I was in that part of the country for awhile.

      • Eugene is awesome…………..

Leave a Reply

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