Daily news roundups

Pfeffer called up by US U-23s, Union woes, Union Academy drops second GA Cup game, US faces Switzerland, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

PSP, Philadelphia Union, MLSsoccer.comPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Vavel, and Playing for 90.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George looks at some telling stats behind the Union’s poor start to the 2015 season. Some standout numbers:

  • 45 shots over the first four games, 13 of which were on target. That’s 28.8 percent, or 16th in the league.
  • Fernando Aristeguieta accounts for 15 of the 45 shots, 7 of the shots on goal. In other words, Aristeguieta accounts for 33.3 percent of the Union’s total shots, and 53.8 percent of the team’s shots on goal.
  • only 8 successful crosses
  • only 6 successful dribbles in the attacking third, only one of which happened in the box
  • only 2 successful set piece crosses

After listing the distressingly long list of woeful Union performances in Sunday’s loss in Chicago, De George writes at the Delco Times, “When Fabinho, citing the doctrine of diminished expectations, is among the least criticizeable facets of the Union squad, something has gone awry.”

Dave Zeitlin writes in the latest Inside Doop,

It’s early enough in the season where the Union don’t need to panic even though they’re in last place with a 0-2-2 record, especially since they’ll presumably have some important players coming back soon. But to get their season back on track, they really need some guys to step up, be leaders and show some emotion. Say what you will about Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath and Danny Cruz (three longtime players sent away on loan or trade) but they all had a lot of heart. That’s something that seemed to be missing Sunday in Chicago — and something the team needs to quickly discover.

Recounting Sunday’s Chicago-Philadelphia game, ESPN’s Jason Davis says the Fire were able to secure their first win of 2015 thanks in large part to “the low quality of their opposition,” describing the Union as “a poor attacking team that barely bothered Sean Johnson’s goal.” He continues,

 Jim Curtin has a doozy of a problem on his hands, since there don’t seem to be any reinforcements coming to the Union. Andrew Wenger was ineffective and missed his best chance. Sebastien Le Toux still covers ample ground, but isn’t showing to be the player he was in his MVP-caliber seasons.

Fernando Aristeguieta has shown flashes, but can’t do it all on his own.

At World Soccer Talk, Steve Davis includes the Union among those MLS teams that ought to be doing whatever they can to lure Bob Bradley back to MLS from Norway:

You may not have been in love with the identity of Bradley’s teams (although everyone loved the scrappiness), but they had an identity…Quick, what is Philadelphia’s identity? Jim Curtin’s team has no creativity through the middle. And the wingers, Sebastian Le Toux and Andrew Wenger, seem to have regressed. At the other end, they cannot defend set pieces. Result: winless in four.

Look for our analysis and player ratings from the game later today. In the meanwhile, Vavel has some analysis of the loss.

In SI’s latest power rankings, the Union tumble five spots to No. 20. Soccer America drops the Union one spot to No. 20 in their power rankings.

In the latest rankings at ASN of the top 100 US players, Maurice Edu comes in at No. 29, Andrew Wenger at No. 99. A Union shirt wearing Amobi Okugo is at No. 41.

Brotherly Game on what is starting to look like a very long season.

Here’s a report on a recent address by Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz to students at Temple’s the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, where he is an “Executive in Residence.” Sakiewicz says, “I say to my staff quite regularly, ‘We’re like an 18,000-seat restaurant that, on Saturdays, hosts parties. The product on the field is the food that goes on the plate. And if that food isn’t good, those patrons – in this case, our fans – are not coming back.'” Dinner, anyone?

Former Union man Freddy Adu tweeted his goals in signing with Finnish club Kuopion Palloseura: “Goal is to get the smile back in my game and enjoy the game like I used to. Have missed being out there.” The goal of the club seems pretty clear: to sell a lot of Adu jerseys.

Union Academy

The Union Academy U-16s are 0-2 at the Generation adidas Cup, falling 1-0 to Eintracht Frankfurt in Group C play. MLSsoccer.com reports,

In a physical game that featured set piece after set piece for both teams, Eintracht finally broke through in the 54th minute. Lukas Rodwald broke free in the right corner, neared the end line, and centered for Nelson Mandela Mbouhom, who used a deft left-footed touch to beat Philadelphia goalkeeper Andrew Verdi.

The Union faces San Jose Earthquakes, who are also 0-2, at 3 pm on Wednesday.


Former Union man Jack McInerney is up for Goal of the Week.

The Mane Land on how Orlando City may not have known to take Pedro Ribeiro in the Expansion Draft if they hadn’t faced him twice in 2014 in USL play when he was on loan from the Union to Harrisburg City Islanders.

John Smallwood’s column at the Daily News on MLS continuing to play through FIFA international breaks includes comments from Nick Sakiewicz: “It’s a complicated issue.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, “The owner of industrial land proposed for a Major League Soccer stadium says he is convinced that Minnesota United team owner Dr. Bill McGuire plans to seek public money to help build it, though details of the financing plan remain under wraps.”

The league announced on Monday “it has partnered with Abu Dhabi Sports Channel to televise league matches live across the Middle East and North Africa, reaching 25 countries throughout the region.” This is another of a series of international broadcasting deals that includes Globosat in Brazil, Sky Sports in the UK, and European broadcaster Eurosport.


New Hope native Amber Brooks has been traded by NWSL side Western New York Flash — along with the rights to Abby Wambach — to Seattle Reign in exchange for Sydney Leroux and Amanda Frisbie.

Soccer Gods has an interesting analysis of the trade that emphasizes Leroux’s stagnation as a goalscorer:

Leroux hasn’t scored an international goal in five months. She hasn’t scored against a top 24 team in nine. Part of the reason for that is injury. Part of the reason is she’s been losing playing time, regardless. Over two years in the NWSL, she’s averaging a goal every 222.9 minutes, a rate that plummeted last season, when she scored a goal every 374.6 minutes. By many’s expectations, Leroux should have matured into a player who competes with Alex Morgan and Christen Press for playing time with the national team. Instead, she’s stagnated and now risks becoming the American soccer cliché: excess pace, power and passion; not enough technique, awareness or dedication to club soccer.


Jurgen Klinsmann on today’s USMNT friendly against No. 12 ranked Switzerland (12 pm; Fox Sports 1, UniMás, Fox Sports Go, Univision Deportes):

We’re hoping to go through the whole 90 minutes and not lose a game in the last couple minutes like we did against Denmark…If we learn against Denmark not only getting through the 84th minute but getting 90 minutes through to be a goal up and have the lead, that’s what we look to do tomorrow night.

Lofty goals.

Previews from PSP, US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com, ASN, ESPN, SI, Fox Sports, and ProSoccerTalk.

Goal.com considers growing concerns that the USMNT lacks an identity and whether it is simply a case of a team going through a major transistion.


Reuters reports,

European clubs have agreed to distribute revenue from the Champions League and Europa League more evenly from next season, the European Clubs Association (ECA) and UEFA have confirmed.

The announcement comes amid concerns that the gulf between Europe’s richest clubs and the rest is widening, with the result that both domestic leagues and the Champions League itself are becoming increasingly repetitive and predictable.

More on the news at the AP.

Who wants to talk turf, specifically the Liga Turf RS+CoolPlus World Cup Edition 260 W ACS 90 Bionic Fibre Infill turf being installed at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium ahead of the Women’s World Cup?


  1. Zeitlin nails it with his comment about Okugo, McMatch, and Cruz. I do believe the existing group cares and wants to win. But who lights a fire under them when things aren’t going well? As maligned as Cruz has been these last few years (I actually thought he was a pretty useful sub last year), would he not have changed the game against Chicago if he came on in the 60th minute?

  2. Wow it’s nice to know someone took a good look at Ribeiro, because we certainly did not. The list goes on and on with what’s wrong with this team, and it almost all stems from the ownership/Sak. They make bad decisions and they make cheap decisions. Do those over 6 years and you end up where we are now.

    • Protecting Fabinho over Ribeiro makes absolutely no sense anyway you look at it. It was a completely bone-headed move.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Not to mention completely indefensible. I would love for someone to ask Sak / Albright/ Curtain about that one.

  3. Going against KC is going to be massively different and more difficult than chicago. I think anyone would agree that any semblance of the same lineup is going to result in a pretty bad loss. When looking at the season so far, most people would agree the biggest weaknesses have been Ethan White, the defense in general, wing play, and the number 10 position. The outside backs are set until Williams is healthy, and Vitoria isn’t going anywhere. Lahoud looked solid Sunday, and Nogeuira is not a CAM. Take a shot Sunday, let’s see what some younger guys can do.
    Gaddis, Edu, Vitoria, Fabinho
    Ayuk, Nogs, Lahoud, Wenger
    Ayuk and Wenger should be told defense first. But both have the speed to make up he ground and join the attack. Let Catic stay home centrally between Nogs and Nando, with the 2 of them shuttling to the outside as needed to pick up passes and move the ball. Lahoud can shield the back.

    • Ugh.
      No way they shift Edu to centerback this week. To many crucial pieces missing. I think they think they can weather the storm with White. But having Edu, Nogs and Lahoud out there is way too redundant.

      • Agree. If one of those guys needs to be subbed out, who would come in? Carrol? He’s two years past when he should have been let go. Ayuk deserves a chance to start. And where’s Jimmy M.?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Harrisburg, where he did not look as effective as you’d expect on Saturday night.

    • This is the lineup if you’re playing for a 0-0 draw. Because we sure ain’t scoring with this XI.

    • Assuming none of the currently injured are available, this seems as good an option as anything available. Why not give Catic some minutes with the offense pretty stagnant the last few games?

    • So we are asking Catic to be a playmaker? I don’t know about that.

  4. James lockerbie says:

    In reference to nick’s comparison of ppl park as a resturant, if he doesn’t do something quick he’s gonna need that guy from bar rescue.

  5. I saw how our 16’s lined-up in the GA. Looks like they like wasting talent too. They have a kid in the back who should be one of the best interior midfielders around………….but what the hell do I know. You want to know why our young players don’t develop………..you don’t have to look far……………

    • The whole system you mean? The width depth and breadth.

      • Dude, I get mad because kids give up full rides to some pretty prestigious high schools for the academy….with some very knowledgable coaches at the helms of some of these places….and I see what the academy does with them or lack there of….and its a travesty. Is the kid I’m talking about better off with the academy? A huge part of me says NO! I looked at the starting line-up for the Palmeiras match and was sick…..he was a part of their back 4! The kid should be holding down fort in the middle of the park……….and he’s either a CB or flank back……ludicrous.

  6. Amobi Ribiero says:

    Ed thanks for the shout out! We’re getting plenty of press down here in O town too- underrated boy band BTW. Did u get the box of oranges we shipped? I heard the mouse ears were wrinkled, sorry bro, we’ll send another pair. Talk soon, AR

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    Thought this was good… sad, but good


  8. Well JK, you didn’t lose the game in the last minutes today, but you sure didn’t win it either.
    and speaking of Bob Bradley, you know- and I mean you know I am approaching desperation when the thought of the Onion being led by Bob Bradley makes me think, “well maybe that would help.” Someone used the word rot in a post earlier and rot is the word.
    Maybe JC can turn things around. Maybe the missing pieces will come back and click- resembling good game- the evidence is mounting though that the coach doesn’t value good play- and well, neither did Bob Bradley.

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