Daily news roundups

“We are too weak”: Reaction to Union loss, Mbolhi slammed, HCI loses, USWNT wins, more

Philadelphia Union

For the first time since the start of the 2012 season when they did so twice between March and May, and then again in October, the Union have lost three games in a row.

“It’s just set pieces. We are too weak to win our battles. They wanted it more than us and they scored. It’s the same story in the last few games. We can’t keep a result when we are up. It’s just the same story for us.”

So said Sebastien Le Toux after the Union managed to once again concede late (twice) to drop all three points in Sunday’s gut punch of a 3-2 loss in Kansas City.

Jim Curtin said, “This is a tough place to come. We talked a lot about restarts being a big part of this game and sure enough for both teams they were. Attacking wise, I thought we did well on them. Defending, we were not good enough closing out the game. Guys are disappointed. I thought they put in a great effort but it comes up short and we leave here with nothing.”

Brian Carroll said, “We are frustrated that we haven’t won yet because a lot of us feel like we should have been able to get one. The fact is we haven’t won yet. There is still a good belief and backing among everyone in the group that we will push forward and get this first win and move on from there.”

More on the frustration at MLSsoccer.com.

Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle wrote on Friday, the “have been simply awful in the air. Of the 123 aerials they’ve contested, they’ve won only 50 of them.” After Sunday’s game, Doyle noted Sunday’s pass completion rate for the Union was the second worse in the league since 2010.

They attempted 212 passes, lowest in the league this year. They completed just 53 percent of them, which would be a killer number at the Blackjack table but is depressingly bad for soccer. Do the math and you’ll see that adds up to 112 successful passes. Previous single-game low for any team in 2015 was 172. Lowest in 2014 was 137. In 2013, it was 119.

He concludes, “Philly officially have to figure out how to save a season that’s already starting to slip away.”

The Guardian on the “glorious incompetence” of the Union, “unintentionally the most entertaining team in the league.”

In the power rankings at ESPN (at No. 20, the Union “lack the killer instinct to put games away”) Jeff Carlisle says Rais Mbolhi “is earning a rep for being one of the poorest DP signings in league history.”

The Guardian on “the saga of Union’s expensive Algerian keeper Rais M’bolhi,” whose form through five games “suggests a man intent on wiping out the legacy of his star turn in goal for Algeria at the 2014 World Cup.”

ProSoccerTalk named Mbolhi Man of the Match: “In all honesty, this game exuded the quality of a really poor 0-0 draw, if not for a number of shoddy goalkeeping blunders. Mbolhi ‘wins’ out here, because he committed more horrific errors than his counterpart, and his team lost the game. Sorry, Rais.”

Ives Galarcep writes of Mbolhi at Goal.com,

All M’Bohli has been is a disaster. Looking shaky and uncomfortable in most of his starts in 2015, M’Bolhi has looked more like a liability in goal than a star, and his struggles in Sunday’s loss to Sporting Kansas City only served to magnify his poor form…

Since joining the Union, M’Bolhi has looked nothing like the standout who impressed with Algeria at the World Cup, or even more recently in the African Cup of Nations. Whether it’s just a matter of not feeling comfortable with his new team, or counting the days until he can leave Philadelphia, M’Bolhi looks unsure of himself and is costing the Union points.

Galarcep continues,

What can Philly do? Recalling MacMath isn’t an option. The Union burned the bridge with their former starter…There is also youngster Andre Blake. The former No. 1 overall MLS draft pick is very talented, but still very raw, and handing him the job at this point might not leave the Union any better off.

The problem is the Union may not have much of a choice. As points keep being dropped, coach Jim Curtin may be forced to make a change before his team is stuck in a downward spiral from which it can’t recover.

And there’s this:

Recaps and reports from PSP, The Inquirer, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GameMLSsoccer.com, Sporting Kansas City (recap), Sporting Kansas City (fast facts) Kansas City Star (recap), Kansas City Star (three thoughts), The Blue Testament, Reporting KC, MissourinetGoal.com, SBIProSoccerTalkSports MoleThe Sports Quotient, OmniSportThe Sports Network, and the AP. Photo Galleries at Kansas City Star and USA Today.

Here’s our postgame wrap with Eli PEarlman-Storch and Kevin Kinkead:

At SBI, CJ Sapong on his “surreal” return to Kansas City.

It was Kansas City’s 600th game in MLS.

Fernado Aristeguieta — currently leading the league in shots (19), shots on goal (9, tied with Octavio Rivero), and tied with five other players for second in goals scored (3) — is No. 2 on a list at Soccer.com of five players you need to know (and he apparently wears adidas Predators).

On loan to New York Cosmos, Leo Fernandes scored the only goal in New York’s season opening win in Fort Lauderdale.

Union Academy

After being defeated 1-0 by Qatar’s Aspire Academy on Thursday, the Union U-16s drew 1-1 with Spain’s Athletic Bilbao in their final game at the Generation adidas Cup, winning 4-2 on penalty kicks. The team finished 11th in the 12 club Champions Division, which was won by Argentina’s River Plate. New York Red Bulls won the Premier Division championship.


Harrisburg City Islanders remain winless to start the 2015 season, being defeated 2-0 on the road by Charleston Battery in their second game of the new season. With Harrisburg for the loss from the Union were Richie Marquez, Zach Pfeffer, and Dzenan Catic, all of whom went the full 90. Recaps from Penn LiveCharleston Battery, and Charleston Post and Courier.


In Eastern Conference play, first place DC (9 points) defeated sixth place Orlando (5 points) 1-0 on the road with a stoppage time goal. Second place New York Red Bulls (7 points) had the weekend off. Third place New England (7 points) defeated Colorado 2-0 on the road. Fourth place Chicago (6 points) came from behind to defeat eighth place Toronto (3 points), 3-2. Fifth place NYCFC (5 points) had the weekend off. Sixth place Columbus (3 points) had the weekend off, as did ninth place Montreal (2 points). Last place Philadelphia (2 points) couched up two stoppage time goals to lose 3-2 on the road to Kansas City.

In Western Conference play, Vancouver (12 points) moves into first place with a 2-0 home win over ninth place LA (5 points). Second place Dallas (10 points) lost for the first time of the season against sixth place Portland (6 points), 3-1, in a game in which tissues were waved. Third place Salt Lake (8 points) defeated seventh place San Jose (6 points) 1-0 on the road. Fourth place Kansas City (8 points) came from behind to defeat Philadelphia, 3-2, in stoppage time. Fifth place Seattle (7 points) defeated eighth place Houston (5 points), 1-0. Last place Colorado (3 points), who still haven’t scored a goal in 2015 and are winless in 18 games, was defeated 2-0 at home by New England.

Former Union man Jack McInerney won last week’s Goal of the Week.

Empire of Soccer reports, “An unseemly episode unraveled during the last New York City FC home match — and surprisingly, it has revealed a rift amongst the team’s various supporters’ groups.”

Has Zlatan Ibrahimovic applied for a US visa?

More on last week’s press conference with NASL president


The USWNT defeated New Zealand 4-0 in Saturday’s friendly in front of a record setting crowd of 35,817 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Recaps from St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washington PostUSA Today, SIASN, SBIYahoo SportsGoal.com, The Sports Network, and the AP.

It was a homecoming for goalscorer Lori Chalupny.

Soccer America has three takeaways from the win.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta has five thoughts on the recent USMNT friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland.

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre on how Berti Vogts is shaping the future of the USMNT.

The AP reports, “The wife of a Detroit-area soccer referee filed a $51 million lawsuit Friday against a hot-headed player who is in prison for throwing a punch that killed her husband during a game last summer.”


The AP reports, “Fifa presidential candidate Prince Ali bin al-Hussein believes the scandal-hit organisation will struggle to replace sponsors and be hurt financially if Sepp Blatter remains in charge.”

Reuters reports, “Fenerbahce have called for the national Turkish league to be suspended after their team bus was shot at following an away match against Rizespor on Saturday.” The bus driver was wounded in the shooting.

ESPN reports, “Roma president James Pallotta has condemned the club’s fans for displaying banners criticising the mother of the Napoli fan killed by a Roma supporter before last season’s Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina.”

Goal.com reports, “Agents are rallying against new FIFA legislation that came into effect this week allowing anyone to act as an ‘intermediary’ in transfer and contract negotiations.”

Also from Goal.com, “Black players from AC Milan’s Under-10 team were allegedly subjected to racist abuse from parents during their Universal Cup clash against Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday…It is not known which team those parents were following.”


  1. I’m really glad the national media is killing us. SOMETHING needs to get the FO’s attention.
    Can there be more of an outcry from the SOB?

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      I learned everything I need to know about the SOBs by listening to them use the same, worn out songs/chants from happier zolo days. If they can’t bring themselves to brighten even that part of their repertoire, don’t expect them to take a proactive stance on the FO (SOBs, prove me wrong).

      • lefthalfback says:

        The SOBs are not front office stooges. They are PART of the front office for all intents and purposes. They will never collectively chasllange ownership, lest it cost them their provileged status, smoke, drums etc.

    • The SOBs like to think they founded the team, but the truth is that this team was founded by a group of investors who couldn’t give two turds in what city their MLS team played as long as they got a team and a piece of the pie. They are simply using the SOBs as their defacto propaganda machine, and the SOBs just sit there and smile and have no real input or impact. The whole Sak TIFO/banner debacle last year was proof positive of that. The SOBs are no different than the Redskins Hogs, just a group of fans to parade in front of the cameras on game day.

    • Yea seriously it is time for the SOB to actually come back to being for the people and not front office puppets. Changes at clubs all around the world start with the hardcore supporters showing their disapproval as an organized group.

      Lets see some tifo’s and songs directing anger at the FO.

    • I couldn’t agree more. SOB are the group who could seriously push for change and be effective. Unfortunately it seems like they are squarely under the thumb of the FO and unwilling to rock the boat.

      • The SOB’s are part of the problem then………I think all of this will come out in the next few weeks….your seeing more supporters figuring out what the SOB’s are all about…and they aren’t happy. Having said that, if you look on that article from Empire….NYCFC supporters are coming down to PPL for the match. From everything I’ve read….they have some ultras in their ranks….we may see how the SOB’s deal with real hoolies this weekend……….could be interesting!

    • What about just sitting and remaining silent all game?

      • oh the deafening silence. yes. what a collective statement. as though the team wasn’t even there.
        me? i like my statements to be made loud-like sung in unison….. ‘we deserve better-so do you! we deserve better-so do you!’
        that way the players recognize it is not them for which we are aiming the protest.

      • If I ever wanted to make a real statement I would organize a few minutes of silence. Say, from the 10-15min mark no chants, no drums, everyone sit down in silence and simply watch the game.
        However, things would have to be truly dire for me to do it since I don’t think it is fair to the players, almost all of who are working their tails off.

    • lefthalfback says:

      The Guardian’s MLS headline is about the U’s incompetance.

    • WestmontUnion says:

      Worth pointing out that the MLS is now global, and the Guardian is one of the most read newspapers and football websites in the world. Safe to say we’re getting killed (and laughed at) globally. Not good for the league, certainly not good for the Union’s image as they go out and try and sign (hopefully?!) new players. The fact that Don Garber isn’t focused on righting this wrong (allowing an unfit ownership group to continue to poorly run a team in a huge market, without the required resources ($) or necessary ambition), concerns me. Forget about Miami, or Sac, or Las Vegas or any other market he’s considering. Philadelphia is too important to fail, and it’s failing. I hope he’s courting Comcast, Stallone, Will Smith, the Roots, Chubby Checker, Pink, or any other person from Philly who has $ in the bank to get the right folks at the helm here.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Does anyone reading this work for INS? Any chance we could deport Mbolhi?

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      not cool

      • +1

      • Atomic spartan says:

        But perhaps appropriate. Collecting money under false pretenses borders on theft.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        If you ask me, any and all blame should be directed at the FO for this. Mbolhi may be unhappy, have some kind of niggling injury, dealing with personal problems, whatever. I don’t know if Mbolhi is a “good” goalkeeper or not, but we all know that he is at least capable of greatness — the WC and Africa Cup of Nations are testament to that. But who can blame a guy for taking a US move for big money when offered? This is on Sak all day long.

      • +1

      • i know that mbohli is not a “good” goalkeeper. he is a “bad” goalkeeper

      • There are problems all over the world, including Eastern European and South American leagues, where players don’t get paid on time, or at all. So yeah, the security of a consistent and on-time paycheck – especially one that’s large in scale – would entice almost anyone to come here and play.

      • Amen. I don’t blame Mbohli for being here or collecting a paycheck. I blame the people (person) who decided it was a good idea to give him that $ and replace a perfectly competent keeper who had the respect of his teammates…

    • +1

  3. 500 GRAND!!!!!!!????
    Who do we hold accountable? Sak? Or no becasue he “had nothing to do with it”. Hackworth? Come on now.
    No end in sight.

    • On the plus side, Sak brokered that huge Union-applesauce partnership in the offseason. That thing is surely paying Rais salary, and then some.

  4. Let’s see if Curtin has the hubris to bench Rais… That will be telling. BUT: is Blake even available for selection yet, after his injury/surgery in preseason?

    Point: I have been telling everyone that he is a different player for country than club. He is just cashing in his paychecks here in the States.
    Counter point: is he suffering a hangover from all of last year’s international duty with World Cup and CAF competitions?

  5. kingkowboys says:

    If the Union burned the MacMath bridge they should start rebuilding it anyway they can because at this point MacMath > M’bolhi. I feel like everything we needed to see MacMath improve on (and did) is now the same problems with M’bolhi. We have gained nothing but a bigger price tag.

    • I think MacMath is gone for the year, regardless of whether the team wants him back or not. I recall – but can’t confirm – that the rules of a loan within MLS require the player to be loaned for the full season.
      With that in mind, I think they need to park MBohli’s pouty ass on the bench and start Blake. (And if Blake isn’t quite ready yet, start McArthy.) The Union need to avoid suffering from the Sunk Cost Fallacy here. The money on MBohli is spent; they can’t unspend it. They can, however, make a change in goal. So, once he’s healthy Blake starts all year. At the end of the year, they team then needs to decide between Blake and MacMath, and they need to move whichever one they decide not to use. McArthy is fine as your backup. Get MBohli out of here at the earliest opportunity. But do not play him simply because of his salary. Don’t compound the issue.

      • You’re correct they can’t bring him back, he’s in Colorado for the entire year. Good for him, he saw a way out and ran as quick as he could. Okugo was happy to leave too, they saw the writing on the wall. I’m not sure the players have much faith – or trust – in the front office to do their job, and probably sense the lack of direction as well.

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      I actually disagree. McMath was very solid for most of last season, including turning out to be a hell of a PK shot stopper. I’d immediately take him as a starter over Mbolhi at this point, salary aside.
      Mbolhi may be a really great GK when he’s comfortable, but he’s clearly not comfortable here in Philly. It’s time we help him find a place where he can play happily.

  6. Did anyone hear the Fox crew mention the absence of Nogueira? I’m surprised that wasn’t made to be more of a big deal. Wish he was on the end of that botched Lahoud chance. That being said, Carroll and Lahoud weren’t the main problems. Mboli needs to be benched. We have 3 games in 8 days. He HAS(!) to be in at least one of those games or I will further lose faith in coaching/management if that’s possible. They at least played with some purpose which you couldn’t say against Chicago…I know I’m searching for positives. Once Nogueira and Maidana return, we should be demanding some results or serious changes should be made asap.

    • I don’t know how you trot him out there for the home game against NYCFC. He’ll get booed out of the building. Give him the day off to get his head straight, and maybe give him another shot on the road at NYCFC.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I believe they very briefly mentioned he has an ankle tweak. They said he was on the bench but was really just filling up a seat since he wouldn’t be able to go very long.

  7. Unrelated to our team… Does it make me a bad person to take some form of glee when seeing issues for a team from NY?

  8. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    ->Who we should blame for the poor game: The team, Curtain
    ->Who we should blame for the howler: Mbolhi
    ->Who we should blame for poor goalkeeping: Mbolhi
    ->Who we should blame for acquiring Mbolhi and his hefty salary: Sak
    ->Who we should blame for not having enough depth: Sak
    ->Who we should blame for not putting enough pressure on Sak/FO: Ourselves

  9. This isn’t related to the Union, but how, with an even 20 teams in the league, can they justify giving teams a weekend off? Most of the league played during the international window, yet some teams had this weekend off? No wonder the league is not taken seriously in other parts of the world. It is 34 weeks from March 7- October 31st of this year, so with no weekends off you could play the whole schedule on Saturdays and Sundays with no weekday games. Even if you move 4 weekend games for FIFA dates and take 2 weeks off in July for the Gold Cup, you could still get away with playing one weekday a month and have 2 months without one. It shouldn’t be that difficult, but it seems like MLS likes to make everything difficult.

    • Yes, MLS HQ seems slow on the uptake sometimes. They finally got dedicated weekly TV slots for their games this season. They’ll figure this out too eventually, I think. Agreed that the off weeks for teams (especially this early) is absurd.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Because the league schedulers are incompetent. There is no reason we don’t see a schedule like the EPL where everyone plays within two days of each other (Friday-Sunday) unless there is a special case such as wanting to schedule around late rounds of the CCL (like the Union did a few years ago when RSL was in the finals).

    • International dates and Gold Cup aren’t terribly difficult to schedule around. But don’t forget to factor in teams playing in CCL, teams playing in USOC, MLB dates for NYFC, NFL dates for Sounders and Revs, dates for other possible events like college football, lacrosse, and soccer, concerts, etc. The you have local factors like possible ordinances for certain days (Sundays, holidays, etc), and other events (parades, festivals, etc.). And of course the TV factor, both local and national. ESPN wants this game, Fox wants that game, etc, etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of every team plays or no team plays, but there’s a lot more to consider than just a few soccer events.

      Oh, speaking of soccer events: while many MLS fans don’t give a rat’s rear-end about friendlies with other clubs or the All-Star Game, the league, club, sponsors, and TV networks do because they equal $$$

      And please don’t use the argument of “but *insert European league name* does it!” Yes, they do, but MLS is not any of those leagues. And few, if any, of those leagues have to deal with the same scheduling issues that professional soccer in America (currently) has to deal with.

  10. Editor: There is no link for the last item in MLS section (“More on last week’s press conference with NASL president.”)

  11. “We are too weak to win our battles” is French for WSSM.

  12. Beardnando4GM says:

    Since we have so much trouble man-marking, should the U give zonal marking a try? As an Arsenal fan, I see them use it every week with varying degrees of success. I know the Gunners did it because they would run out 6 diminutive players every week, but the U could use it to counter their lack of man-marking ability.

    • alicat215 says:

      please don’t try to compare the Onion and our beloved Gunners!…thats like comparing a Beamer and a Chevy!

  13. From the Sugarman press conference November 14:

    “We plan to augment our management team with a permanent sporting director to help take both our youth development and our first team performance to a higher level. We’re going to seek a sporting director with deep experience in player development, player evaluation, and player performance at both the youth and championship levels who can oversee and elevate all of our soccer operations and who will report directly to ownership.”

    “Jay Sugarman responds to a question about the time frame for adding a sporting director”

    “Right person for the position. When we find it, we’ll know it, and we’ll bring it aboard. We’ve committed significant resource to that search and to the position, so when we find the right person, as soon as its available, we’re going to fill the role.”

    “Followup question on the timeline: Will it be months or years? Jay Sugarman responds:”

    “Certainly not years, and it’s not weeks. So, I narrowed it down for you. (Laughter.)”

    That was 5 months ago. I wonder if our “leaders” would care to update us on how that search is going? Haven’t heard a single word on it. I’m actually hoping they abandoned the search in order to concentrate fully on finding a buyer for the team so they can cash out. If only.

    • Wow. Quality recall. Bien.

    • “We’ve committed significant resource to that search and to the position” – unfortunately the Sugarman/Sak view of significant does not comport with the common view of significant in the marketplace. Looking for an undervalued GM to fit the nomoneyball approach.

    • SilverRey says:

      The Union has to have the smallest FO in league history.

  14. I don’t want to count the UNION out yet, but can we PLEASE have Zach back from the Rapids LOAN. I’m more than willing to give them our DP Goalkeeper with weights in shoes. He is an Algerian Nightmare for Union fans. And OVER PAID OVER HIPPED KEEPER. I rather have the YOUNG & DUMB don’t known better and HAVE LOTS OF HEART KEEPER. Bring Back ZACH.BLAKE get well or give JOHNNY MCCARTHY a shot but please. NO MORE NIGHTMARE.

    • John Ling says:

      Unfortunately, no. League rules require the loan to be for the full season. And since we’re not LA, NY, or Seattle, the league won’t invent a new rule to help us out.

  15. Former devotee-turned-casual viewer here. I’m glad to learn that Andre Blake is hurt, given:

    1) He was #1 overall draft pick last year and has since seen, in my memory, one single game?
    2) I see Rais Mbolhi week after week thinking, why isn’t that #1 draft pick playing after what happened last week??

    I thought I was losing it.

    Interesting conversation about the SOBs. The other end should get organized (have to play around with the name and branding; but the “Other End” sounds like a start hmm?) and start up some of the chants that I see flying around here.

  16. SELL to a competent financially competitive owner!


  17. Really good job on the post game show; even the choice of venue. If you can get it uploaded fast enough, give it it’s own page each week to make it a feature.

    Fashion comment of the week: White v-neck undershirts, Kevin. They go under almost anything.

  18. Great web site. Lots of helpful information the following. Now i’m mailing this to a few good friends ans as well sharing with scrumptious. As well as, thank you on the sweat!

Leave a Reply

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