Daily news roundups

Mbolhi benched, trialist with the Union, SoB Movie tickets now available, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

Well, the strange tale of Rais Mbolhi’s time with the Union — guaranteed a starting spot upon signing, generally underwhelming, if not outright horrible, performances in goal ever since — has taken a turn.

Kevin Kinkead reported at CBS Philly on Tuesday afternoon that Jim Curtin confirmed Mbolhi has been benched. Kinkead reports, “It’s unclear right now whether Andre Blake or John McCarthy will start on Saturday. Blake is now training in full after undergoing off-season knee surgery.”

Given Blake has been out of action for sometime following surgery, you’d have to think the smart money is on local lad McCarthy getting the start. Kinkead and KYW’s Greg Orlandini talk to McCarthy in the latest edition of the KYW Philly Soccer Show podcast.

In case you’re wondering if the Union can recall Zac MacMath from the loan to Colorado, according to the 2014 Roster Rules and Regulations at the league website (the most recent rules available because it’s April of 2015 and,you know, it’s MLS), a player loaned to another MLS team “must remain with his new team for the entire MLS Season.”

ProSoccerTalk, Goal.com, SBI, and Brotherly Game on Kinkead’s report.

Before posting the Mbolhi news, Kinkead tweeted from Tuesday’s Union practice that two trialists were training with the team, identifying one as 27-year-old Argentine attacking midfielder Facundo Coria. (Sorry, @HulkUnionSmash, it does not appear that the other trialist is Ronaldinho.)

Coria’s page on TransferMarkt.com says Coria joined Vélez Sársfield’s senior team from its youth side. He spent time on loan with Arsenal de Sarandí in 2008, and Emelec in Ecuador in 2009, as well as Argentinos Juniors in 2009-2010. This was followed by further loan spells with Villarreal B and Pachuca. It looks like he was then sold to Estudiantes, who then sold him to Colo Colo, before he returned to Argentinos. All in all, it looks like he’s had limited playing time with no goals or assists since 2010. Make of that what you will. More at Brotherly Game.

All of Tuesday’s news is sure to make for an interesting weekly press conference with Jim Curtin today at 12:30 pm. I’m told that the technical issues that affected making video of the last two press conferences available have been fixed.

Philly Sports Network talks to Zach Pfeffer about his growing role in the team, as well as recently playing with the US U-23s against Denmark.

In MLSsoccer.com’s power rankings, the Union move up one spot to No. 19: “Can’t defend in the air, which is problematic when the starting goalkeeper can’t control the box. At least the front line were opportunistic.”

The latest injury report:

  • M Cristian Maidana (left MCL sprain, DNP 4/5)
  • M Eric Bird (hernia repair recovery, DNP 4/5)
  • D Sheanon Williams (right hamstring strain, DNP 4/5, full training 4/7)
  • F Conor Casey (right low ab strain, DNP 4/5)

Brotherly Game reviews what’s gone wrong for the Union so far.

Sons of Ben: The Movie

Tickets for the Philly premiere of the Sons of Ben movie on June 10 are now on sale.


Junior Lone Star U-20 team co-captains Joseph Aidoo (D) and Vlandy Eric Slueue (M) have been called into the Liberia U-23 national team camp ahead of the Olympic qualifier against Ghana on April 26. This is the first time a Junior Lone Star player has been called up by the Liberia national team at the youth or senior level.

Harrisburg City Islanders have announced a new youth soccer partnership with PA Classics.

Ocean City Nor’easters alum Timi Mulgrew, signed by New England Revolution last month, has been loaned to USL side Rochester Rhinos.

The Philly Soccer Six awards banquet took place on Tuesday night. Click here for a list of the winners.


Montreal Impact have reached the CONCACAF Champions League final. Winning the semifinal first leg against Alajuelense (which includes former Union man Porfirio Lopez on its roster) at home, 2-0, with former Union man Jack McInerney opened the scoring in the second leg in Costa Rica just before the end of the first half. The Impact would go on to lose the game 4-2, but advance thanks to the away goals tiebreaker. (Match highlights here.) Montreal will face either Herediano or Club America in the two-leg final.

Montreal’s Dominic Oduro says he was subjected to racist abuse from Alajuelense supporters during the game. He tweeted, “So sad that in this generation some fans still make monkey noises when black players are playing the game. Shame to all #alajuelense fans.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports on the Chicharito to Orlando city rumors, “it’s safe to say there is nothing to them.”

At Goal.com, a look at what the significance of recent spate international broadcasting deals means for the league. MLS senior vice president of media Seth Bacon says, “There will be many more of these deals to come. We’re not finished by a longshot.”


At the Washington Post, Steven Goff notes, considers how the Jurgen Klinsmann might use Gedion Zelalem, noting, “In good time, FIFA is expected to clear him to play for the United States.”

Ahead of the first round draw today for this year’s edition of the US Open Cup, the Telegraph has a Q&A theCup.us website founder Josh Hakala on the challenges the tournament faces in capturing the public’s imagination.


Reuters reports, “Fifa presidential candidate Luis Figo has disputed the Confederation of African Football’s claim that all 54 votes from the continent will go to incumbent Sepp Blatter in the presidential elections next month.”

The AP reports, “Russia’s budget for the 2018 World Cup is being cut by four percent by scrapping luxury hotels that might otherwise lie empty after the tournament.” That’s it, I’m not going.

At the Guardian: “An Argentinian referee has landed himself in trouble after overturning his decision to award a penalty and a red card after it was reported that his assistant saw a replay on a TV monitor in one of the dugouts and told him to change his mind.” The report notes the referee, German Delfino, “who has admitted his performance was “messy”, has been suspended for one match for failing to control the game and will be allowed to return only in the lower leagues. Though the refereeing team maintain that overturning their decision had nothing to do with the instant replays on the Arsenal bench, the suspicion it was an unofficial use of video technology lingers.”


  1. Once again my crushing pessimism about the union takes over and I wonder “Are they benching Mbolhi because it is the right thing to do or are they doing it just to stem the obvious fan backlash?”
    See the Union are making me insane and paranoid!
    Obviously they are benching Mbohli for his play, but texting Kinkead with “Oh Hai! We R benching Mbohli for ????? LOL!” was a PR move because who makes a big deal about benching someone on a Tuesday?

  2. I do not know where else to post this so Daily News Roundups seems best. There were three(3) former union players starting in last nights champions league game. Two from Montreal…Jack Mack, and Bakary Soumaré. One from Alajuelense…Porfirio Lopez. And if Justin Mapp was healthy it would have been FOUR!!!! This is just maddening. IF THERE IS ONE SINGLE THING THAT IS TELLING OF THE FRONT OFFICE IT IS THIS!!!!

    • whoa whoa whoa whoa…. There is a tiny bit of revisionist history here. Lopez has HATED while he was here. Mapp was skewered by the fans for being one footed (though his play improved much at Montreal) Baky was ????, and even a fair portion of the fan base turned on Jack Mac and he hasn’t permanently made himself as a starter.
      that being said we could use almost all of those players now.

      • I am just simply making an observation.

      • Lopez was played out of position here. Never should have been played at LB.

      • true. I would take him at centerback over white right now.

      • +1. Lopez was awful for us. Mapp was mediocre, and improved markedly upon going to the Impact (I don’t know why — he plays the same position for them that he did for us). Soumare was not a bad player but was way overpriced. And Jack Mac was traded for Wenger in a deal that, so far, has been pretty much a wash. There is PLENTY else about which to criticize the FO without this.

      • Marco Di Vaio would likely be one reason Justin Mapp has had a bounce in his career.

      • Jim Presti says:

        +1. Helps when you have a class striker to connect on your crosses

      • What a delightful load of bullshit sour grapes rationalizations! This short list of bad trades and disgruntled departures from this dysfunctional organization could easily be doubled or trebled.

      • Based on this year’s performance the trade is not a wash! Jack Mac is scoring left and right while Wenger is getting scores of less than 5 for most of his performances this year!

      • Jack has one goal in two league appearance. Not bad but not left and right either.

      • John Ling says:

        Hey – Porfirio still might have the best hair ever on this team.

      • This is true.

  3. You’d have to think smart money is on McCarthy to start….so get in their Blake!!!!!!

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice, one time to find a guy know one in MLS has ever heard of knew existed or gave a damn about – until he scores 18 gols in 34 games.
    Call it good scouting call it dumb luck call it good fortune it would be the first this team could lay claim to.

    • thats good scouting bro……………..not many MLS clubs have the infrastructure to have a big scouting network yet. I believe that was one reason they got Rene involved….he knows the networks in Europe and South America already.

      • Yea, agreed. well here’s hoping Facundo Coria could be a sweet pair of Chinos one finds in a thrift store- even at 27 years old. One can continue to wish.

    • For the Union, that sounds like a fairy tale. If only one would come true.

    • Nando is on pace for just that, crazily enough. Too bad it seems like 1 great pickup isn’t enough this year. Maybe if we hadn’t done so much subtraction, we could have gotten some value for our addition.

  5. Someone should all Curtin today what, if anything, Rene M. is doing for the team right now. Is he put scouting and making suggestions like these two mystery trialists? Is he helping to find a permanent GM? What gives?
    The news about benching Mbolhi at least indicates someone at the Union is a little afraid of fans coming to ppl and getting ugly. Otherwise, why announce it now? Though Curtin is always pretty honesty when asked a question.
    I’m really hoping for a result against NYCFC. The bleeding needs to stop.

    • bleeding and bloodletting a two different things and you are right, this team is bleeding badly. a bloodletting is used as a curative. here’s hoping something is curative soon. i have grave concerns though.

    • alicat215 says:

      I just find it hilarious that a bunch of NYCFC supporters are going to come down to a hostile PPL Park this weekend….and they are not the reason the locals are restless…..its all in house shit! I think the Union supporters are going to tell them: “yes, we really hate you people from NYC, but…..we have bigger fish to fry right now….when we get done with Sak and the FO…..then we will turn our vitriol to you…..where it belongs!”

      • Ha Ha. So right.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        We do play them twice at home this year, so just politely tell them we don’t have time for their shit this weekend… we’ll deal with you in June. Haha. I do hate NY though.

  6. The fact that The Union moved up in the power rankings has caused the power rankings to drop to 21 out of 20 in ‘relevance of polls’ rankings

    • I hear ya, but keep in mind that #20 is Colorado, a team that has yet to score a goal this season. Granted, even with that fact, the Rapids have more points than we do…

      • that is the definition of ironical, as the great Robin Williams once said.

      • I agree with John. I think Colorado is impotent to the point where the Union would beat them 7 times out of 10 on a neutral field.

      • alicat215 says:

        I was just going to say…..they have more points. Colorado at least doesn’t hide from what they are doing….they park the bus like its a badge of honor! And yes, they will probably end up with more points by October than we have! I really thought that was the way we were going to play….only better at it…..with more attacking options……I was way off!

  7. The only ranking the Union should be moving up in after this week is team most likely to embarrass themselves on a regular basis

  8. 1) I applaud Curtin’s fortitude for making the right decision.
    2) I ever The Union pessimist am predicting this move will propel The Union to a 3-1 victory on Saturday for their first win of the year.

    • May this come true.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I just want to see McCarthy start. Local boy makes good. MAYFAIR BABY!!!

      • The Black Hand says:

        David Villa and the rest of Kreis’ team is a tough, tough draw for the kid. McCarthy is a very risky play. He’s untested and NYCFC is going to test. If he gets shelled…his confidence could be toast. Bad timing…
        Personally, I’d send M’Bohli out there with the message, “this game will earn/cost your job”…and then I will pray to the heavens that Andre Blake get fit!!

      • I think as-is can work out. There was just absolutely no way – for the team or the fans – that MBohli could start Saturday. Nobody has confidence in him right now. There needed to be a change.
        So McCarthy starting says Blake isn’t quite back in game shape yet. So you give McCarthy the start. You rally the troops around your young keeper. You make sure Edu, Williams, etc are in the face of anybody not doing their job defensively.
        If McCarthy does well, you can ride it for a little while. If he loses… well, we sort of expect it. So no real harm. You come out and support McCarthy and say you put the kid in a really tough position and you know it wasn’t really fair to him; you mention some things he did well in the game. Then you switch to Blake, because now – you say – he’s fully healthy and fit and ready to go.
        But they had to make a move. And if Blake is deemed not ready, McCarthy is the only option. So they have to ride it and do what they can to get a win for the kid.

  9. Good move benching M’Bolhi. Question is why on Tuesday? Just curious. Is Blake back and fully healthy? Should be an interesting conference today. What I would give to have no M’Bolhi, but keep Okugo and sign an actually MLS LB and Winger.

    • You announce this on Tuesday because it maybe changes the tone of the Wednesday press conference. My guess is they hope that this changes the tenor of the questions from being about MBohli being so bad to instead talking about whichever goalie is given the start.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        You announce this on Tuesday so people buy tickets this weekend.. I was called by my former rep yesterday and unfortunately for him he received quite the response. He was a nice kid and I felt bad and apologized but I made it pretty clear that I will renew my season tickets when Sak is gone and only then.

      • The last time I received a call for tickets I told them the club just traded my favorite player to Orlando and I asked the young man if he knew what player that was….. he didn’t. I chose not to be to sarcastic with him- but just a little.

      • alicat215 says:

        your a nice guy dude…….I just started laughing over the phone! But, to the Union’s credit….they still call every couple weeks!

      • alicat215 says:

        John, your right…..it was a deflection from the heat they were going to get tomorrow. My guess is, they thought this could change the subject a little. But, lets hope a proper journalist sees right through this and still hammers them! They can’t get a pass….if they do…..we all suffer more. A keeper skipping town shouldn’t change the narrative from the past few weeks……..it should highlight it!

    • MD Jessup says:

      I know it seems naive, but maybe you announce it on Tuesday because it happened on Monday. If the team tells the story relatively promptly then there are less conspiracy theories, less opportunity for baseless speculation, etc. There is also more of a chance for the team and players to start to focus on the future (like this weekend), which is the only way you turn this season around.

  10. FYI Zeitlin just tweeted that the starting keeper will be named at today’s press conference, and M’Bolhi is not on the premises today… Take it for what you will…

    • Clearly, somebody at the Union FO read all my rants during the last week about not falling victim to the Sunk Cost Fallacy in regards to MBohli.
      Also, I think I just sprained my shoulder while trying to pat myself on the back…

    • He also followed that it’s “doubtful MBohli will be back here ever again”…I think we’re in for some interesting news today!

      • If that’s true, he must have been a real team chemistry issue too, in addition to a poor performer.

      • Can you imagine the point of reference this will be highlighting the effervescent failure of this organization- should it be the case that he doesn’t play anymore or worse, continues to play so poorly…..that is until they earn the right to remove the albatross. when. if.
        Ladies and gentleman, we have a rival for Peter Nowak I believe.

      • alicat215 says:

        I actually miss Peter, he at least had the locker room scared shitless of him…….I haven’t seen that since.

    • Curtin says McCarthy will start. Blake will back him up.

    • Not only not on the premises . . . not in the country!

      • So that really was him in the airport?

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        The picture I saw it looked like him but it wasn’t him. However it was reported by Zeitlin said M’Bolhi has flown back to France.

  11. Congrats to the two ballers from Junior Lonestar. Keep up the good work gentlemen! They maybe the best club in the Philly area right now………got too love them!

  12. The Cliff of Union Despair says:

    Ah! We have a new resident here on the Cliff of Union Despair!

    Welcome Rais! Please make yourself comfortable, we have a wonderful Algerian NT parka here for you to wear to keep you warm. Unfortunately due to your immense salary, the Union can’t pony up an extra Union parka to loan out to you during your stay here.

    If you come right over here to the edge, we have a TV set up with highlights of you from the World Cup. We tried to put a highlight reel together for your time here with the Union but…..well ya know.

    We even have a mirror for you to look into, so you can work on alleviating that RBF, that you seem to have.

    We have set up a mail service for you here, so you can receive all of your emails, texts, and tweets as well. Don’t worry, we are going to make sure that we block all correspondence from Ray Gaddis.

    So welcome to the cliff sir, sit down and make yourself comfortable, you might be here awhile.

    What’s that? Oh do not worry Monsieur M’Bohli. Pay no attention to the gaggle of people behind you that look like they are going to push you off. They can be trusted to do the right thing.

    • Staci Klemmer says:

      You just made my day.

    • And he couldn’t get any Union luggage because Carlos Valdez took it all.

    • The Chopper says:

      Funny and biting. Like all good satire very true. I do hope that M’Bolhi can find some peace. There must be some awful things running around his head right now. He appears to be deeply troubled.

      We will all watch Tiger Woods try to regain some form at the Masters this week which reminds us how the Inner workings of the mind can suddenly render the greatest athletes incapable. I would hate to see Rais become Steve Sax. Sax was an all star 2nd baseman who suddenly could not successfully make routine throws to first base.

      Maybe when he gets back to the comfort of his national team he will find his mojo. It sure as hell isn’t going to happen here.

      • The Cliff of Union Despair says:

        The management team here at the Cliff of Union Despair would like to thank you for your frank concern over our newest resident, Monsieur M’Bohli.

        We here at the CUD have a wonderful mental rehabilitation program and Daiye Spa to cater to our residents. Didn’t you read that we have a mirror to counteract RBF?

        We have many self help symposiums held here as well. Like the “I suck, you suck, We suck so much” seminar run by Mr. Sakiewicz.

        We also can’t forget our first customers that were here since we opened in January of 2015. They have been enjoying our sanitarium accommodations. We have outfitted them with extremely comfortable with straight jackets and showing live streams of all EPL games. There is a concern for when our stock of that goes dry until August, but much like the Union FO, we will scrap some fourth rate solution together when we get there.

        All in all, I do hope that you will visit The Cliff in the near future, because it’s like our company motto says, “Why be Optimistic, when you can bang your head against a cement wall.”

      • This is terrific. We can now add CUD to the list. Sounds so clinical.

      • I swear, if somebody makes a CUD t-shirt, I’ll buy one and wear it to the stadium.
        EVERYONE should 🙂

      • In TW defense his issues are swing related – even the chipping woes. He changed his angle of attack – through swing coach – and it all fucked him up. All this in an effort to alleviate the torque on knees and back which is obviously causing issues as he ages.

    • alicat215 says:

      ….and, we have cookies!

      • The Cliff of Union Despair says:

        And yes… We have cookies

      • John Ling says:

        Oh, well… in that case… Chocolate chip? If so, is there still room?

      • The Cliff of Union Despair says:

        Thank you for your inquiry to the Cliff of Union Despair. The CUD has adopted a Sakiewicz policy when it comes to chocolate chip cookies.

        They go to no one but goalkeepers. Monsieur M’Bohli is currently enjoying our entire 6 month supply of chocolate chip cookies up front. He is also contracted to receive our entire next 3 years supply of chocolate chip cookies.

        So…. much like the Union, you shall have to put up with whatever other cookies we have lying around right now. In stock currently, the only type of cookie we have is “Pralines and Dick.”

        We hope that you will come visit us soon at the CUD, where emotionally smashing your hand repeatedly in a desk drawer, is a way of life.

      • alicat215 says:

        +5! That might be the funniest thing I’ve ever read on here………and you captured the exact feeling of walking out of PPL the last year I was there……I could never find the right words to describe the feeling……but you nailed it dude!

      • alicat215 says:

        Don’t ask where the milk comes from……………

      • The Black Hand says:

        “I milked the cows.”
        “We don’t have cows. We have Bulls.”
        “I’m gonna go brush my teeth”

      • alicat215 says:

        Hey everyone….run for your lives….theres a shitcloud coming! Lol! Great movie!

    • The Black Hand says:

      It has a name!!!! Property values are going to skyrocket, up here on the cliff. Keep eyes peeled for the Sugarman. He may be lured by this market…

  13. alicat215 says:

    I feel sorry for Mbholi…..yeah, the guy $hit the bed. But, ask yourself…..what happened to a guy in just 6 months who goes from one of the top keepers at the World Cup to a reserve on a last place club in the MLS? Rarely are these things a one way street, has he dealt with adversity well, obviously not. But, I think Sak and Jim deserve some of the blame here. It seems that everyone wants to give Jim a pass because of what he walked into….guess what? Tough $hit! It happens all over the world….all the time. The buck stops with the gaffer…in this case Jim. This needed to be addressed weeks ago……damage has already been done. And I guarantee that Rais is not the only problem in this locker room…..you can tell by what the guys say and their body language on the pitch. The club has been poisoned……the antidote: The whole FO and coaching staff needs to go……….the purge starts there.

    • John Ling says:

      I certainly have empathy for Rais MBohli, the person. As a general rule of thumb, I don’t like seeing people fail; I’d rather watch them soar. Hopefully he can figure out his demons, whatever they happen to be, and get things back on track personally.
      That said, Rais MBohli the goalkeeper for the Philadelphia Union needed to go, at least a week ago if not sooner. Glad the move is finally made.

      • +1 John, well said.
        Also, I don’t think Curtin had anything to do with Mbohli being here. The hiring of one and the aquisition of the other were too close together.
        Also, the purse strings are WAY too tight to blame Curtin for not going out and making a “big splash” player move. Can’t make a big with pennies.

    • MooseHere says:

      Jim might not deserve a “pass”, but he did walk into a tough situation. Having a revolving door of coaches will never get it done. MBohli should have been gone after that disastrous giveaway vs. Chicago essentially ended the 2014 season back in October. Hopefully this benching is a first step in the right direction.

  14. “At least the front line were [sic] opportunistic.”
    Fixed it for you.
    I actually checked your source. That is some horrible grammar right there, perhaps not shocking coming from “MLS Soccer.”

  15. This team needs a GM ASAP. Curtin and Albright should not be in a position to make GM decisions. Curtin just needs to coach since he lacks that crucial experience!

    Sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive ownership!


  16. I personally will not spend hard earned dollars to see the SOB movie or purchase merchandise until the SoB’s stand up and be counted when it comes to calling out this cheap 3rd rate organization who is undeserving and poorly representing the 4th largest sports and media market in the USA!

  17. Steve OMalley says:

    Mr. Sugarman please sell this damn team! !!

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