Daily news roundups

“We’re happy”: Reaction to draw at NYCFC, Union Academy’s Pellegrino gets US U14 BNT call-up, SoB River Cup tryout info

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

For the third straight time, a Union game was decided in the final five minutes of play. For the second straight time, fortune favored the Union. As Union head coach Jim Curtin put it, “We thought we should have been on the right end of results early [in the season] and gave up late goals. To score a late one and stick with it, the guys showed a lot of fight.”

Curtin said further,

It was big for us to stick to the task, get a goal at the end and hang on, because it’s not easy on the road. They threw a lot of numbers forward, they put a lot into the game. You could tell by the number of guys they had cramping up that were exhausted because they put a lot of energy and effort into the game.

Happy, though, that we hung on and got the result, but any time you can put back-to-back good performances together, we’re happy.

Curtin also said of the result,

It’s huge. We talked about that earlier that we didn’t want them to take three and have it be kind of a wash. To take the four points was a huge one for us and one that we can build on to and look forward to New England, a very good team coming in on the weekend. We’ll have to regroup, quick turn around and get three points on our home field.

Sapong said of his goal, “It’s an opportunity, man. I had a little drought within my own standards and I tried to focus extra today on going with the play. I think the last couple of games there were some tricklers that I could’ve gotten to if I had stayed with it. That was my motto for the day, was focusing, concentration. It fell for me and I just put it in the net.”

Curtin said of the goal, “It was a tougher finish than you think. [Sapong] had to wait for the ball to come down and put it in the corner. It was a good goal… It’s great. I give the kid a lot of credit. He had his face literally smashed in week one in the first 45 minutes of the game. He wanted to be back on the field right away. But for him to stick with it, stay in shape as well as he did during his down time, and score a big goal for us tonight.”

NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders said of Sapong’s equalizer, “It was just kind of a hopeful ball in the box for them. Give them credit, kind of a second ball situation and they were hungry, they wanted to get to it. We didn’t necessarily make the play to clear the ball out of the box. For me, I was just hoping the guy would kick it straight at me.”

In case you were wondering about Sapong’s thoughts on having to wear that protective face mask: “It really sucks. It’s definitely good to be protected but it restricts the breathing a little bit. I think I only need to wear it a couple of more games. I’ll be tossing it out soon.”

Curtin said of Maurice Edu’s play, “He was a man tonight, a man amongst boys. He dominated as a center back.”

ProSoccerTalk named Maurice Edu man of the match: “Not only did Mo provide the assist on Sapong’s equalizer, but his defensive work (7 clearances, 4 interceptions and 3 tackles won) seemed to always occur in the most critical situations, where if not for Edu’s intervention, NYCFC run away with this game.”

I must confess the ridiculously small field at Yankee Stadium made it difficult at times for me to take the game seriously. Curtin said in Wednesday’s press conference that word was that the Yankee Stadium pitch was 68 yards wide. After Thursday’s game, Curtin said, “It is narrow, but I am a tall guy and I have long strides, and by my measurements, it’s a legit 70 yards.”

Recaps and reports from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Inquirer, Philly.comDelco Times, CBS PhillyCinnaminson Patch, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GameVavelThe Sports QuotientPhilly Sports NetworkPhilly Sports RantsMLSsoccer.com, NYCFC, New York Post, New York Daily News, NewsdayNewsdayBig Apple Soccer, Empire of Soccer, SBI, Soccer America, Goal.com, ProSoccerTalkUS Soccer Players, Sky SportsDaily MailFour Four TwoSports Max, Omnisport, The Sports Network, and the AP. At USA Today and Newsday, photo galleries from the game.

The Union return to action on Sunday when they host New England Revolution (5 pm: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN, ESPN3). Look for our preview later this morning. In the meanwhile, previews at MLSsoccer.com and Sky Sports.

Union Academy

Midfielder Michael Pellegrino (Wenonah, N.J.) has been called up for the US U-14 BNT camp in Carson, Calif., April 18-26.

Sons of Ben

Information on tryouts for the Sons of Ben River Cup team is now available. The tryouts will take place May 18, June 1, June 8, and June 18 at YSC Sports in Wayne. Registration costs $40. To be eligible for consideration, you must:

  • Attend a minimum of 2 of the 4 tryouts
  • Agree to sign a liability waiver
  • Be a paid member of the Sons of Ben

Click here to register.


Harrisburg City Islanders have their home opener on Saturday when they host FC Montreal (7 pm, YouTube). Previews from Harrisburg City Islanders and Penn Live.


At Orlando Sentinel, a profile of former Union man Amobi Okugo. Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath, who is clearly smitten with Okugo, says, “I think the change of scenery and change in environment has done him a world of good.”

In a profile piece at the Daily Mail about his time in the US, Heath relates an interesting story about Kaka: “We went on pre-season to Charleston and we hired a few vans to transport everyone around. He volunteered to drive one of them and then would wait around for the kids who are straggling and the last to leave, to make sure they’re not left behind. He’s a remarkable person.”

At the 91st Minute, Will Parchman looks at how Homegrown Players impact their teams.

The Wall Street Journal on the rift between NYCFC supporters and those who support Manchester City. Naturally, it does not follow that supporters of one team support the other, despite the club’s shared ownership.

The New Yorker on experiencing “history-free” soccer in the form of NYCFC playing at Yankee Stadium.

International Business Times looks at the reasons why MLS has been so successful in landing international broadcasting deals: “While it’s not in the same galaxy as the English Premier League, it is still broadcast in nearly as many countries as the top-flight German league, the Bundesliga, and in more countries than La Liga.”

MLS Atlanta celebrated the one-year anniversary of being announced as an expansion team on Thursday.

San Antonio Business Journal’s observations from Wednesday night’s USA-Mexico friendly says the city may need to rethink its strategy for securing an MLS franchise. More on San Antonio Scorpions’ MLS aspirations at San Antonio Express-News.

MLS in Albuquerque?


At ASN, seven thoughts from Wednesday’s USMNT 2-0 win over Mexico, as well as other observations from the game.

Abby Wambach has made Time’s list of the 100 most influential people.

At Philly.com, Lauren Green and Jonathan Tannenwald look at some of the players who did not make the US roster for the Women’s World Cup.


Checkout the latest Footy on the Telly for the upcoming week’s live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio.

Reuters reports from the CONCACAF congress in the Bahamas that while the confederation “looks very different to the rather shabby organization led by [well known crook Jack] Warner, the politics of the organization proved to be remarkably similar…The formalities had barely been dealt with before the first of 10 federation representatives began their eulogies to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, whose organization has faced numerous allegations of corruption in the past four years.”

A separate Reuters report says Blatter was hailed in those eulogies as “a combination of Jesus Christ, Nelson Mandela, Moses, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King. Just for good measure, the FIFA president was also described as ‘the father of football.'”

Of course, Blatter saying he believes CONCACAF teams should be allotted four spots in the World Cup doesn’t hurt.

While Blatter’s rivals for the upcoming election for the FIFA presidency were in attendance, they had been denied the opportunity to address confederation delegates. Said presidential candidate Luis Figo, “When some speak and others are silenced, democracy and football lose.”

Oh, yeah, Jeffrey Webb was re-elected president of CONCACAF.

At Vice Sports, a fascinating read on the Bhutan national tea, “no longer the worst team in the world.”


  1. Speaking of Okugo, how is he doing?

  2. MLS in Albuquerque?
    The Whites, I presume…

  3. I was thinking about the Ballouchy gol this morning on my run and if I was a buddy of Raymond Gaddis – – and this was a high school physics class, I would give him two-for-flinching last night…
    …. In truth though- the cross body hesitation was breathtaking and it opened up a space/time portal through which he bent a lovely ball of light around the keeper.
    No harm no foul. Just beautiful football.

    • Yeah, I mean he got beat, but my god what a great move.

    • pragmatist says:

      I was pretty negative when it happened, but it was a good goal. You could find fault maybe with the build-up, or Vittoria not stepping up in the shooting lane, but the bottom line is that it was a good move and a great shot.

    • The question is when will the Union score a goal like that? I’m all for the put back type of goal. They’re worth the same in the end. I’d just love to see that kind of quality at PPL.

    • his snake-trap gave him the space, cheeky……and twisted RayRay into the ground. Nogs got caught on that goal too…..more at fault than Ray

    • yeah re the move, but why was Ray so far off of him to begin with – Ballouchy was already in the box. What was Ray protecting by staying so far off?

  4. What a wonderful two night display of American Soccer fields. Let’s hope no one else was watching… Did anyone else find it kind of hard to even watch last night because of the field? Our team is not built for a game in that tight of spaces, especially when the other team is hooking, pulling, pushing, tackling. I almost don’t blame them though, and I don’t envy the refs at every NYCFC home game.
    First correction Jimbo needs to make for Sunday is letting Le toux and Wenger take a little rest. They were completely anonymous last night, and have been for some time. I mean did Seba even play last night?
    Seems like our biggest lineup problem right now is that almost all of our in form players prefer the middle of the field. I think the easiest fix for this would be to lineup in our best 4-2-3-1 formation and have Ayuk and Sapong play the wings, giving Sapong that second striker role that Le Toux (supposedly) had been playing.

  5. ebradlee10 says:

    The field is a joke. The irony of Mansour paying millions for a team and then having to play on that POS field is highly amusing to me.

    • Well it’s not like they tried to build one. They are going to have to bite the bullet and pay for the land on some of the most expensive real estate in the world instead of trying to steal public land.

    • I feel bad for their supporters. I don’t think I’d be interested in watching a match there even if I still lived a short walk from the 6.

  6. Anybody know where I can get a Bhutan kit?

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