Daily news roundups

Mbolhi rumors, Union bits, Impact at Azteca for CCL final first leg, US U-23s face Mexico, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

How about some Rais Mbolhi rumors? One report (crappy Google translation here) links Mbolhi to a move to Turkey, with another report doing the same (crappy translation here) noting the Algerian is under contract with the Union through 2017. Union Rumors notes that Mbolhi was linked to Konyaspor before his move to the Union.

Perhaps the rumors will come up in Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference, which takes place today at 12:30 pm. Before Curtin, Fernando Aristeguieta will speak to the press at 12:15 pm.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin talks to Zach Pfeffer about joining the US U-20s for their camp in Austria. Pfeffer said after Sunday’s Union game, “It’s getting into crunch time leading to the World Cup. There’s only about a month left and this is the last camp before [head coach Tab Ramos] picks his team. It’s an important camp for me and I’m excited.” The call-up means Pfeffer will be unavailable for the Union this weekend when they travel to Columbus.

It doesn’t appear that Pfeffer played in the US U-20’s 2-2 draw with Asian champions Qatar in Tuesday’s friendly, which is understandable given that he flew out to join the team in Austria after playing 78 minutes for the Union on Sunday night. In goal for the US was Downingtown’s Zack Steffen.

The officials for Saturday’s road game in Columbus have been announced. Holding the whistle will be Chris Penso. Gregory Barkey and Mark Cahen are the linesmen, Mark Kadlecik the fourth official.

The headline at Metro reads, “Philly Union on-field play, attitude improving.”

Power rankings: The Union drop one spot to No. 19 at MLSsoccer.com: “Jim Curtin is looking for answers all across the field but one thing is for sure: Cristian Maidana needs to be in the starting lineup.” Yep.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young looks at the Union’s late-game collapses.

The latest in the Union’s “Mic’d Up” video series features Maurice Edu during last week’s draw at NYCFC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love this sort of thing.

At the Union website, the “Start Your Journey” series, a collaboration between AAA and the Union “to help celebrate families’ journeys in support of their young athletes,” begins with Jimmy McLaughlin. You can submit your family’s story for consideration by clicking here.

In case you missed it on Tuesday night, the latest 90th Minute Radio Show featured Sebastien Le Toux as the guest.

Looking ahead to Saturday, Columbus Dispatch reports that the Crew’s Ethan Finlay is rounding into form.


Antoine Hoppenot received an honorable mention in this week’s USL Team of the Week for his play on loan from the Union to Harrisburg City Islanders in their home opener win over Montreal last Saturday.

PSP contributor Sean Doyle talks about the upcoming Reading United season in the latest Reading United Soccer Scene video.

The Trentonian on the election of Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 51, into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Good read.

Brotherly Game recaps Philadelphia Fury’s spring season opening loss to the Evergreen Diplomats last Saturday.

The Drexel women’s team is holding an identification clinic open to all high school-age female soccer field players and goalkeepers on Sunday, May 31 from 10 am–3:30 pm at the Vidas Athletic Complex.


Montreal Impact play Club America at the Azteca in Mexico City tonight at 9 pm in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final. The game is on Fox Sports 2, which remains unavailable to Comcast subscribers, but you can see the Spanish-language broadcast on UniMas.

Both legs of the final have sold out. That’s 105,000 tickets sold for tonight’s game at the Azteca, and 59,020 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Montreal is trying to figure out a way to fit more people in Olympic Stadium.

Former Union man Jack McInerney talks to ASN about playing in the final: “Going into Azteca and playing in front of 100,000 people and Club America— if that doesn’t get you pumped up, I don’t know what does.”

At MLSsoccer.com, a good read on how the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks — perhaps the top pro team in the US at the time — nearly pulled off an improbable upset of Club America at the Azteca in the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup — forerunner to the  CONCACAF Champions League — in 1992.

Sportsnet.ca reports, “A well-placed source within Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment told Sportsnet that the organization is actively looking to hire a club president that would oversee all soccer operations for TFC. The same source said MLSE has courted and spoken to Italian executive Umberto Gandini about the position. Gandini is a club director at Serie A team AC Milan.” ESPNFC’s David Amoyal first tweeted the news on Monday, along with this bit: “Been told that a loss in next match will bring a coaching change at Toronto FC, and next manager is expected to be Italian.”

Orlando City has reached the 14,000 mark for season tickets sold. A waiting list has been created for those wishing to buy season tickets for 2016.

Real Salt Lake center back Chris Schuler is out four-to-six weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

At SI, Grant Wahl Wahl writes, “[O]ne question I’ve heard from some team execs is this: If the salary cap is only $4.2 million per team in 2019, how will MLS reach its stated goal of being one of the world’s top soccer leagues by 2022?” He continues,

I asked a top league exec, and he mentioned two specific things: One, that the league will likely increase the number of Designated Players allowed per team, which currently stands at three. And two, he said the league’s investment in youth development (currently at $30 million a year) will only increase by 2019 and should be producing significant dividends by then. We’ll see if he’s right.

The Salt Lake Tribune on Fox moving last Sunday’s NYCFC-Portland game from Fox Sports 1 to Fox Sports 2 because some NASCAR race that was to air on Fox was rain-delayed and had to be moved to Fox Sports 1. It’s a ridiculous scenario, and one that will surely happen again. The article also notes “Fox is carrying the upcoming women’s World Cup (June 6-July 5), and it has half a dozen games slated to air on FS2.”


The US U-23s face Mexico tonight at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. (11 pm: UniMás, Univision Deportes). Previews at US Soccer, SI, and MLSsoccer.com.

ESPN reports Julian Green would have played in tonight’s game but “but new Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia gave permission hours too late, according to U.S. assistant coach Andi Herzog.”

The US U-20s drew 2-2 with Asian champions Qatar in a friendly on Tuesday in Austria. It doesn’t appear that the Union’s Zach Pfeffer played in the game, which is understandable that he flew out to join the team in Austria after playing 78 minutes for the Union on Sunday night. In goal for the US was Downingtown’s Zack Steffen.

At The Bent Musket, Stephanie Yang comprehensively — and rightly — demolishes the notion that past accomplishments trump current form when it comes to Abby Wambach earning a spot on the US roster for the Women’s World Cup. “There’s nothing wrong with recognizing Wambach’s past accomplishments and her contribution to the sport. The error lies in thinking that past performance justifies present reward.” Yang’s commentary piece points to a recent article at Fox Soccer as the latest example of such wrong-thinking and also links to an earlier article at The Equalizer that shows Wambach’s goal scoring “as a whole hasn’t dropped off — except for against the world best teams.”


the latest Footy on the Telly for today’s Champions League quarterfinal games.

The AP reports, “European lawmakers are likely to urge FIFA to re-vote on awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe says it will discuss the issue Thursday.”

The AP reports, “Spartak Moscow have been fined and their fans barred from two away games after the club lost their appeal against sanctions for a racist banner.” The sanctions come from the Russian Football Union. The fine? 200,000 rubles, or about $3,782.

The Guardian reports, “A referee in Switzerland had to abandon a match in one of Zurich’s amateur leagues after the pitch was invaded by thousands of frogs.” A club official said, “The frogs were travelling to the forest — unfortunately, our [field] is on the way there.”


  1. “The latest in the Union’s ‘Mic’d Up’ video series features Maurice Edu during last week’s draw at NYCFC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love this sort of thing.”
    I would love to be able to sit and rewatch a whole game with the Mic’d Up audio playing. I think that would be absolutely fascinating. I understand why they don’t do it – language unfit for sensitive ears, plus the possibility of some sort of super-duper double secret information leaking out. But I think that would be fascinating – sort of like the “Commentary” feature on DVDs.

    • Jeremy Lane says:

      I’d love that especially if the whole team and Curtin were all wearing mics. That would be fascinating. Difficult to listen to with multiple people talking at once, maybe, so perhaps you’d have to listen to particular feeds one or two at a time, but man, that would be something.

      Noticed the last thing Edu says in the video is when he’s talking to Curtin he says something like, “I know what you’re going to say—the dribble, right?” And Curtin responds, “Right at the end!” and laughs. At least they both know that was a bad decision on Mo’s part.

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