Daily news roundups

Who’s the ‘keeper? Vancouver previews, Ramos confirms it’s Pfeffer if no Zelalem, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

So, what could possibly happen next?

Will Rais Mbolhi start for the Union in Vancouver on Saturday? Will he even travel? Will the Union be able to bring in Brian Sylvestre, the former Harrisburg City Islanders goalkeeper, now the backup with NASL side Carolina RailHawks, who trialed with the Union in the preseason and was mentioned as an option by Jim Curtin on Wednesday? Will they also/instead bring in a pool goalkeeper? According to The Province, “That list currently numbers one: Trey Mitchell, a 23-year-old who had a cup of coffee with the Galaxy this season.”

Sylvestre’s fellow goalkeeper at Carolina, Hunter Gilstrap, apparently thinks Sylvestre is Union bound, tweeting him best wishes early on Thursday afternoon. The tweet has since been removed but Brotherly Game has a screenshot of it. Sylvestre’s thank you tweet in reply is, as of this writing, still up. If the Union are able to secure Sylvestre, who is still on the RailHawks roster as of this writing, we should be hearing something soon. Aside from the Union’s own goalkeeper needs, Carolina is on the road to play San Antonio on Saturday at 8:30 pm. With only two keepers listed, they would need to find a replacement if Sylvestre joins the Union.

Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said of the Union’s goalkeeper situation, “DC came here missing Bill Hamid so Dykstra went in goal and they put on their other goalkeeper and we didn’t have a shot on him. Whoever they play in goal, we have to make sure we test him and put him under pressure.” Click here for video of Robinson’s comments to the press on Thursday.

At MLSsoccer.com, Sheanon Williams on losing the right fullback spot to Ray Gaddis: “Obviously I want to play right back. That’s my position. But I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win. I’ve always said that. I’ve always been the guy to move to different spots. Whatever this team needs to win games, I’ll do it.”

He said of fighting for the left fullback starting spot, “Obviously I’m not left-footed, so I have to work on positioning my body better to see up the field rather than using my right foot as a crutch. So I’ve got to adjust my angles.”

Asked what’s behind the inconsistent play that led to losing the right fullback spot, Williams replied, “That’s a good question. I guess I really do not have a good answer for that. I think I can play better, and that is what I need to do to help this team. I think we all can be a little bit better if we look at ourselves.”

Appearing on the Breakfast on Broad show on Wednesday Maurice Edu said he believes the team can still turn things around. “We’ve had a little bit of a slow start but the season is still in our hands. We have a game in Vancouver. It’s gonna be a big game for us. We need to go there and get three points.”

What could possibly happen next? Wouldn’t it be nice if the answer to that question was some good news for a change, like a win in Vancouver? Somehow, I’m not keeping my hopes too high.

Previews from PSP, Philadelphia UnionPhilly Soccer News, MLSsoccer.comVancouver Whitecaps, The Province (print, podcast), 24 Hours Vancouver, and Eighty Six Forever, who also ask fellow SB Nation blog Brotherly Game three questionsThe soccer blog at the Vancouver Sun describes the Union as “a team so bedeviled by injuries and internal crises and strife that they seem to be making a concerted effort to become the new Toronto FC.”

When the Tab Ramos announced his roster for the upcoming U-20 World Cup in New Zealand on Thursday, only 20 of the 21 spots were filled. This led to speculation that the final roster spot was being kept open to see if FIFA would approve the one-time switch Gedion Zelalem needs in order to be selected by the US before May 15, the day rosters for the tournament must be filed with FIFA. Ramos has confirmed the spot is being left open for Zelalem. He also confirmed speculation that if Zelalem’s eligibility isn’t approved by the deadline, the open spot will go to Zach Pfeffer. Ramos tells SBI, “If it doesn’t happen, we have Zach Pfeffer, who is ready to go. I’ve already spoken with him and told him the situation, and this is kind of where we are. We are prepared to make that call as well.” More at MLSsoccer.com, SI, and Goal.com.

The Sons of Ben posted a message on Facebook this morning that said, “The Philadelphia Union are hosting an Earth Day Clean Up around PPL Park on Tuesday May 12th. If there are any Sons of Ben Members that would like to participate, please email FanServices@PhiladelphiaUnion.com.” When one commenter asked, “When is the Front Office clean up day?”, the Sons of Ben replied, “Come out on Tuesday and talk to them face to face while we clean up.” Wasn’t Earth Day on April 22?


Harrisburg City Islanders face New York Red Bulls II on Saturday at Red Bull Arena at 2 pm (YouTube).

Philadelphia Neighborhoods has a fine piece on the city’s Casa League, which has some 4,000 players. League president Tim Hampson says, “If you really think about it, is soccer a thing in Philly? You would look to us. You wouldn’t look to the [Philadelphia] Union because the Union, they’re there, they’re a franchise. But in terms of growing the sport in the city, that burden’s not on them. The burden’s on us to try to grow this sport.”


At the Guardian, Simon Evans on Sunday’s New York Derby game (7 pm: Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Go): “There is actually a chance that this could develop into a proper rivalry, especially if MLS somehow avoids giving it an official name and sponsor.”

Soccer America on some encouraging TV ratings trends for national broadcasts of MLS games among key 18-49 year old demographic.

San Jose DP forward Innocent Emeghara is out four to six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Metro reports New York Red Bulls have filed a discovery claim on Kevin-Prince Boateng. You will recall a report we linked to in Wednesday’s roundup saying the Ghanaian international was considering a move to MLS this summer from Schalke.

Andrea Pirlo to MLS?

Republic of Ireland winger James McClean to MLS?

ASA takes a look at the discovery claim rule.

At the Washington Post, Steven Goff reports MLS has voided Eddie Johnson’s contract “presumably because he had a preexisting condition.” You will recall that Johnson has not been with DC United and would retire after being diagnosed with what is believed to be athletic heart syndrome. Goff reports,

It remains unclear who knew the severity of Johnson’s ailment and when they knew it.

What is clear, sources say, is that United was not aware when the club acquired him from Seattle before the 2014 season. Sources also say the Sounders did not know of the potential medical danger when they signed him as a free agent in early 2012.

Goff notes, “Athlete’s heart syndrome is not detectable through a standard physical exam; rather, it is often discovered incidentally.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that state representative Phyllis Kahn “is introducing legislation to have community ownership of Minnesota’s new MLS franchise, a move that would allow fans to buy stock in the team. Under the legislation, a corporation would own the team and a private managing owner would own no more than 35 percent of the common stock.” The report explains that, under the proposal,

Common stock and preferred stock would then be sold, she said, and give stock owners voting rights on any relocation or contraction of the team. “I call this the Green Bay Packer model”, said Kahn, referring to the National Football League team that is similarly community owned.

Other than the private managing owner, no other individual or entity could own more than five percent of the common stock, she said of her proposal.

Pioneer Press reports, “Kahn hasn’t talked to the team about the proposal, and the team said it had no involvement in the idea.” Kahn has previously attempted to introduce similar legislation to make baseball’s Minnesota Twins community owned.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle looks at the next round of expansion candidates.


Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Abby Wambach have been “Simpsonized” as part of “a collaborative effort between FOX Sports and ‘The Simpsons’ to promote the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.” The episode runs on Sunday at 8 pm.

Abby Wambach tells ESPNW that FIFA received an offer to replace the turf fields with natural grass but declined:

According to Wambach, The Scotts Company made it known to FIFA that the lawn care specialist was willing to provide grass for the entire Women’s World Cup event and all fields.

FIFA’s response? No, thank you. According to Wambach, FIFA claimed that wasn’t part of Canada’s original bid; the bid was only field turf and soccer’s governing body was honoring that bid.

When asked whether she heard that response second hand or if it was told to her directly, Wambach said, “I heard it from the second highest guy, [FIFA secretary general] Jerome Valcke, himself.”

Well done, FIFA.

ASN says the composition of the U-20 MNT roster “shows American progress.”

The U-20s will play two warmup games in Australia before the start of the U-20 World Cup, facing Australia on May 19 and and Serbia on May 24. Head coach Tab Ramos says, “The way it worked out was maybe the Serbia game will be the first time that the eleven guys will be on the field together.” The US begins group play in the World Cup on May 30 against Myanmar.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that US Youth Soccer “which has 3 million players and is the nation’s largest youth sports organization, has asked its state officials not to talk to the news media about concussions in the sport.” According to Tim Turney, president of the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association, the request came from the US Soccer Federation because of the lawsuit that was dismissed earlier this week that was aimed at forcing US Soccer, and four other national governing bodies in the US, as well as FIFA, to change youth soccer rules to protect kids from concussion injuries. A revised suit will be filed.


The BBC reports, “The three rival FIFA presidential candidates to Sepp Blatter will hold talks in Switzerland on Monday with rumors one or more will pull out.”

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


  1. pragmatist says:

    We really need to stop asking “What could happen next?” Every time we ask we get an answer we really didn’t want to know!

  2. John Ling says:

    Good answers from Williams, at least. Even if he doesn’t believe it, he said the right things. Good sign.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Absolutely! Handling it with class. Good on ya, Sheanon!

    • +1. I am honestly uneasy about this. I think both Williams and Gaddis are starting-caliber players. I don’t really think that a new left back is the answer to our problems, or even really a partial answer. We got much bigger trouble in other spots. And if we trade Williams for, say, a new winger, then we’re stuck with Fabinho at LB and no fullback depth.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Solid concerns. If we had the opportunity to move one of our RB’s for a starting quality LB, I think that we have to take it. That said, I’m not sure that any team would trade their LB (rare to find a good one) for either of our RB’s.
        I think that Sheanon working to become a strong LB is our answer. If he can get going on the left flank, we will have something to work with. In theory, Williams overlapping play, with Wenger, should provide a strong left side…of course, we need Wenger to improve his form, if that vision is to ever come to fruition. It could work…maybe

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Nobody seems to remember Gabriel Farfan. He created offense in the left channel and was better than Fabinho defensively. Would that he were still here.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Gabe was the Farfan that I was sad to lose. We could use him, right about now.

      • Except he left because he didn’t want to play LB.

  3. The Black Hand says:

    “…but the season is still in our hands.”
    Define season.

    • Dr. Union says:

      I think by season they mean next year and by still in our hands they mean next years coach since their probably going to fire one again. Even though we all know its the FO.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I thought that he might have been talking about Spring.
        This FO is a weight tied to the ankle of this club.
        As for Curtin, he should NEVER have been made Manager.

      • +1, great comment

  4. haha twitter has just informed me that mbohli will not be traveling with the team to vancouver. our backup will be pool goalkeeper trey mitchell

    • The Black Hand says:

      I can’t believe that we were worried about this club…we just needed to have faith that Trey Mitchell would one day come and save us.

  5. James McLean . . . another left footer (although a winger). See Union, there are lefties everywhere! Please someone get Chaco some company for his trips to the Leftorium.
    Oh, won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?

  6. Okay Okay Okay – I despise the Old Heads coming to play in MLS- not the early 30 somethings but the 34s and 35s and 36s.
    I think it is a farce and a sham and actually derides what we are trying to do….but if Andrea Pirlo came… I’d shit myself and would travel anywhere anywhere to be within 400 feet of the genius. That man, is a God.
    maybe he could play with us….. NAH.
    I think he should go to LA Galaxy too so that way the team can come closer and closer to, well — a european team.

    • I bet Robbie would give even Pirlo dirty looks when not happy!…I really don’t like that dude (RK). It would be swell if he won the champions league but I’ll settle for Juve punting Real out of the competition in Spain

  7. Andy Muenz says:

    “Metro reports New York Red Bulls have filed a discovery claim on Kevin-Prince Boateng.” Did they “discover” him at a little tournament in Brazil? (or maybe one in South Africa in 2010?)

  8. I love the idea of the green bay packers model. It works well in Germany. I’d gobble up some Union stock for giggles! Who’s with me!

    • But if the fans had stock a voice in decisions, they may actually make intelligent, logical moves to improve the team. I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      I’d give it some thought, not as a traditional investment, of course. The IPO valuation would be quite, quite favorable to investors right now, 50 cents a share maybe?

  9. OneManWolfpack says:

    Thank god for Sepp Blatter and FIFA… they are the only things worse than Nicky Sak and the boys.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Get CONMEBOL and UEFA to break away and form their own association. FIFA dies; the game remains as it is, a win win for everybody except the executives of CAF, AFC, CONCACAF, and OFC who live on FIFA corruption.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Couldn’t agree more. You only need CONMEBOL for Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Columbia, etc… UEFA for obvious reasons, and CONCACAF for TV and commercial rights. The rest will follow suit real quick.

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