Daily news roundups

Reaction to Union win & “Union fans deserve better,” open letter from Sakiewicz, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

That. More of that, please.

The Union’s first win in seven games. Their first goal in two games. A team that was well organized defensively — Brian Sylvestre, whose loan to the Union was extended for eight weeks in a deal that sees Dzenan Catic loaned to Carolina RailHawks during the same period, didn’t have to make a save — and created chances in both halves. How cool was that?

Zach Pfeffer, the hometown kid who scored the stoppage time game-winner in Sunday night’s 1-0 win over DC after learning only a few days before that he had been bumped from the US U-20 World Cup team, said, “We finally got the win we’ve been yearning for and hopefully that will ignite us and push us to keep going.”

Sheanon Williams said when asked for his reaction, “I guess for lack of a better word, relief. Relief that we can now start hopefully to build on that, to move forward, to take steps forward. We’re at the bottom so the only way to go is up. Hopefully, we can get the ball rolling. We know we’re a good team regardless of what anybody says, and hopefully this will kick-start it.”

Maurice Edu said, “We have a good group and we’ve stuck together even with things not going our way. When you start having bad results it’s easy to get down on yourselves, and start having the team sort of break up into cliques and what not, but we have a good group here and we’ve stayed together even with everything that has gone on, and you saw it today.” (Btw, Soccer.com talks to Maurice Edu. Vavel reviews Edu’s career.)

Jim Curtin said, “We won a soccer game at home, that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s what we need to do more of if we want to get back into this thing. The Eastern Conference is not out of the question. If you look at the sixth spot, and where we are, it’s close. We’re in there, even though we probably shouldn’t be, and don’t deserve to be with our record. You are what your record says you are, and this is where we are right now. We’ve had some tough breaks and tonight we had a break go our way.”

Recaps and reports from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Inquirer, Daily News, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GameVavel, Playing for 90, MLSsoccer.com, DC United, Washington Post, Black and Red United (recap, reaction), Goal.com, SBISports Journal, ProSoccerTalkThe Sports Network, and the AP.

More on Pfeffer’s goal at MLSsoccer.com and CSN Philly.

In ESPN’s power rankings, the Union remain at No. 18: “There were fan protests at Sunday’s home game against D.C. United. But there was also a win, as Zach Pfeffer responded in the best way possible to getting left off the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster by scoring a stoppage time winner.”

Open letter from Sakiewicz

An open letter from Sakiewicz that was released on Monday morning noted that Rene Meulensteen’s consultancy with the club would end this month with a final report. Meulensteen will not continue as a consultant “for personal reasons.”

Sakiewicz also said the search for a Head of Soccer Operations continues: “We have several ongoing conversations at the present time and we are working to get that person in place once we agree upon who we believe the best candidate is to help us achieve our goals.”

Sakiewicz writes, “[W]e as ownership will not sit idly without exploring every opportunity available to us in order to restore the promise our team showed during the preseason. It is our utmost priority to assist Jim and his current staff in getting the team back on track and competing to get into the playoffs.

Sons of Ben “Union Fans deserve better” protest

Sakiewicz’s open letter was no doubt prompted by the Sons of Ben’s “Union fans deserve better” protest before the game, and followed a statement from him on Sunday that said, “We agree wholeheartedly with the Sons of Ben and we share the frustrations of all fans to the start of the season. We are committed to assisting Jim and his Staff in every way so we can get the team back on the right track.”

SoB president Kenny Hanson said of the expression of discontent, “Some people are pissed at the players, some people are pissed at the coach, some people are pissed at Nick. Some people are pissed at the lack of investment that the investment group is willing to put in. So I think it depends on who you ask about where it went wrong.”

Eli Pearlman-Storch spoke to SoB member Jon Marks and vice president Ami Rivera before the march:

Sebastien Le Toux said, “It’s hard for them right now because we didn’t do well (to start the year). I can understand that. I can’t say I agree 100 percent with them. I understand how they feel. They are here and they want their team to do well. When you don’t win the games, you feel unhappy. I’m with them. I’m unhappy and I play on this team. They deserve for us to do better and they deserve to have a winning team because they are always here.”

Curtin said of the protest, “If you’re a fan of this team, you’re entitled to be pissed off at how this year is going. I’m pissed off at how this year’s going. It’s not gone the way we wanted. I share their sentiment. I feel the same way. To know that they still support us on the field was excellent, it was special tonight. It was electric in here and you leave remembering that this is a place that teams hate coming [to].”

And this just in from the Department of Missing the Point Almost Entirely, Fusion reacts to the protest:

Yes, Union fans, your front office is a disaster, and there’s no real reason to have faith in them to deliver a better on-field product to you in the near future. But a “protest” is going to do absolutely nothing to change that. The people in charge may be terrible at assembling a team, but not for a lack of trying. Making a public display of pouting and stamping your feet isn’t a solution. All it has done is limit the impact of making a vocal stand for something real and justifiable later. Telling your team that you “deserve better” – especially in this half-hearted way that won’t actually carry into the stadium – isn’t making a statement, it’s crying wolf.

Union Academy

The Academy U-16s and U-18s returned from Montreal with mixed results this weekend. The U-16s defeated their Montreal Impact counterparts 4-2, with Justin McMaster recording a brace, and single tallies from Jack Skahan and Raheem Taylor-Parkes. It was a disappointing result for the U-18s, who fell 4-1, with Derrick Amaniampong recording the lone goal for the Union.


Harrisburg are unbeaten in five games after defeating Charlotte Independence 2-0 on Saturday. Cardel Benbow opened the scoring in the 11th minute with Ken Tribbett sealing the win with another goal in the 35th minute. Recaps from Harrisburg City Islanders and Penn Live.

Reading United opened their 2015 season with a 0-0 road draw at Lehigh Valley United Sonic.


In the Eastern Conference, first place DC (21 points, 6-2-3) was defeated 1-0 by eighth place Philadelphia (9 points, 2-7-3), ending an eight-game unbeaten streak. Second place New England (19 points, 5-2-4) drew 1-1 with sixth place Toronto (10 points, 3-5-1). Third place NYRB (17 points, 4-1-5) drew 0-0 in Dallas. Fourth place Columbus (14 points, 4-4-2) lost 2-0 in San Jose. Fifth place Orlando (12 points, 3-5-3) thumped Los Angeles, 4-0. Seventh place Chicago (10 points, 3-5-1) drew 2-2 on the road with ninth place NYCFC (7 points, 1-6-4). Tenth place Montreal (5 points, 1-3-2) topped Salt Lake, 4-1.

In the Western Conference, first place Dallas (21 points, 6-2-3) drew 0-0 with NYRB. Second place Vancouver (20 points, 6-4-2) was defeated 2-0 at home by third place Seattle (19 points, 6-3-1). Fourth place San Jose (17 points, 5-4-2) defeated Columbus, 2-0. Fifth place Houston (16 points, 4-4-4) defeated ninth place Portland (13 points, 3-4-4), 3-1. The match between sixth place Kansas City (14 points, 3-2-5) and tenth place Colorado (10 points, 1-2-7) was postponed due to bad weather. Seventh place Los Angeles (14 points, 3-4-5) fell 4-0 in Orlando. Eighth place Salt Lake (14 points, 3-3-5) fell 4-1 in Montreal.

LAFC will be making a major announcement this afternoon. The LA Times reports it will be about plans to construct “the country’s most expensive privately financed soccer stadium on the site of the Sports Arena in Exposition Park, making it the first open-air professional sports venue to be built in Los Angeles since Dodger Stadium in 1962.” After the Times report, the club released a rendering of the stadium.

Reports from Mexico say Erick “Cubo” Torres, who will join Houston Dynamo from Chivas de Guadalajara at the end of the Liga MX season, is the subject of a sexual assault investigation.

TwinCities Business has an update on Minnesota United’s hopes to get state approval for a stadium located by the end of the current legislative session.

The league has announced new policies regarding postponed games.


First place Chicago (11 points) came from behind to draw 2-2 with seventh place Houston (5 points). Sixth place Boston defeated fourth place Portland (8 points) 1-0. Second place Washington (10 points) defeated eighth place Sky Blue (5 points) 1-0.


In their penultimate send off game before the start of the Women’s World Cup, the USWNT defeated Mexico, 5-1. Recaps from Fox Sports, ESPNW, CBS Sports, SIProSoccerTalk, Soccer America, Stars and Stripes FC, SBILA Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and the AP.

The LA Times looks at Mexican-American players who play for the Mexico WNT.


Reuters reports, “FIFA president Sepp Blatter said there is no reason for him not to visit the United States and that he plans to go next year when the country stages the Centenary edition of the Copa America.” More from the AP.

Stars and Stripes FC notes comments from Blatter supporting a rule change that would prohibit a confederation from hosting the World Cup within two cycles of hosting it. The current rule says a confederation cannot host consecutive World Cup tournaments. The proposed rule change would eliminate competition from a US bid to host the 2026 tournament from Europe (Russia 2018) and Asia (Qatar 2022).

Goal.com reports, “FIFA has announced it will launch an investigation into the arrests in Qatar of a group of journalists reporting on migrants’ working conditions ahead of the 2022 World Cup. Four BBC journalists and crew were held in jail for two days after being followed and captured by the security services. The reporters were in the country at the invitation of the Qatari prime minister’s office to tour new accommodations built for construction workers.” At the BBC, an extensive report on the arrest of the journalists. More at the Guardian.

Also from Reuters, “FIFA president Sepp Blatter is worried that a dangerous precedent will be set if Palestine goes ahead and asks for a vote to suspend Israel at the annual Congress of soccer’s governing body on May 29.”

The Press Association reports, “The financial fair play rules that saw Manchester City handed a huge fine by UEFA last season are set to be relaxed. UEFA is expected to announce next month that the FFP rules will be eased to allow more owner investment, a move that will aim to nullify more than 10 legal challenges that the European governing body is now facing.” More from the AP.

ProSoccerTalk notes a report from Brazil (crappy Google translation here) that says “the Brazilian national team has sold its squad selection and teamsheets to a marketing company.” PST summarizes,

[F]ormer Brazilian Federation (CBF) president Ricardo Teixeira negotiated a contract with marketing firm Internacional Sports Events that requires any change in the Brazilian squad must have the approval of all commercial sponsors, and top players must start every single game with no room for youngsters until they prove to have enough “marketing value.”

The report states that Teixeira and his father-in-law, former FIFA president Joao Havelange made nearly $40 million in bribes off the contract. In return, it gave ISE – a sport listed in the Cayman Islands and with no official employees – exclusive marketing rights for all Brazil matches as well as sole possession of the ability to sell broadcast rights. According to the report, ISE is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian contract and holdings company Dallah-Al Bakara. Mohyedin Bin Saleh Kamel, a member of the Dallah-Al Bakara Board of Trustees, also appears on the contracts obtained by Estadão.

The AP reports, “Boca Juniors says it will appeal its ouster from the Copa Libertadores competition as punishment for fans spraying a caustic substance on a rival team in a tournament game.”


  1. Great One says:

    Bringing this over from the match report because it is better served here.
    The letter is nothing more than PR drivel that had to come after the SOB’s forced their hand on national television. They didn’t completely ignore everyone. I guess that is better than the alternative. But all this does is explain to us several things.
    1. Rene cancelled his employment early. This is not a positive.
    2. We STILL are not close to having a sporting director.
    3. The team is in denial. They reference preseason F*ing success and the barometer that we are going in the right direction.
    This season, starting with the entire offseason, has been one extended step in the wrong direction. This may be the first time that I truly think we may never have a good team here.

    • Come on man, lighten up – we won a trophy this preseason- against London FC and Real Who Gives a Shit.
      Only the Onion would trumpet winning in the preseason.

      • Great One says:

        I usually have your cynic attitude (I mean this positively, I love being a cynic) and don’t get so upset. Really though, this letter makes me feel like it’s all been for nothing. Wanting a team to come here, paying money for tickets, parking, concessions, merchandise, etc, talking friends into giving MLS and the Union a chance, recording games and watching them at midnight in lieu of sleeping. It all meant nothing. They will never change. This is the first time I really don’t believe at all. If it weren’t for some of the players, whom I really like, I would have nothing left.

  2. That letter personally does not pacify me. nicks statements do nothing for me. Some will argue some communication is better than none. lip service and one way communication do not constitute anything but a back handed response to something that had to be responded to.
    If someone burns down my house, watches it burn and tells alerts no one then 3 months later sends me a letter stating that they understand i am upset about my house being burnt down and they are upset as well I do not feel better. there was no i’m sorry, my bad, heres what I am doing. just i am upset and so are you.
    It actually angers me more. just my opinion. as they say talk is cheap. by the way so is the ownership.

  3. Nothing in my mind changes about this FO, this team and the culture around the Commodore Barry but…… I, for one, appreciate the acknowledgement of this letter whether sincere or as a fire blanket from Mr Sakiewicz.
    It is this letter that makes me know in my heart he has listened, at least to someone, whether the SoB or PSP or Mr. Smallwood or the skewering the club gets on Union Headquarters homepage or ESPNfc or all the above.
    This club has been a laughingstock for 3 year and will continue to be and he knows it in his heart and it speaks DIRECTLY to his absolute failure as a leader. Pucker up and say your sorry sir, we deserve it! Moving on….
    ….My hopes are Rene M. has a dossier: do this, do this, do that before this, do this- than that, do this last.
    I am COUNTING on Rene to have sat back and observed and not looked away from the ghastly train wreck of this season- to have not averted his eyes from the foul stench of a club wandering without a head and taken copious notes and have legitimate solutions.
    I really think that is why he was brought in and I damn well expect him to give us direction and I damn well expect the direction to be heeded.
    Vision. Philosophy. Plan. Rene!
    Rene. Vision! Philosophy! Plan!

    • Great One says:

      I take this a totally different way regarding Rene. When he was announced, it was huge fanfare (as far as the Union go). Sure he was not announced as anything permanent, but the idea was that he was going to be around a while helping the club. We get no mention of him in the months the followed (or a sporting director), until today, telling us that he decided to end things “for personal reasons”. This, to me, was another misguided attempt by the team.
      Everything about the Union right now screams ineptness. The owner, the team president, the FO, the players, everything. The letter itself was forced bc the team basically got made fun of all during the national broadcast and the SOB protest was shown. Nick Sak HAD TO RESPOND. The response itself was pacifying and passive aggressive. “Yeah yeah, we know you’re upset, and we wish we were winning so we could make more money, but look, we won a preseason tournament, and we will continue to do what we want.”

      • It is exactly because he could not ignore it that makes this important. Yesterday was a watershed moment. I hope.
        This is not about Nick Sakiewicz, this is about the SoB applying pressure and continuing to do so in a constant well thought out way…over and over and over.
        I went to the first game in quite awhile down the river and, people are too happy. Too many people not voicing their dissent. Too many applauses for poor football. So to me, we are far far away from having an empty stadium as ultimate signifier – so the pressure is not going to come from the general spectator.
        The mob is still in love with the idea of this team. Far too many people just happy to be out, down the park eating sausage and pepper sandwiches.
        This has to come from the SoB and the continued relentless pressure from these pages and Alexi Lalas once or three times a season.

      • I agree the letter is important. the actual fact it exists. no argument there and the SOB, and all the angry supporters can be thanked for that. The content however shows that the FO may be even worse than i imagined.

      • Great One says:

        I agree with this sentiment. There HAS to be a way to keep it going.

      • The timing of the letter is almost certainly a direct response to the SoB protest yesterday. It says…nothing will change.

        When the windows open this summer, Mbohli will be sold. Even if the transfer fee is 2 corner flags, the larger benefit will be to clear cap space which, along with other moves, can be used on two or three field players at areas of need. Based on actions of the FO and the letter, one of two things will happen – the current regime will spend that money, or a GM with almost no time to decide on the coach or evaluate the roster will make the acquisitions. Either one is a recipe for disaster.

      • I actually went from fuming to chuckling imagining mbohli getting on a plane and a guy in a terrible tie with two ragged red corner flags ready to hand them to sak. thank you for the likely unintentional bit of levity for my day.

      • old soccer coach says:

        Under capitalism, ownership can do what it wants without reference to fans. The only US professional sports team I can think of at the moment where the fans have an actual direct say would be Green Bay, were those shares voting ones, but they’re not.
        Given that tax revenue was spent to start the franchise, the absence of taxpayer voice is wrong. A still small voice has just whispered in my ear. “No Taxation without Representation.” If we, the public, helped py for it, we the public deserve a seat at the table. for all sports and all teams.

  4. D.C. had tired legs from their midweek game, and it was a somewhat weakened squad, but they’ve only lost once this season. Sometimes that’s what a team needs to get things in gear. I’m ecstatic they won, they played well and deserved to win, overcoming bad calls (or no calls) and just general bad luck. That being said, I’m tempering my expectations given the way this season has gone, as I still saw some of the same issues arise in this game. Hopefully Curtin and the guys can use this win as a springboard to build some confidence and momentum, and maybe even grab a point up in Harrison.
    Second, great work by Pfeffer! Nice to see him rewarded after being snubbed, but I am glad he’s here and not at the World Cup now!

    • I appreciate your happiness and would have to draw a line through, played well, were I an editor. Otherwise, I agree 100%.
      Hey Jim, you gonna sit Pfeffer next game?

      • Great One says:

        Gonna keep going with the guys who got him the job last year…

      • old soccer coach says:

        Now think a minute with the rational portion of yur mind, oh mighty elephant, what were the odds at kickoff that Vincent Nogueira would make the full ninety, and if he does not, and Pfeffer is already on the field, how does you cover Nogueira’s departure?
        Jim Curtin has shown a clear pattern, with injured starters in transition towards full match fitness, of starting them rather than subbing them on later in the match. Means you start stronger than you finish , which is a point of discussion, but a case can be made both ways.

      • Great One says:

        Sorry but you’re wrong here. Nogueira wasn’t coming off, Casey was. Curtin only just made the switch in time. Also, Zack came in for Wenger.

    • Comparatively speaking, they played well. There were actual attempts to move the ball toward the goal, or so it appeared, and for the most part I was entertained by their play, especially during the first half when they attack towards my section. Also the goal was called off, otherwise they would’ve been rewarded sooner. Playing well and entertaining are not mutually exclusive, but in this case I’ll consider them related.

      • If Espindola and Silva start for DC last night it’s 2-0 DC after the first 20 minutes with all of the Union turnovers and chaos in the back. DC did what a superior team should never do, let them hang around. Union built confidence and got the bolt from the blue for the 3 points. And all credit to the Union for not quitting and getting the result late.

        Granting your points above, do you believe Casey and Carroll have 90 minutes in them week after week? Assuming NYRB is healthy, do you think Sam and BWP will look as poor in the final third as Farfan and Arietta did last night? These guys were not good enough last year, and other teams have improved. Last night gave everyone a good feeling for a few hours, and I enjoyed it. But nothing has changed.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Got to say very confused at these people who say they played well. None of what I saw was a well played game. I saw a lucky goal at the end of a terrible game. No cohesion, no ideas, bad passing, multiple turnovers, weak diving in defense, silly fouls, inept skills to trap a ball, inability to dribble in wide open space, poor formation, bad coverage, poor timing on substitutions, no in game tactical changes, no tactics. The list goes on and on.

      • +1

        I am happy the Union were able to grab a scalp and all 3pts. However, their play is still very very very POOR…Horrifyingly AWFUL is the correct response to how they “play” the game.

        The Union won in stoppage time against 10 men DC United……..I am not taking anything away from Zach’s goal, which was expertly taken……..DC was playing with 10 men

  5. SoB. Thank you. You are OUR voice. You are the Change Agent. More pressure. More pressure. More Pressure.
    You cannot do this just once, get a nice little letter saying it will all be okay – this is ALL about thought out applied logic- put those men in a vice grip and squeeze…. You are our voice. More of this.
    The next TIFO must say ” WE ARE WAITING.”
    Well Done SoB.
    More. More. More.

    • Great One says:

      +1, this needed to happen so badly, and the SOB came through.

    • agreed. the only agent for change for the U are displays that the MLS and the soccer nation notice. well done SOB.

    • And, thanks to the SoB also for voting to leave the protest in the parking lot. We’re not at the point where we need to turn our backs on the players from the stands.
      I know there was some talk about wearing paper bags to the game. I didn’t any from where I sit (section 125). Were there some that I missed?

      • Dr. Union says:

        Glad something was stated more needs to be done. This letter is BS there should just be more discontent because nothing has changed. I feel as if I have read this letter every year from the union. Time to move on. FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!!

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        My dad and I had bags prepared but with the way they played and the end result, we decided to hold off. We have signs as well, but wanted to stay positive, for now that is.
        SOB’s impressed me. Well done all. Keep it up. Like every home game, until the proper changes are made

      • J in Section 125 says:

        I was one that proposed the bag on the head. After seeing the actions of the Sons of Ben I felt they did much more than I could have as a lone fan. I commend them for their actions yesterday.

  6. Personally, what I REALLY think should happen, is all the readers of this page, should begin a donation and from that donation a WEEKLY advertisement should be run in the Philadelphia Inquirer skewering this front office with the wicked intellect of Will Hunting.
    Every week.
    Every week.
    In season and out. Every week 52 of them.
    $2.00 a head times 100 or so people. Nice big FUCKING page in the sports section – right there for all to see. YAAL.
    Or at least the Sunday Rag, we can replace the Victoria’s Secret underwear model.
    “WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS.” We speak for the Union and we are overthrowing the establishment. This is a coup….
    ….Attention all planets of the Solar Federation. Attention all planets of the Solar Federation….. We have assumed control. We have assumed control.
    hmm, this is my idea…… maybe I should think this through logically to the end and put together a plan.
    BTW – Name the song.

    • I’m not going to start the Kickstarter campaign for the ad space, but I think I would contribute. It might be the only way to get the Union covered in the Inquirer, aside from the AP Wire Reports.

    • I am not gonna start it either but would definitely donate if someone was collecting. I think it should have a cool name for the group that posts it. like union supporters for responsible ownership. USFRO. but better. please make sure we all know if someone gets this going.

    • “….Attention all planets of the Solar Federation. Attention all planets of the Solar Federation….. We have assumed control. We have assumed control.”

      You just gave me a very much appreciated High School flashback

    • Been AWOL for a bit. How much would it cost for the billboard next to the stadium that is currently for the “Philly” Harrah’s Casino? That would definitely get the FO’s attention.

  7. Re-read the letter and truly, this all goes away if they hire the correct Head of Soccer Operations. From shithouse to a nice half a double in 18 months or less.
    Just find the right guy and give him control so I can stop writing Vision. Philosophy. Plan.
    Please Mr. Sakiewicz.
    One thing I have come to learn this season…. I love this club. I mean…. I love it dearly, as a child. And I have plenty of them so I know of this love that only a parent can feel.
    When Liverpool win, I think it is great, when they suffer it sucks a bit- but I move on. When Juventus win, I think it is great, when they lose, like in a week or so, I am sad, for a bit- but move on. The Cosmos, they are my old flame who I see occasionally and get a lightheaded feeling but regain senses and move on.
    This adversity. This club. This dire aching in my heart is only the aching a parent can feel for a child that has gone off-rail. This is visceral organ pain.
    I AM Jack’s aching football heart. I love this club. Get it right.
    Through this adversity, I must become thankful, because it is without question – that my loyalty lies with the Union. This adversity has shown me beyond shadow what the Philadelphia Union mean to me. GET IT RIGHT!
    Last post of the day friends, Big Brother has a warrant out for my non-working ass.

    • alicat215 says:

      I’m a Union supporter…… and no one owes me a damn thing!

      • perhaps i misunderstand your comment. I have 4 season tickets, founding member, rarely miss attending a game and never miss watching a game. I support them (the players) through good and bad but I do believe we deserve owners and players and food service people playing, managing and serving to the best of their ability. I believe what they(SOB) were saying is that we deserve better from those who are not putting their all in. namely management.
        If you meant that you will support them even if they skim money and field an inferior product purposefully then I can’t say I can see that viewpoint.
        IMO there is a fine line between unconditional support and blind enabling. To support an alcoholic in their drinking is not support. the team is clearly being mismanaged and we are simply trying to hold an intervention.

      • alicat215 says:

        Matt, than you have every right to demand better……….

    • alicat215 says:

      dude, I wanted to shoot my television trying to watch that match on OneWorld Saturday night. The feed was awful! Did Catic play for NC? I tried for about twenty minutes than I had enough!

  8. alicat215 says:

    While I applaud the SoB’s for finally stepping up and getting into the action….I’m sorry. I have a problem with the banner” Union fans deserve better”. I am a Union supporter……but I don’t deserve a damn thing! That banner speaks of the whole entitled, pussy mentality that has gripped this country. Guess what? No one deserves anything in this world…..you earn things to get on top.

    • more like “Union Fans Demand Better.”
      Okay last post for real.

    • Fair point, but I think the banner’s message isn’t that we are entitled to a successful team that wins and plays attractive soccer because of who we are, but instead that the fans who spend their money and time going to the matches, i.e. make a commitment to supporting the team – should expect that same level of effort from the FO to improve the product. Whether or not this has any long-term impact remains to be seen, but it’s a start.

      Would ‘demand’ or ‘expect’ have been better word choices? Maybe.

  9. alicat215 says:

    I guess no one picked up on the patronizing tone of Sak’s letter?

    • Of course we did. It is 100% PR, a measured response from on high to yesterday’s events that shows nothing will change.

      We are all just busy figuring out how to work the letter’s content into memes and our snark over the next few months. This stuff doesn’t write itself you know. A lot of time, effort, and alcohol goes into it, and not necessarily in that order.

    • John Ling says:

      See my comment below. I most certainly did…

  10. UnitedPenn13 says:

    I bet the LAFC stadium will have paved parking lots. I would love to know how many of the MLS soccer-specific stadiums have unpaved parking lots. I wouldn’t be surprised if ours is the only one.

    • Mike Servedio says:

      I’ve covered games for PSP in Montreal, KC, Red Bulls, and DC. In Montreal I was forced to park on a side street, despite my media credential and them having a media lot. At Red Bulls, my car once got stuck in a pile of freshly laid gravel and had to be pushed (there is really nothing that Ed can’t do). In Kansas City, their stadium is in suburban hell and most people park in surrounding mini malls. The media lot is literally the parking lot for a Nebraska Furniture Store. For everything that is wrong with RFK stadium in DC, they do have an actual parking lot. And yes, the media parks on gravel at PPL too.

  11. John Ling says:

    Dear Nick Sakiewicz,
    You wrote an open letter to us (though, frankly, describing it as tepid would be kind) so I thought I would return the favor and write an open letter to you. I very intentionally post here under my real name, so by all means if I touch a nerve with this feel free to reach out to me. The staff here at PSP were kind enough to give me a voice two summers ago; if you dig back through some of the things I wrote about then, you’ll see that for me Union matches are far more than just a sporting event. They’re an opportunity to bond with my daughter. (By the way, you’ve actually featured her on your website before; she begged us to paint her room in Union colors a few years ago, including convincing her mother to hand paint the team logo on her closet doors. I offhandedly mentioned it to my ticket rep, who asked us to send some pictures. We had no idea it would end up on the site, but she was thrilled that others got to see it.)
    As a parent of a teenager, the opportunity to bond over something in common is huge. On game days, we spend at least two hours locked together in a car. We turn up the music – sometimes I share what I like with her, sometimes (to my chagrin) she shares her favorites. Mostly, we talk. We talk about school, friends, the Union, her writing – she wants to do some sort of writing when she grows up, though what exactly is still up in the air. Currently, she leans toward sports journalism. The topic, really, doesn’t much matter. We talk. It’s awesome, and it’s far and away my favorite part of game day.
    Before every game I ask her for her prediction. She’s blindly optimistic toward the Union. Even in the worst of times – the end of the Piotr Nowak era, the end of the John Hackworth era – the worst she ever predicted was a draw. Most times, she predicted a win – often by multiple goals. Early on, she would predict two or three from Le Toux and often one or two from other players as well. As time went on and she matured a bit, she realized the Union weren’t going to win games 4-0 or 5-1. Her predictions started to become reasonable – 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 scorelines were common. But over the 5+ years, two things remained constant. She always predicted at least one goal from the home team, and she always predicted a draw at worst, though usually a win.
    Until yesterday. We weren’t even on I-95 yet when I asked her what her prediction was. With all that’s going on, we had the the fun discussion of trying to guess the lineup too. But her score prediction came first. What did she predict? “We’re going to lose. Big.” Frankly, it broke my heart. This was the first time Philadelphia cynicism has ever crept into her mind. This was the first time in 5+ years she ever predicted a loss – and not just a loss, but a big embarrassing loss.
    I would love to tell you, Mr. Sakiewicz, that her cynicism ended on the way out of PPL last night. When I needled her about her prediction in the car, her reply says a lot. “Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut.” She inherited her father’s sarcastic, sardonic, dry sense of humor I guess. Hopefully you understand, Mr. Sakiewicz, that she’s your future. Sure, right now guys like me spend money on tickets and merchandise and concessions and parking. But her? She’ll have grown up with the Union – she was 9 that fantastic day back in April of 2010. By the time she’s through college and out on her own – whether as a journalist or some other path in life – the Union will be in their 16th year or so. Her fandom will be no different than people who grew up in Barcelona or Manchester or Munich or Paris or any other soccer-crazed city in Europe. Soccer will be part of the fabric of her life, unlike me.
    You’re close to losing her, Mr. Sakiewicz. Right now, your team has her undivided attention. You have a choice to make – sooner rather than later. You can continue to release PR-speak statements along the lines of “our fans deserve the best.” Or you can shut up and listen, really listen, to what your core audience is telling you. And after you listen, respond. Not with more PR-speak, Mr. Sakiewicz. But with real words. Real actions. Because I don’t know if you realize quite the crisis level you’re at right now with this fan base. You’re losing your grip on them; my daughter is but one voice, one quiet voice. But you need to listen to her, and the others. You need to do what’s right for this fan base. You need to keep your promises – where’s our sporting director? – when you or Mr. Sugarman make them.
    Swallow some crow, Mr. Sakiewicz. Lose the smug look on your face. And above all, stop with the hollow statements sent out via email and on your website from the PR department. By all means, talk to us fans – but talk, rather than hiding behind statements. I don’t think I’m being melodramatic at all when I tell you that the future of this team hangs in the balance right now. My daughter isn’t alone in her pessimism, Mr. Sakiewicz. The chorus grows louder. She’s quiet, still finding her voice in life. But to me her prediction – “we’re going to lose. Big.” – speaks loud and clear to me. I hope it does to you as well.
    John Ling
    Founding Member

    • The Oenophile says:

      Well put. I am a founding member / season ticket holder with four seats as well, with two now teenage boys, this year for the first time they have completely lost interest in going to PPL Park. These same kids did the Union soccer camps when they were younger, have their rooms decked out with Union paraphernalia, etc., and as with your daughter, they could be the future fan base of this franchise. Last night neither of them were interested in attending the game, so our pricey seats in section 127 were empty. Both told me that they did not want to “waste their time” to watch what they both expected to be a rout. Unless things change soon, at a minimum I will cut back to two seats next year, if I renew at all.

      PS They are now cynics as well, after having grown up with the LeToux fiasco, the various odd signings, and ultimately the unceremonious dumping of Zac as goalie.

    • Dr. Union says:

      One of the best responses I’ve seen yet. Their losing the future supporters and current supporters with the hollow statements. The FO needs to be changed and the sooner the better.

    • That is well said.

    • Magic, Mr. John Ling.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Well written. Excellent points throughout… and 100% true.

    • Jim Presti says:

      This. This is exactly what the FO needs to hear about. But not just from you John. From all parents with young kids. Older siblings who bring their younger family members. If they lose interest, this town will lose interest.

    • May Sak read, and heed these words. Nice job.

    • Nailed it.

    • J in Section 125 says:

      Spot on

    • The Black Hand says:

      Hear, Hear!!!!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      John, I work in the same building as the Union offices. Would you have any objection if I were to copy this letter to Word, print it out, and slip it under their door one day this week?

      • John Ling says:

        They can come here to read it, if they’d like. I’d suggest you write your own version of it to slide under their door though. Let my words be your inspiration. 🙂
        Maybe I’ll send it to them via email…

      • The Black Hand says:

        They need to read it, John. It spoke the truth, in a non-antagonizing way. I agree that an email might be the best way. My friend and I have an ongoing conversation going with the Union. The future was the theme of our’s, as well…but nowhere near as solid as yours.
        We are never going to ‘force Sak out’…it just doesn’t work that way. But, we are able to light a fire under their ass because they are surprisingly easy to get to. I’d reply to Sak’s BS letter with what you have written above.
        Just my two pesos…

    • James Lockerbie says:

      Bravo,bravo! Slow clapping till the whole stadium is clapping. This must be the next Fan’s view. I don’t think we will need the billboard, we have to ask John Tannenwald to print this on philly.com
      God bless your heart sir, You made me tear up. Your spot on in this letter. Well done Sir. This will be the next book of the Union Bible

    • Amobi ribeiro says:

      Just great stuff. No venom. No anger. Just a great story we can all understand. It’s not the same down there for any of us. Everything i enjoyed about following this team is slowly fading away as they become irrelevant. No room for optimism. No joy after wins. No sorrow after losses. The walk to lot a after the games not the same http://t.co/QG7lsseB

    • alicat215 says:

      Harumph, Harumph!

  12. Thank you SOB! How long have we all heard that the search is on for the vacant front office positions…ha

  13. Sakiewicz’s letter REALLY scares me…it clearly shows that he doesn’t get it…we aren’t protesting the players we are protesting YOU!

    Sakiewicz says he is “deeply Committed” to helping this team!

    Doesn’t Sakiewicz realize we don’t want him to assist us anymore? That his assistance is the problem?”

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      It’s the Ruben Amaro Syndrome – or commonly know as RAS – you have ZERO faith that the guy in charge can turn it around, and not only that you would rather ANYONE else be in the position to do so.

  14. just an aside. anyone see that chris konopka got mls goalie of the week.

  15. OneManWolfpack says:

    Dear Sak,
    Introduce some transparency. Show us what Rene did for the past 8 months (or however long it’s been). Prove to us that that entire thing wasn’t a sham, like you are. Hire someone… ANYONE… to be the GM/Sporting Director. Do something positive for this club, and stop wasting everyone’s time. We haven’t had a true LB in YEARS. That says it all.
    Founding Member in 127
    PS – I am going to look into the Kickstarter / Go Fund Me idea for an ad. I will report back

  16. The Chopper says:

    The personal reason for Mr. Muelensteen is that having an association with this club looks like crap on his resume. I am sure every suggestion he has made for improving the club has been rejected because it costs money.

    Bottom line, nothing changes until Sugarman is out. No more investors are coming in. Those with real dollars will not cede control to Jay Sugarman. He has no extra money to spend and as MLS loosens up regulations allowing clubs to spend more for top players, our plight will get worse. Sugarman will not sell. He sees the value in the franchise and the value of MLS clubs (even this one) is likely to steadily climb.

    So we are stuck. The only responses are to stop attending matches and devalue the franchise, forcing his hand or to petition the league to force him out ( a very unlikely scenario).

    • +$100,000,000 or whatever it would take to roll out the current ownership and bring solid investment in FO, facilities and three (3) DPs making solid MLS DP pay (not sure what that is but estimate at least $2M per and at least one of $6M per).

  17. The Chopper says:

    What is even more upsetting is that finding a buyer would not be difficult. To get an MLS club with the expansion fees paid and the stadium built would attract several groups considering entering MLS at a far higher price tag to buy.

    There are also some Euro clubs that would purchase a controlling interest in the club. The problem is they do not want a minority share which is the only scenario Sugarman is considering. Anyone coming in with big dollars wants control and Mr. Jay ain’t giving it up.

  18. Things I hope are on Rene’s final report:
    1. Suitors for M’bohli
    2. Potentials hires for sporting director and other positions they’re looking to fill/add
    3. Lists of players to sign ranging from top end DP to youth players to develop
    4. A vision to have the club grow in the short, mid, and long term
    5. European club affiliations and/or potential overseas investors to help fund the team.

    While I realize most of these things probably won’t happen, even just a couple could make a big difference.

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