Daily news roundups

Sakiewicz says now is not the time to point fingers, more Union bits, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

At CBS Philly, Nick Sakiewicz expanded on the open letter to fans that was released on Monday, telling Kevin Kinkead, “At this moment, it’s most important to support and assist the players, Jim, his staff, and the organization, and not point fingers at me or any one individual that is part of our organization. We are a team, and will continue to work hard at getting better each and every time we play.” PR lesson No. 1: Telling your customers that they shouldn’t blame you or “any one individual” when times are bad is not an effective response and will only enflame further discontent. PR lesson No. 2: Calling on fans not to cast blame is hardly an analog to continuing to support the players and coaching staff.

Sons of Ben president Kenny Hanson said of the decision not to take the “Union fans deserve better” protest inside PPL Park,

Our goal is, inside the stadium, (we’re there) for the players. Regardless of what people say, our goal is to make sure that inside, we support our team. That’s what we were founded on and that’s what we’re going to continue to do. For people who think that maybe this wasn’t a high-impact (demonstration), or not enough, we got substantial national coverage on this. It will be talked about, for anyone who watched the game, that’s something that (Fox Sports color commentator) Alexi Lalas talked about. It’s not fair to our players and it’s not fair to our coach to take our frustrations out on them. We know they’re frustrated. We’re frustrated too, and we’re going to be there for them and we’re going to support them in their time of need…

We’re gonna support the team when they need us the most, because it would be easy to turn our backs. It would be easy to coordinate some march out (of the stadium), or something like that. We’re there to support the players. We’re going to be loud and we’re going to cheer for 90 minutes, we’re gonna stand. Like I said, I know there are a lot of people that believe we need to take it (inside the stadium). We certainly don’t believe that that is a possibility as of yet. I honestly don’t know at what level that it would be a possibility.

More reaction to the SoB march and open letter at MLSsoccer.com, CSN Philly, Inquirer, CBS Philly, and Brotherly Game.

Zach Pfeffer’s stoppage time winner is up for MLSsoccer.com’s Goal of the Week. Cast your vote here.

Pfeffer’s stoppage time winner makes Paste Magazine’s list of the five most interesting things that happened in MLS this week. “In a dull affair that had no business being on national TV, Pfeffer was introduced to the game to give his side a much-needed spark.”

Maurice Edu was named to ProSoccerTalk’s Team of the Week and received an honorable mention in MLSsoccer.com’s latest Team of the Week.

Goal.com notes Edu’s leadership within the squad.

In SI’s power rankings, the Union drop one spot to No. 20, which is where they remain at Soccer America, who said of Sunday’s win, “Not a big step forward but a good one.” At MLSGB, the Union move up one spot to No. 18.

Zolo Times has an ode to Conor Casey.

At ESPN, Graham Parker on watching Sunday’s game at PPL Park after the Sons of Ben protest:

It made for a somewhat muted atmosphere in the stadium that seemed to infect both teams. Philadelphia looked woefully short of confidence at the start of the game, and no wonder. It was hard to watch Andrew Wenger cut in from the left midway through the first half and run with purpose to the byline, just in time to see the ball he’d kicked over it with an unchallenged heavy touch, and not think of it as a metaphor for the Union’s season…

It was a key victory for the Union, even beyond their own run. This season has seen the Western teams cannibalizing each other while the East threatens to become a tale of the haves and have-nots with Philadelphia, the two expansion teams Orlando and New York City FC and a CCL-sapped Montreal looking like they might be cut adrift early.

More on Sunday’s win at Delco TimesProst Amerika and Sports Journal.

While paid attendance throughout the league is up by 11 percent compared to last season, attendance at Union games is down 1.42 percent. Also down are Houston (-2.39%), Montreal (-28.57%), and Dallas (-11.14%).


Volunteers are needed for the 3rd annual Unified Soccer Championship-Special Olympics games at Northeast High School on May 29.


LAFC officially have officially unveiled their plans for a $250 million stadium in downtown LA. The 22,000-seat stadium would be the most expensive privately financed stadium in the US. LAFC co-owner Magic Johnson said, “We are not only committed to creating a dynamic soccer experience for our fans, but are equally excited about the impact our stadium and facilities will have in reshaping and revitalizing South Los Angeles.”

proposed LAFC stadium

The stadium would be completed for the 2018 season, which moves the team’s debut from 2017, as was originally planned. More from MLSsoccer.com,  Los Angeles Daily NewsLA Observed, Los Angeles Business JournalABC7, NBC Los AngelesESPN, SI, Soccer America, and Reuters.

LA Galaxy president Chris Klein says LAFC plans won’t change the way his team does things.

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports, “Negotiators in Minneapolis may be making progress on a menu of mostly local tax breaks for a Major League Soccer stadium, even though the proposal appeared dead Monday in the closing hours of the legislative session.” Also at the Star Tribune, a look at how other MLS teams have gotten their stadiums built (only three have done so without public money).

The expansion talk tour continues with Don Garber slated to meet with organizers in St. Louis and Miami within the next week.

101 Sports has four reasons why St. Louis should be home to a MLS franchise.

MLS to San Diego? Apparently at the “top of the list” of other uses for a proposed new stadium for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers would be as the home of a new MLS franchise.

DC United have signed 27 year old Argentine attacking midfielder Facundo Coria who, you will recall, was on trial with the Union last month.

Sportsnet.ca looks at former Union man Chris Konopka impressing ingoal while Joe Bendik is out withan injury.

Former RSL forward Yura Movsisyan is looking for a return to MLS. Looks like the preferred landing spot would be in California so his wife could be closer to her family.

Michael Essien to MLS?


The US U-20 MNT defeated Australia 2-1 in a pre U-20 warm-up game today.

An article at ESPNW looking at how the artificial surfaces that will be used in the Women’s World Cup will affect games notes, “Based on the MLS data, the biggest differences between games played on turf and grass are the percentage of passes completed, particularly on long balls, and chances created in the game.” The averages are all higher with natural grass.


Goal.com reports, “FIFA pressure groups have united to urge sponsors to try to lead calls for the organization to improve working conditions in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup.” More at Inside World Football.

Is FIFA considering stripping CONMEBOL of a World Cup playoff spot because of the Boca Juniors supporters pepper spray attack on River Plate players?

Reuters reports, “Italian police on Tuesday detained some 50 people, including team managers, players and a suspected Calabrian mobster, accused of fixing dozens of soccer matches in the country’s third division and its top semi-pro league.”


  1. Ummmm. Mr Sakiewicz, leaders accept responsibility. Winners detest losing. This sir is all on you and Mr. Sugarman.
    Here is my big foam finger pointing right at you. You just destroyed the good will I felt towards you on sending out that letter. Why am I not surprised.
    Truly you just don’t get it.

    • +1


      I assume one of Sak’s duties is to deflect negative PR away from Sugarman, but his recent statements have only created more negative PR for himself, Sugarman, and the team as a whole. It amazes me how rich businessmen can consistently fail at the most basic of public relations.

    • I read his comments in the voice of the South Park version of Michael Jackson. “stop it. that’s ignorant.”

      Makes more sense that way.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Nick Sakiewicz paraphrasing Harry Truman “The buck stops with no one.”

  3. Nick Sakiewicz to me comes off as the type of idividual the makes you automatically check to see if your wallet is safely secure on your person. No GM, no organizational infrastructure to speak of and no LB since Jordan Harvey. Instead we have Sak and Sug and a label as the worst run franchise since Chivas USA and HE thinks now isn’t the time to point fingers! Just go away!! It’s smoke,mirrors,and snake oil!!

    Sell this team to a competent and financially competitive ownership!!


    • I see Sak more like a person who surrounds himself with yes-men. People who believe his shit doesn’t smell. Evidenced by his disbelief and lack of understanding when no one was happy at his signing of M’bohli. He acted indignant during the press conference when people thought maybe the Union had an over-abundance of goal keeping. He’s clearly out of touch with reality. Sugarman is just as culpable because he allows Sak to run wild. The hope is gone. Chivas Philadelphia.


  4. Andy Muenz says:

    So I was looking at the upcoming Union schedule and I have to ask one question – Is the MLS schedule-maker a complete moron or does he/she just hate the Union?
    From May 30 to July 11, there are 7 Saturdays (including those two days). The Union have 7 games in that time which is all well and good until you look more closely at the dates and see that the Union have 3 games in 7 days TWICE during that time, both followed by a 2 week layover until the next game. So the Union have 3 games between May 30 and June 6 and then don’t play again until June 20. They have 3 games from June 20 to June 27 (including a trip across the country) and then don’t play until July 11. Why aren’t these spread out more?

    • There’s a FIFA international date from June 8-16. So that explains the rush to play 3 games just before and after those dates.
      The week off for the 4th of July is most likely scheduling stupidity/opportunity for a high-profile friendly or Gold Cup game (looks like SKC is off that weekend, as well), but I’m sure our players wouldn’t mind the holiday.

    • June 13th is a FIFA international weekend, so MLS has a very limited schedule that weekend. Also, June 24th is a surprisingly busy Wednesday, with 7 games scheduled. And don’t forget, we’ll have a USOC game on the 16th/17th of June. As for July 4th weekend, I have no idea why we wouldn’t have a game…18 of the 20 teams do, and it’s a holiday weekend. On the bright side, the schedule is pretty consistent for the rest of the season after June.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I would buy the argument about the 13th/14th weekend except that there are 5 games scheduled then which is half the league.

      • Here is a quote from the league scheduler regarding the FIFA international dates:

        “We determined we’d play through the March one, which we historically have done, and for June, September and October, the league is going to take the position, ‘We’re not going to schedule games on those dates,’” said Pursel. “However, we’ll provide the options to the team. If the clubs feel that it’s better for them to play on those FIFA dates because it relieves schedule congestion, gives them a better pattern to their overall schedule, it might be better for attendance, just better overall dates, then we will permit that if both teams who are playing in that game agree to it.”

    • And it seems like every year the Union have played the most games in the league for the first 3 months of the season.

  5. to quote a stupid movie character…
    asssphincter says what?

  6. Great One says:

    Wow… I thought I had lost all hope yesterday…

  7. 123321_soccer says:

    Call, fax, write a letter to Jay Sugarman
    iStar Financial headquarters
    1114 Avenue of the Americas
    New York, NY 10036
    Tel: 212.930.9400
    Fax: 212.930.9494
    No e-mail info on the website.
    Next protest should be in the Manhattan at the IStar headquarters.

    • Jim Presti says:

      I think his shareholders are writing him enough as it is. But hey GREAT NEWS everyone: applications for building permits are up and new housing data is trending positively. With a short-term interest rate hike looming and the public looking to lock in the currently low rates, maybe some of that extra cashflow will trickle over to Sugarman’s pet project… who am I kidding? STAR could jump back to $40 per share and the Union would still be run like garbage.

  8. The Black Hand says:

    This guy really is too much. So, we shouldn’t point the finger at the one man, that has orchestrated every mistake that has been made by this organization? We should just continue supporting (spending money).
    Nick, your Kool-Aid tastes like shit!

  9. The SOB are chumps. Can’t stomp your feet outside the stadium and hope it was talked about on tv. Luckily it was, but you have to protest in the stands for this to really make a difference. Game was on national tv. You aren’t shaming the players with a protest. They know how bad their “leaders” are. Just once again the SOB caved to the front office of the Union. Shameful.

  10. Someone in the PR department needs to tie up and gag Nick Sakoshits. All he does is make things worse every chance he gets. Just STFU already Nick

  11. alicat215 says:

    Well SoB’s………….until you bring it in the stadium, not much will change. Yes there was national, negative publicity…..but Sak did his version of “damage control” and is moving on….as is the national media. We live in the 24/7 spin cycle….that negative publicity came and went within a half a day. I hate saying it…….but the players and the gaffer are an extension of the organization and the product of the front office….they are equally accountable. Part of becoming a pro footballer is the understanding that you’re representing a big business….you represent everything about the club…….both the good….and the bad. Both sides are using the players emotions as an excuse….thats how you know both sides are full of shit! None of the powers that be “get it”.

    • alicat215 says:

      I really don’t think either side understands that they are being made fun of across the country……..both the FO and the SoB’s! Part of me even thinks the SoB’s did this just to get the other supporters groups and fans from thinking Sak and them were one in the same……………which, to me anyway….the jury is still out on.

  12. Dr. Union says:

    Point point point I’m pointing everything at the FO and Nick Sak he is the problem the solution fire him. Wait let me repeat that FIRE HIM!!! He is incompetent at his job. When you are that bad at your job you deserve to be FIRED. Personally I think if you are that bad at your job you should just RESIGN, but we know that won’t happen. TERRIBLE NICK SAK you are the most out of touch individual on the face of the planet. Please go dig a hole somewhere bury yourself in it and never come out. I repeat I am pointing everything at you for screwing this club up because it has been all your dumb decisions that have caused this you should be FIRED. SELL THE TEAM and FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!!

    • Well said!!! In any and all professional sports there is a ‘GENERAL MANAGER’ that does the job to acquire the team players that coordinates and compliment each other until all roster spots are filled, substitutions included. That said, the Union, by F/O choice (Saks/Sugarman) still to date, 6 YEARS later, still have NO GM… ?!?!? Why ??? ONLY SAKS/SUGARMAN KNOW WHY BUT WILL”NOT” ANSWER THE QUESTION???? How can anyone expect a team to become a team unless it is organized from the top down? For you (Saks) to say it is not time to point fingers is a complete disgrace and insult to the fans, players and coaching staff. Man up you chicken sh#t! YOU ALONE ARE THE UNION’S PROBLEM! FREE OUR FRANCHISE AND TAKE YOUR $ AND GET OUT NOW!!! SELL TO SOMEONE WHO CARES MORE ABOUT OUR TEAM THAN $$$, After 6 years, 3 coaching staffs, NO GM, AND NOW THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE MLS… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, FREE OUR FRANCHISE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. The leaked final version of Rene Meulensteen’s in depth 6 month report.
    Offense: Sucks
    Defense: Sucks
    Goalkeeping: Non-existent
    Recommended Starting Lineup going forward:
    Good luck with that
    Your BFF Always
    P.S. Thanks for the paid vacation, see you in Majorca in November!

  14. You know, I get all amped up about being ready to protest at the game, then they play well, so we decide to hold off (yes, yes “bigger picture” I know). Then I hear about the SOB’s protest, and I’m impressed they took a stand, etc. Then, I come here and everyone is so (rightfully) negative, and I’m all fired up again. I think I just have to come to terms with the fact that we are screwed.
    Sak isn’t some hired executive that can be fired… he’s a part owner / investor. He is not going anywhere. We are Chivas. We can piss and moan all we want. We can take out a crowd-funded billboard (more on that in a moment)… but ultimately it is going to take a stroke of… well, maybe an actual stroke… to change this situation. I’m not wishing anyone harm… I’m simply saying that I am going to just try to enjoy the team as much as possible, and not get too fired up and whatever crap Sak and the Gang decide to pull next. Reservation… it truly is what it is. I’ll decide on renewing my tickets for next year, at the end of this one.
    As for that billboard, GoFundMe is prolly the best option. I don’t have Facebook, so if I set something up, which I can, I will have to ask you Facebook folks to spread the link to the appropriate people. GoFundMe is free*… minus 5% taken off each donation by the site, and another apparent 3% processing fee. Basically, every $10, we’ll keep like $9.20… if I understand it right. There are no time limits, and no goals you have to reach. I also have no problem reaching out to Keystone Advertising to inquire about that billboard, if this becomes a thing. Yes, I know I just lamented about being reserved, but I am still very willing to donate and help out… I’m just not gonna let it get to me, if it’s not successful. This is our club. We can be reserved, but we should never give up.
    Thoughts on everything everyone?

    • John Ling says:

      My advice… before you setup anything, talk to your accountant. I know for 100% certain the IRS considers funds from Kickstarter to be income, and expects the recipient to pay tax on it. I would have to imagine they consider GoFundMe the same way.

      • Steve H. says:

        He’s not an accountant but he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

      • Jim Presti says:

        The person receiving the funds [i.e. listed on the account] is responsible for paying any applicable income tax, although GoFundMe may or may not report the assets as “earned income. But they will be reported, depending on the number or amount, on an IRS Form 1099-K [I think].
        But if they went to a non-profit 501(c) those assets may receive more favorable tax treatment than an individual listed on the account.
        For the record I am not a CPA, I just work in the finance industry…

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Thanks guys… I guess we’ll see if this thing picks up steam and if so, we’ll go from there.

      • Jim Presti says:

        The 501(c) was a hint to the SOBs. Though they should check with a tax professional… [disclaimer]

    • Please do this.

    • IAmAnAccountant says:

      OneManWolfpack, it’s never bad advice to consult an accountant (if you have one) about a project where you are going to be handling money.
      Nevertheless, I wouldn’t worry greatly about being taxed on any $$ brought in if you use all the money appropriately, i.e. for the billboard. If you are required to report $$ coming in, you are always given the chance to report any associated $$ going out, and hopefully you wouldn’t have any net gain.
      I’m unfamiliar with the intricacies of GoFundMe, but if you can stop donations from coming in past the amount you need to setup the billboard, that would be best.

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