Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser, Harrisburg tops Reading in US Open Cup 2nd rounder, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Some highlights from Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference on Wednesday (full transcript here at PSP):

  • Curtin said he has a “challenging decision” to make over whether to start Brian Sylvestre or John McCarthy against NYRB.
  • Ray Gaddis and Steven Vitoria are unlikely to be ready play against NYRB. Michael Lahoud will be out for at least another couple of weeks.
  • If Gaddis is unavailable, expect Sheanon Williams at right back, Fabinho at left back.
  • Brian Carroll will be captain as Maurice Edu serves a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
  • Describing Edu as the team’s best player throughout the season, Curtin lamented he’s “probably not getting the recognition he deserves because of our poor record.”
  • Expect Richie Marquez to be at center back (presumably along side of Ethan White) with Edu’s suspension and Vitoria’s questionable status.
  • The team could know as early as Friday if Fernando Aristeguieta will be continuing with the Venezuelan national team. If he does not make the cut, he could be available as a reserve for Sunday’s game.
  • Curtin said he continues to believe in Andrew Wenger: “[W]e have to find a way to get him going. He has so much talent that if we’re going to be a successful team, we have to find a way for him to break out of it.”
  • Curtin described the Red Bulls midfield as “the best midfield in the league going right now.”

More from the press conference at The Reporter, CSN Philly, and MLSsoccer.com.

Curtin mentioned that Wenger’s dribble out of play in the first half against DC last Sunday had made Deadspin (well, screengrabber.deadspin, anyway, where it appears to have been viewed more than 42,000 times). It’s also the basis for a co-authored post at Vice Sports. One author praises, “Andrew Wenger is pure heart, triple distilled into a fine spirit of determination, and he won’t let crappy teammates who don’t give him a half-decent run stop him from getting to where he needs to go.” The other author uses the play as the stepping off point to lament the loss to videogame-playing viewers who have not experienced to joys of an earlier era when “uncontrolled players milled around” on the screen, leaving one with the sense “that whatever technological miracle was dictating the game-play was overloaded or distracted or even bored…these impenetrable moments of ghost-in-the-machine goofiness.”

PSP Fans’ View and youth soccer contributor Scott Pugh sent out this tweet last night with a GIF from Sunday’s game. The first time I watched it I was so focused on the the fine form displayed in heading the ball down while holding what appears to be a beer that I failed to notice the ball then smacks an unfortunate woman in the head.

The Union is 306th on ESPN’s global survey of the average player salary at 333 professional sports teams, down from 266th in 2014. Their total payroll puts them at 305th.

The Union’s “Start Your Journey” series continues with Chris Albright’s path to pro soccer and the US national team.

The Union have announced that 76ers play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff will cover Union game broadcasts for JP Dellacamera while he is away working the Women’s World Cup.

Brotherly Game has an editorial piece on Nick Sakiewicz’s comments following the Sons of Ben’s Union fans deserve better protest.

Included in City Paper’s latest “weekly quality-of-life-o-meter,” The Bell Curve, is this:

 [+1]  Fans of the Philadelphia Union hold a pre-game protest saying they “deserve better” from the team’s front office. “You are the best fans in the league,” says team CEO Nick Sakiewicz. “I already regret the fact that I traded you for a colony of termites to be installed in the stadium immediately.”

Behind the Crest

Following the demise of The Daily Doop, the Union have launched a new blog, Behind the Crest, on the team website that will include “daily updates from practice, our injury report, behind-the-scenes shots with the players/staff, media recaps, news from around the league and just about anything else we decide that is newsworthy for a few hundred words.” Click here for the first injury report and practice recap, which includes this bit of painfulness:


Carolina RailHawks have brought in goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald on loan from New York City FC for cover while Brian Sylvestre is with the Union.

Union Academy

Carlos dos Santos (GK; Philadelphia, Penn.), Nykolas Sessock (D; Philadelphia, Penn.), and Brenden Aaronson (F; Medford, N.J.) are among the 58 players born in 2000 and 2001 who have been selected for the inaugural Boys’ National Team Futures training camp that will take place in Carson, Calif., May 23-26. The announcement on the US Soccer website says the purpose of the camp is “identifying the most talented players in the ’00 and ’01 birth year that appear to be on a later physical development growth path and/or are born in the second half of the year, to reduce the impact of physical maturity and relative age effect on identification and evaluation of talent.”


Harrisburg City Islanders defeated Reading United 3-0 on Wednesday night to advance to the third round of the US Open Cup. Danny DiPrima, Cardel Benbow, and Ken Tribbett all scored in the win. Harrisburg will host fellow USL side Rochester Rhinos, who were 1-0 victors over Greater Binghamton FC, in the third round on Wednesday, May 27 at 7 pm. Recaps from the second round win at Penn Live, WFMZ, Philly Soccer News, and Brotherly Game.

An announcement on the US Soccer website notes, “The unveiling of the Fourth Round match-ups and hosting scenarios will take place Thursday, May 21, 2015, at 7 p.m. ET on 120Sports.com.” The fourth round is when the Union and other MLS teams enter the tournament. Those games will be played June 16–17.

Registration is open for the Kick It 3v3 tournament in Lafayette Hill on June 6.


Kansas City defeated New England 4-2 on Wednesday night. Evoking memories of the Union at Salt Lake at the beginning of the season, referee Allen Chapman once again felt the need to make sure everyone knew he was carrying a whistle on the PK call that led to Kansas City’s third goal.

More on former Union man Chris Konopka seizing the opportunity in Toronto presented by an injury to Joe Bendik at MLSsoccer.com.

American Soccer Analysis examines the effect of travel distance for away results. Conclusion: “[W]hen we control for general home advantage and the relative strengths of two teams, the physical distance between two teams has no effect on results from a statistical standpoint.”

The NASL has beaten David Beckham to the punch, announcing on Wednesday a new Miami team that will begin play in 2016. Among Miami Football Club’s owners are Paolo Maldini, a former teammate of Beckham at AC Milan.

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson said, “Our group has their own business plan with or without an MLS club,” NASL commissioner Bill Peterson said. “South Florida has the component for two nature [sic] rivalries. It could be the best thing for South Florida soccer ever. If an MLS team comes to town I’m not to concerned. We went through the process of putting great ownership groups in great cities. MLS has no bearing on our decisions.”

The new team makes for four NASL clubs in Florida, joining the nearby Fort Lauderdale Strikers, as well as Tampa Bay Rowdies and new-in-2015 side Jacksonville Armada. Reports at Miami Herald, Miami New TimesSun Sentinel, New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, and the AP.

At World Soccer Talk, Kartik Krishnaiyer says of the Miami move, “you have to wonder whether the motivation here is centered around NASL’s never ending quest to get the attention of MLS and the media that covers the top division of North American soccer so closely.”

The fact remains that NASL is moving into a market that failed them in the past, using the same Miami FC name for that team, and potentially moving into a stadium (Florida International University) that had attendances of less than 1000 for games, While the new ownership group is impressive, you have to wonder whether this team is doomed to fail given the track record of NASL teams in Miami (both the original NASL and current NASL organizations)…the league’s decision to make Miami it’s 12th club reminds us of the failures elsewhere in trying to secure expansion franchises and of the league’s continued efforts to poke at MLS. But for the NASL, MLS comes with loaded guns to any fight while NASL is just striving to have any weapon of relevance.


USA Today has five questions with Sunil Gulati ahead of the Women’s World Cup. Here’s the best part:

FTW: What do you think about Sepp Blatter recently calling himself the “godfather” of the women’s game?

Sunil Gulati: [Gulati declined comment.]

More on the broadcast schedule for the Women’s World Cup at Soccer America.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald looks at what to expect if you travel to Canada for the Women’s World Cup.

The US U-23 WNT is off to Norway for the Four Nations tournament.


The AP reports, “FIFA came under pressure from sponsors Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa on Wednesday to push Qatar to deliver reforms for migrant workers as the country rapidly expands to host the 2022 World Cup.” You can read Visa’s brief statement here. More on Coca-Cola’s statement at Marketing Magazine.

Reuters reports, “FIFA presidential candidate Michael van Praag has withdrawn from next week’s election and thrown his weight behind Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.” Also from Reuters, why Sepp Blatter will remain as “the Pope” of world soccer.

The head of the German FA says his federation will not support Blatter’s re-election.

Reuters reports, “The head of world soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday Israel had proposed easing travel restrictions for Palestinian players but the head of the Palestine FA insisted he would pursue a move to have Israel suspended from FIFA.”

Despite moves to relax regulations, UEFA president Michel Platini says Financial Fair Play is “here to stay.”

Inside World Football reports, “Italy’s women’s cup final has been cancelled as a result of the alleged description of female players as a ‘bunch of lesbians’ by the president of the Italian Amateur Football Association (LND), Felice Belloli.”

At SI, James Young looks at the institutional factors behind the “seemingly endless cycle of thuggery” in South American soccer.

The Guardian has a defense of artificial turf.


  1. Just to follow up…. to me, there are two stories this week.
    1. Union win a game. Yeah.
    2. First official supporters protest. Yeah Squared.
    Personally the most important story is the fan statement to the front office. The win, while exciting and necessary does not trump a casket with Nick Sakiewicz, Serial Franchise Killer painted on the side.
    I will write it again and then leave it be…. coordinated pressure by the fans and the media please. Jim Curtin needed to be asked about his thoughts regarding the fans outside the stadium voicing their discontent. The FO asked for this to just go away and he was granted this wish. wrong. wrong. wrong.
    And for all those of you who disagree, I reference Andy Reid being forced to deal with those exact questions whether pointed directly at him or the management of the Eagles when fans lined up outside NovaCare to protest.
    Yesterday would have given us a glimpse, and another opportunity to see what kind of leader Jim Curtin is.
    Missed opportunity by the Philadelphia Sports media. The protest is a story and still should be part of the story. No other way to see it IMO.

  2. Earl Gardner says:

    Re: Jimmy hit in the jimmy

    Look at the photos… something is off. Check out Vince, Shea and Ayuk. Boy can they move fast.

    • not really, it’s just that quite some time has elapsed between the two images: there tends to be, ahem, more than a few seconds of discomfort following such trauma, and you are quite fortunate if you have never felt that pain

  3. Go Go….GO….NASL Go. LOVE IT!

  4. Philadelphia soccer: where one of our fans can simultaneously hold a beer and head the ball straight into another fan’s head, but our franchise leader in goals, assists, and shots can’t time a jump to save his life.

    • man this just made me sigh and laugh and think, damn if you aren’t right. well played volley sir.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Glad the priority, preserve the beer, is clear.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Can’t discredit the talent involved…bullet-header…not a drop spilled. Well played, guy!

      • Notice, too, that the other fans around him started cheering at the feat. At that point of the game (and season), anything was worth cheering.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I was one section over in 127 and saw it live. It was great. I cheered.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Where in 127 do you sit Wolfpack? We’re in row C on the end next to 128. Stop by and say hi some time.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I’m in P… 17 and 18. I have a long sleeve original (no Bimbo) Union jersey and a blue Union baseball hat on for pretty much every game. I’ll be at the NYCFC game on 6/6. See ya then !

  5. I have to say, I love european football. Love it. European football makes the world a place I can better tolerate. It is movement art.
    That said, many many fans and now presidents of organizations are clearly dumb-ass bigots.
    Hello…. this is the year of Our Lord Twenty Fifteen… you people and you know who you are over there… need to pull thine heads from thine asses and start recognizing that of the ineffable in everyone.
    We certainly have a less sophisticated game stateside but a much more sophisticated manner or idea on how to treat people (generally speaking)- must be the hidden Quaker inside.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Not necessarily a hidden Quaker, mighty elephant! What you reference is too widespread and the Religious Society of Friends is way, way, way too small to have that broad an influence (some coefficient of ten to the fifth power). Besides two of the bloodier phenomena in Philadelphia area soccer are Haverford-Swarthmore and George-Westtown.
      It’s Jefferson’s most widely know phrase, subsequently modified seventy-two years later by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “all men are created equal.” (“And women”). We Cold War babies and Civil Rights Movement children were raised on it. Especially in this era of widely increased American cultural diversity, that phrase is the closest thing to a universally venerated sacred text in the culture. Much more important than anything in or associated with the Constitution, as important as the Preamble thereunto is.

  6. Anybody watch the Reading – Harrisburg game? Could any of those players help the Union?

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Didn’t see that specific match but have watched the you tube videos of every game HCI has played in USL, save the part of one early match where the presentation failed technically.

      First, and foremost according to me, they had fourteen players available for the win against Charlotte. The third sub at the end of the game was the Bach-up keeper in someone else’s jersey trying to do what he could as a striker. They list only seventeen on their roster, and they’ve got some injuries.
      Second there is no space on the Union’s roster. The new CBA cut rosters to 28 and Brian Sylvestre fills slot number 28′ the one left open to, I presume save money and provide for short-term emergencies. (Mbohli still occupies a roster slot as far as I know)
      The heart of their squad is a rotating midfield triangle of Jose Barril, Yann Ekra, and Enrick Valles. They are very effective together in that environment. Two other names I would suggest watching are Ken Tribbet (Drexel grad I think) who is converting to a right back with an emergency appearance at center back, and has scored some headers on corners, and Curtis (?) Benbow, a teenage tiny Jamaican with quite a turn of speed and a decent shot.
      Comparing the two levels of play is difficult, of course. The only responsible comments I can offer are two. When Jimmy McGlaughlin has played for them this season, he has made a clear contribution consistently. When Richie Marquez has done so he has been quite solid. Neither stands above the way Thierry Henry did or Kaka does in MLS. Pfeffer played well for them very early, but the triangle I mentioned has emerged since he left and is doing well. Catic in his last few appearances was on their bench, he’d get minutes as a substitute, having started earlier. (I have made the unverified assumption that Catic has practiced with the Union and gone down to Harrisburg on game day, thus not meshing very well into an unpracticed situation, but I am guessing on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. Against my assumption is what I take to be Coach Beecgher’s clear preference for speed, some with which Catic is not heavily blessed.)
      Finally, remember that Harrisburg is independent from, not commanded by, the Union. A short-term disruption serves neither team. The Union have had HCI’s starting keeper in camp at the beginning of 2014. They did not call him up, but called on Sylvestre instead. Nick Noble is clearly very important to Harrisburg (captain) and he did not win the 3rd keeper slot a year ago, perhaps because he was valuable to the affiliate? I think the Union are careful of their partnership with the City Islanders. As I say, they do not command. Hackworth talked to Coach Beecher every day he said. We know little of Jim Curtin’s practice in that regard.

  7. pragmatist says:

    Just a little blurb, but I think it sums things up nicely…

    “The Union is 306th on ESPN’s global survey of the average player salary at 333 professional sports teams, down from 266th in 2014. Their total payroll puts them at 305th.”

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Agreed. Glad you brought this up. To be 266th is something… to go down 50 spots and be sniffing DEAD LAST on a list like that is complete and utter disgrace. This is a point that should not be glossed over.

      • Meh. The top MLS team is Toronto @ 204, followed by LA @ 229, NYCFC @ 234.

        What’s more newsworthy to me is that the Union are ahead of DCU, MTL, RSL & COL. They get better value for the $, and clearly that’s not the problem with the Union.

        Now, “he who shall not be named” is undoubtedly inflating the Union’s position, but still.

      • I will henceforth and forever refer to the Algerian ‘keeper as He Who Must Not Be Named.

      • John Ling says:

        Can we just use “Voldemort” for short? I hate typing…

  8. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Reference Jim Curtin’s comment that he had fourteen players available for practice on Wednesday, it makes sense if he was not counting the goalkeepers and Eric Bird is still restricted.

  9. The Black Hand says:

    How is Curtin torn, over his keeper decision? Did he really see a professional goalkeeper in John McCarthy? It’s “challenges” like this that make me long for a real manager.

    • He isn’t. Trust me.

    • He was trying not to discourage the kid. Manager speak. The way things are going he may just need to play again at some point this year. Is anything unexpected at this point?

      • The Black Hand says:

        Under most circumstances, I would agree that this is a Manager ‘managing’ his words. But, this guy…I really don’t know if he is not considering the helmeted keeper…to some extent.

    • pragmatist says:

      He also made comments about how he doesn’t like to make changes after a good result. Like everyone else is saying, he’s just keeping McCarty’s spirits up. He’s going with Sylvestre until he’s forced to change.

  10. CJ back. Thank goodness

  11. CJ Sapong will definitely play this weekend. No way Casey can go back-to-back 90 minutes.

  12. Andy Muenz says:

    That injury report and practice update does not fill me with confidence. “The feel of practice was noticeably lose today”. Shouldn’t they wait until Sunday before they noticeably lose?

  13. alicat215 says:

    Stand up for yourself Jim! Come on son!

  14. At the news that CJ was back, Casey decided, “yes , I am going to eat that grilled cheese”

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      … and have that Milk Stout!! HA!

      • The Black Hand says:

        …and then eat that other grilled cheese.

      • I don’t know why y’all are busting on Casey. He played pretty well last weekend.

      • The Black Hand says:

        How are we busting on him? Everyone loves grilled cheese and Milk stout…No?
        In all seriousness, he was effective. Missed a bunch of goals, though…silver-platter goals…gooey grilled-cheese goals.
        Thats it, I’m going to make one…

      • John Ling says:

        Mmm… Milk stout…

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Not busting on him… just paying homage. He did have a great game… but he is the only fat soccer player in the world. Haha

  15. James Lockerbie says:

    here is a question to anyone interested in taking a shot at answering it. Did Nowak want to keep the majority of the 2011 team intact and went to Nick for some money to add one or two players? At that point having been told No, he had to get creative and sold the guys he could get the most allocation money for?
    Secondly has anyone wondered how cool it would have been if Calif Le Toux could have stayed on the team until now or a season or two from now with a crowd standing ovations for the first two players in the honor circle at ppl park. Would there have been so many members of the sons of Ben wishing to march in protest ? What could have been?
    Or I am I looking back forgetting the negatives of their games?

    • good questions. makes one wonder.
      all I know, when I think back to the first incarnation of this team built from scratch then the 2011 team it had some real quality and the play was most certainly better. You look back at the roster and its a solid solid roster. third place in the conference, yes?
      five, six years later has been a total regression…a few nice tool players, one questionable star player and a handful of rusty nuts and hex-bolts.
      How things looked up. How hopeful to be relevant and on the rise and now………………..absolute. total. rotten egg fart. The rot gut Milwaukee’s Best day after fart… or maybe more like……
      …the scent of…. Au du A-shame and the cheaper watery version too, not the real quality stuff.
      This is me booing the hell out of you.
      yeah YOU!

  16. James Lockerbie says:

    o.k. thanks I was just checking to make sure I wasn’t just misreading the situation we’re in right now.

  17. I admit it. I look forward to the comments here more than the articles. Kudos to those who post their prose, especially the regulars.
    Having said that, a sincere “thank you” to every contributing author at PSP for your sustained commitment and hard work. You have created a virtual space where people can come and interact together. It’s not as easy as it looks. Well done.
    Bravo to all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *