Daily news roundups

Readying for Red Bulls, Sapong cleared to play, Union to face Hburg or Rochester in US Open Cup 4th round

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Getting ready for Red Bulls

The Union are on the road to face New York Red Bulls on Sunday (5 pm: Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Go, Sirius XM FC).

Previews from PSP, Philadelphia Union (video), Inquirer, MLSsoccer.com, Sports Journal (combine this with this), Sky Sports, and MLSGB (video using FIFA 15).

A post from Chris Winkler on the new Behind the Crest blog at the Union website looks at the Union’s possession and chances created numbers and observes, “It’s clear that Maidana has been most effective when playing with Nogueira underneath him…Right now, the equation seems to be Nogueira + Maidana = more chances. More chances, well… the better odds of a result, regardless of possession.”

Winkler notes regarding Nogueira, “[I]t’s pretty simple: the Union are 2-2-3 when he starts; 0-5-0 when he doesn’t.”

New York Red Bulls Head coach Jesse Marsch is aware of the importance of Maigana and Nogueira to the Union. Speaking to Big Apple Soccer, Marsch said,

I know them both pretty well from watching them pretty carefully the past year-and-a-half. Vincent is a very clean player, very sharp upstairs, very sharp with his feet. Good passer and with the ball is a guy that really helps facilitate the attack.

Maidana’s a guy that when he shows up in the final third and can manipulate plays to get the ball on his left foot, is able to make clever, final plays. The key will be with both of them, to put them in a fast game, close down their time and space and physically now put them in a match that challenges them physically.

Now that’s easier said then done. I think because in their good moments, they can rotate the ball in a good way and they’re good on the counter, that’s not always the easiest thing to do. That certainly will be one of the focuses going into this game.

Red Bulls midfielder Felipe Martins said, “They’re two great players who are very technical, who make their team play better when they’re on the field.”

More on how Conor Casey’s contributions will be key to the Union turning things around at the Inquirer.

The latest injury report ahead of Sunday’s game:

OUT: GK Andre Blake (right knee meniscectomy recovery, out 4-6 weeks)
OUT: M Michael Lahoud (right quad strain 5/2, out 4-6 weeks)
OUT:  D Steven Vitoria (left hamstring strain, DNP 5/17)
QUESTIONABLE: F Antoine Hoppenot (left hamstring strain)
QUESTIONABLE: D Raymon Gaddis (left ankle sprain, did not train 5/20)

Sapong cleared to play

The welcome news that CJ Sapong has been cleared to return to play after completing the league mandated Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health assessment following his DUI arrest on May 1 was announced on Thursday.

Sapong told CBS Philly’s Kevin Kinkead,

I was admitted into a treatment program. It was a little bit of assessment, as well as dealing with any issues I might have had. It was highly beneficial for me, because it kind of gave me a time away from the game and made me realize where I made mistakes, and areas I can improve in. It’s an experience I’m definitely thankful for and will take all of the positives out of it. I’m definitely trying to get back with the team and build the trust back up, and I know that doesn’t take just a couple of days. I’m willing to do the work.

Jim Curtin said,

He’s a guy who, sort of like our team, has had a bit of a disjointed season, with the tough injury that he had, and then the off-the-field stuff. It’s great to have him back and welcome him back to the group We’re excited to have him and we know what he brings to the table. He’s a guy who is a hard worker and brings it every day in training, so a lot of guys had a smile on their face to have him back. He had a good day, a little bit rusty in the beginning, but all things considered he put in a good day’s work.

The Union tweeted that Sapong “is available for selection on Sunday” — which Curtin also indicated in the CBS Philly report — and tweeted a photo of Sapong training with the team on Thursday morning. However, a post fromKyle Basedow on the new Behind the Crest blog on the team website said, “Sapong looked pretty sharp but lacks match fitness so it is unlikely that he will be in the squad for the game against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday night.”

More at CSN Philly.

US Open Cup fourth round draw

The draw for the fourth round of the  Open Cup took place Thursday evening and the Union will host the winner of next week’s third round match-up between Harrisburg City Islanders and Rochester Rhinos at PPL Park on Tuesday, June 16 at 7:30 pm.


Harrisburg City Islanders have the weekend off.

Following their defeat to Harrisburg in US Open Cup play on Wednesday, Reading face Baltimore Bohemians on the road on Saturday at 7 pm.

Ocean City Nor’easters open their season on the road against DC United on Saturday at 7:30 pm. At the Ocean City website, a look at the team’s midfield.

On Sunday at 5 pm, Lehigh Valley United Sonic are on the road to face New York Red Bulls U-23s.

Philadelphia has the fifth highest ratings in the country for Premier League games on NBC/NBCSN. First is Washington DC, followed by New York, Columbus, and Denver.


The Miami Herald reports, “Soccer icon David Beckham, outgoing University of Miami president Donna Shalala and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber are scheduled to meet Friday in Miami about possibly partnering on a football-soccer stadium, according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting.”

Djibril Cisse to MLS?


ESPNW has a preview of the US Women’s World Cup team.

USWNT midfielder Morgan Brian gets a profile at the Guardian.


Following the withdrawal of Michael van Praag from the FIFA presidential race, Luis Figo announced he too was ending his campaign. But Figo did so with a gunsblazing statement released to the Associated Press. Here’s a passage:

[O]ver the past few months I have not only witnessed that desire (for change), I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires soccer to be free, clean and democratic.

I have seen with my own eyes federation presidents who, after one day comparing FIFA leaders to the devil, then go on stage and compare those same people with Jesus Christ. Nobody told me about this. I saw it with my own eyes.

The candidates were prevented from addressing federations at congresses while one of the candidates always gave speeches on his own from the rostrum. There has not been a single public debate about each candidate’s proposals.

Does anyone think it’s normal that an election for one of the most relevant organizations on the planet can go ahead without a public debate? Does anyone think it’s normal that one of the candidates doesn’t even bother to present an election manifesto that can be voted on May 29? Shouldn’t it be mandatory to present such a manifesto so that federation presidents know what they’re voting for?

That would be normal, but this electoral process is anything but an election.

This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man – something I refuse to go along with.

More on Figo’s statement at the Guardian.

The remaining challenger to Sepp Blatter, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, has issued a revised manifesto ahead of the election calling for the number of teams qualifying for the World Cup to be increased from 32 teams to 36,ideally before the 2018 World Cup in Russia. More from Inside World Football and the Press Association.

The chairman of the Poland FA, Zbigniew Boniek, says Russia should be stripped of the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup:

Hosting the World Cup in Russia is a disastrous mistake, it’s a country engaged in war, who invaded another country

In 2010 when Fifa chose Russia to host the World Cup the situation was totally different. But now when Russia is at war with Ukraine? There should be a clause in the contract between Fifa and the host country that enables the executive committee to strip that country in the event of a war. Or violating the charter of the United Nations.

Reuters reports, “Qatar, host of soccer’s 2022 World Cup, is doing little to improve conditions for its 1.5 million migrant workers despite promising reforms last year, Amnesty International said on Thursday.”

An editorial at USA Today says,

[G]iven Amnesty’s harsh assessment, it’s clearly not enough. Until Qatar shows proof it’s sincere about protecting the lives and rights of migrant workers, FIFA should tell the emir it’s taking its ball and going elsewhere. To keep the governing body honest — hold the snickers — Adidas, Coke, Visa and every other sponsor ought to lock down FIFA’s piggybank.

Individual federations need to start speaking up, too, starting with U.S. Soccer. The federation hasn’t said a peep about this publicly. Perhaps that was to avoid the appearance of sour grapes, but this is too important an issue to stand by in silence.

Vice Sports reports that, not long after Sepp Blatter met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to forestall the resolution introduced by the Palestinian FA to expel Israel that will be voted on in next week’s FIFA Congress, Israeli security forces detained Palestinian national team player Sameh Maraabah for three hours at a border crossing checkpoint between the West Bank and Jordan for what was described as “security reasons.” Maraabah was traveling with the Palestinian national team to Jordan to catch a flight to Tunisia to train ahead of a match against Saudi Arabia on June 11. Restrictions of the movements of Palestinian players is one of the motivations behind the resolution from the Palestinian FA.

The Guardian reports,

The Football League play-offs this bank holiday weekend will go ahead as planned despite an unexploded second world war bomb being discovered near Wembley, stadium officials have said.

The 110lb bomb was discovered by builders near Wembley Arena and a number of local residents were evacuated from the area, with the bomb posing “a genuine risk to life”, according to the Army.

Wembley Stadium said on its Twitter account: “This weekend’s games remain unaffected & we look forward to welcoming supporters of all six football-league Play-Off finalists to Wembley.”

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


  1. Great One says:

    Sorry to bring this over here but I’m curious if anyone knows. I’ll be at the a Emirates on Sunday watching Arsenals last game, does anyone know if this Union game is one of the ones being broadcast at English pubs? That may be fun to try and catch around 10pm.

  2. FIFA Qatar Russia.
    Need one say more.
    Kudos to Figo for blasting the organization.
    ‘Some men you just can’t reach so you get what we had here last week……’

    • fifa just amazes me. it is the most corrupt organization on the planet and every person who knows what fifa is is aware of this. and yet it still goes on

      • Well, both FIFA and their sponsors keep making tons of money so why would things change?

        It’s pretty funny to see my non-soccer fans’ faces when I tell them how corrupt the soccer’s governing body is.

    • Which is the way he wants it….so he gets it

      That sounds like all of us!

    • John Ling says:

      “I don’t like it any more than you men.”

    • Have additional respect to Figo for coming out with that statement. Everyone knows this “election” is a complete and utter farce (as with most things with FIFA). I continue to be disappointed that US Soccer isn’t more outspoken against the corruption in FIFA. I’d rather lose a future World Cup in 2030, if necessary, and actually be proud of my federation for “doing the right” thing and standing up to this obviously corrupt organization. Why aren’t more federations banding together to make a statement against the current FIFA regime and policies?? US Soccer should absolutely join with the German federation in publicly stating that we will not vote to re-elect Blatter.

      • pragmatist says:

        There was an article I read this week that pointed out that every country in FIFA gets an equal vote. So the Cayman Islands gets a vote that counts the same as Brazil. Care to guess which where FIFA’s Accountant was from? Well…until he was recently indicted.

        Since there are so many tiny countries that rely on Blatter throwing them money, he buddies up to them, they vote him in office, and he gives them money.

        It doesn’t matter if we joined forces with the 20 most powerful soccer nations in the world. The remaining 100 tiny nations would outvote us every time.

      • 123321_soccer says:

        U.S. government works exactly the same way, so…

  3. The Black Hand says:

    The NYRB manager seems to have a strong read on our club and might adjust his club’s tactics, accordingly. Isn’t that illegal?? It is is Unionland…

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Yeah I don’t like his research and coaching one bit. I’m crying FOUL!! If we just throw shit at the wall every week, out opponents should have to as well!! BOLLOCKS I SAY!!

  4. i’m impressed with Sapong’s statement.
    really hope he can contribute to the second half of the season. i’d rally behind a career resurrection faced with this long season. he’s an opportunity to seize with aristeguieta on international duty.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Question on Open Cup eligibility. Since Sylvestre is on loan from Carolina, do they have the right to tell the Union that he can’t be used in US Open Cup games so he keeps his eligibility to play in possible future games for them after the loan ends?

  6. Wow, I’m pretty salty about Edu’s suspension. If we can borderline compete with NY I’ll be content. Any chance Tim Ream can rejoin their back line and set up the U for a late winner? That was a great moment in U-lore when he gifted that Torres game winner

  7. I love Jim Curtin but he can be way too wishy washy constantly singing the praises of every opponent the Union are about to face. He’s always good friends with this one or has a lot of respect for that one. So and So is such a good guy…etc. For a professional coach he sure has a lot of man crushes. Come on Jim save that bunk for after the game when the Union have hopefully won. Things are bad enough being stuck with Sakiewicz the serial franchise killer. It would be nice to have a coach who has some fire in his belly!

    Sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive owner!!


  8. Pretty stark statistic: 2-2-3 with Nogs 0-5 without. That of course isn’t looking at the individual circumstances in each match but . . .

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