Daily news roundups

Recaps and reaction to loss in DC, Riise, results wrap, national team and FIFA news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Sometimes referee decisions can appear to be about balance.

In Saturday’s 2-1 loss to DC, the Union’s Maurice Edu appeared to grab Danny Arnaud outside the penalty area, “the most fouled player in MLS history™.” A few steps later, Arnaud fell down in the box. Referee Ted Unkel was not impressed and play continued.

Later in the second half, Sebastien Le Toux was on a breakaway heading to goal when he was taken down by Chris Pontius. Unkel thought the foul worthy only of a yellow card. Balance? I don’t know.

But after that, any appearance of balance seemed to disappear. When Chris Rolfe kicked out when he was fouled by Vincent Nogueira, clearly striking him in the torso, Unkel and the linesmen saw nothing.

When Zach Pfeffer handled the ball in the box in the 85th minute while covering Rolfe on a cross, it was the linesman and not Unkel who saw the infraction. Nevertheless, Unkel showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Rolfe promptly scored the gamewinner.

The Union understandably feel hard done by by Unkel’s on again-off again decisiveness. As Le Toux said after the game, sometimes it appears “it’s always have to be nice with the home team and don’t help the visiting team” with referees. Jim Curtin said after the loss, “I’ve gotten a million texts already” saying the Rolfe incident would be looked at. If he isn’t retroactively suspended, there is no justice. If he is, it’ll be DC’s upcoming opponents that benefit, not the Union.

If only Philadelphia had been able to turn that first half dominance into more goals, who knows how things might have ended.

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s game, here’s hoping that, should it become a factor, it’s the ref being nice with the home team, and not Columbus.

Reports and reaction from PSP, Philadelphia Union, MLSsoccer.comPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (recap, analysis), Vavel, Zolo Times, Philly Sports NetworkDC United, Washington Post, Black and Red UnitedThe Sports Network, and the AP.  USA Today has a photo gallery.

Power rankings: At ESPN, the Union drop one spot to No. 18. The Union remain at No. 18 at MLSGB.

At CBS Philly, Kevin Kinkead reports that 34-year-old former Liverpool man and Norway international, John Arne Riise, is on “a final list of recommended players for the summer transfer window” provided to the Union by Rene Meulensteen at the end of his consultancy.

The Union website has a profile piece on Sebastien Le Toux.

MLSGB talks to Maurice Edu, who says of playing center back, “it’s something that I’m getting used to…It’s a role that I’m getting more and more comfortable with. I’m still learning bits and pieces here and there and trying to improve but I feel good playing at the back. I think some of my qualities from playing in midfield have helped me and it’s a role that forces you to be more vocal and to continue to be a leader.”

Danny Cruz scored a goal and an assist in Bodo/Glimt’s 5-1 win over Mjondalen on Sunday.

Big Apple Soccer highlights the fine season Leo Fernandes is having on loan to New York Cosmos, where he leads the team in goals (4 in league and Cup play) and is tied for second in assists (2).

Chester Mayor John Linder, who was defeated in the Democratic mayoral primary by State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, tells the Inquirer’s Caitlin McCabe  that he believes the Union and PPL Park should be doing more for the city: “These are big people with big ties, and they should be influencing corporations to come and build.” Nick Sakiewicz said, “Revitalizing the city isn’t what we ever promised. One business doesn’t fix decades of economic mismanagement in a city.”

The article notes the less than optimal relationship between the team and Linder and says Kirkland and Republican mayoral candidate Wendell Butler are both confident that, if elected, they can improve the relationship.

Union Academy

The Union Academy teams hosted their New York Red Bulls counterparts on Saturday. The U-14s were the 2-1 winners after Iverson Brisma opened the scoring in the 16th minute and Nicholas Liddy scored the 80th minute game-winner.

Raheem Taylor-Parkes opened the scoring in the second minute in the U-16 match but the Red Bulls came back to win 2-1. The result sees the Union U-16s (21-3-1, 64 points) second in the East Conference behind first place Red Bulls (22-1-2, 68 points).

The U-18s remain a wild card selection in the playoff hunt at fourth place (12-7-6, 42 points) after defeating first place Red Bulls (18-4-3, 57 points) 3-0 with goals from Sebastian Elney, Derrick Amaniampong, and Zachary Perez.

Local

In the first edition of the Keystone Derby, the City Islanders lost 5-2 to the Riverhounds. On Saturday night in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg was winning 3-0 at the half, 5-3 at the end of regulation, before losing 6-5 in stoppage time. Devastating. Recaps from Penn Live, Philly Soccer NewsPittsburgh RiverhoundsPittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Sporting NewsDK on Pittsburgh Sports.

In PDL play on Saturday, Reading United topped Ocean City Nor’easters 2-0 on a brace from Brett Campbell. Recaps at Reading United, Reading Eagle, and Press of Atlantic City. Lehigh Valley United Sonic fell 3-1 on the road to Baltimore Bohemians, their lone tally coming from a 90th minute PK from Alec Neumann.

The Inquirer looks at some early Philadelphia soccer history.

MLS

In Eastern Conference play, first place DC (7-3-4, 25 points) came from behind to defeat eighth place Philadelphia (3-8-3, 12 points), 2-1. Second place New England (5-3-6, 21 points) drew 2-2 with Los Angeles. Third place Red Bulls (4-3-5, 17 points) lost 2-1 in stoppage time on the road to Seattle. Fourth place Toronto (5-5-1, 16 points) defeated San Jose, 3-1. Fifth place Columbus (4-4-4, 16 points) gave up the lead after an 89th minute equalizer from former Union man Pedro Ribeiro to draw 2-2 with seventh place Orlando (3-5-5, 14 points). Sixth place Chicago (4-5-2, 14 points) thumped ninth place Montreal (2-4-2, 8 points), 3-0. Last place NYCFC (1-7-5, 8 points) drew 1-1 with Houston.

In the Western Conference, first place Seattle (8-3-2, 26 points) defeated NYRB, 2-1. Second place Vancouver (7-5-2, 23 points) defeated ninth place RSL (4-5-5, 17 points), 2-1. Third place Dallas was thumped 4-0 on the road by fourth place Kansas City (5-2-6, 21 points). Fifth place Los Angeles (5-4-6, 21 points) drew 2-2 on the road with New England. Sixth place Portland (5-5-4, 19 points) defeated tenth place Colorado (2-4-7, 13 points) 2-1 on the road. Seventh place San Jose (5-5-3, 18 points) lost 3-1 on the road to Toronto. Eighth place Houston (4-5-5, 17 points) drew 1-1 on the road with NYCFC.

What's with these new stadiums that leave one end of the grounds open?

What’s with these new stadiums that leave one end of the grounds open?

Orlando City announced on Friday that it will privately finance construction of its own stadium, allowing work to be gin immediately ahead of an expected completion date in the summer of 2016. The stadium capacity will also be increased from the originally planned 25,000 to 28,000 “due to the overwhelming market response to Lions’ matches at home.” More on the news from Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Business Journal, Orlando Sun TimesBright House Sports, and WFTV.

NWSL

First place Chicago (4-0-3, 15 points) drew 0-0 on the road with sixth place Seattle (2-2-2, 8 points). Second place Washington (4-3-1, 13 points) defeated seventh place Portland (2-3-2, 8 points), 2-1. Third place Boston (3-3-1, 10 points) defeated fourth place Kansas City (3-4-1, 10 points), 1-0. Fifth place Houston (2-2-3, 9 points) drew 1-1 on the road with last place Sky Blue (1-3-4, 7 points).

US

In their final game before the start of group play at the Women’s World Cup, the US played South Korea to a dull 0-0 draw. Not exactly inspiring stuff.

It looks like Alex Morgan will not be available for the US at the start of the Women’s World Cup as she continues to recover from a knee injury.

Pre Women’s World Cup profiles on Hope Solo, Morgan Brian, Christie Rampone, Lori Chalupny, Julie Johnston, and Sydney Leroux.

A report from the Salt Lake Tribune notes the condition of the new artificial turf at Vancouver’s BC Place following the first match played on, Saturday’s Whitecaps-RSL game. Nick Rimado said,

I wasn’t a fan. Every time a ball comes, sand gets in your eye and rubber gets everywhere. It’s all over your feet and legs. Hopefully, that wears in as more players play on it. But it’s slippery for sure. You saw the guys slipping out there. It’s the first game, though, so you can’t be too critical on it.

As more players play on it, it’s gonna get broken in and be better — hopefully.

We’ll see if it is in time for the Women’s World Cup final on July 5, not to mention the rest of the Women’s World Cup games that will be played on it.

USMNT

Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 22-player roster for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Netherlands. Dempsey was left off the roster as he awaits the birth of his fourth child. NYCFC will be without Mix Diskerud when the Union host them on Saturday.

A Q&A with Klinsmann on the roster and upcoming games, as well as a look at the roster, at US Soccer. More at ESPN, SIASN and Goal.com.

U-20 World Cup

Despite some lineup and tactical headscratchers, the US defeated Myanmar 2-1 in their opening game at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. They next face New Zealand on Tuesday (3 am: Fox Sports 1, NBC Universo, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra, NBC Universo Now).

Sadly, it looks like the US will be without Maki Tall, who scored the first US goal in the win. He reportedly suffered a broken toe in the game.

Toulon Tournament

The US U-23s bounced back from their opening loss to France by defeating Netherlands 3-1 on Friday. On Sunday, they lost 2-1 to Costa Rica. Their final group match is on Tuesday (10:50 am: beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol, beIN Sports Connect, Fubo TV).

Elsewhere

To the surprise of no one, if not to the disgust of many, Sepp Blatter won a fifth term as FIFA president on Friday.

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement, “While we are disappointed in the result of the election, we will continue to push for meaningful change within FIFA. Our goal is for governance of FIFA that is responsible, accountable, transparent and focused solely on the best interests of the game.”

Ever the statesman, Blatter said in an interview on Saturday that “there is something that smells” about the timing of the US investigation into FIFA corruption. He also said of comments from US Attorney General Loretta Lynch about how those who had been indicted had enriched themselves at the expense of the world’s game, “I was shocked by what she said. As a president I would never make a statement about another organization without knowing.” Of course, she knows all too well, doesn’t she, hence the indictments.

Continuing the conspiracy theme, Blatter went on to say the charges and criticism are simply a case of sour grapes for not winning the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup and that US Soccer supported Prince Ali because the US government “is the main sponsors of the Hashemite kingdom.”

Blatter’s daughter also believes he is the victim of a conspiracy: “All these things happened just to discredit him so that he would resign. But I can tell you in about [two or three] weeks no one will talk about it anymore.”

He also said he has been shown “zero respect.”

Blatter, popular among voting FIFA fatcats in Asia and Oceania. Oh, yeah, and with Vladimir Putin, too.

Other parts of the world, like Latin America, are applauding the US investigation.

The New York Times on how Blatter buys power, by spending millions in tiny countries like the Cayman Islands. One observer says, “It’s classic pork-barrel politics.”

Here’s another way: Despite comments from Blatter that he believed regions should not be allowed to again host the World Cup for two cycles, the executive committee voted on Saturday to retain the existing rule allowing a region to bid after one cycle following hosting a World Cup. And so, UEFA, the confederation leading criticism of Blatter, will be able to bid for the 2026 against the CONCACAF, and presumably the US.

The Sunday Times reports Blatter will be questioned by Swiss authorities as part of their investigation into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

An IRS spokesperson confirmed an earlier New York Times report that the IRS expects further charges to be forthcoming. Richard Weber, the head of the IRS. unit in charge of criminal investigations, told the Times, “I’m fairly confident that we will have another round of indictments.”

Aaron Davidson pleaded not guilty on Friday to the bribery charges against him.

South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan says $10 million was paid to Jack Warner and CONCACAF ahead of the bidding for the 2010 World Cup but it was for a “development fund” and was not a bribe.

In a video posted on YouTube that has since been taken down (it’s available at the Guardian), Jack Warner asked, “If FIFA is so bad, why is that the USA wants to keep the FIFA World Cup,” holding up up a copy of The Onion.

Reuters reports, “Several of the seven soccer officials arrested in Zurich on corruption charges in an investigation linked to FIFA are requesting bail on health grounds.”

Meanwhile, some editing fun with Blatter:

46 Comments

  1. I just wanted to write before the pachyderm!

  2. Good to know that we spent a lot of money to get a suggestion to sign a 34 year old player.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Riise is quality. The type of 34 year old player that can prove quite effective, in this league. Smart, smart player.
      .
      We will NEVER get John Arne Riise.
      .
      If we are really being serious about a REAL transfer, we will need to part ways with Maurice Edu…I’m all for that.
      .
      How long is Aristegueta’s loan? I thought 6 months.

      • Riise is quality but his age is why they should not sign him. By the time the other pieces are in place, he will be finished and the gaping hole at LB is there again.

        30-32 years old, where he would still have a lot in the tank in 2 years, yep. 34 years old, nope, pass.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Age is a tough one. While I would agree, a 34 yr old is not ideal; Riise is a very smart player. He would be a masterful LB/LM signing…if the number was right.

      • Would make more sense if we had a young LB for him to mentor, or LB was last hole in an otherwise solid lineup. Just too other places they need to upgrade.

      • The Black Hand says:

        True

      • Maybe Riise can turn Fabinho into a smarter player…

      • I’m on board with Riise…if,if,if…Union. He can help. You and I will never see eye to eye on your Edu agenda. I would love to see Aristeguieta get some help to compensate for his lack of speed. He has to fight for too many headers that are floated into him, slot and whip some damn balls into him. The only “dynamic” player the Union have to maybe get him the ball at his feet would be Pfeffer. Would love to see Pfeffer start on the left with Sapong on the right. He is strong on the ball and can win the headers Fernando is losing. Aristeqieta also has to run too much.The Union are o-7 with Aristeguieta primarily because there is no smart ball movement to open him up. Glad LeToux finally scored. It would have been nice if Wenger kept making those runs he made earlier in the game. He has to run and make plays to the goal consistently. Pfeffer might show more consistency on the left if he started.

        FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!!

      • UnionGoal says:

        LCBline–you keep making comments that owners need to sell, fire Sak, etc.
        In light of the problems with Chester that warranted a frontpage philly.com cover for a sport that barely makes back page of their sports section, do you think you should keep wishing for franchise to be sold?
        New owners would definitely consider a better market–Maryland or Virginia is a short move and probably less problems and more profitable.
        Just be careful what you wish for, LC

      • Philadelphia is the market that MLS wants and according to sources, wants it to succeed whether it’s just outside of Philadelphia or in the city. Barely making the back page? You are allowing your own personal insecurities cloud the issues. The Union is being covered by every sports media outlet in the Philadelphia region whether you want to believe it or not. I attend marjor marketing, fund raising and charity functions in NY and some of them include MLS execs. Philadelphia is a market they want and will maintain in MLS. Unlike Chivas USA there will be a franchise in Philadelphia even if the Union should for some unforeseen reason, fail. MLS knows that Philadelphia is a solid market with a fan base that deserves better than what it’s getting and would put another franchise here. For all of the nay sayers the Union do need to sell to an ownership here because after 6 years the market and support have proved worthy of the investment!

        Sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive owner!

        FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!!

    • DarthLos117 says:

      Yeah lets spend more DP money on another defender.
      .
      Queue next smug Sak comment in…10…9…8…
      .
      “He won an elite club comp in Europe.”

      • The Black Hand says:

        I would be happy with ANY signing that fits our club’s needs.

      • DarthLos117 says:

        Here’s the thing.
        .
        Is signing Riise a build for the future thing or an instant win the MLS Cup/Supporter’s Shield thing?
        .
        At 34 how much left in tank?
        .
        Don’t think we are only a LB away from winning cup/shield…if he is a cheap part/piece of the overall plan for instant success (ie 1-2 years)…then by all means.

      • 100%
        Agreement.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Damn fine points, Los. I can’t argue with you…and it’s killing me!!!
        .
        Move would do nothing for the future.

      • So we want a LB, there’s a chance we get one, and everyone bitches?!? I love this site, but some days…

      • alicat215 says:

        and a pretty good one too……..

    • At least we know Rene was competent enough to see we had a need at LB.
      .
      I’m hoping that part of his recommendation took into account team budget vs salary requirements to sign such a player.
      .
      I’m sure he knows him well regardless based on both of their tenures in the BPL, but I can’t remember if Riise was still at Fulham when Rene took over.

      • pragmatist says:

        From what I read, Riise was out of favor until Rene took over. Rene decided to play him at Fulham. At the end of the season, they both left.

        It’s unlikely he’d be coming in on a DP contract. And if he’s coming in as a general salary player, what’s the harm? Do we have a better solution at LB? Why not plug a hole until we can find a younger, long-term solution?

      • Dr. Union says:

        So the one thing I feel everyone is missing is he is a Rene recommendation. It also looks like Rene is considering him for his possible LB spot at his new coaching job. Where is Riise gonna go? Where Rene goes? Or to the Union? My guess not towards the Union since Rene left.

  3. The Union may not have promised economic revitalization but the did promise Chester a Supermarket.

  4. Did anyone see that Ribiero strike!?! I wonder what Rene said about leaving Ribiero unprotected? I am less and less convinced that this team’s trouble is financial. I mean, there’s a salary cap. We’re never going to spend as much as Seattle because the capacity of our stadium is 18,000 not 80,000. But we have to make smart(er) technical decisions, need a competent coach, and WE HAVE TO STOP SIGNING SLOW AS SHIT PLAYERS. Yes, that means Maidana & Aristeguieta. And if anyone thinks Zach Pfeffer is the answer, I’m offering the Commodore Barry Bridge for sale. Cheap. Pfeffer can’t do simple shit like 1. resist elbowing other players in the head, 2. head easy ball in the box, or 3. prevent his arm from hitting the same ball that his head missed.

  5. The Riise story is fun as we enter the Silly Season, but shouldn’t the club’s first concern be signing a general manager? Or are we all comfortable with Albright, Curtin , and Sak making the transfer decisions again? Hopefully that move was items 1-10 in Rene’s report.

    • Yes, sign a GM first. It makes too much sense for the Union. Every common sense move the Union need to make has to be this dumb asinine drawn out process, even signing some overrated goaltender we didn’t need.

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

      FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!!

      • Again. 100%.
        .
        Save money. Don’t bring in a player or two. Hire a GM let him watch let him develop V.P.P then begin making decisions based on his thought structure.
        .
        Riise. 34. Quick fix. If only we had a LB for him
        to me for as someone above said.
        .
        More of same from department of FO Headquarters.
        .
        Hey Rene. Thanks?

      • to mentor. ‘scuse.

      • Well, let’s keep in mind how consultants work before we hate on Rene. Some come in and say “here are the problems with your organization, here is how to fix them”; some (most) are hired to tell the CEO what he already wants to do and justify it so that it wins the rest of the board over. Now I know the Union are structured differently, but if Sack hired Rene with the goal of “what do we need to do to be competitive in 1-2 years”, the Riise recommendation makes sense. I kinda suspect that might have been what happened.

      • UnionGoal says:

        Again, if they sell the franchise to new owners, who you presume would be smarter than current ones, first move they would likely make is move the team the hell out of Chester.
        Rather than just lambasting everyone, try a different path–LcBline–what would you do increase the revenue you need to make the player moves you would like to make?

  6. Letoux scoring was the worst thing that could happen for this line up. I’m thinking in Curtin’s mind that means more Wenger and Letoux because they got me here and now Letoux has the ‘hot hand.’ Wenger’s goal has to come soon. I’ll just keep putting him out there.
    .
    34 is too old unless you are Lampard or Gerrard, IMO.

  7. IMO no one with skill is too old for the right price. Gotta agree with the sentiments above that we need a left back, he is a left back. whether we get him or not is irrelevant. I am not too proud to try and perhaps be shunned. if its the right price make the signing. We could perhaps find a left back this year who needs mentoring.

    • Joe Schmo says:

      Jooooooooohhhhhhhn John Arne Riiiiiiiiiise…………I wanna kno-oh-oh-oh-ow how you scored that goal…..
      .
      I’m in.

  8. UnionGoal says:

    TO Ed Farnsworth,
    Was Philly.com article way overblown? Or are things that bad with Chester? Sounded like Chester may try to do more to make more money from team—and that typically involves increasing entertainment taxes on tickets, raising cost of parking even more, or some type of salary tax on the players(remember that one?) Seriously if they tried any of the above I think it would be very detrimental to the Union.
    Problem is, what is alternative? To be honest, sure many of us would love for Union to move to better part of Philly/Montco area, one where you could go to a restaurant or bar before/after game with friends/family, or even take walk along river or shops if you leave early to beat traffic. But reality is they are stuck in Chester unless they sell team–and you have to bet any new owners would move far from Chester in order to be more profitable.
    Ideas?

  9. alicat215 says:

    So, Chester needs more handouts………thats shocking! Believe me, we hate going to your town just as much as you hate us coming in……..why do you think we leave so fast?

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