Daily news roundups

League says DC should’ve gotten two red cards, Riise “not going to happen,” Vitoria training again, FIFA, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin tells the Inquirer’s Marc Narducci that the league has told him both Chris Rolfe and Chris Pontius should have been shown red cards in Saturday’s loss. Curtin says, “This doesn’t help us now at this point and we don’t get any points back, but it is good to have the dialogue with the league.” Curtin will no doubt have more to say on the subject in today’s press conference, which is scheduled to take place at 12:30 pm.

In the same article, Narducci says an unnamed Union source tells him of rumors that the Union are going to sign John Arne Riise: “that is not going to happen.” The same source says it’s unlikely that Carlos Valdes, on loan to Nacional in Uruguay, will return to play for the Union this season. Narducci says, according to reports, Nacional “will not renew his contract.”

The practice update at the Union’s Behind the Crest blog reports that Steven Vitoria trained with the team for the first time in three weeks on Monday.

Fabinho has been named to SI’s Team of the Week. In SI’s power rankings, they remain at No. 18.

In the latest Inside Doop, Dave Zeitlin notes Curtin will have to manage the playing time of players carefully as the team looks to overcome the distressing trend this season of falling into slumps after “after successful — or moderately successful — weeks.”

Wednesday’s Union opponent, Columbus Crew, saw central defender and captain Michael Parkhurst shown a dubious red card over the weekend. Head coach Gregg Berhalter said on Monday the club will not appeal the card.

Brotherly Game reviews the Union standouts and slackers in May.

The Union and Reading United have announced the annual friendly between the two clubs will take place on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 pm at Don Thomas Stadium in Exeter.

On June 12, the Union will host a children’s soccer clinic at the Lehigh Valley SoccerFest & Viewing Party at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. “The hands-on clinic, led by Union players and coaches, is open to the first 200 children who register at www.lvsoccerfest.com.”

Local

At the Ocean City Nor’easters website, a report on Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Reading.

MLS

CONCACAF held the draw for the 2015-16 edition of the Champions League on Monday. LA Galaxy is in Group D, Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders are in Group F, Real Salt Lake is in Group G, and DC United in Group H. A full schedule will be announced at a later date.

Seattle Sounders have signed Brazilian midfielder Thomás Jaguaribe Bedinelli, otherwise known as Thomas.

Orlando Sentinel on how former Union man Pedro Ribeiro “has been one of the biggest surprises of Orlando City’s expansion season.” Yeah, I’m still not over him being unprotected in the expansion draft.

Canadian Soccer News reports, according to an unnamed source, that a new Canadian league consisting of “eight and 10 teams located across the country” will be announced “late in 2015 or early in 2016.” The report says, “The league will not be affiliated with the NASL. Although there were some early conversations about partnering with the NASL (that were reported on by CSN) the source said those talks were ‘greatly exaggerated.’ Mindful of the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal, the source also “stressed that Traffic Sports were at no time involved in the discussions.”

US

The US defeated host country New Zealand 4-0 today in U-20 World Cup group play (match highlights here). Rubio Rubin opened and closed the scoring, with additional tallies from Emerson Hyndman and Paul Arriola. Gedion Zelalem started and played the full 90, recording an assist on the third US goal. (A friend who got up early this AM to watch the game texted me, “The kid is the real deal.” You can see some of his moves here.) More on the game at ASN, Soccer America, ProSoccerTalk, SBI, the AP, and FIFA.

The match report on the US Soccer website notes, “The U.S. needs a tie or win against the [Ukraine in their final group match on June 5] to finish first in the group. No matter the result however, the USA has secured advancement to the Round of 16 as even with a loss, they would still finish as one of the top two teams in Group A.”

The US U-23s play Qatar today in the Toulon Tournament (10:50 am: beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol, beIN Sports Connect).

Fox Sports on how the USWNT is still ticked off about losing the 2011 Women’s World Cup final.

The LA Times on Jill Ellis’ path to being head coach of the USWNT.

The US U-23 WNT defeated England on Sunday 2-1 to claim the Four Nations Tournament championship in Norway.

World Soccer Talk has an interesting bit of US soccer history with a look back at the United Soccer Association, which played one short season in the US in 1967 and consisted of international teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers that had been paid $250,000 to join the league.

At the Guardian, Michael Lewis on how New York Cosmos president Clive Toye “lured” Pele to the team in 1975. The 40th anniversary of his signing with the Cosmos is on Wednesday.

At the BBC, Nick Bryant on the myth that the US doesn’t like soccer.

Elsewhere

The corruption scandal is getting closer to Sepp Blatter following a New York Times report that names FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke as the official who authorized the $10 million payment that is alleged to be a bribe connected to former CONCACAF president Jack Warner and South Africa’s hosting the 2010 World Cup. Valcke tells the Times that “he had not authorized the payment and did not have the power to do so.”

Following the Times report, FIFA acknowledged the payment and also said it was authorized not by Valcke, but by Julio Grondona, described in press reports as a “the former finance chief of FIFA and close friend and ally of president Sepp Blatter,” who also, conveniently for FIFA’s claims, happened to die last year.

However, just an hour after FIFA’s statement, a letter from the South African Football Association addressed to Valcke emerged that “showed he was aware of [the transfer] and contained detailed instructions for payment.” The $10 million was to be paid to a “Diaspora Legacy Programme…administered and implemented directly by the President of CONCACAF who shall act as a fiduciary of the Fund.” That president is, of course, Jack Warner.

Incidentally, Warner told German magazine Stern in an interview published on Monday, “Why are there no investigations in Asia, or in Europe? Why are there no investigations into Sepp Blatter? No other person has brought so much shame and disgrace on FIFA.” Asked if he thought Blatter was corrupt, Warner said, “I only know this: he was elected FIFA boss five times in succession. Is he corrupt? I don’t know.”

The AP reports, “Former South African President Thabo Mbeki denied his government paid bribes to secure the 2010 World Cup as the bid scandal began to encroach on the very top of the country’s leadership.”

Meanwhile, FIFA announced, “Due to the current situation, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke will not be attending the opening of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 as previously scheduled. It is important that he attends to matters at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich.” And also avoid difficult questions from the press and possible arrested, perhaps.

As of now, Sepp Blatter plans to attend the Women’s World Cup final and the final of the Gold Cup (that’s in Philly, woohoo!).

The Wall Street Journal on US Soccer president Sunil Gulati’s involvement in CONCACAF and close ties to several of those indicted or named as co-conspirators in the corruption case.

Former FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne says FIFA’s problem’s are not Blatter’s fault, but the fault of the executive committee:

The FIFA president, forget the name of Mr. Blatter for one minute, is elected by the world parliament of football. This person cannot appoint his government because the members of the ExCo are designated by non-members with a different political agenda and a different political calendar, which means that all the political controversies which are supposed to be settled once the election takes place, continue to mar the functioning of the government, to continue to have disputes inside the government.

Reuters reports that 86-year-old Nicolas Leoz, the former head of CONMEBOL and one of those indicted in the FIFA corruption case, is under house arrest.

Also from Reuters in Sao Paolo, “The former head of the Brazilian soccer federation, Ricardo Teixeira, is facing charges of money laundering and tax evasion, a police source said on Monday, as an international bribery scandal put the spotlight on Brazil’s national sport.”

Originally placed on administrative leave when the latest FIFA scandal broke, former CONCACAF general secretary and Traffic Sports US vice president Enrique Sanz has now been provisionally banned “from participation in any CONCACAF related activities” by the confederation. This after he was provisionally suspended from “carrying out any football-related activities at national and international level” by FIFA’s ethics committee.

At World Soccer Talk, Kartik Krishnaiyer on how Traffic’s alleged misconduct may have been motivated by its desire to challenge MLS and Soccer United Marketing.

CONMEBOL general secretary Jose Luis Meiszner says the Copa America Centenario, scheduled to be staged in the US in 2016, may not take place because of the ongoing corruption scandal. He said in an interview on Brazilian radio on Monday, “Today one has to question the possibility of playing this tournament…We have to be prepared for enormous turmoil to hold this event, given the rights holders are also being questioned.” Traffic is the rights holder.

The AP reports, “FIFA medical chief Michel D’Hooghe, the longest-serving member on the executive committee, said he would leave unless there were rapid reforms.” D’Hooghe said in a Belgian TV interview.

I cannot reconcile myself with an institution where I work, where I have carried the medical responsibility for 27 years and about which I now learn that there is a lot of corruption.

My conclusion is very clear: I will no longer continue to participate (in FIFA) under such conditions. So, it is high time for change to come and we will see over the coming days what may happen. Let’s be clear, if this atmosphere prevails at FIFA, I have no place there.

The head of Sweden’s FA says he cannot rule out a boycott of the World Cup.

From Reuters: “The unflinching support of tiny, developing countries has long been a vital plank of Sepp Blatter’s political base and those in any doubt of the impact of FIFA’s patronage need look no further than the Pacific Island nation of Fiji.”

19 Comments

  1. Not one. But two red cards. 2. Red. Cards. How can we define, categorize or make sense of such consistent misfortune.
    .
    Cue the slow lollipop hi hat of Ginger Baker. Born Under a Bad Sign.
    .
    I read both sides of the argument for J.A.R. as left back and they, IMO, were both valid. Yes lets get help. No, what help is a 34 year old player without someone worthy for him to mentor. Instant solution without the long view. So Union.
    .
    Personally, I am all for long view. Please. Find the target and dial in the sight on the target 1000M away.

    • The trick for the Union isn’t to define this consistent misfortune. The trick is to not allow the consistent misfortune to define *them*. We will know within 15 minutes on Wednesday evening whether they are succeeding, or failing.

  2. pragmatist says:

    Astounding levels of officiating continue in MLS. We were not alone, there was buffoonery all over the league this weekend.
    Do you want to grow up, MLS? Then fix the officiating. Everything else will flow from there. Right now, we are not just an amateur league, we are a dangerous one.

    This is embarrassing for everyone involved in the league and who is a fan of the league.

    • Without question.
      .
      I angle to the continued misfortune of a specific team and you angle to the continued misfortune of an entire league.
      .
      Indeed.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Why do we not use FIFA (I know that’s a bit of a dirty word right now) approved referees and assistants in MLS? Only a handful wear the FIFA patch. Is it a union thing? It’s beyond disgraceful when the league has to come out and say a team deserved TWO RED CARDS in a game and got none.

      • Great point. I’m sure a few quality officials from Europe would work here for a season for a nice payday. We get screwed a lot and over the years the officiating hasn’t gotten any better.

      • pragmatist says:

        My simple and logical guess is the most obvious: Money.
        MLS is a…shall we say, “frugal” league. PRO refs are cheaper.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Nothing on the league’s disciplinary list about Rolfe being suspended. However, it does list Nogs as being one yellow away from suspension.

  4. Help me out here my fellow PSP contributers… Along with the questionable calls,non calls,I haven’t noticed any calls for the high/dangerous kick….is that still a foul??..great work pragmatist!

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    BLATTER IS OUT. What a great day it is.

    • pragmatist says:

      I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m withholding final judgement until we find out who wins the special election. But, yes, this is a great day!

      Whoda thunk it…America may have saved soccer!

    • The Black Hand says:

      Done deal?? I read that he was “going to” resign, but didn’t see anything finalized. Good stuff!!!!
      .
      I wonder what amount of bribe he accepted, to step down;)

    • I think the Valcke 10 million dollar payoff from South Africa in the NYTimes was the end. That’s getting a little too close to the emperor and he fell on that sword. I bet they wish they never let an American do the official report about corruption!!!!

      • John Ling says:

        Yeah, the timing seems awfully coincidental for there not to be some sort of connection.

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