Daily news roundups

US tops Oz in Women’s World Cup opener, Sapong and Williams earn PoTW honors, Union face Reading in friendly tonight, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

USA 3-1 Australia

It was a shaky performance, but the US defeated Australia 3-1 in their first Group D match at the Women’s World Cup on Monday night with a brace from Megan Rapinoe and a single tally from Christen Press.

Rapinoe said after the win, “We can be a lot better in possession and a lot more confident on the ball. We got caught going long when we needed to settle down.”

US head coach Jill Ellis said, “I didn’t think we played with a rhythm and sense of calmness.”

Recaps and reports at PSPPhilly.comFIFA, US Soccer, Football Federation of Australia, Washington PostSydney Morning Herald, The AustralianFox Sports, SI, CBS Sportsthe GuardianMLSsoccer.com, ASNGoal.com, SBIProSoccerTalk, Reuters, and the AP.

Player ratings at ESPNWASN, Soccer America,

SI has three thoughts, Soccer America, has three takeaways.

This from a “things we learned” post at the Australian women’s team website:

1: The USA, well, they just aren’t that good

The US certainly like to talk a good game. The reality is they play a fairly rudimentary, bog-standard 4-4-2, were short of ideas going forward and outmanoeuvred tactically. ‘Play it long and look for the head of Wambach’ seems the default game-plan for a team stuck in the past.

World football has moved, in case Jill Ellis hasn’t noticed. US were outplayed by a better, smarter footballing side – who were also without two certain starters in Polkinghorne and keeper Williams – before the Aussies ran out of gas.

US relied on the individual brilliance of Megan Rapinoe to win them this game. And Hope Solo in the US goal saved the Americans on numerous occasions in front of a vocal ‘home’ crowd in Canada. If it wasn’t for this world-class keeper, this could’ve been a different result.

Fair dinkum, losers.

In the other Group D game, Sweden and Nigeria drew 3-3.

Checkout Philly.com for extensive ongoing coverage from the tournament.

USWNT defender Julie Johnston is dating Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and lives in Philadelphia. I did not know that.

Philadelphia Union

The Union are in Exeter tonight for their annual friendly with PDL affiliate Reading United. Kickoff at Don Thomas Stadium is at 7 pm.

Look for our preview later this morning. In the meanwhile, here are previews from Philadelphia Union, Reading United,  and Sons of Penn.

CJ Sapong was named to MLSsoccer.com’s and Goal.com’s Team of the Week. Sheanon Williams was also named to Goal.com’s Team of the Week, where Sebastien Le Toux received an honorable mention.

In a piece from Dave Zeitlin at MLSsoccer.com, Maurice Edu says of CJ Sapong’s return to the team, “He said he was going to come back and repay us through his performances, and he’s done just that. CJ’s a very likable guy, a guy who’s very popular in the dressing room. We all believe in him and his quality, and we know what he brings to this team. And he’s showing it.”

Edu is quoted in a piece on the rise in float therapy spas: “I was kind of a little bit wary about it, but intrigued in the same breath. For me, I felt the benefit straight away. I think it helped me to recover between games a lot quicker.”

At American Soccer Analysis, Antoine Hoppenot comes in at No. 17 in list of the top 25 players since 2011 for expected goals per shots, above the likes of Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and Juan Agudelo.

Could former Union consultant Rene Meulensteen end up as an assistant coach at Liverpool?

Local

Ocean City Nor’easters recap their win over Baltimore Bohemians. Reading United recaps its loss to DC United U-23s. Once a Metro has more on Lehigh Valley United’s loss to New York Red Bulls U-23s.

MLS

Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser and DC United have announced a final agreement clearing the way for construction of a new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point. A statement from DC United says, “The signed agreements include improved deal terms which will result in better financial protections for District of Columbia residents, clarify the size and timeline of the stadium, and strengthen community engagement. The Bowser Administration will submit legislation to the Council of the District of Columbia for final review.” More at the Washington Post.

Efforts are underway to start a USL or NASL team to Milwaukee, with the plan being to eventually join MLS.

It appears former Jim Curtin teammate Cuauhtemoc Blanco is the new mayor of Cuernavaca, Mexico.

US

At World Soccer Talk, Simon Evans and Kartik Krishnaiyer on how the FIFA corruption scandal raises serious questions for US soccer.

Jurgen Klinsmann on getting up in the early morning hours to watch his former club Stuttgart’s successful relegation battle:

This thrill of the relegation battle is non-existent in the U.S. league. The risk for club investors to all of a sudden play in the second league would be too high. But the sporting side would benefit from it. Our players from Europe know that. That furthers our national team. Something is at stake week in, week out. Be it at the top or at the bottom, you always have to perform.

Elsewhere

You will recall that Domenico Scala, the head of FIFA’s Compliance Committee, said over the weekend that if evidence is produced that Russia and Qatar bribed their way to winning the hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups “then the awarding could be void.” On Monday, FIFA issued the following statement:

Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups by democratic vote of the Executive Committee. Based on expert opinions and available facts, FIFA has no legal grounds to take away the hosting of the FIFA World Cup from Russia and Qatar.

We will not speculate on possible scenarios and therefore have no further comments for the time being.

We’ll see if “available facts” and “for the time being” turn out to be the most important words in the statement.

This:

The BBC can reveal that the former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner has been investigated by US prosecutors over the disappearance of money meant for victims of the Haiti earthquake.

He visited the country in 2010 and raised $750,000 from FIFA and the Korean Football Association to help rebuild the country after the disaster.

More at the Guardian.

The South African Sunday Times reported on Sunday that it has emails linking Sepp Blatter to the $10 million payment that is at the heart of the US investigation into Warner. A FIFA spokesperson denied the email proves any wrongdoing on Blatter’s part: “It is simply referring to an update given by the then President of South Africa to the FIFA President about the South African government’s formal request…That constitutes information, not involvement. As previously stated and confirmed by the South African authorities, this programme was initiated by the South African government for the Caribbean and it was publicly announced by them at the time…[Blatter] was aware of but did not initiate the transfer. The transaction was authorised by the then chairman of the Finance Committee.” More at

Speaking at the G7 Summit in Krün, Germany on Monday, Barack Obama made his first public remarks on the FIFA scandal:

With respect to FIFA, I cannot comment on a pending case by our Attorney General.  I will say that in conversations I’ve had here in Europe, people think it is very important for FIFA to be able to operate with integrity and transparency and accountability.

And so as the investigation and charges proceed, I think we have to keep in mind that although football — soccer — depending on which side of the Atlantic you live on, is a game, it’s also a massive business.  It is a source of incredible national pride, and people want to make sure that it operates with integrity.

The United States, by the way, since we keep on getting better and better at each World Cup, we want to make sure that a sport that’s gaining popularity is conducted in an upright manner.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach says that while the FIFA scandal is much bigger than the one that hit the IOC after the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, FIFA must take the painful steps necessary to fix itself. “It’s not up to the IOC to give advice, it’s just to remember that we had this kind of problems 15 years ago…We also know from our experience that…putting everything on the desk can be a painful experience, but it is absolutely necessary to do this as we have seen from our own history.”

More numbers are in from the weekend’s take and it looks like the $30 million FIFA puffery United Passions made around $900 across the US. The director, Frédéric Auburtin, said of making the film, “Every time we are showing something about Blatter himself, it’s very, very difficult because the guy is the boss. The guy is co-producing more than half the film, nearly 80%.” More on the film at Vice Sports.

Reuters reports, “An Egyptian court has upheld the death sentences of 11 men for their part in the country’s worst outbreak of football stadium violence, which left more than 70 fans dead and at least 1,000 injured in 2012.”

14 Comments

  1. alicat215 says:

    Is the Union/HCI match being live streamed by anyone?

  2. pragmatist says:

    I love that article from Australia. No, we didn’t play well. In fact, you can argue that the USWNT played a very poor game last night.
    …and still beat you 3-1.

    Some writers need to take a deep breath before submitting their articles.

    • article seems about right to me. deep breath now for me as well.

      • pragmatist says:

        It was accurate, but the timing makes it sound bitter.
        If they show no signs of improvement in the next match, then there may be more validity to the article. And after 2 matches, you probably have a better sample size to determine if they are any good or not.

  3. The USWNT aren’t that good, or at least they aren’t as good as they think they are.

    • It’s not where you start that counts but where you finish. Wasn’t the best game for the USWNT but they still won and (I believe) will improve over the course of the tournament.

      • Likely right – but we’ve been all watching them for awhile and none of this info is new. I for one think the criticism is pretty accurate but I am a curmudgeon.
        .
        Our game is nothing like the Japanese last night nor the german the night before and most certainly not the likes of Le Bleu this evening.
        .
        I for one was quite dismayed to see the frenetic panicky play of a team of this ‘caliber’ and if Rapinoe continues to bog down the offense….

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Interesting stat from the first 8 games of the WWC. There have been 3 games in which 6 more goals have been scored. Each of those has involved an African team with the African teams going 1-1-1. Don’t know if it proves anything, but I thought it unusual.

    • I think both the women’s and men’s African teams tend to play a much more open type of game allowing for more chances/goals when compared to most other continents.
      .
      Edit: I am drawing this based off of watching the men’s and women’s World Cups as well as catching most of the last African Cup of Nations.

  5. Bye Rene. Nice knowing ya?

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