Daily news roundups

Union face Sounders, Fernando loan, no on Palacios, US Gold Cup roster released, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

The Union face a weakened but still dangerous Seattle Sounders tonight (7 pm: CSN, MLS Live) in the teams’ first meeting since the US Open Cup final last September.

Jim Curtin emphasized in his pregame press conference on Monday (full transcript here at PSP) that the game is the first of three important games in the next week, saying “they’re all in our building, they’re all big games.” He added, “I can’t start thinking about Montreal and resting guys, and that kind of thing, we have to get a result here at home.” Indeed.

The Union will face Seattle with the same long list of injuries that has dogged the team for much of the season. Here’s the latest injury report:

QUESTIONABLE: F Sebastien Le Toux (left knee MCL sprain)
QUESTIONABLE: M Michael Lahoud (right quad strain)
QUESTIONABLE: F Fernando Aristeguieta (left fibula contusion)
QUESTIONABLE: F Conor Casey (left quad strain)
D Steven Vitoria (left hamstring strain)

Previews at PSP, Philadelphia Union (preview, know your opponent), Philadelphia Inquirer, Delco TimesMetroPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Vavel, Philly Sports Network, MLSsoccer.com, Seattle Sounders (preview, opposition perspectivethree key matchups), Seattle Times, The News Tribune, Sounder at Heart, MLSGB, and The Sports Network.

Curtin also said in the press conference that the team will not be signing Wilson Palacios: “We’re not going to move forward with Wilson. He’s a player that we respected a great deal, a guy who has played at the highest level but, in terms of fit right now and need, not in the process.”

The question of need became glaringly apparent in some post press conference remarks from Curtin in which he confirmed Fernando Aristeguieta’s loan from Nantes would soon be expiring.

Matthew De George noted at Delco Times, “That revelation is contrary to declarations by the club that the loan term would be for the entire MLS season. The loan includes an option to buy the striker, who has scored three goals while being limited to 11 games by a rash of injuries, but extensions to the duration of the loan are also possible.” Stay tuned, I guess.

The power rankings at MLSsoccer.com have the Union at No. 20 after last Saturday’s drubbing in LA: “Bad, bad game. But here’s a friendly reminder to the powers that be in Philly that D.C. stuck with Ben Olsen through some really, really bad times and have reaped the rewards for their patience over the last two seasons. Jim Curtin is still early on his learning curve, but he’s shown promise as a head coach.”

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young notes that statistically in terms of goal differential and points per game, the Union are at the spot they were at this time in their inaugural season. Hopefully, the Union will also do what they did five years ago and three days ago and beat Seattle.

Philly Sports Cave has the second part of their midseason review.

Local lad, Reading United alum, and midfielder Manolo Sanchez was a player many Union fans hoped the team would select in January’s SuperDraft, but he was selected by New York Red Bulls in the fourth round. He made his league debut for the Red Bulls in Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Vancouver, making quite a sensation despite coming on as a 77th minute sub. A piece on Sanchez’s debut, and resulting “Manolo Fever,” at Big Apple Soccer, ends with this passage:

Raised in Philadelphia, he said he is not a fan of the Red Bulls rivals, the Philadelphia Union, although he once was.

“To be fair, they started my junior of high school and because I’m from the city I thought I’d support [them],” Sanchez said.

“But right now, I have no love for Philadelphia, I’m all in for the Red Bulls.”

Hmm. Put it down as youthful exuberance, I suppose.

Union Academy

The Union Academy began play in the US Development Academy playoffs on Tuesday. The U-16s handily defeated Everton FC Westchester 3-1 with goals from Tiger Graham, Justin McMaster, and Raheem Taylor-Parkes. The team faces Weston FC today at 2:30 pm.

The U-18s battled back to draw 2-2 with No. 1 seed Montreal Impact with goals from Sebastian Elney in the 90th minute, and Derrick Amaniampong in the 93rd minute. The team faces Kendall SC today at 12:15 pm.


Harrisburg’s Yann Ekra was named to the USL Team of the Week.

Lehigh Valley United Sonic are on the road tonight to face FA Euro. Incidentally, the PDL has announced a new scouting network.

More Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and USWNT defender Julie Johnston, and fore 76er Jrue Holiday and Lauren Holiday, at Philadelphia Magazine and ESPNW. Ertz wrote a nice piece about his relationship with Johnston on his personal blog.


Crain’s Chicago Business on how Toyota Park is a debt generator for local taxpayers.

Another local option if Minnesota United can’t get a Minneapolis stadium deal done.

ESPN on — yawn — promotion/relegation.


Gold Cup roster announced

Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-player roster for the Gold Cup tournament was released on Tuesday. The roster includes 17 players from the 2014 World Cup, and six players from the team that won the 2013 Gold Cup.

Klinsmann said of the roster, “It’s not about developing players for the next couple of weeks, it’s about winning that Gold Cup and qualifying for the Confederations Cup 2017. So we’ve got to put the development side on the back burner for a few weeks, and then we’re going to pick it back up because the only way we can develop the players and get them better and better is by giving them opportunities.”

Klinsmann said of Clint Dempsey’s suspension for his disgraceful behavior last week in the US Open Cup, “It’s something that nobody wants to see. It’s a mistake, and mistakes happen. So, obviously when he comes in next week to Nashville in preparation for our friendly game with Guatemala, we’ll sit down and talk through that and we’ll go from there.”

Reports on the roster release from Washington Post, Fox Sports, ESPN, SIYahoo Sports, MLSsoccer.comSoccer America, ASNGoal.com, World Soccer Talkthe AP.

CBS Sports, USA Today, and SBI mark Tuesday’s fifth anniversary of Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup.

USWNT at the World Cup

Fox has announced viewership for the USA – Colombia game “attracted 4.7 million viewers, setting a new record for soccer on FOX Sports 1, beating the previous mark of 3.3 million set earlier in the tournament (USA-Australia Group Stage) by 42%. It is the most-watched soccer match on cable since last year’s World Cup.” More on the numbers at Awful Announcing.

Abby Wambach has clarified her statements about about the yellow cards Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe received in Monday night’s win over Colombia, cards that will see them suspended for the quarterfinal game against China. You will recall Wambach said, “I don’t know if they were yellows. Who knows? It seemed like she was purposefully giving those yellows to the players she knew were sitting on yellows. I don’t know if it was just a psychological thing. Who knows?” Speaking to Fox Sports on Tuesday (video), Wambach said, “I’m not in the referee’s head, and that’s something that I definitely take ownership of and apologize for, because I don’t know what the referee is thinking. She is doing the very best job she can.”

The Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson says Abby Wambach must be suspended for “recklessly blasting” yellow card calls in Monday’s win over Colombia because Canada’s Christine Sinclair made similar comments after her team lost to the US in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics. While noting Wambach’s “impassioned apology late Tuesday night,” Larson fails to distinguish the substantive difference between Wambach’s “I don’t know” and “who knows,”  and Sinclair saying of the Olympic semifinal, “We feel like we didn’t lose, we feel like it was taken from us…the ref decided the result before it started.” Larson also fails to note that Sinclair was allowed to play in the third place match and so served her suspension after the Olympic tournament. Recall this is coming from the same reporter who wrote the lawsuit aimed at forcing FIFA to play the current Women’s World Cup on grass rather than artificial turf was “despicable” and “delusional,” and being pushed by “whiners south of the border.” Apparently, anti-US content sells in Canada.

Regardless of Wambachgate™, ESPN notes this of Rapinoe and Holiday:

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald on how the US might replace Rapinoe and Holiday. At ESPN, Graham Hays on whether Christen Press can fill Rapinoe’s shoes. Expect Morgan Brian to replace Holiday.

This just in from the Department of Preaching to the Choir, USA Today calls the team “a shell of its former self:”

After every match, the murmurs from those inside and outside the team are the same. The U.S. is better than this. The U.S. should be better than this. The U.S. will be better than this.

But maybe, the U.S. isn’t better than this. Maybe, this is what the U.S. has become. And maybe, for the first time, people are realizing it has to change.


Soccer America wonders if US head coach Jill Ellis has the guts to bench Wambach.

The New York Daily News says the USWNT needs more ethnic and racial diversity.


Reuters reports, “Swiss authorities investigating whether there was corruption in the awarding of World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar are finding that a report produced by U.S. lawyer Michael Garcia at the end of an internal FIFA inquiry is of little value to their probe, according to a source close to investigations into the soccer governing body.” The Reuters report continues,

Swiss officials question whether Garcia’s report, which has not been made public, has significant evidentiary value, said the source, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity. That is because Garcia, who was hired by FIFA, had no subpoena power, did not take sworn testimony, and was operating under FIFA’s own ethical rules, which had little enforcement power behind them, the source added.

BloombergBusiness reports, “Soccer leaders at South America’s Copa America are trying to find a way to pay prize money owed to competing teams after the event rights holder had its accounts frozen following a U.S. corruption probe.”

Reuters reports, “FIFA president Sepp Blatter will attend the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in St Petersburg on July 25, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Tuesday.” Sure he will, there’s no chance Russia will arrest him. Will he attend the Women’s World Cup final or Gold Cup final? Doubtful.


  1. Dreading this match tonight. If they lose, it’s a continuous plunge to the bottom of the league, where the team is now competing to not finish 20th. Worse yet, if they win, it’s a small feather in the hat of the FO that “we can do this on the shoe-string budget”, a grim glimmer of hope that they can turn it around, and that the LA game was a calamity of the Union being mediocre and the circumstances of injury and travel.

    I love this team, and even if they don’t win trophies, I just want to see them play well. It sucks to see these guys struggle so much. The best part of MLS is seeing live soccer locally… it sucks to know that we may be left in the dust for seasons to come.

  2. Wow… That Gold Cup roster… Just wow. Still think we should win, but I don’t get Klinsmann sometimes. I almost think Wondo is just to mess with people now.
    Regarding Curtin and promise, I like him as a guy, and he seems to really, legitimately care, but I honestly don’t really see growth and progress as a coach. I think he could have really developed working under someone else a little more, but there’s a reason why we get undressed later in games almost every single week.
    On a side note I literally could not give my tickets away tonight after not being able to go.

  3. I had to laugh when I saw Kurtis Larson’s piece on Wambach was included in the roundup today. It’s worth mentioning that he’s a columnist for the Toronto Sun–columnist. I used to follow him on Twitter and he is very prone to opinion and writing/saying stuff that will drum up conversation, even if it is misplaced/over the top/not given much thought. There’s a reason I don’t follow him anymore. I think you pretty succinctly poked the holes in what he was saying.

  4. As a culture….. can we please stop using ______gate for everything, it besmirches the great Richard Nixon, Woodward and Bernstein and the Hotel for which it was named. That was original genius this is typical overuse…everything dubious has to be _________gate.
    and another thing…. I for one would be okay if The Striker moved on. I have seen enough. Decent. Too slow. Not particularly technical. Save the money and put it somewhere different.

    • Aristeguieta was a good off season acquisition. i dig him, but agree. we shouldn’t renew. Sapong has proven competent. use the money elsewhere

    • Uh no. ___gate is far too ingrained in our society now. I don’t like it either but it’s going to be with us for quite a while. Also, I agree on Nando. He was never able to deliver on the promise they saw in him and I have no faith he ever will. Chalk it up to experience and move on.

    • Dr. Union says:

      While I can’t disagree entirely with letting Nando go. Union do and I guarantee Nando if starting scores between 10-20 goals for Nantes. Guy puts in the work and with somewhat competent service he can put the ball in the net. I mean he is the second lead scorer on this team tied with OG I believe.

    • Nando – I think as a fan base (me included) we were so enamored by the fact that the Union were bringing in a young player from Europe/Nantes that we assumed he was gonna be great and he just couldn’t crack the starting lineup there because there must be four or five superstars ahead of him.
      Turns out, after watching him play, it was likely his skills and speed that were the issue, and Nantes was hoping the “lower level” league of the MLS would be a great home for him. But it was too physical for him.
      Turns out that is not the case either.
      As a striker, if you don’t have the speed to get away from the physical CBs in this league, they can pretty much take you out of the game.
      I loved Nando’s work rate, but he never seemed to really fit with the Union system. Remember it was Casey in the starting lineup when we went on that little run of points. Nando was failing to make his national team at the time.
      I know going forward I need to evaluate the player based on the player, not where we are getting them from.
      See ya Nando

      • I agree with you 100 percent. He just doesn’t have the speed to get it done here. He started well, but since then, I swear he’s spent more time at the bottom of a CB pig pile than on his feet. CJ seems to be better in every way.

        I would like to see us get a forward who can be more than just a big body to win headers, too. I want a goal scorer who can make his own chances. Too much to ask for with the Union, perhaps, but we don’t need three strikers on the roster built to do he same thing.

    • Can’t teach speed, they say. They are right. I had hoped Nando would give us 12-15 goals this year. I made two assumptions:
      1. He would have to start/play consistently. He hasn’t.
      2. He would have enough burst/acceleration and top-end speed to be consistently dangerous. Maybe it’s nagging injuries or DNA. Either way, it simply hasn’t been there.

    • Scott Ellis says:

      I’m on board with ___gates when used tongue in cheek. Wambachgate qualifies for me.

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Aristegueta depends entirely on price. Casey is at the end of the road. THere needs to be a replacement for him. I like his work rate, and his instinct to come back into the ACM hole defensively. I also think many players new to MLS take time to adapt to it. If the price is reasonable, pay it. If not, keep looking.

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